Do you feel like you’re always fighting your bike? Are you constantly adjusting and tweaking in an attempt to find a comfortable position? If so, you may be experiencing one of the three most common bike fit problems. In this post, we’ll discuss these problems and how our fitters can help you overcome them. So, what are they? Keep reading to find out!

Taking the ‘no pain, no gain’ sentiment a little too far

If you’ve been involved in any sort of athletic activity, you’ve likely heard the term ‘no pain, no gain’. This is a motivational internal rhyme that encourages athletes to persevere despite a little discomfort. However, everyone has their limits and it’s important to know where the line is. And there’s no gain in excruciating pain.

How do you differentiate between helpful and harmful pain? If it’s helpful pain, you’ll suffer with it. You’ll feel a consistent sensation localised to particular muscle groups—most commonly in the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Stop working and the pain should stop, too. If it’s harmful pain, however, then you’ll suffer from it. It will be acute and concentrated on a single spot. Stop working and the pain will persist. The best remedies will be rest, ice packs, stretches, or pain medication(s).

If you’re experiencing pain of the harmful variety, this is likely a sign of an ill-fitted bike. Don’t try to push through the pain, as this will exacerbate it. Take your bike to one of our fitters! Explain where you’re feeling the pain and they may be able to diagnose the problem. Knee pain, for example, means your saddle is likely misaligned. Frontal or anterior knee pain is a sign of a lower saddle, whilst posterior knee pain (or pain at the back of the knee) means you may be riding too high.

If you’re feeling pain at the side of the knees, this is likely an issue with cleat alignment. Perhaps more obviously, wrist pain can indicate incorrect handlebar positioning. Our bike fit specialists can resolve these issues by adjusting your misaligned equipment. The fix is as easy as riding a bike!

Choosing style over ergonomics

Bike riding can be an image-making game. You may look to the pros for inspiration, taking note of their bike setups and thinking, that’s how my bike should look, too. However, this is the biker’s equivalent of striving to look like a supermodel. Sometimes, it’s just not a healthy aspiration. Just as excessively elevated high heels can injure the feet, all it can take is a misaligned stem or handlebar to cause issues (in these two cases, neck pain and sore shoulders, respectively). This issue overlaps with the above point about taking the ‘no pain, no gain’ sentiment too far.

We’re not trying to pin all the blame on the professionals, by any means. Sometimes, cyclists may be misinformed by some information they read online or heard from a friend. Perhaps they have a cyclist friend who strongly advised them to make an adjustment because it helped better their sprint session. However, what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander. What works for one individual may be off balance. It’s important to take advice from professional bike fit pros. Drop in to see us and our fitters can diagnose the issue and make the adjustments customized to your unique situation.

Using gear overdue for a replacement

When was the last time you replaced your pillow or mattress? You should replace the former every one to two years, and the latter every six to ten years. Why? Because something that takes your body weight on the regular can wear out. It cannot provide optimal support with wear and tear or damage. As you’ve probably gathered, this applies to bike parts. Each part will have a different lifespan, so it can be difficult to track what you should replace—and when.

As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your saddle every three to four years. The exception to this rule is if you’ve been in a crash, which will likely bend your saddle out of shape—and possibly earlier than its predicted lifespan. If your sitting stance feels uneven post-crash, save the pelvic pain and replace the saddle. If your pelvic positioning has been skewed even five millimetres lower to one side, you’re risking longer-term health issues. When it comes to ergonomics, you’re allowed to be fussy and spare the extra expense.

In general, you should conduct periodic checks that all is in order—from the saddle and cleats to the handlebar and handlebar tape. Something may be moving that shouldn’t be. You may not notice this, however, because gradual changes tend to escape our attention. Go with your gut, and if you think something’s wrong, bring it to one of our fitters. They can fix or replace the offending item(s).

Closing remarks

These are the top-three common problems our fitters see when adjusting clients’ bikes. In the long run, it all seems to come back to pain experienced from poor ergonomics. These are easy fixes, as such issues are resolved with either adjustments or flat-out part replacements. If you’re in Sydney, give us a call and we’ll see how we can improve your bike-riding experience. Everyone should enjoy themselves on the saddle, and sometimes help is just a phone call away. Hit us up to see how we can assist.