Whether you're purchasing a new bike or getting that trusty steed ready for the season, one of the biggest upgrades you can make is a bike fit. Any bike can get you from point A to point B, but how comfortable that trip will be, depends on how well your bike has been fitted to you.
A common misconception about bike fitting is that it's just for elite athletes and high-performance riders. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Sure, a bike fit will be very beneficial to these riders, but everyone can benefit from a more comfortable bicycle. If you've made the investment to purchase a bike, it will be far more valuable to you if it fits.
3 Steps to Creating a Comfortable Bike:
There are only three main points of contact on a bike, but when you get into the nitty gritty details of the saddle, handlebars and pedals, they’re almost infinitely adjustable. A centimetre here or there can make all the difference, but when we're talking several centimetres just about everywhere, it won't even feel like the same bike when your fitting is finished.
Behind & Saddle
Saddles come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and styles. Each saddle is designed for a specific posture and pedalling style. To get you on the right width saddle, the size of your sit bones has to be determined first.
Once the saddle is on the bike, the height and position can be adjusted fore and aft. It’s also important to remember that males and females have different saddle requirements and a gender-specific design is key.
When sized properly and combined with a pair of padded cycling shorts, you'll be comfortable spending hours in the saddle with no pain or discomfort. Padded shorts aren't absolutely essential for shorter, more casual rides and commuting, but if you're going to spend several hours in the saddle or enter your first fondo, it's important to add them to your equipment list.
Aside from properly sized handlebars and reach to make sure the bike fits on a very basic level, brake angles, shifters and grips can be adjusted to ensure that you can reach the brake levers when you need to and feel comfortable over the course of a long ride.
Each of these adjustments combines to form a seamless connection to the bike, which minimizes muscle strain while relieving soft tissue pressure and improving blood flow.
Having your feet properly aligned on the pedals, combined with the correct saddle height, eliminates stress on your knees and hips as well as any strain on your leg muscles.
When correctly aligned, proper cycling shoes and pedals encourage a pain-free, smooth and efficient pedal stroke. The proper shoe and pedal combination helps when having a bicycle fitted, as they’re the only way to ensure your feet stay in the optimal position on the pedals. The ball of your foot should be exactly above the axel of your pedal.