I often hear from people who ride they put little thought into getting a professional bike fit or take note of their bike set-up. This is a mistake. The reality is that regardless of the amount miles you ride or speed at which you ride, a professional bike fit will improve ride comfort and performance while also minimizing risk of injury. You don’t have to be fast or log hundreds of miles to benefit of a bike fit. If you ride, you owe it to yourself to enjoy the ride as much as possible through a comfortable and efficient position.
Purchasing a bike is an investment. Recreational and competitive riders alike will see big benefits from a professional bike fit especially if they have established inefficient habits. Riders with poor technique have more to gain from learning efficient riding techniques. A comprehensive bike fit is an investment that will pay off for as long as you ride. Whether you are a beginner, recreational, or competitive rider, consider some of the benefits a professional bike fit offers.
Increased Comfort & Reduced Chance of Injury – A comprehensive bike fit takes into account your individual biomechanics and makes sure your joints are held in neutral and biomechanically friendly position. This results in greater comfort and minimizes the likelihood of injury caused by incorrect position repetitive use. A professional bike fit seeks to leverage your skeleton for support, especially in the triathlon aero position, to reduce fatigue and injury.
Safety – Comfort translates to confidence and safer riding. An uncomfortable rider will be distracted by the discomfort and constantly seeking a better position. An uncomfortable rider cannot pay full attention to the ride speed, route, course, and terrain. A comfortable rider can focus on the ride allowing for greater control, confidence, and enjoyment. Discomfort may be a result of poor biomechanics and introduce injury.
Improved Performance – A professional bit fit results in a position that enables full range of muscle motion to produces maximum power transfer to the rear wheel. Power is enabled through comfort and accurate knee, hip, shoulder, elbow and wrist joint angles. Setting the joints at specified angles enables increased power output because it maximizes your muscle engagement, improves aero dynamics, and removes over stressed pressure points that cause numbing of the hands or other areas. A proper bike fit improves your endurance because it reduces fatigue caused by unnecessary muscle recruitment often causing shoulder or back pain. An improper bike fit may rob your potential power output due to poor muscle or insufficient recruitment.
Improved Technique – Riding can be a quickly contiguous sport. It’s not uncommon for new riders to grow their strength and speed at a much quicker rate than their technique. This makes them dangerous to themselves and to fellow riders because of poor technique at higher speeds. A good bike fitter will not only place you in a better riding position, they will study your riding technique and suggest improvements. A good bike fit has a coaching component that helps you learn good techniques contributing to free speed. Newer riders benefit by avoiding the development of bad habits contributing to a poor or inefficient riding skills. By making small adjustments in technique, experienced riders will better understand of how increase speed and endurance. A bike fitter should be looking to marry your new riding position with proper pedal stroke, saddle and use, hand grip, foot, ankle, and knee alignment.
Equipment & Budget – Riding is fun. Part of that fun is buying the bike or equipment. Too often, I observe new and experienced riders buying equipment based on brand, trend, or to keep up with the Jones. I also see riders invest too much in their current frame seeking to buy speed when the better investment is training or a different bike altogether. Experienced bike fitters should be able to make recommendations to your equipment choices and upgrades based on your riding styles fitness, budget, and goals.
Many see a professional bike fit as an additional expense. It should be seen as an investment and budgeted as part of your bike purchase or training expenses. A professional bike fit will increase your riding enjoyment and performance through comfort, proper joint angles, and experienced coaching or guidance. You will increase speed and efficiency though balanced muscle recruitment. Have fun riding and be safe.
USA Triathlon, Cycling, F.I.S.T. Certified coach Tony Troccoli is founder and owner of Coach-Tony.com Training Plans and Bike Fitting. www.coach-tony.com