Even though the bicycle industry (and the cycling public) continues to become more aware of the benefits of properly adjusting a bicycle to the owner’s body, there remains a general lack of clarity about the limits of these benefits. What are reasonable expectations for a cyclist planning to go through a Bicycle Fitting? What cycling issues will the typical Fitting address and what are issues a typical Fitting will not address? What types of cyclists will benefit most from a Fitting and what types will benefit least from a Fitting?
I’ll address the second question first. Think about the aerodynamics of a 4X4 off-road truck and the aero-dynamics of a Formula 1 race car. While the 4X4 designer focuses little attention on air drag, the F1 designer must look at even the smallest details of his car’s aero profile. The higher the aerodynamic performance expected from a vehicle, the more precisely tuned the aerodynamics package must be. It’s similar for a bicycle motor – the higher the performance expectations (distance and/or speed), the more precisely the cyclist (the “motor”) must be positioned on the bicycle. In proportion to the demands placed on the body (e.g. joints & muscles), as pedaling loads increase more attention must be paid to how the cyclist is positioned relative to the pedals, handlebars and saddle. The optimal position is one that does not force the cyclist into an unnatural pose (e.g. injury inducing torque on key joints), one that is not possible to maintain for the length of the ride.
An experienced Bicycle Fitter can usually put a Cruiser bicycle rider in a comfortable position simply by observing them while they ride past and making educated guesstimates before adjusting the bike. A road racer, ultra-distance cyclo-tourist or Triathlete however will usually require some sort of pedal stroke computer scan to adjust the bicycle to “allow" an optimal body position on the bicycle. That position will minimize the stresses created by higher speeds and/or longer distances. A computer scan or motion capture of the pedal stroke under load provides a much higher level of precision than visual observation alone. So, for those planning on racing, riding fast club rides (essentially unsanctioned races sometimes), long distance touring or have previous injuries or medical conditions that effect their cycling, a Bicycle Fitting is a wise purchase.
Bicycle Garage Indy now offers fittings using Retül technology and training. Retül Dynamic 3D Motion Capture is capable of measuring accuracy to within one millimeter and to one degree, and insuring the greatest comfort and efficiency for on your bicycle. Learn more about Bicycle Garage Indy Bicycle Fitting Services on the BGI website.