In coaching, we often preach that no two athletes are alike. We use this principle to guide our training philosophy, knowing that applying the same training plan to several different athletes will never bring out the best in everyone. In regards to bike fits, the same principle applies. You can take two professional cyclists of equal weight and height, and they will have different fits. But why?
To list a few guidelines that alter an athlete’s fit, here is a good start:
- Segment Lengths
- Flexibility & Strength
- Skill Level
From just looking at a few guidelines above, you will begin to understand how every athlete can have a different position that will suit them appropriately. Some of the guidelines are “rigid” (i.e. will not change over time) such as segment length. While others, such as flexibility and equipment, will likely change over time. For goals, these could be race goals (i.e. winning a state championship Time Trial), or even simply biomechanical goals (reduce lower back pain on long rides). Whatever your goal(s) may be, big or small, getting a professional bike fit is a great step to riding pain free, achieving a new PR, or simply adapting to a new bike.
Tips for Your Fit
If you are ready to commit to getting a bike fit done by a professional, we have a few helpful tips to make sure you are getting the absolute most out of your time and money:
Does your fitter embrace technology?
Every fitter has their own philosophy. Some shy away from technology as they feel it gets in the way of their fit, while others rely too much on high-tech equipment to guide their fit. We encourage you to find a fitter who embraces technology, but puts his or her main focus on YOU. A listener, not a talker, as we like to say. The fitter should use technology to enhance your fit, not necessarily guide your fit.
Is your fitter familiar with your goals?
Is your fitter familiar with what it takes to achieve your personal goal? If you are training to win a national championship time trial, wouldn’t you want to get fit by someone who is familiar with the stressors you are putting your body through? Yes. Now that bike fitting has grown substantially over the last decade, to have many options to choose from in a given area, we encourage you to find a fitter who understands what you are trying to accomplish, and what it takes to get there.
Is your fitter trained and certified?
Serotta, Retul, Specialized, etc. are just a few outlets that have developed training programs for new fitters. It is important for an endurance sports coach to be certified and have experience, and bike fitting is no different.
Will your fitter follow-up?
Your fit will change over time. Will your fitter follow up after your fit to make sure your new fit is treating you well? We encourage you to find a fitter who emphasizes building a relationship and is there for you whenever a problem may arise.
In summary, no matter what your goals on the bike may be, a bike fit is a valuable tool to improve your riding experience and increase your confidence. Whether your training for your first triathlon, or racing for a Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey), a bike fit can improve your experience and your performance on two wheels.
About the Author – Coach Cody:
Cody has coached for APEX Coaching since 2014, and is APEX’s lead Fit Specialist. He has been trained by Retul, Specialized, and MotionLogic3D with the very latest bilateral (left/right real time) fit technology. He has experience fitting entry level cyclists to World Champions.