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Over the years, I have heard my share of bicycle fitting myths. It’s hard not to be succumbed to them with the internet hosting blogs and videos on ‘how to fit your bike’ by any person out there. By understanding these misconceptions about bike fitting, you can learn how to avoid things that could be hampering your progress as a cyclist. You’ll also understand the process and science behind bicycle fitting and its value to you, regardless of your riding ability.
MYTH 1: I ONLY NEED A BIKE FIT IF MY POSITION IS VERY UNCOMFORTABLE OR IF I HAVE JUST PURCHASED A NEW BIKE
Bike fitting is an ongoing process. Your body is always changing from its fitness, flexibility, weight, and strength. It’s recommended to get a fit at least once a year. If you have just purchased a new bike, or have recovered from an injury or surgery, a bike fit is very important in optimizing your performance on the bike.
MYTH 2: IT DOESN’T WORK. I HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED A FIT BEFORE (FROM MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE) AND IT DIDN’T HELP
It’s important to understand that the term ‘bike fit’ is used in many different contexts, as there are several different philosophies of fit and levels of fitting expertise. Some bike shops may advertise a ‘bike fit’, but are only offering a few minor adjustments, or the person performing the fit was never professionally trained. The FASTER Fit Lab represents the best fitting methodology in the world with our 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional camera systems and fitting expertise. By improving your biomechanics, we work to make you more efficient, more comfortable, and faster on your bike. The FASTER fit is a very in-depth service that takes 2 to 3 hours and involves: an interview on your medical history, flexibility testing, range of motion, and then spinning on the bike as we analyze your biomechanics and make adjustments to the bike and your position. After 30 days, we bring you back into the FASTER Fit Lab for a follow up fit (at no additional charge), to make any additional changes to your bike based upon how you have adjusted to the fit in your riding.
MYTH 3: I HAVE A BIG TRIATHLON EVENT COMING UP AND I DON’T WANT TO GET A FIT NOW BECAUSE THOSE CHANGES MIGHT BE DRAMATIC AND COULD AFFECT MY PERFORMANCE
When you have an event coming up, we work with you to ensure that the proper adjustments are made to make you more efficient on your bike without making major changes. The FASTER Fit includes a 30-day follow-up, which we would schedule with you for before your event, and use that time to make any major adjustments that may be necessary. That way, you will be more efficient for your event, and still get in the necessary fit adjustments to make an overall long term impact on your riding.
MYTH 4: I HAVE TRIED MANY DIFFERENT CUSTOM INSOLES FOR MY FEET, BUT KEEP GETTING NUMBNESS/TINGLING, HOT FEET, AND DISCOMFORT. MAYBE I HAVEN’T FOUND THE PERFECT INSOLES…
We’ve heard this many times from people and have always addressed this issue in the FASTER Fit lab. Issues with your feet usually result from improper cleat placement, saddle placement, and other adjustments on the bike. During the FASTER Fit, we spend a great deal of time working with your feet to make sure your feet are not only comfortable but to improve your overall efficiency on the bike.
MYTH 5: IF I LOWER MY STEM AND GET AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, IT WILL MAKE ME MORE AERO
Being hunched over in what people typically think of as an ‘aero’ position could be hindering your performance. There is a scientific formula for what angle your hips can be in before you lose power on the bike. Think about crimping a hose and the water not coming out. This is what you can do to your power on the bike by putting yourself in this position. During a recent experiment in the FASTER Wind Tunnel, Melissa experimented with lowering her stem on a Cervelo P3 time trial bike. After the test, we found her to not only be less aero, but she was extremely uncomfortable in this position.
MYTH 6: MY LOWER BACK IS BOTHERING ME, SO I PROBABLY NEED TO RAISE MY HANDLEBARS
We have often seen people make adjustments to their bike based on ‘symptoms’ and have not only aggravated those symptoms, but created new issues. Raising the handlebars does seem logical, but in some circumstances, can actually create more pressure in your lower back. If you are currently experiencing these symptoms, be sure to contact us directly and get proper advice.
MYTH 7: MY HANDS KEEP GOING NUMB. MAYBE IT’S EITHER MY GLOVES OR I’M GETTING OLD
Your hands are full of many nerves and unfortunately, cycling puts a lot of pressure on these nerves. Sometimes using padded gloves can help alleviate pressure on these nerves and reduce the numbness in your hands, but many times, this is caused by a fitting issue. A proper fit reduces the amount of pressure that is put on your arms. During a fit, we may adjust the distance and height your handlebars are from your body. We may also pick a new handlebar to improve your fit, as they come in many sizes and shapes (round or more flat).
MYTH 8: I NEED TO BUY A BIKE FIRST, AND THEN GET FIT TO THE BIKE
You can do it in this order, however at FASTER, we recommend getting a fit first, and taking your fit measurements to find your perfect new bike. Bikes have many different geometries between brands, and even models within a brand. Depending on your riding style, flexibility, goals, and fit measurements, we can help narrow down which options would work best for you and your budget.
MYTH 9: BIKE FITTING IS EXPENSIVE
We’ll admit, cycling isn’t a cheap sport. However, when you consider the costs of a new bike, wheels, or clothing, a bike fit is a minimal investment. At FASTER, we offer two levels of fitting: a 2D/3D fit for $299.99 and a Medical fit for $499.99. We also offer a 3D Speed Lab Fitting for $749.99 which involves a 2D/3D fit and an hour in our wind tunnel. This is for athletes who want to be completely optimized, where power output and respiration rate will be evaluated while aerodynamic drag is also measured. Investing in a fit can also prevent future costs of getting injured or not riding your bike because it was too uncomfortable.
MYTH 10: I ONLY GET DISCOMFORT WHEN I GO LONGER DISTANCES ON MY BIKE… SHOULD I JUST RIDE SHORTER DISTANCES FROM NOW ON?
Riding longer distances should be enjoyable yet challenging. A proper bike fit will ensure that no matter the distance you are riding, you are optimized in comfort and performance. You never have to resort to shorter distances on your bike rides, unless you absolutely want to.
article from thetrihub