The number one thing you can do to improve your riding is to get a proper bike fit. Your fit ensures you are maximizing all phases of the pedal stroke while maintaining an optimal balance between aerodynamics and comfort. There are a lot of “fancy” fitting devices out on the market today. All with different “cool factors” that draw in eager cyclists like a moth to a flame.
These specialized devices are pretty awesome to be honest. And they cost a pretty penny. But the truth about all this technology is that it is only useful if the bike fitter knows how to assess your unique body characteristics, your riding style, and any muscular or skeletal limitations that you may have. A good fitter is part biomechanics expert, part physical therapist, part bike mechanic, and part artist. The short of it is, if they don’t know what to do with all that great info, all the fancy equipment in the world isn’t going to dial in a proper fit.
It’s important to know, there is no “perfect” fit that works for everyone, all the time. With that, here are 4 questions you should ask before you spend hundreds of dollars on a bike fit:
- Does the bike fit include an off-the-bike body and goal assessment? They should take you through a range of motion and musculoskeletal assessment to determine any physical factors that need to be considered during your bike fit. This is very important. Your equipment (given it’s the right size) needs to be fit to you, not fit based on a theoretical “proper” positions. Your riding goals (Ironman vs sprint tri, century vs crit racing) should also be taken into consideration. If you have physical limitations, these need to be discussed, and a decision needs to be made whether to address these factors (with strength and flexibility work) or to accommodate them (if it can’t be addressed otherwise).
- Is the on-the-bike fit a static or dynamic process? You want to make sure all of your angles are calculated and reviewed based off of your natural pedal stroke at varying intensities. If the bike fitter is just going to place you into an ideal position to measure your angles, but these do not match the way you actually ride your bike, then you may have some potential issues once you get out on the road. One of the keys to fitting dynamically is to make sure the rider does some harder efforts while being fit because things like heel position and leg extension can change drastically when you are going harder versus spinning easy.
- Does the bike fitter offer a free follow up fitting if you find you are not comfortable on the bike? Most reputable bike fitters will offer a 30 day “tweaking” period (assuming you haven’t gone and messed with anything) if you find that you are not comfortable on the bike to help dial in the changes. If they offer this, give yourself 2 weeks of easy to moderate riding with a few harder efforts mixed in before you make any decisions on if the fit will work for you. Any change will require some getting use to. Muscles may fire differently, which can cause them to be sore initially. But ultimately, if the fitter knows what they are doing, those sore muscles now mean more efficiency later.
- Are references available upon request? It’s always nice to hear from others how their experience went when getting fit themselves. If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to ask for any references so you can seek out a little more information from previous customers.
- BONUS – The knee bone’s connected to the???
Knowing the answers to these questions in advance will help save you time AND money on the front end.
Don’t be lured into a shop just because they have a fancy computer that can fit you to a pre-set “ideal” position. You need to be fit to YOUR ideal position.
If you’d like to learn more about our dynamic fitting process, check out this page.
If you’d like to book a dynamic fitting with Coach Dale, you can book online here.
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