Bike fitting, is it worth it?
When you get a new bike or decide to dust off your bike and take up the sport, getting yourself fitted to your bike is one of the most common steps missed. One often thinks that by adjusting the saddle height so you feel comfortable is good enough, but you are greatly mistaken.
A professional bike fitter will take into consideration your level of competitiveness (weekend warrior or training everyday), your skill level, your goals for cycling, flexibility, weight and height as well as any past injuries that may have an effect on your position on the bike. They do not just change the height of your saddle; they will look at and change the following:
- Saddle height
- Saddle angle
- Type of saddle best suited for you
- Stem length
- Shoe you ride in
- Angle of your foot
- The insole in your shoe
- Brake levers
- Handle bar width
- Handle bar grips and diameter
- Height and angle of your handle bar
An improper position on the bike can give you numbness in the hands and toes, knee pain, shoulder pain, lower and upper back pain as well as stiffness in the neck. If you feel any form of pain specifically to one area ie pain that is not associated with a hard day out on the bike (fatigue, stiffness, sore bum), you should definitely go and have a professional fit done on your bike. A proper fit on your bike will:
- Enhance your overall rider comfort
- Prevent chronic injuries
- Eliminate numbness and pain
- Reduce rider fatigue by enhancing efficiency
- Improve overall performance on the bike
Most of your bike shops will have a professional bicycle fitter on their premises that will be able to assist you, and if they do not have an in-house fitter, they will definitely recommend someone that they use and trust. Make sure that you wear the cycling pants and the shoes that you plan to ride in to ensure that the set up is done perfectly for you. If you race and train in two different cleats, take them both with and the bike fitter will be able to guide you on which one works better for you.