Moving to a wider bar or a shorter stem? Maybe you’re moving to a whole new clamp standard? Here’s how to change your bar and stem.

With that sorted, are you now wondering how to sort you controls? Here are three golden rules of perfect cockpit setup.

1. Get a wide bar and short stem

It’s easier to control your bike if you’ve got a wide bar and short stem, so you’ll ride faster and crash less.

Get a bar at least 750mm wide (you can always cut it down if it’s too broad for you or your trails) and look for a seven to nine-degree backsweep to position your wrists naturally.

The best value bar out there is the Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore Race because it’s got a great shape, damps the trail vibration down nicely and costs £75.

Try a shorter stem too, 70mm or less in length — our favourite is the Truvativ Descendant because it’s stiff and at £50, cheap too.

2. Play with the bar position

Bar height is important because it helps move your weight around the bike — just the right height and you’ll be able to get good grip on the front wheel and still get your weight back on steep stuff.

Play around with the height by using spacers and moving the stem up and down the fork steerer.

If you go somewhere new that’s steep, like the Alps or a bike park, try popping the stem up one spacer higher.

Try rolling the bar forward and back too, it’ll subtly shift your weight forward and upwards, or backwards and downwards.

3. Move your brakes and shifters

You only need to brake with one finger, any more than that and you’ll diminish your grip on the bars. So put your hand on the grip as you would when you’re riding, and slide the lever inwards a little on the bar until the blade lines up with your index finger.

Don’t use your middle finger, as some people suggest, because it shares a tendon with your ring finger meaning you want be able to grip as strongly.

Now check out the position of the shifter (or shifters, if you have a front mech too) — bikes usually come with the shifter pod more inboard than the brakes. But with the brakes moved inwards the shifter can be too far away from your thumb and finger to use easily, so swap the clamp so it’s on the outside instead.