By Rick Schultz
I recently came across this YouTube video by Francis Cade that is very pertinent to the current situation in the bicycle industry where there is a major lack of bicycles in shops available for purchase. I am starting to see a trend of first time buyers just buying a bike regardless of the size. They are buying an incorrectly sized bike just so they can ride something — so I think the timing of this video is perfect. But, even though I think Francis and James (his bike fitter) have hit some key areas, I see things a little differently in my bike fits.
|RICK – BIKE FITNESS COACHING|
|FRANICS & JAMES||RICK AGREE/DISAGREE||RICK’S TOP 5|
|1. Saddle Too High, #1 blunder||I usually see saddles Too Low||1.Cranks Too Long|
|2. Reach is Too Long||Agree||2.Cleats setup wrong|
|3. Handlebars Too Wide||Not really an issue||3.Saddle Too Narrow|
|4. Shoes Too Big||More important BAD insoles||4.Saddle Too Low|
|5. Bike Too Big||1 size up or down OK||5.Stem Too Long|
In the first column I have included James’ bike mistakes in order of importance. In the second column I have included my short analysis.
The third column is my top 5 mistakes in order. It is important to note that numbers 1, 3, 5 are, in my opinion, the fault of the manufacturers. While numbers 2 and 4 are user error — either set up incorrectly by a bike shop, set up by the rider incorrectly, or sometimes changes made by incorrect recommendations by other cyclists.
Please see if any of these apply to you. If they do, please contact us or a local bike fitter to help get you comfortable and safe on your bicycle. We have been doing remote bike fits via Zoom for the past year and have helped out hundreds of clients.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.
Kenneth Pierce says
Great tips! And, its easier to make a small frame bigger with longer stem and seatpost, but you can’t make a big frame smaller. After all, this was the “compact” trend many years ago. Makers just took MD frames and re-labeled them LG. I think Specialized still does this, my 2015 S-Works Roubaix was ‘Large but fit and measured a Medium.
David Kamp says
We rode a tandem for years, decades, before getting shorter crank arms: 170 mm for driver (me); 155 mm for stoker. Before that it was 172.5/170 mm. We now spin better, and stoker doesn’t ride clumsily with oversized crank arms. The problem is that no one makes reasonably dimensioned cranksets for TANDEMS. I was lucky to find a crankset offered by Da Vinci (Tandems East had ONE set left), however, no more. Crank arm length is one of the most overlooked dimensions in bicycle fitting. When the fitter who recommended shorter crank arms looked at my single bike, his comment was that every tweak I made was to make my 58 cm road bike smaller. “Get a 56 and we’ll then fit you to the bike.” I sold all my 58’s and never looked back.
Incorrect crank arm sizes on new bikes drives me crazy because it’s expensive to swap out. Kid bikes in particular come in crazy long arms. Great article.
I’m astonished at crank length being your number one issue, though it makes sense that this length is very important. I am average height (5′ 10″) so would assume factory cranks are designed for someone my height. I would love to see more information on this issue. eg, how to determine the best crank length.