A great bike fit is the key to enjoying your bike experience every time you ride. Not only is a good fit important to have fun on the bike, but also prevent injury. There are a lot of things that go into a correct bike fit, besides just seat height. A true professional bike fit will look at many aspects of you on your bike, starting from the bottom up. I would look at cleat placement on your shoes, knee alignment as you pedal, seat height, forward aft of your seat, seat angle, cockpit length, stem angle, handlebar drop, and handlebar angle. These are most, but not all, of the things I would look at in giving you a true professional fit. Many people think they have been fitted when the only thing that was looked at is the seat height. Don’t be fooled by your bike shop or friends saying it’s the only thing that should be looked at. Getting a proper fit on a new bike before you purchase will get you off to a great start. If you are buying a used bike or have an existing bike that needs to be adjusted, paying for a professional fit is worth every penny. The cost is anywhere from $100-$300. There are a few things you can buy in the endurance world that will pay off more than a professional fit.
Over the past year, I have been working at a bike shop and doing fits. I have also been to California to Slowtwitch for their F.I.S.T. certification. This certification is for triathlon/time trail fittings and basic road bike fittings. In the process I have seen many issues from different riders and bike fitting. If your bike fits you incorrectly you may experience pain in your neck, shoulders, back, knees, numb hands, hotspots in your feet, along with many little aches and pains everywhere else. If you are a triathlete you may also experience many issues when getting off the bike to run.
Many people think if they get fit one time they don’t need to worry about it again, but that is the farthest thing from the truth. I am a great example of this. I have scoliosis and have had leg length issues in the past. This has caused knee pain and saddle sore issues. When I got my fit around 2 years ago I had shims put into my shoes and my seat adjusted. I had recently been experiencing a few issues, so I had my fit looked at again and found that my leg length issues had changed. In the process I have taken out my shims and adjusted my seat height once again. I firmly believe that you should get your bike fit once a year, preferably in winter and early season. You are going to be putting a lot of miles on the bike over the year and a slight adjustment when you have already put in a lot of miles can cause some discomfort issues. Get your bike fit before you log a lot of miles.
Please let me know if you have any questions concerning your bike fit I would love to help. Remember get out the door and train to CONQUER your goals.