At its essence, bike fitting is a process of adjusting the contact points and/or changing specific components of a bicycle to allow the body to apply force through the pedals in the most stable and efficient way possible. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes and no. There’s far more to bike fit than just adjusting the bike and, how do you even know if you need a bike fit in the first place?
Is A Bike Fit Right For Me?
If you’re using your bike to ride a kilometre of two up the road to fetch a pint of milk or get the Sunday paper, then chances are you don’t need a bike fit. If however, you’re riding your bike any sort of distance (whether that be commuting to work or for recreation / sport either on or off road) and/or riding even semi-regularly, then you may well benefit from having a bike fit, even if you’re currently not in any pain or discomfort. ”Why do I need a fit if I’m not in pain?” you might ask. There’s much more to bike fitting than just pain relief. Here’s a few reasons why you might want to consider getting a bike fit.
1) Could You Be More Comfortable?
The most obvious reason to get a bike fit is to help alleviate any pains and discomforts when cycling, and to understand why they’re happening in the first place. Most people who come through our studio have experienced some sort of discomfort when riding their bikes and are looking for a more comfortable riding experience. A well fitted bike ensures that your body is moving as efficiently as possible, minimising the need for muscular compensations to be made for movement patterns that may not be optimal.
2) Injuries Can Be A Choice
A bike fit can help identify and address biomechanical issues that may be putting unnecessary stress on your body, helping to prevent injuries in the long run. By having a greater understanding of how your body is moving when cycling, and being aware of any potential compensations that are being made as fatigue sets in, we can empower riders to make better informed decisions. By having a heightened awareness of the body, a rider will learn the ability to assess any sensations on the fly, so they can decide whether to push through and carry on or hold back and recover.
3) Are You The Best That You Can Be?
Bike fitting can unlock significant performance gains. By optimising both bike and body, a bike fit can help facilitate a more aerodynamic position, improved power transfer and more consistent training due to less risk of injury, all of which can lead to riding faster, for less effort. A good bike fit can also improve the way the bike handles, often allowing riders to ride more comfortably and confidently in a variety of different scenarios and positions at higher speeds.
4) Let’s Get Personal
A good bike fitter will be able to offer valuable guidance and make tailored recommendations in line with your specific riding goals and how you’re interacting with your bike. These can range from specific suggestions for off-bike strength and mobility exercises to improve the overall function of the body (the bike is only 50% of the overall system!), recommendations for specific components to improve comfort & efficiency (such as changing a saddle or shortening crank length), or even the best choice of aero helmet shape for your position on a triathlon or TT bike to unlock some aerodynamic gains!
5) Buying a New Bike… Should You Get a Fit First?
The chance that a brand new, off-the-shelf, bike will come supplied with all of the exact component specs required to achieve your optimal riding position, is less than 3%. And that’s assuming you get the frame geometry and size correct in the first place!
Rather than navigate the minefield of buying a new bike on your own, having a bike fit on an adjustable jig, before you drop thousands of £££ on a new bike, will ensure that you’re able to buy a new bike, certain it will fit you and confident it will ride well too.
Fitters can make personalised recommendations on everything from specific frame geometry to saddle choice, stem length, handlebars, crank length… you name it! At Foundation we provide a detailed CAD drawing of your ideal position on a specific bike too, so you know exactly how much range of adjustment there is to modify your position over time.
6) Knowledge Is Power
A bike fit has immediate benefits but it is really a long-term investment in your bike and your health. It is the start of an ongoing process that can and will change over time as your body ages and develops. The more you ”buy-in” to the process of cycling as a practice and a skill to be mastered, the more you will get out of your bike fit and fitter, not only in the initial session, but in subsequent sessions down the line. By developing a deeper understanding of how your body interacts with your bike and what you can do to improve your cycling experience over the long term, you will also be far better placed to make more informed decisions and troubleshoot any potential issues that you may encounter on your cycling journey.
We see our job at Foundation is to teach you “how to fish”. We want you to be able to take control of your cycling. We don’t want you to be solely reliant on a fitter to manage your position, adjust your bike, and understand your body. The more you you are in control, the more you’ll enjoy the ride!
Should you care a bout a bike fit? Well, this is completely up to you, your riding goals, your outlook, your appetite for risk and life priorities. A bike fit can certainly improve your cycling performance, reduce the risk of injury and enhance your enjoyment of the sport. But the results are also dependant on how much you are willing to put in to the process. Bike fitting is not a one-and-done magic bullet. Over the thousands of fits we’ve done, we’ve found that the best results come from those riders who are committed to:
- Investing in themselves.
- Take a long term outlook.
- Embrace a learning mindset.
Hopefully this article was helpful and allows you to make the best decisions for yourself and your riding!
If you have any questions at all, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready to go? You can book a fit here.
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