No matter your cycling ability or goals, there are 5 critical reasons to have your bike professionally fitted:
- Improved Aerodynamics = more speed
- Increased Comfort = greater enjoyment
- Enhanced Energy Efficiency = better power management
- Reduce/Eliminate Recurring Pain = so you hurt for the right reasons
- Prevent and Reduce Injury = so you don’t end up watching your race on TV
Your body is an incredibly complex machine. Adopting the best biomechanical positioning for your body is critical to maximising your comfort and reducing your energy expenditure during those long days on the road. Many cyclists often suffer from ankle, knee, hip, and lower back discomfort, as well as recurring pain. But pain and discomfort doesn’t necessarily have to be a side effect of cycling. A professional bike fit ensures the best body positioning, which in turn helps and prevents such issues.
The value and impact of a professional bike fit
Many triathletes think the best kit buys speed. And there’s no doubt that having the right gear has an impact on your performance. But your equipment only gets you so far, and it’s critical not to neglect services such as professional bike fitting (as well as coaching) that can have a major impact on the quality and consistency of your performance.
A professional bike fit is one area that’s often overlooked but can have such a positive effect on your enjoyment of triathlon. In fact, regardless of your fitness or race-day goals, everyone can benefit from evaluating their position and setup on the bike.
Aerodynamics and Comfort is a Balancing Act
Open any triathlon magazine and you’ll see pages of ads for aerodynamic gear promising dramatic speed gains on race day: bike frames, forks, race wheels, bottles, holders for said bottles, and much, much more. We spend an awful lot of money on our bikes and all the kit, equipment and accessories we can afford to help us go faster, be more efficient and be as comfortable as we can.
Yet the most important component of achieving optimum aerodynamics isn’t the bike or all the stuff on it – it’s you. Your positioning on your bike contributes more to speed, power and efficiency than any piece of equipment you might buy.
A professional bike fit finds your ideal position by looking at the 9 contact points your body has with the bike – hands (4), forearms (2), pelvis (1), and feet (2) – and making those adjustments to your equipment that are unique to you:
- Pelvis – saddle selection, height and tilt of the saddle both front and back, and even the selection of the right cycling shorts.
- Hand and forearms – base bar, forearm pads, handlebar extensions, and brake and shift levers (all connected to the stem).
- Feet – pedals, cleats, and cycling shoes
There is no such thing as a single optimal bike fit. Your bike fit is unique to you, your body, your triathlon distance, your goals. Your positioning on your bike, and thus your bike fit, exists within a range of comfort that’s dependent on your type of triathlon race – sprint, Olympic, Ironman – and race goals. Yet no matter your distance or goals, there are a lot of adjustments to your bike that can be made to increase your comfort, power and efficiency during those long hours in the saddle. For example, we can reduce drag on the bike, and thus increase speed, by reducing the how much of your chest is exposed as you ride by simply lowering the handlebars. But the lower the position, the less comfortable that position becomes. A professional bike fit thus becomes a 2-way communication between athlete and fitter.
Have you had your professional bike fit yet?
Go well guys 🏊🏻🚴🏃♂️💨
Featured photo by Josh Nuttall on Unsplash