Buying a new bicycle has to be the best feeling at any age. It could be your first set of wheels since childhood, adding to your bike collection or even looking to shave time off your ‘personal best’. This excitement, however, can quickly fade to disappointment and discomfort if your new bicycle doesn’t fit you properly. Buying an expensive bike that does not fit you well is not a good thing. Having bikes with a low price tag that fits you is better. When a cyclist comes into my shop, the first thing I do is ensure they have the right bike for their goals and riding aspirations. I do this through a short pre-fit interview, while making a few notes.
From there, we will usually address the following three principles as we conduct their fitting:
- Body history
- Fitting needs
- Contact points
Your body’s history comes before the bike’s geometry.
In the pre-fit interview, I begin by asking a few guiding questions such as age, previous injuries and goals for the bike. For example, if you broke your ankle on your growth plate, the likelihood of having a symmetry issue is pretty high. This means your fitting will need to compensate for a slightly shorter leg, rotated hips and asymmetrical palm-contact position on the handle bars. Whether you want to survive your first 100-kilometer fundraiser ride or simply join the kids for a cruise to the ice-cream shop, it all matters.
As a former BMX Racer and bike shop owner for 15 years, I know bikes, but it’s you as a cyclist, that I need to assess and fully understand before you even get on your bike.
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Written by Calvin Berube