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Summit Cycle Coaching

Should I Get a Bike FIt?

Neil Poulton

Bike Fitter

“Do I need a bike fit and if so, when should I get a bike fit?”

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Do i need a bike fit?

This is an excellent question and not always easy to answer. I remember reading the Cyclist Training Bible by Joe Friel (which is an awesome book!) and he recommended not only getting a bike fit, but getting one every year. The rationale being that things change and what works one year may not the next. At the high end of performance I can see this, but it may be hard to justify at a more recreational level, especially if things haven’t really changed.

I think that is really the key to answering this question, is there a good reason for getting a bike fit? In the next section I’ve outlined the reasons that may lead you to consider a bike fit, take a look and see how you fit in.

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When Should I get a bke fit?

Given the cost of cycling as a whole, adding a bike fit into the set up really isn’t a big expense, certainly not compared to the cost of physio to recover from an injury or the time of the bike that an injury might cause.

There are a couple of reasons that would start signalling me towards recommending a bike fit:

  • You are New to Cycling:
    • If you are new to cycling, getting a basic fit will be a great way to get comfortable and avoiding potential pitfalls of a bad fit and the pain and discomfort this may cause.
    • A basic bike fit will get you a long way. Over the months/years as your riding experience and mileage increases you may find yourself fitting into another of these categories and another fit may be required to refine your position.
  • Pain or Discomfort on the bike:
    • This is probably the most urgent reason. I see lost of posts on Facebook groups asking how to solve pain and discomfort on a bike. This is a tough challenge at any time, let alone asking random strangers for the solution. If you are asking around for advice, you need a bike fit.
    • Cycling is a sport that embraces suffering, so we often dig in for too long before we admit we need to sort out our injuries. If you have pain, discomfort, pins and needles, numbness, etc it is time to seek the advice of someone that can take a look at the big picture and help you get back to enjoying riding your bike.
  • Niggly Issues:
    • This is a tricky one, because we can often ‘manage’. But if niggly issues are creeping in it may be time for a fit/re-fit. A good example is starting to get pain/discomfort towards the ends of rides, that over time starts to creep in earlier and earlier in the ride. It’s only a matter of time before this problem is limiting your training, so consider a fit for niggles that appear and become persistent.
  • Change of bike/Type of Bike:
    • This can apply to anyone, but if you started cycling, had a fit and increase your cycling over a few years. You now go out and buy a new bike, try to get it into the same position, but that is a lot easier said than done.
    • This is a great time to get a bike fit. Bikes all have slightly different geometry and getting comfy on a new bike can be tricky. A bike fit can get you in a good position on your new bike and get you out enjoying it avoiding the discomfort a big change might have caused.
    • If you change type of bike, for example, from a sportive type road bike to a more aggressive racing machine or from a road bike to a time trial bike it is inevitable that your fit will be different. A bike fit would be highly recommended in this case.
  • Something Changes or Forces a Change:
    • This could be anything from feeling stiffer as you get a bit older, making your normal position uncomfortable.
    • Or it could be an injury has forced you to sit/ride differently or is making it impossible to hold your normal poison.
    • It could be that you’ve started doing a few triathlons and you want a different fit to help you in the bike/run transition.
    • If something changes and you are finding it hard to adapt, maybe the bike needs to adapt to you a bit, so a bike fit is indicated.

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when don’t i need one?

Pain is the most common reason for needing a bike fit and it’s a bit of a no-brainer, if pain is limiting your riding or your enjoyment of riding, it’s time to get it sorted.

There are seemingly a lot of reasons to get a bike fit, probably plenty more than I’ve outlined above. However, not everyone is going to be needing constant bike fitting. If you are confident and comfortable on the bike and you are able to complete your riding with no issues then I wouldn’t rush out and try and change things…there has to be a good reason.

I certainly wouldn’t recommend going looking for changes that are not necessary, so if all is good, just enjoy your riding.

 

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