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Road Bike Fitting Misconceptions

There are some common misconceptions people have with regards to fitting a bicycle. Here are just a few of expectations of what we have seen here at Revolutions.

Misconception #1: Just Use Your Inseam Measurement

To have a bike that is comfortable and efficient you need to know way more than your inseam measurement.

Just standing over a bike does not address any issues with saddle height, or the reach to the handlebars all which play a huge part in riding comfortably and in control.  Because women tend to have shorter torsos in proprtion to their legs there is no consideration to how far the female rider with have to lean to reach the handlebars.  This will result in saddle pain right out of the gate.

With a bike fitting there is the matter of where to position the handlebars and the seat, how to angle the seat, and what kind of saddle to use – all details that can prove crucial to a cyclist’s comfort.  If you want to do this yourself, you have to be prepared for a lot of research and trial and error.

Misconception #2: Just Use Your Body Proportions

A bicycle is a machine and it is important to take into account the size and proportions of your body and how it moves. Not even the best of fitters can look at a person and know what size frame they ride without an immense amount of information about their structure, orthopedic history and life style.

Even after measuring a riders body in a static position, the body becomes dynamic when you are riding which will result possible changes in the fitting.  Even between genders with the same body measurements will be completely different because how the masses of their muscles are not in the same place.  Knowing how the body works - how flexible people are and how mobile their joints are is very important when you are fitting a bike.  It cannot be done with a set of static measurements.

Misconception #3: The Same Bike Design Fits Everyone

This is absolutly WRONG! If you’re 5’2? or shorter, or 6’4? or larger, you’re going to have trouble finding a bike that fits you and functions properly.

With conventional production road bike design, making it for a smaller rider means the pedals and cranks can get in the way of the wheels, this is call toe overlap. This may result in the need for an unconventional or custom design bicycle. Meanwhile, larger riders create larger stresses on the bike with the extra weight and torques so frames need to address size and strength.

Misconception #4: Fitting Only Takes One Visit

It is possible to have a quick fitting session where everything comes together, but such is not the case with a majority of the riders.  Riders often have to return for minor adjustments and many of those small adjustments can make the biggest of difference in speed and comfort.  Saddle, in particular can take an work to dial in size, shape and position for an optimal, sustainable position.

Misconception #5: A Fitting Lasts Forever

Because the body is so dynamic a bicycle fitting over a year old is of very little use to a bike fitter.  So much can happen in a year from age, injuries, weight changes, muscle development, fittness choices all can have major affect on how your body fits your bicycle.  So, when purchasing a bike make sure there is adjustablity to make changes.

Misconception #6: Some Discomfort is Unavoidable

There should NEVER but pain or numbness.  If a bicycle ride brings pain or numbness it means you need to make some changes to the setup of the bicycles to accommodate your body.  It may take time but eventually there is a configuration that will work.