Whether you ride to work every day or race professionally on weekends, serious riders know having a bike that fits your body is important. It enables you to be comfortable spending long periods of time on your bicycle, but it also means the difference between a safe ride and serious injury.
If you experience shoulder or neck pain, knee pain or pain and numbness in the hands, your bike is not set up correctly for your body.
Below we break down how certain measurements make all the difference.
1. Limb Length vs. Overall Height
It’s a common misconception to determine bike size by how tall you are. In reality two people can be the same height and have a different inseam length. Typically, men have a longer torso than women and shorter legs relative to overall height. This means a man might have a longer reach and shorter stack height than women in general. The angle of the hip and knee joints determines seat height and stem length. Determining these measurements requires a goniometer. There are some rule of thumb starting points to get close, but for true custom fitting, measuring the angles is critical to a proper fit. When you are positioned correctly you generate more power per stroke making you a more efficient cyclist.
2. Shoulder Width
Bike handlebars usually measure anywhere from 34 to 50 centimeters wide. Having the correct size handlebar and stem gives the rider more comfort and power. Choosing the proper width bar depends on the width of the shoulders, flexibility of the neck and the length of the arms. Having the correct bar width and stem length alleviates shoulder pain and increases blood flow to your hands preventing numbness and cramping.
3. Lower Back Flexibility
While this isn’t something you can technically measure, a professional will know how to keep this in mind when constructing or altering a bike to fit your body. If your back is tight, you’ll want to sit more upright on your bicycle. This is achieved by changing the stem length and angle which in essence changes the position of the handlebar without messing with your seat position which was determined in step one.</p>
4. Q Factor or Stance Width
Q Factor or stance width is the distance between your feet when you’re pedaling. This can make a huge difference if it’s not properly measured. Cleats can move from side to side and front to back so adjusting them is an art. Your foot orientation at the bottom of your pedal stroke should be flat and you want your foot to be in a straight line with your knee. You don’t want your knees moving side to side while you’re pedaling, which can cause joint issues. When the alignment is right, this allows for the most amount of pedal force. Because pedaling forces on a bike are so much lower than when you run, you may not realize something is wrong until there’s a real problem. If any measurements are off, overuse injuries can occur from being out of position on your bike.
Get a professional fitting at Bay Area Bicycles in Corpus Christi. They also provide free safety inspections and can educate you on diagnosing frequent bike issues. Even if you don’t race professionally or use your bike daily, it’s best to have a bicycle that properly fits you. The shop has been locally owned and operated since 1987 and the staff there can help you with everything bike-related. Visit them online at BayAreaBicyclesCCTX.com, in person at 6020 S Padre Island Drive, or call them at (361) 993-7000.
Corpus Christi. TX 78412
Custom Bike Fit Services
Our experts at Bay Area Bicycles offer custom bike fit services to reduce your chances of form-related injuries and make your riding experience much more enjoyable. We believe that getting the perfect fit is so important that we employ two certified bike fitting technicians to fit your bike.
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