Editor’s Note: Over the years at RBR,we’ve regularly recommended a professional bike fit to maximize comfort, performance and enjoyment while riding. There’s nothing worse than suffering needlessly on an ill-fitting bike. But we’ve also heard from many readers through the years about the terrible fittings they’ve received from so-called pro fitters – sometimes finding their pain and suffering worse after a fit than before. Rick Shultz has heard many such stories, too.
An industry consultant, prolific product tester and a trained bike fitter himself, Rick decided to address the issue not by writing just another how-to fit book. Rather, he’s crafted a book cyclists can use to do their own fitting, if they choose, but that is primarily designed to give you, the rider, tools and understanding about the fit process to allow you to locate and work together with a pro fitter to achieve the best fit for you. Rick has provided the following preview from the book.
By Rick Schultz
As a bike fit professional, I have heard legion horror stories about “professional” fittings that have gone bad − leaving riders less comfortable, in more pain, and disillusioned about the whole bike-fitting industry. Simply put, that should never happen. I wrote this eBook in response to ensure that a “bad fit” doesn’t happen to you.
In researching Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit, I have read all of the books and articles from the best fitters and, combined with my own experiences as a GURU-certified bike fitter, have created a best-of-the-best bike-fitting process in the form of a step-by-step how-to manual that you can use to do a bike fit yourself, or fine-tune your fit.
But this book is more than that. It also provides a toolset for those of you who prefer to work with a professional fitter. I’ve tailored this eBook to show you how to find a quality fitter, and how to work with that fitter to get the best possible fit for your cycling goals and needs. (That’s why the subtitle is: A step-by-step self-fit manual that also shows you how to find and work with a professional fitter.)
Bike fit professionals should implement the “rules of fitting” while working closely with you, and also knowing and following the principles of human kinetics (kinesiology), biomechanics, orthopedics, strength and conditioning, sports psychology, etc. If you approach a professional bike fit with the toolset and knowledge gleaned from this eBook, you’ll be prepared to work with your fitter in much more of a two-way relationship – enhancing the likelihood of a great bike fit for you.
Bike Fit 101 includes what is considered a “basic fit” up to and including an “intermediate fit,” but stops shy of a “pro-fit.” A pro-fit is best accomplished on a computerized fit-machine, which measures and compares power output through many iterations of small adjustments across the spectrum. That type of fit is useful mostly for serious racers looking to squeeze out the last 1% of power. For the rest of us, getting a good basic fit, and then fine-tuning it to the level of an intermediate fit results in the comfort and power we’re looking for.
To paraphrase renowned fitter Steve Hogg, all humans are asymmetrical, which is normal. On the other hand, a bike is a symmetrical device, unlike the human atop it. Herein lies the need for a bike fit. Locking an asymmetrical body into a symmetrical device is asking for, in the best case, discomfort, or, in the worst case, injury.
In fact, the body gives us precise feedback and clues as to how it is adapting to the bicycle. The body is anchored to the bicycle through the feet. If this interface is out of alignment, then the rest of the body will compensate for this misalignment. This can be seen during each pedal stroke by heels moving side to side, knees diving in and out, hips and buttocks twisting in the saddle.
Other asymmetrical properties will also contribute to the body adapting to the bicycle − legs of different length (not uncommon), Scoliosis (spine curvature), one side of the body stronger than the other, etc. Again, this adaptation can take the form of discomfort, pain and/or injury. Other factors can also impact the discomfort and pain. These include incorrect saddle width, seat post too low/high, stem too short/long, even the wrong size frame.
Bike Fit 101 is packed with many extras and added benefits that will help make your cycling experience a more enjoyable one. Included is a handy spreadsheet (free download from my website) that auto-calculates all of your fitting variables when you input the required measurements.
Also included is a table that you can fill out that lists all of your bicycle-specific parameters, components and key bicycle measurements, a gearing and cassette comparison and selector charts, summary table of the most important items a bike fitter should cover, and most importantly, recommended adjustments that you can make if you are feeling pain or discomfort after a bike fit.
Packed with 25 pages of step-by-step bike fit process flows, tips, tricks and hints, this eBook is a one-stop knowledge center of information that will prove useful to you whether you intend to do a self-fit or work with a pro to get your very best fit dialed in. I hope that through the added comfort and performance of a great bike bit, you’ll enjoy our great sport even more.
Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit is available now for $7.99 (non-Premium price), and $6.79 for our Premium Members after their 15% discount.