Setting up Your Fat Bike Cockpit

How you set up your cockpit is based entirely on personal preference, however there are a few general guidelines you can follow for a more comfortable ride.


  • Handlebars
  • Stem
  • Brake levers
  • Shift lever
  • In some cases, dropper lever

We will also include the seat post and saddle because they are an integral component of the setup process. 

Cockpit Setup_HandleBars



When adjusting the angle of the saddle, the ground should be relatively level and the saddle should be close to parallel with the ground.

Seat Post Position_Level

If the saddle is tilted too far forward or back, it can cause discomfort for the rider. 

Seat Post Position Not Level
Cockpit Setup_Saddle and Post
Seat Post Not Level


The seat post should be raised to when you are seated and your leg is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, the knee mostly extended, but has a slight bend to it. 

Seat Post Correct Position

If the seat post and saddle are too high your legs will be overextended and the hips will rock side to side when pedaling. 

Seat Post Over ExtendedSeat Post Hips Offset

If the seat post and saddle are too low it will not allow your legs to move efficiently and will put unnecessary stress on you during each ride.

Seat Post_Good Position

The horizontal position of the saddle will be determined by the position of the knee over the pedals.  When the cranks are in the horizontal position, the knee on the front leg should generally sit vertically in line with the pedal axle. 

Seat Post Leg Position Correct


The handlebars are the most important component, as they are the primary contact point between the rider and the bike.

We like to start by adjusting the angle or the sweep of the handlebar. 

They should be angled so that they have a gentle sweep towards the rider or the back of the bike. 

Cockpit Setup for Bike Handlebars

If you rotate them too far forwards they start to point up. 

If you rotate them too far back they will begin to point towards the ground. 

Cockpit Setup for Handlebars_Too Forward

To do this you will need to loosen the stem faceplate bolts evenly, make your adjustment, then evenly tighten the face plate bolts back down to the recommended torque.

Cockpit Setup for Bike_Torque the StemCockpit Setup for Bike_Torque the Stem


Next, you will determine where and at what angle the brake levers, shift lever, and dropper lever will sit on the handlebar.

First loosen the clamp on the rear brake lever and shift lever so that you can freely move them up and down, and side to side.  

We generally recommend that you move the brake lever to a position that you can reach with just your index finger.

Handlebar Bike Cockpit Setup_Index Finger Placement

Now we want to angle the brake lever so that your wrist is not bent. 

If the levers are too high your wrists will be bent down and if the lever is too low your wrist will be bent forwards. 

Ideally you will have a relatively straight line from your arm to your hand.

Handlebar Bike Cockpit Setup_Arm and Wrist Position

The reach of the lever can now be adjusted in towards or away from the handlebar. 

There will be a reach adjustment screw or a reach dial that will allow you to do this.

The distance of the lever should be so that you can comfortably pull it with just your index finger.

Bike Cockpit_Adjusting your Handle

The shift levers and dropper lever should be positioned so that your hand does not have to move on the handlebars in order to reach the levers.

Make sure to measure several different reference points on your levers to ensure that you have them in the same position on both sides of the handlebar. 

All clamps should now be tightened down to the recommended torque.

Bike Cockpit Setup_Levers

Remember these are guidelines. Take your time and get the cockpit setup  comfortable for you.

A comfortable cockpit setup will make your rides more enjoyable.  


Written By: Kyle

Reviewed By: David Miller

Produced and Photographed By: Tabitha Hart

Updated: 8/16/2023

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