Don’t fall victim to these three fitting snags

By Mon Garcia | Photo by Nick Zitlin/Unsplash

When you’ve finally decided to invest in a bike fitting service, the phrase caveat emptor still applies primarily because of some very common assumptions. Here are some common pitfalls many enthusiasts encounter:

1. Bike fit is an exact, static science. Some people assume that if they get fit once, they’re good for life. Our bodies change over time, sometimes in as short as six months. Changes in muscle strength, flexibility, and form all affect how well you fit on the bike. Not to mention, injuries. If there is anything bothering you, it may be time to get your fit checked again.

2. There is one perfect fit for your particular dimensions. Even if you were to find someone with exactly the same dimensions and flexibility as you, chances are you will be fit differently. Part of bike fitting is adapting the bike to how you want to use it. The bike is being fit to you, the rider, based on your cycling activity. The bike setup for short rides may be different from that intended for longer events. A recreational cyclist looking for comfort over many miles versus a racing enthusiast looking for power and aerodynamics will be different. The fit for a triathlete versus a road racer will be distinct as well.

Our bodies change over time, sometimes in as short as six months. Changes in muscle strength, flexibility, and form all affect how well you fit on the bike

3. Professional athletes must get their fit perfectly, so I must emulate them. One of the worst mistakes cyclists make is copying their favorite professional athletes. We often see people who are on bikes that are too small for them. Professionals have access to ample training time, massages, and other services and facilities that allow them to be very flexible and ride much smaller frames. They’re also spectacular bike handlers because of the time they spend on their bikes. Just because your favorite pro is riding a seemingly smaller size doesn’t mean you have to.

On the flipside, some people get bikes that are too big for them because they want a particular frame that they’ve seen on a pro. They force fit themselves into models made for professionals and much bigger people.

Ultimately, you are getting the fit. Not your favorite pro, not a bike brand, not even a particular bike fitting service. Nobody but you should be more focused on comfort, performance, and safety based on your own cycling needs.