DH bike setup/position

I’m contacting to get some info on properly setting up the bike for the most optimum position for DH racing. Right now, in all of my pictures, on more of the slower, more flat, or just not as technical sections, it looks as if I am standing straight up. My initial thought is the bike is too big for me. And a lot of others said it is as well. Also, I need a wider bar. I only have a 660mm on there, and I will be putting on a 710mm. But is there anything else that I should know to get this optimum position?

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!


Hey Kyle.

Your bike might be a bit big, and your bars might be a bit narrow, but those things have nothing to do with your problem.

You are way too high on your bike. Drop your shoulders and try to flatten your torso. Don’t let your weight fall forward onto your bars; keep it balanced on your pedals. Keep your hips halfway between standing and hitting the seat.

The gnarlier it gets, the lower your shoulders should be. This gives your arms the range of motion to lean your bike and let it roll over obstacles without you getting jostled all over the place.

Here’s some guy named Brian Lopes, who seems to be a pretty good bike rider. He is almost always low on his bike. Watch him race — he rips down the course like a lizard: torso level, arms and legs going crazy.

I shot all of these in Whistler, 2004. About to pump out of this berm on Dirt Merchant.

This is steep. With his torso level, BL has the arm range to let the bike follow the ground while his body stays balanced on his pedals.

The gnarlier it is, the lower you should be. From this position Brian can both corner and let his bike roll off stuff. He’ll stay perfectly centered the whole time.

He’s about to dip the right grip into this turn. Sweet!

That Lee McCormack guy is no world champion, but he’s not bad:

About to push into a dip.

Low and neutral lets the bike do whatever it wants while my body does straight.

About to dip my left grip into the turn. Sweet!

And here’s an exaggeration. Cornering: Drilling the basics

Regarding your handlebar width:
Get down and do 10 pushups. Measure the width of your hands. That’s your position of optimum power. I do pushups — and ride DH — at 28 inches.

About DH bike setup:
That’s for another day.


— Lee

5 replies
  1. Trevor says:

    just remeber set-up is all about personal preference and where you feel comfortable enough to pin it, people take the piss outta my set-up but i have spent months playing with it, and i am always first down (well most of the time)!!

    but dont be affraid to play with your set-up, just remeber to mark your bars were they where so you can get it back to where you like.

    and just because Sam Hill runs wide flat 800mm bars, you dont have too!! its a whole lot more than just his bars that make him fast!!

  2. tony says:

    it’s always refreshing to see responses like these. So many people are looking for the “perfect” equipment and overlook the fact that (striving for ) perfect technique is what gets you down the hill (or up for that matter).

  3. Wayne Beavers says:

    My son races. He has a 34 inch inseam. I can spot him easily from a distance when he is racing DH, because his back is horizontal to the ground. He keeps his shoulders low, like Lee says.

  4. luke says:

    sam hill runs 30mm rise 720mm bars, they just look wide cause he’s so short. On my v-10 i have a 25mm 800mm bar(im 6’2″) a short head tube and a 21mm stack headset and a directmount 55mm stem to get the front end low and wide which gives great stability.

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