Friday, August 1, 2014

When a Bike Fit is Optimal

1.   You should be COMFORTABLE on your bike - don’t wait to the point of pain before seeking help!

2.   You should feel like you have about 30-40% of your weight on your hands while you are in your brake hoods and 60-75% of your weight on the saddle (if you measured weight distribution it would be 45% hands /  55% saddle or so).

3.   You should feel like 60-75% of the weight on your saddle is on the bony part of your pelvis (ischial tub / rami) with minimal weight on your ‘soft tissues’.

4.   Your elbows should be relaxed, bent slightly (about 20-30 degrees) and not locked, with your neck relaxed.

5.   Your back should be almost flat, not hunched over.

6.   Your knees should move in a plane parallel to the bike frame. They should not move closer or farther away from the top tube on the way up and down through the pedal rotation.

7.   Your hips should not rock more than ½ - 1 inch side to side.

Some of the above requirements are affected by the body’s flexibility, core stability, and an understanding of good cycling mechanics.

For a decent starting position (a quick guesstimate):


·     Height: knee fully extended with HEEL on pedal at maximum reach WITHOUT hips dropping, or .87 x inseam measured from top of saddle along seat tube to center of bottom bracket.

·     Fore / aft of saddle: knee over pedal spindle with foot flat and crank arm horizontal. You’ll need help here.

·     Angle: about horizontal so that you’re not sliding forward and the saddle is not tipped up into you.


·     Rotation of cleat: should allow your feet to stay in their current anatomical neutral position. Knees should not be forced to twist in an unnatural position. Note that this is not always symmetrical.

·     Fore / aft: the back of ball of your foot is over the pedal spindle (center of pedal).

·     In / out (Q angle): move cleat relative to the shoe to make a straight line from your upper leg through your lower leg and 2nd toe.

Bar position

·     Reach set-up so that you are COMFORTABLE on brake hoods / shifters with a functional length stem (8-12 cm long with a slight up angle).

·     Drop depends entirely on flexibility, strength, and goals. Generally the top of the hoods should be 1 -2 inches above the saddle for fair flexibility / core stability and 1-2 inches below for excellent flexibility / core stability.

All of the above are generic recommendations which can vary drastically between people depending on one’s goals, flexibility, strength, core stability, past medical history and many other factors.  Please consult your fitter or medical professional before implementing. Also, ALWAYS mark and measure your current position BEFORE moving anything.

By: Curtis Cramblett, PT, CSCS, CFMT, Chair; Medicine of Cycling Bike Fit Task Force & Dave Hopkins, Retul, Specialized Fit Certified

Contact Revolutions In Fitness to Optimize Your Position Today! 

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