Blog - Friday 5th January 2024

The benefits of a bike fit in the off-season

John Dennis

Clinical Lead Physiotherapist & Bike Fit Specialist

There are many reasons why a bike fit in the off-season is a good idea. For the purposes of this blog we will concentrate on the top 3!

Are you looking for a new bike?

If you are looking for a new road, gravel, or TT/triathlon bike it’s important to ensure your purchase links to your goals. We see it too often, riders come in for a fit after buying a new bike that simply doesn’t fit. None of us want to make a mistake, especially not an expensive one!

The knock-on effect of an incorrect purchase could require a relatively simple fix like a change in crank length. However sometimes it can be a bit more challenging such as the completely wrong frame size.

The process of bike selection for frame size and component choice becomes a lot easier if you have some existing fit coordinates to work from. This may be from a previous fit on an existing bike which you could use the data to advise your new bike fit prescription. Alternatively, if you are starting from scratch you can utilise our fitting bike to provide you with the data you need.

We utilise a Retul Muve fit bike which allows us to apply an unlimited number of options such as:

  • Frame sizes.
  • Adjustable stem lengths.
  • Bar widths
  • Adjustable crank lengths.

From this process we can accurately provide advice on frame sizing around a particular brand or model you have looked at. However, if we don’t feel that is optimal for you, we can independently advise on an alternative.

Bike Fit

For a road bike, this is primarily based around frame stack and reach. On a triathlon bike your key fit coordinate is your arm pad stack and reach. If you don’t know this number, it is insufficient to simply go off a possible frame size, i.e. small, medium, or large. Most bike manufacturers will provide arm pad stack and reach adjustment ranges within their geometry charts. Brands like Cervelo will even have a calculator to input your measurements and plot your fit on to alternative sized frames.

Looking to improve performance and efficiency?

Performance on the bike and efficiency is underpinned by comfort and therefore sustainability. You must be able to hold the position for the duration of your event. Working out your biomechanical profile is key to determining what that is. The contact points of the bike then need to be able to support you in space in that position.

We may not get you all the way there i.e. to what an ‘ideal’ position may be or saddle height within one session. It can be a process that may take time to evolve where you need to go away and practice either holding a position or working on some aspects of your pedalling technique. Pedalling technique is really a whole other subject but there are some components of someone’s pedal stroke that can evolve for the better. Quite often around the ankling component of the stroke that can throw off a whole load of other data.

Are you injured or in pain?

You may be carrying a cycling or relatable injury over from last season or know that you have pain on the bike and you aren’t sure where or what is causing it. Have you possibly lost track of self-adjustments you have made to improve the situation without success.

We can break this down into two categories to look at:

Firstly, is it a ‘you’ issue. In this case it is less the bike causing the problem. More likely, there is something structural going on with you or a lack of strength and control somewhere. You may also have some pain off the bike during certain activities. If this is the case we can provide you with some rehab and programming around the problem in addition to looking at the bike position. The bike in this case may need to accommodate the problem and evolve as the problem settles.

At Momentum, we have worked as physiotherapists in elite sport so as part of the fit process we perform a physical assessment. We are also ideally placed to prescribe a treatment and rehab program as necessary. If you are local, you could utilise our Strength and Conditioning coaches to support your strength/rehab programme. There is nearly always some additional ‘body’ work we can give you from a performance perspective! Which is often the missing link for cyclists and triathletes.

Cyclist training

Secondly, Do you only have pain on the bike? For example your pain or discomfort starts after 30 minutes or so of riding and goes away quickly after getting off the bike. This problem can be solved by having a bike fit and making some adjustments to your position.

To learn more about our Bike Fit options click here or to make an appointment here.

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