Why a bike fit is important
Bike fits are something that have gotten a lot more accessible in recent years, and a lot more precise, too. You might think that bike fits are just something reserved for the professionals, that fitting a rider to the bike is designed purely for aerodynamics and speed. However, if you spend a decent amount of time on your bike, whether it be road, gravel or mountain, for example, you will benefit from having a bike fit.
In this article, we’ll explain what a bike fit is and why it is important to have them done, and when the best times are to get one.
What is a bike fit?
A bike fit is essentially what it says in the name, it's a way of fitting people to their equipment. Generally, people bring their bike to a fitter and they are measured up for adjustments with things like the stem length, stack height, saddle height, and crank length. Modern-day bike fits like the Retül Fit offered at Specialized Concept Stores take lots of things into account and use high tech equipment to find your best fit.
When undergoing a Retül Fit, the Fit technician will take into account your goals on the bike, your current training and your history, before testing things like your flexibility and other physical assessments. These all give the technician a background on you and your riding so they can tailor your bike fit in the best way possible for you.
Once they have the background, a ride analysis is conducted where they look at you in your current position before adjusting it to what they think will work best. Things like handlebar width, cleat position, saddle selection and position are all fine-tuned to optimise your bike fit position.
Why should you get a bike fit?
There are several reasons why you should get a bike fit. Firstly, comfort. If you're not comfortable on your bike then you simply won't ride it. But it is possible to be comfortable, even after really long days in the saddle – you just need a bike that is set up correctly for you. Things like saddle fittings can really help you with your comfort, and Specialized do a large range to suit all types of riders, including the S-Works Power, which has ergonomically designed cutouts to relieve pressure on sensitive areas.
Secondly, a bike fit can really help you to unlock extra speed and efficiency. You don’t need to be a time trial specialist to warrant this type of fit, but on regular road bikes, all types of adjustments can be made to make your power transfer more efficient and your position on the bike more aerodynamic. For example, changing the cockpit and increasing or decreasing the reach or stack height can have a big impact on your riding position. Bars like the S-Works Aerofly II Carbon Handlebars are available in several sizes and can transform your bike into an aero machine.
Finally, bike fits are great ways to sort out injuries as well as prevent them. We've all fallen victim to following the trends, like slamming your stem so low you're hunched over on the bike. But the thing to remember is that everybody is different. What works for one rider won’t necessarily be what works for you, and a bike fit can help to optimise your position to reduce the risk of injuries and strains, leading to a long and happy riding experience.
When should you get a bike fit?
So now you know the benefits and what it entails, when should you get a bike fit? There is never a bad time to get one, but there are a few key times when you should consider it. Firstly, if you’ve just got a new bike, or you’re in the market for one and want to find which frame will suit you the best. Bikes like the S-Works Shiv Disc Module are extremely adjustable so you can find the perfect position, but this should really be dialled in with the help of a professional fitter.
Another time you may want to consider a bike fit is when you've had some time off the bike, or are coming back from injury, or perhaps it's been a few years since your last fit. No one position will suit you throughout your riding career – as you get older, you won't be able to hold the same position as when you were 20. Get a professional to dial in your perfect fit for the situation you're in at the moment, and come back for updates when you see fit.
If you’re interested in getting a bike fit, Retül Fits are offered at our Specialized Concept Stores. Click here to find your local one and dial in your position on the bike.
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