Bike Fit Precautions

1.  Ask for credentials, references, and use the Internet search-engines to check the background of your prospective technician.  The majority of “Bicycle Fit Professionals” have attended about 3-7 days training with minimal (if any) medical training.  Doing due-diligence will likely save you money in the long run.

2. “Technology is a poor substitute for experience.” (Richard Sachs).   Technology should support, not define the decisions of a competent bike fitter.

3.  A positive outcome is reasonable, providing concerns are cycling-related.  I suggest following the product recommendations determined between client and fitter if the changes are both positve and palpable.

4.  Automated fit-bikes (Serotta, Trek, Biobike, Guru, Exit, Shimano) are excellent for pre-purchase or custom sizing, but not actual bike fitting.   Riding a trainer is one-step from cycling outdoors and fit- bikes are two.  This conditions limit/eliminate the sway-characteristic inherent to cycling — and in turn stabilizer muscles that impact hip-flexion and trunk-extension.

5.  A good bike fit might require a few weeks of adaptation to feel “right”.  Important to discern pain (usually joint) vs. soreness (muscle), and get post-fit adjustments if concerned something is wrong.

6.  If seeing a physical therapist for your bike fit, ensure that he/she is an experienced cyclist and mechanic.  It is impossible to understand saddle pain without ever experiencing saddle pain, and bicycles are too expensive to risk damage from incorrect component installations/adjustments.  Confirm that you will be examined on your bike, that your components will be assessed for wear, proper orientation/alignment, and that they have the capacity to change stems.  When symptoms are exclusively bike-specific, his/her adjustments should eliminate the symptoms.

7. If your concerns are exclusively bike-specific, they should be entirely resolved from fitting.  There are a few exceptions, typically limited to cases of severe scoliosis and femoral leg length discrepancy, but these produce symptoms that are rarely only bike-specific.

8. Shoes and insoles should not require “breaking-in” to be comfortable.

9.  Saddle pressure mapping is great technology, but what constitutes “optimal” is really only the best of that shops inventory.  Insist on trying a number of saddles, regardlss of what your technician says about the mapping.  If you like one that maps “poorly” by his/her assessment welcome to the wonderful world of human variability; conversely, if none of the saddles feel good try another brand.  I have the most success with Specialized, SMP and Cobb saddles.

10. Sit-bone measurement devices are not the holy-grail for determining correct saddle-size either. Saddle comfort is a product of pressure distribution, gender differences, ischial taper, historical preference, and pelvic rotation, symmetry, discipline, etc.  The correct saddle for you will have a nose-width, taper, and terminal shape consistent with pubis, rami, ischial-tuberosities, and functional pelvic angle.