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Pre-Season. Get Your Bike Fit.

November 23, 2017

Pre-Season. Get Your Bike Fit.

 

A key element of your preparation for the coming season should be a review of current equipment, and plans for equipment maintenance, updates and replacement.  Whether you plan to stick with your current bike or replace it, a proper bike fit is an important part of off-season prep for any serious athlete. Your bike is the most expensive piece of equipment you own, make the most of your investment by ensuring that you are properly fit on your bike. 

 

Getting a new bike? Fit the bike to you.

 

If an athlete in our program is planning to purchase a new bike, we begin with a bike fit, before choosing a bike.  It’s always best to fit the bike to the rider rather than fit the rider to the bike. Bikes are not all built to the same dimensions; some bikes are ‘long and low’, while others are ‘short and tall’.  A 54cm frame from one manufacturer can be very different than a 54cm frame from a different company.  A competent bike fitter should be able to measure you on an adjustable fitting bike and recommend specific makes and models that will suit your dimensions. 

 

If an athlete in our program is riding a sponsored bike, we have fewer options regarding frame selection, but a good bike fit will still inform our selection of stem, cranks, handlebars, etc. to put the athlete in the best position.

 

Keeping your current bike? Review your fit.

 

Athletes who are sticking with their current bike will also benefit from a proper fit. In our group, even athletes who have been previously fit will book a session with our fitter to assess the current set-up and explore opportunities for adjustment.  Bike set-up can change year-to-year as athletes work on their position and ‘earn their fit’, evolving to a more desired position.

 

 

Record your fit co-ordinates.

 

Once an athlete has been properly fit, they should record their co-ordinates in two places: 1) print a hard copy for your bike box, placed in a plastic ziploc bag, so it’s available whenever the bike is being rebuilt, and;  2) save a digital copy to an online folder, so it’s accessible and shareable. This will provide some insurance against re-building your bike to the incorrect specifications, and give you some guidance if you ever have to borrow or replace your bike on short notice (ie. due to lost luggage or a damaged bike).

 

Summary.

 

Bike fit is important for health and performance, and investing in a proper bike fit is one of the best things a serious triathlete can do. Riders who are replacing their bike should definitely start with a bike fit before purchase in order to identify the best options. For riders who plan to keep riding their current bike, an annual review of your fit is good practice to control for changes in posture & function, and to assess equipment wear. 

 

Final thoughts.

 

Youth, Juniors, and new triathletes should ride road bikes, not time trial bikes.

 

Small sized aero frames are very stiff - we liken them to riding a block of wood - the aero properties of a road bike are not important compared to the fit of the rider.  For a more responsive bike, and a better ride, avoid aero frames in small sizes. 

 

Replace your cleats at least once a year, and expect your shoes to wear out every 1-2 years. 

 

Invest in a good saddle. A good saddle can make all the difference in comfort and performance. 

 

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