Proper Bike Fit = Comfort, Power, Performance
If the bike fits correctly, it takes corners confidently, descends without wobble, lets the athlete deliver the majority of power from large, fatigue-resistant muscle groups, and allows the athlete to comfortably assume an aerodynamic and powerful position. A good fit is essential to competitive performance. A bad fit reduces the pleasure of riding and keeps the competitive rider from being as fast as he or she could be.
Signs of a Bike-Fit Problem
- Sore knees during of after rides
- Numb fingers or hands
- Hot spots on feet
- Sore neck or neck needs repeated stretching
- Tight lower back or back needs repeated stretching
- Can’t stay on drops
- Bike wobbles in corners or downhill
- Jerky pedal stroke
- Rocking hips or reaching for pedals at bottom of stroke
- Not comfortable taking hands off bars
- Repeated saddle sores
- Discomfort, pressure, chaffing or rubbing in the “saddle contact area”
- Feeling like power is missing
If you have any of these conditions, a dynamic bike fit can make you faster and more comfortable and may help you avoid lasting injuries. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
The best ‘system’ for fitting your bike to you requires that you visit a skilled and experienced bike fitter who routinely works with athletes with goals similar to your own. Many Wenzel Coaches who work with cyclists are dynamic bike fit experts. Some of our bike fitters are even available to fit Peloton Cycle stationary trainers in your home or gym.
Marks of Good Fit
- No pain or discomfort during or after long, low intensity rides
- No pain other than tired muscles during or after hard rides
- Road riders can ride the drops for hours at a time
- Road riders can see at least 10 bike lengths up the road while riding the drops without neck-strain
- MTB riders can keep their weight over the pedals in steep uphill and downhill terrain
- Rider can produce power throughout the pedal stroke
- Leg length discrepancies and forefoot varus or valgus issues accounted for
There are two basic approaches to bike fitting. The better one calls for watching the rider actually pedaling the bike; correcting any inefficiency, awkwardness or discomfort; and optimizing speed and power without unnecessarily compromising smoothness or comfort. On-bike or dynamic fitting with a fitting expert is the preferred way to achieve a good fit.
Some bike fitters “do fittings” by making measurements of the rider’s body and bike and using various formulae to figure out saddle height, set-back, stem length and so on, or by taking “motion capture” video of the rider and using computer programs to extract particular angles which are then adjusted into a target range by adjusting the bike.
Formulae and motion capture are poor substitutes for dynamic bike fitting. Formula-driven fitting systems survive because the fitter doesn’t have to be an expert or have an eye for good position to get a pretty good fit. Video motion capture systems have a huge “wow!” factor. The weakness is that no matter how many variables are figured into the formula or how carefully the angles are adjusted, they rarely achieve the optimum position because some important variables are simply too difficult to measure. Three variables that have a huge effect on comfort and power production but that are not accounted for by formula or motion capture fits are injury history, flexibility and body-weight distribution.
If you want your bike fit to optimize power, comfort and performance taking all variables into account, you want a dynamic bike fit provided by a Wenzel Coaching bike fitting expert. Wenzel Coaching has experienced bike fitters in Portland, Oregon, the San Francisco Bay Area and North Carolina. Be sure to check our coach profiles to see if you are near one. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
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“So, I’ve ridden my bike and LOVE the changes. It’s working well for me. I’ve given your info to a couple of my friends. Thanks again” ~ Aaron
“Wanted to let you know after riding a bit Friday evening and following your advice on the mount and dismount I decided to go for riding the Specialized in the Tri. Was so glad I did! I loved the bike and the setup. I actually rode in the drops quite a bit on the course and I never felt comfortable doing that much on my other road bike. I had my best mph time ever … Can’t wait for my next long ride where I can enjoy the ride even more without worrying about speed. I really appreciate all the information, expertise, and patience you had with us. I’ve already told my fellow “Tri It For Life” members that were at the tri about you and I will continue to recommend your services. Thanks again!” ~Karen
“In short, we just about nailed it, and I’m really comfortable on the bike these days. I’ve been riding in the drops much more, and without the back pain or neck soreness I used to get. I might even detect that I’m riding a bit more powerfully.” ~ Michael Fee
“Thanks for the fitting…feels pretty good after several long rides — definitely more power, no adverse handling, and less foot numbness surprisingly. Thanks again!” ~ John