If you notice numb hands or toes, knee pain, lower back pain, shoulder discomfort or any number of other aches and pains after riding your bike, it is likely due to improper bike fit. Getting a professional bike fit is one of the most commonly skipped steps when buying a new bike, but it is one of the most important. If you want to ride happily and pain-free for many years and miles to come, make sure you get a proper bike fit.
What is Bike Fit?
Everyone’s body is different. Some of us have long legs and short torsos; some women struggle to reach their brake levers due to small hands; some people may pedal a little bit differently than others; maybe you have one leg that is slightly longer than the other and you never even knew it! In addition to our bodies being the way they are, injuries or personal goals can affect how your bike should be set up to maximize comfort, efficiency and power. Luckily, bicycles are machines with many adjustable parts. In fact, every touch point on the bike can be changed out, altered or moved to fit you better. Although there are many different theories to bike fit, the main idea is to make adjustments to the bike’s components with these goals in mind:
- Enhancing overall rider comfort
- Preventing injuries
- Diagnosing saddle discomfort
- Reducing or eliminating pain and numbness
- Reducing or eliminating discomfort associated with riding
- Reducing rider fatigue by enhancing efficiency
- Improving overall performance on the bike
- Where Can I Get Fit?
- When you buy a new bike, have a team member help figure out which size of bike is best for you. The way to do it? Test the bikes out!
- After purchasing the bike, a team member will ensure that your seat height is close to the right height and basic elements are adjusted properly.
What Should I Wear?
When you head to the shop for your bike fit, wear what you'd normall wear riding! Also if seem to have knee, foot or hip pain, bring in your shoes and pedals so someone can take a look and make some recommendations.
Depending on what issues you have, these are the adjustments that can be made to your bike during a fit:
- Saddle height
- Saddle fore/aft position (movement of seat on the saddle rails)
- Saddle tilt (angle of saddle in relation to the floor)
- Getting a new saddle (your fitter may suggest a completely different saddle based on your body position and anatomy)
- Stem length (for reach adjustments)
- Stem height (“drop” or how high/low your handlebars sit on the steer tube. Generally, the lower the handlebars, the flatter your back; the higher the handlebars, the more upright you will be)
- Handlebar width
- Grip/ grip tape diameter
- Brake lever adjustments (brake levers can be dialed in our out so you can comfortably reach them, the brake levers can also be moved on the bar so you have an ideal hand position)
- Crank length
- Shoe, insole and cleat adjustments (relatively small adjustments here can make a big difference in how your knees and hips move as you pedal, which could be the cause of discomfort in those areas)
Is That All?
Nope, of course not! Over time, your bike fit will change due to injuries, changes in skill level, new goals, weight loss and increase/decrease in flexibility. If anything changes with your body, or if it has just been a few years, come on in to make sure your bike is still fitting properly!
Shared from Liv Cycling!