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Bike Fit Information for Cyclist

BikeFit Canada has assembled some common questions about bike fit. Although the answers are short they do provide information that might help you to understand what bike fit is and why you might want to seek out this valuable service.

  • Why bike fit is important, how does it help a cyclist?
    The bike-body relationship is an important component to cycling that is often overlooked. Proper on-bike positioning allows you to be more comfortable, improve efficiency, perform up to your potential and prevent overuse injuries that can result from poor alignment. You will ride with more confidence which improves safety on the road or trail. But most important you will be able to ride strong, feel good and have fun!
  • What are the consequences of not getting a bike properly fit to you?
    Discomfort on the bike can rear its ugly head almost anywhere. Knee pain, back pain, neck pain are just a few common complaints. 80 to 90% of all cyclists have some kind of misaligned foot–pedal set up. This can often lead to some kind of overuse injury or discomfort on the bike. When discomfort sets in the motivation to ride lessens, until eventually you don't ride your bike anymore. That is no good! A bike fit will keep you happy in the saddle and hopefully prevent any bike related injury.
  • What does a 40 minute fit session include?
    This service is often referred to as having the “cockpit adjusted” for comfort, which includes; Assessing saddle height, saddle fore/aft, cockpit length, handlebar drop and rotation are some of the fundamentals to establishing rider comfort. A short session like this is very different from having a 2 hour professional bike fit.
  • What does a 2 hour fit session include?
    A 2-hour session should start with a short interview to gather information about the rider's history. Following that an assessment should be done of the existing bike - rider set up. Video analysis is often used to evaluate and asses specific bike body information. More comprehensive bike fit sessions will rely on technology and the use of specific bike fit soft wear for information. This can come in many forms depending on what service you have decided on. Once some basic info has been obtained assessing saddle height, saddle fore/aft, cockpit length, handlebar drop and rotation are some of the fundamentals to establishing rider comfort. A front on pedal stoke evaluation should also be performed in order to asses if any cleat adjustment are needed including varus (inside) or valgus (outside) wedging. During the 2 hour session specific bike parts may need to be replaced. Saddle, handle bar and stem are most common. A follow up visits might be needed for minor adjustments once a road test has been completed. This service can vary from being complimentary to having a nominal charged attached to it.
  • What should I bring to the fit session?
    During a fit session you will pedal your bike, so wear you’re cycling clothing. Cycling Shoes are an important part of the fit process. Make sure they are clean and dry as this makes the cleat assessment easier and more accurate. If you have old worn out cycling shoes you might want to purchase a new pair prior to being fit. Same goes for the cleat, this might be an ideal time to put new ones on. Ensure that your bike is clean and is in good working order.
  • How long does a bike fit session take?
    A bike fit session can vary in both length and detail. A quick cockpit set up may only take 20 minutes. A full professional bike fit will be closer to 2hours It is often hard to put an exact time on a fit session as everyone is different and may have a set of unique needs. Some people need a lot of adjustment and parts may need to be swapped out. Others can be close with their position but still require more minor changes.
  • How much does a bike fit cost?
    This can vary depending on who the fitter is and what service you are looking for. The entry level for just getting some basics done may cost as little as $65.00. On the very high end you can pay up to $350.00 or more. For a professional bike fit with a qualified experienced individual you are going to pay on average between $200.00 to $300.00. It should be mentioned that if you buy a new bike from a bike shop a bike fit may be part of the package. This service will vary depending on the shop and the bike fit program.
  • What is the most important part or step in the bike fit process?
    There are many important aspects of the bike fit process but the key areas are the 5 contact points on the body to the bike. This includes 1 saddle, 2 grips on the handle bar and 2 pedals to which the feet attach. If something is not right with one contact point it can have a negative impact on the feel of the bike and the riding experience. Bike F it has often been referred to as an Art and a Science. It is a dynamic experience having a professional bike fit done. The most important part is getting results so that the cyclist can feel good about the service that he or she has paid for.
  • Is bike fit important regardless of the type of rider you are (commuter, mountain bike, advanced road cyclist)?
    Yes, bike fit is for everyone at all levels. At one time bike fitting was a service only widely used by pro riders. Pro riders have years of experience and an enormous amount of resources available to them. With the recent growth in cycling many people are just getting into the sport and they do need help with taking the guesswork out of "How should I be set up?"
  • For those who can't get out to a specialist what are a few things they can be done at home themselves to help the fit?
    Without doing any bike fitters out of a job, don’t be scared of trying to make minor adjustments to your bike. Most cyclists own an allen key. If your seat feels too high or low, then it probably is. Take an allen key and lower or raise your seat to a more desirable height. This adjustment can be done easily and can often have positive results. Simply put, if something feels uncomfortable on the bike, change it. NOTE: If you have little experience working on bikes and you are a novice rider I strongly recommend that you go to your local bike shop and ask for assistance with any adjustment to your bike. Or, better yet, get a bike fit!
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