A good bike fit helps you perform better at these three specific things

By Mon Garcia | Photo by Josh Nuttall/Unsplash

As a bike fitter, I always advocate having a proper fit through fitting sessions with someone who knows what they’re doing, primarily for safety and injury prevention. Performance, or speed, is usually a not-so-distant third consideration. (See my previous article “Bike Fit Is Balance” to see the factors involved)

Beyond getting an injury or getting into an accident, where would you actually feel the advantages of being fit well to your bike? How does it directly affect performance? Are there things that you would do better? Are there things that you couldn’t do had your fit not been adjusted properly?

Here’s a list of how being properly fit onto your bike immediately makes you better:

Turning and Braking

The one reason I ride with my clients immediately after adjusting their position is to check how comfortable they look doing turns. This has to do with having a good weight distribution between your front and rear wheels, and how low and stable you can get. A good fit will allow you to get long and low on your bike, so you can reach drops (if your bike is equipped with dropbars) and be more effective in slowing down and guiding it around turns. Bad fit usually has people sitting too high up, unable to put enough weight and pressure on the front wheel for it to grip and do its job of stopping and controlling where the bike will go.

Descending

The same factors that make you better at braking and turning help you exponentially as the road turns increasingly downwards. Gravity helps you go faster, and nowhere is it more important to have control of your speed and direction than when descending. Although counterintuitive to novices, getting low on your bars is key to maintaining control and becoming a good descender. If you can’t do this on your bike, consider making some adjustments.

Long Rides

Being properly fit and comfortable on your bike will make you perform better and endure the distance longer. Good fit will allow you to generate power in a comfortable position that will allow you to maintain proper pedaling form, utilizing your core muscles and relieving pressure on your back. What this means is you go faster, longer. Which is what all of us want, right?