Bike fitting is a widely discussed subject and there are a lot of misconceptions about it. Many people insist that there are standard rules of
thumb such as using your inseam to gauge the size of the bike to go by. While these are good guidelines to start with, bike fitting depends on a
lot more than these rules cover.
Proper bike fitting involves setting up the bike so that the body is positioned comfortably so that it is at its most efficient when riding. This
practice involves trial and error as a bike needs to be ridden after the initial set up to make sure that it is fitted correctly. Some common
mistakes in bike fitting are as follows.
Seats should be adjusted so that when the pedals are at the bottom of the stroke, the knee is bent at a twenty-five
degree angle to a straight line. One of the most common mistakes in fixie bike is setting the seat two low. This causes
the legs to work harder than they need to and puts more strain on thighs.
Setting the seat too far forward is another common mistake. When the pedals are level to the ground, the knee should
be directly over the axes of the pedal. Moving the seat too forward puts the body out of position and puts too much
weight on the hands. People typically put the seat forward so that the distance to the handle bars is shorter. Instead of
doing this, try using different stems that move the handlebars closer.
Most neck and back pain related to cyclists is caused by improper mountain bike sizing. Handlebars which are set to high
and stems that do not fit the rider cause unnecessary strain on the body by putting it at the wrong angle. If you have to
lock your arms when holding on to the handle bars, bumps and vibrations will carry through your arms to the back and
neck. Lower the stem so that the arms are at an angle and act as shock absorbers. If the pain continues try adjusting the
handle bars to a lower position as well.
Most people assume that once a bike is set up they should use the same settings in the future. Bike fitting needs to be done many times during
the year as the body changes and weather and conditions change the way a bike operates. Using trial and error and making the proper bike
fitting adjustments will keep riding comfortable and enjoyable.
Finding the Perfect Bike Fit
Bike riding is found all over the world and is one of the oldest forms of transportation. It is the primary means of transportation in some parts of
the world, and today is used for more than just getting from point A to point B. Biking is used as a means of recreation, for traveling, site seeing,
exercise, marathons, and more. It is an activity every age can enjoy and is a peaceful and relaxing way to notice the small pleasures in life; the
nature, environment, and breathtaking scenery that surrounds us that many neglect to take notice of in this fast paced world.
However, for a successful bike ride experience the appropriate road bike sizing is crucial. Proper bike fitting often goes overlooked by many
bikers, as are the necessary and intricate details that go into a bike fitting, which is a much more complex process than is widely understood.
Fitting a bike to an individual’s size is essential for comfort, wellbeing, and performance, and will ensure a more pleasant, enjoyable biking
Without the right fit, an individual can experience serious discomfort, such as back pain, numbness in hands, achy shoulders, and pain in the
knees and neck. A successful fitting involves the saddle, handlebars, brake levers and hoods, stem, shoes, cleats, and pedals.
A proper bike fitting
Step 1: The first step is to choose the right bike for an individual’s body type. As a general rule, an individual wants about an inch of clearance
between their body and the top frame. For ultimate comfort, wellbeing, and performance, the size of the bike is fundamental, but this is only the
beginning of fitting the bike for an individual’s body type.
Step 2: Once the correct bike frame is chosen, the key to fitting the bike properly to the individual is the connection points.
The connection points are the five places where the cyclist comes in contact with the bike. The location of the individual in relation to the five
points is imperative to the fitting, and greatly affects the ride. The connection points between the cyclist and the bicycle are the right and left
hands, the pelvis, and the left and right feet. The perfect placement of these points will result in the correct fitting for health and performance,
and will result in a comfortable, enjoyable ride.
Step 3: Because bikes are symmetrical and human bodies are not, fine-tuning of each connection point is very important to
discover the most comfortable and sensible fit. To find that right fit, help from another biker is recommended. The proper
height and tilt of the saddle is needed to find the correct connection point with the pelvis. The handlebars and break levers
should be adjusted accordingly to find the right fit for the hands; and lastly, the appropriate positioning of the pedals will
result in the correct connection point for the feet.
