A Good Fit at Knapp’s
Whatever your reasons for riding a bike, a proper bike fit is hugely beneficial. Riders of all levels will find a good fit increases comfort, though it can also alleviate or prevent nagging injuries, as well as increase power output. It’s important to consider bike fittings are dependent on what you might want to do with your bike. For instance, track cyclists and touring riders will want wildly different fit options. With the oftentimes-overwhelming sea of options out there, it can be hard to find a solid, well-fitting setup; here’s where a professional bike fitting comes into play.
In fact, there are different tools and methods to help perfect a personal rider position in every single area. While the vast majority hoping for a nice fit might focus on where the toes touch the ground, the point of contact between the toes and pedal is arguably more important. A cleated shoe greatly increases efficiency, but exact position of the cleat—down to an 1/8th of an inch—on the bottom of the shoe can be the difference between comfort and pain.
Growing up, many of us told that while sitting on the saddle, if our toes are just kissing the ground, we’re golden. But the sport is well beyond this oversimplification, and we’re able to take into account frame height, stem length, seat post height, saddle width or shape, bar shape, and many other factors. If this seems like too much to think about, fear not. Knapp’s Cyclery’s staff is well versed in what each of these parts can do to improve a rider’s experience.
For example, if your sit bones hurt, you might need a new saddle.
Knapp’s has a measuring device that will actually measure the width of your sit bones, telling you which saddles best fit your specific measurements (don’t worry if it sounds a bit too intimate—all you do is sit on the padded foam, called a assometer (and, yes, I bet you are wondering how they got that name) for 10 seconds).
The ball of your foot should be directly over the pedal; often, the easiest way to see this is on a trainer in a shop. Rather than constantly tweaking different parts of your bike to see what works, you can sit on your own bike in a trainer at the shop, while a skilled professional analyzes your body in motion.
Measurements like saddle height, which are typically held to an exact science, can be tweaked according to the rider’s preference. It’s important to experiment a bit with your personal preferences. If a professional tells you to ride higher, and all of the sudden you’re in a lot of pain, try riding it a bit lower (but do keep in mind an expert opinion, it’s worth a lot). Bar shape or height can often be difficult for beginners to understand. Performance road bikes use the drop bar shape not only to put the rider in a more aerodynamic position, but to allow more body weight directly over the pedals, where the rider’s power is most useful and accessible. Touring bikes, as mentioned earlier, are built for covering long distances (generally with more gear) at a slower pace than most performance riders. As a result, the bar position is slightly higher and more comfortable than a racing bike. Many new riders are used to the position of a cruiser or comfort bike: very upright seating. While possibly the most comfortable seating position, it’s also the least efficient. When sitting upright, it’s very difficult to get good power out of your pedal strokes. Lean forward, pedal harder.
Wondering what fitting option is best for you? Knapp’s offers a few different fit packages, catering to all types of riders. The basic fit covers existing bike adjustments ranging from stem length and angle, knee over pedal alignment, handlebar size/position, frame size, saddle height/position, and other various comfort issues. The advanced fitting encompasses exact measurements that allow for a new bike with custom geometry. A Retul fitting, the most advanced and technical option, uses a 3-D motion capturing technology developed by professional racers. The sensors gather real-time three-dimensional data of pedal strokes and movements. With this fitting, a near perfect bike fit—within millimeters—can be achieved.