What is a bike fit and why get one?

Much has been written over the years about bike fits so before you say not another one, bear with me because I’m not about tell you about angles and measurements.  I just want to highlight why I think, if you are going to spend any length of time on your bike, it will make a difference not just to your performance but also your enjoyment if you are a recreational rider.

Most people that get a bike fit are established riders who see the value in fine tuning their existing set up to better suit their current or new bike, or their preferred riding event, whether that be endurance or racing. This is where the expertise of the bike fitter delivers what a rider wants, maximise performance and efficiency.

The minority of bike fits are for riders who have not had a fitting before. Their motivation can be varied – getting essential information before the purchase of a new bike, soreness or discomfort that needs to be rectified, or recommendations from more experienced riders who can see the set up is inappropriate. This type of rider is more likely to have recommendations to purchase new equipment (or even a new bike) as a consequence of a professional bike fit.

It is at this point where many casual riders become uncomfortable with getting a professional fit.  The shock of being recommended any or a number of the following parts can be quite confronting: foot beds ~ $60 a pair; new shoes @ $200-$400 a pair; a new saddle @ $125 – $250; new stem @ $125- 300; new cleats @ $40; different handle bars @$50 – $450.   These are not insubstantial outlays.

The key is that you should be able to enjoy your riding (whatever it is you do). For the competitive cyclist this will mean being faster, for others more comfortable on their current set up and getting rid of niggling injuries, and for the beginner, comfort and safety on the road.

One could easily argue that even if the focus were purely for “better health” outcomes the value would be significant. This means translating intangible benefits in to value, eg less spent on health care or treatments, more to spend on cycling; better performance equates to greater enjoyment; confidence in the set up gives greater safety and allows for focus on the ride and not the equipment.

I have been through two bike fits and not only did I enjoy the process but what made the biggest difference was being able to spend longer on the bike and be less fatigued.  So for my money the process was worth it.