Published on July 9th, 2014 | by Ian Buchanan
Just a Casual Rider? Why You Need a Professional Bike Fit.
I often hear from people that they don’t think of themselves as “real” cyclists, and thus they put minimal thought into their equipment or bike set-up.
This thought process is a significant limiting factor when it comes to many riders enjoying their bike as much as they should. You do not have to average 18 mph or ride over 100 miles a week to be “good enough” to benefit from a bike fitting or properly matched equipment.
To benefit from a professional bike fitting, all you have to do is ride, or want to ride, a bike. A comprehensive bike fitting is an investment in yourself and in your cycling. The investment is one that you will not find for $100 or in 45 minutes, but it is one that will pay off for as long as you ride bikes.
What are some of the primary benefits a professional bike fitting offers a recreational rider?
- Improved Comfort & Lower Chance of Injury – A comprehensive bike fitting takes into account your individual biomechanics and makes sure that your joints and muscles are supported in a biomechanically “friendly” position. This results in greater comfort and minimizes the likelihood of repetitive use injuries and muscle imbalances.
- Improved Performance – When your body is set in a position that encourages a full range of balanced muscle engagement, you will produce better power (ride faster) and have better endurance.
- Improved Technique & Posture – Cycling is as technique based as any sport and the better your posture the easier, faster and more comfortable riding is. A good bike fit has a heavy coaching and visual element and can help you learn techniques in a matter of hours that can take years to learn otherwise. This helps a newer rider avoid developing bad habits and it helps an experienced rider gain a better understanding of how their bike and body interact.
- Better Equipment Selection & Money Savings – Many riders buy bikes and components many times over – searching for something that works better. A proper bike fitting helps you find a well-suited bike and components the first time and thus can save significant money in the long-term; a proper bike fit not only helps you find the right products now, it also helps you buy with confidence in the future.
- Enjoyment – Olympian or novice rider, I’ve met few people that did not want to ride better and enjoy cycling more. A comprehensive bike fitting is one of the best starting places to riding to your potential and enjoying each turn of the pedals as much as possible.
“The best you’ve ridden is the best you know.”
This means that your riding performance, comfort and enjoyment of your bike is only as good as how well your equipment has been set-up and your technique has allowed. Riding a bike is supposed to be fun, riding a bike that does not fit well, holds the rider back and makes it less comfortable than need be.
Also, if you are thinking about getting a new bike, consider getting a professional fitting first. Ideally, you should not have to accommodate to your bike, your bike should instead fit your needs as well as possible. If you have a bike already, search out a good bike fitter and find out what “the best you know” can be.