Bike Fit Basics

Bike Fit Basics

family on bikes

With Spring around the corner, it is about time to get them back out. It doesn’t matter if you ride bikes on-road or off, pedal leisurely or for competition, you need to take note of how your bike fits your body. To prevent you from having more aches and pains than you need, your bike should be fitted properly. With the same or more work, you will have more power pedaling if the bike is right for you.

Here are five things to consider for bicycle fitting:

  1. Size of bike frame

  2. Height of seat

  3. Seat position

  4. Tilt of seat

  5. Position of handlebars


Frame Size

Of all the measurements on your bike, the size of the frame is the one you want to get right, because once the bike is purchased and yours, there are minimal adjustments that you can make to have it fit correctly if it didn’t in the first place. It is hard to say that bike frame sizes are generalized and depend on height when in reality it depends more on the length of your legs. In short, when you are straddling the bike, both of your feet should easily be flush with the ground, with maybe 1-2 inches of clearance.

If you are riding a road bike or a hybrid, you need to have 1-2 inches of clearance from your bottom and the top tube. If you go for mountain bikes, you need 4 inches of clearance from your bottom of the tube. This is important if you ride where the trails are rough where you could likely become dismounted from your bike.


Seat Position

To make sure your saddle or seat is positioned correctly, sit on your bike. You need to have someone here to help stabilize yourself or use a stationary object. Rotate the pedals until they are horizontal. Is your forward knee directly over the pedal axle? If so, your seat is positioned correctly, if not, make the proper adjustments have your knee and pedal axles aligned. To make adjustments, loosen the seat post and slide the seat forward or backward. Keep the seat level.


Tilt of Seat

The tilt of your saddle should be level. Using a carpenter’s level balanced on the seat while the bike is on level ground. The result of a seat that is not level is pressure on your arms, shoulders and lower back.

These suggestions are simple guidelines that would help you, but a professional at a bike shop could also make the appropriate adjustments that you need on your bike. These adjustments are crucial and will reduce any extra wear and tear on your body that you don’t need.

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