Cycling – What is a 'Bike Fit'?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

There was a time when choosing the right bike simply came down to whether your toes could reach the floor. However, with the rapid growth in people of all ages choosing pedal power, the science of cycling has become increasingly important. The more miles you plan to cycle, the greater the need to ensure your bike ‘fits’ you properly.

There are three contact points – the saddle, handle bars and pedals and your geometric relationship with all three is key to ensuring injury-free cycling. I would always recommend you check the internet for a competent bike-fit in your area, but as a very general guide, you could start with the following:

Saddle height
Adjust the height until your leg is completely straight with your heel on the pedal at the bottom of its stroke. A bike-fit will also check the correct forward/backward position of your saddle.

These should be at a comfortable reach with your elbows slightly bent.

Pedals or cleats?
If your feet naturally turn outwards (lateral rotation), then you may feel more comfortable using standard pedals. Cleats will tend to bring your feet into a parallel stance and if this is not a natural position for you, the additional stress produced at your knees during the downward ‘power’ stroke may increase the chance of injury.

So, whether you already own, or are going to buy a bike, ask about an experienced bike fit – it will be worth every penny and will help you get the most out of this great activity.