To determine if the bike has been fitted successfully, give it a whirl and if it feels like it has disappeared beneath your feet,
that managing the bike has become second nature, you have found the perfect fit and will have a successful ride! Enjoy!
How to fit bmx
Many bikers confuse bike sizing from bike fitting. Contrary to popular belief, these are very different concepts. Bike sizing refers to finding the
appropriate size of the bike frame for one’s body. However, bike fitting is more complex and varies for different kinds of bikes, from mountain
bikes to road bikes, and varies from biker to biker. Bike fitting actually modifies the bike to fit each individual’s distinct body type for the ultimate
efficient and successful biking experience. Fitting a bike can be rather difficult as each individual’s body proportions, level of fitness, and styles
and techniques greatly differ. The placement of one’s hands, feet, and pelvis on the bike will determine comfort and efficiency.
To attain the proper bike fit for you, the frame size, saddle height and tilt, knee position, top tube and stem length, handlebar position, and crank
length all need to be considered.
Key Points for the perfect fit:
An individual’s height and inseam are necessary in finding the right frame size. Typically, the rider wants an inch of space between the frame and
While sitting on the bike, your legs should allow for total extension at the bottom of the stroke with a slight bend at the knee, and without
having to lean forward to reach the pedal. By angling the seat forward or backwards, and up or down, the prefect height and tilt of the saddle
can be reached.
Generally, the handlebar should be the length of the cyclist’s shoulders – measured between the two shoulder blades.
Tube and stem length:
The tube and stem length vary greatly for each rider depending on flexibility, body type, and style of riding. Ideally, the rider should have a flat
back, and the view of the front hub should be blocked by the handlebar.
Crank arm length also varies depending on the technique of the rider. For cycling at a low cadence, for more leverage, a longer crank is
recommended. However, for cycling at a high cadence, standard cranks are suggested.
Once you have fitted your bike to your unique body type and riding style, you will reach maximum
efficiency, comfort, and performance. You will be able to distribute the perfect amount of power to the
pedals for a smooth and proficient bike ride. The ideal bike fitting for each individual rider, although
unique to each person, should result in feeling the utmost energy, power, and efficiency. Although
improper adjustment can result in discomfort and the exertion of more energy and work than necessary,
the proper adjustment results in smoothness and effortlessness.
Common mistakes when fitting a bike
Bike fitting is an important aspect when getting ready to ride a new bike. The way that one adjusts the seat and the
handle bars affects the way the body is positioned on a bike and can increase or decrease efficiency. While
professional riders fit their bikes for performance alone, recreational riders should strive for a balance between
comfort and optimal operation. A few rules of thumb when bike fitting are as follows.
Getting the right frame size is important to assure that the body isn’t overextended or too cramped when riding a bike.
Generally, if you straddle the bike with your feet on the ground there should be at least one inch between your body
and the top tube.
The seat height determines that length the leg travels and its angle when peddling. This is a critical adjustment as if
the seat is too high the legs are fully extended and there is a risk of injury. If the seat is too low the legs are putting
forth too much effort.
Have a friend help while sitting on the bike. When the peddles are at the bottom or six o’clock position the leg should
be bent about twenty-five percent to a straight line. If the hips rock back and forth it is a sign that the seat is too high.
The position of the seat from front to back of the bike determines the position of the knees in relation to the pedals.
Checking this requires a friend to hold the bike while the rider sits on the bike and positions the pedals so that they are
level to the ground. The knees should be directly above the axel of the pedals. If the knee is in front of the axel it puts
the rider in the wrong position and affects efficiently during strenuous riding.
Improperly fitted bike handlebars can cause pain in the back and shoulders. Handle bars should be set so that the body
is positioned at a forty-five degree angle to the top tube.
While these rules of thumb work to make bike fitting less complicated, good bike shops have more sophisticated
methods for minute adjustments which can increase performance. These methods take riders styles, the type of
riding and the kind of bike into consideration.
As with any general guidelines, if you are more comfortable with different settings than suggested do what works best