Bike fitting is the art and science behind positioning a rider on a bicycle, allowing them to achieve their personal cycling goals. Proper cycling position will maximise the enjoyment of any rider on any bike because the cyclist will feel SAFE and COMFORTABLE.
The perfect fit is comfortable. It facilitates efficiency of movement and the ability to generate power and speed. It allows you to easily breathe and deliver oxygen to your muscles. In the proper position on the right bike, you can effectively balance, stabilise and easily handle the bike, body and bike become one.
Three main contact points* make up bike fitting process; foot support and cleat position, saddle selection and position, and handlebars and controls.
The goal is to have the body supported by the bicycle in a way that allows the rider to ride as hard (or soft) as they like without loosing control. This means control of the pedal stroke, control of the core and ultimately control of the bike. For great control, a rider needs to have their contact points within the physical range of the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems. Each contact point can then be individually assessed for better support and symmetry.
Once the bike has been well fitted the body can ride with fluidity allowing the brain time to think, strategize or even meditate in the zone. The brain is a huge aspect of your bicycle fit and needs to be well connected to supportive contact points. If you are sore, uncomfortable or ill fitted to any of the contact points your brain will let you know and will not stop telling you until you stop riding or significantly change your position on the bike to compensate for the issue. This can often lead to unbalanced and inefficient cycling.
A huge part of my job as a fitter is to help people become aware of less than ideal contact points, positions and issues they do not notice. This concept of the bodies’ own self-awareness is called proprioception and is often not recognized or understood correctly. For example, most of the clients I see do not sit straight on their saddle, however if I ask them how they feel, they say “pretty straight” and are misled by their own brain suggesting that if they are riding a symmetrical machine they must be in perfect symmetry as well. So by bringing the asymmetries and over extensions into the awareness of the rider excess movement can be reduced, energy can be saved and endurance found.
*Contact points: foot beds, saddle, bar tape or grips
Originally posted on: Manly Warringah CC.
*All listed prices are subject to change without notification, and are exclusive of parts.