Comfort + Efficiency = Performance - Steve Hogg, renowned bike fitter
Importance of an effective bike fit for junior riders
Common thought is that any discomfort will resolve with more seat time and the resilience of youth will prevail. 1980’s cycling folklore aside, pain and discomfort should not be considered normal for any cyclist. Poor bike set up can contribute to young riders losing interest or adopting compensatory movements that are difficult to unravel in future years.
Why get a bike fit?
Difference between a bike fit and bike size
As Mr. Hogg’s quote implies, bike fitting is simply that - the marriage of the rider to the bike to optimize their comfort and overall efficiency. Bike fitting is a dynamic and individualized process that accounts for riding type and goals, previous or current injuries, and physical qualities including flexibility, trunk stability, and even off the bike movement patterns.
Bike sizing is more straightforward but equally important to get right. It is a static process typically using a couple of body measures such as inseam and height then matching those to the manufacturer's recommendation for size. If you fall between two sizes, riding each size of bike (a common pandemic era fantasy) will help delineate which is ideal.
Ultimately, the latest and greatest bike doesn’t mean much if the rider is not set up to take full advantage. Optimizing riding comfort and efficiency equates to improved performance and fun for all.
Tim Tracy, DPT, OCS
Physical therapist and bike fitter