December 1, 2021

5 most common bike fitting mistakes - and how to fix them

Getting the right fit on the bike is your easiest means of ensuring your training stays on track. Reducing risk of injury and boosting the efficiency of your pedalling technique, it's essential to get right - but all to easy to get wrong. A bike fit will go a long way to sorting these issues, and understanding what works for you, but in the meantime, here's a breakdown of the top 5 mistakes we see.

1. Saddle height

High or low - Your saddle height can have a massive impact on your ride. In cycling, there's a tendency to go high - really though, correct saddle height is dictated by leg length, hip flexibility and frame size. Going too high is visible due to hip rocking, whilst going too low leads to excessive strain on the knee.

2. Slamming the stem

This is when you cut the steerer tube and ensure the bottom of the stem sits flush against the top of the frame. Yes - it may make your bike look cool - but what does that matter if you don't look great riding it?

Over-stretching is just not pretty to see, and will make you uncomfortable on the bike. Not only can it cause issues with your back - but it also detracts from your core engagement, and the stability of your platform. Make sure you've got the flexibility and reach you need before thinking about slamming your stem.

3. Frame size

This sounds pretty easy - but it can get complicated pretty fast. Fame sizes are essential in finding a way to comfortably ride long distances at sustained speeds. It's easy to get lured into buying a frame that's too small or too big - but simply put the best way to avoid this is by getting a bike fit. Once you know what your key metrics are, this should inform your decision to buy a bike.

Whilst certain things like reach are adjustable - they remain so only within limits. Once pushed beyond this, there's no way to truly fit your bike. Ultimately there's nothing worse than riding a bike you know deep down doesn't fit you, so save yourself that sadness by getting fitted to your bike at the earliest opportunity.

4. Crank length

Crank lengths vary in small increments, typically around 2mm - what that means that it's quite difficult to appreciate the difference that this difference can make. More flexible riders can continue without much bother from a comfort perspective, however, the main difference comes in the Q-factor and torque that this can alter.

Q-factor is simply put, the liklihood of clipping your crank arm on the floor, whilst torque is how much mechanical advantage a rider has over their pedal stroke. Clearly, the longer the crank, the greater the mechanical advantage. This means turning a higher gear, but also can impact upon cadence.

5. Cleat positioning

Your feet are the point of connection with your bike, and the surface through which you transfer your power. Therefore, cleat positioning is far more critical than you might at first consider.

Too far up the foot, too far to the tough, slightly off centre or not enough float. Each aspect will depend upon separate factors, including flexibility, leg length and shoe size. The knock on effects tend to be knee pain, ankle pain and poor pedalling technique.

Typically, it's best to alight your cleats to maintain a straight foot, with the cleat placement directly above the Cuneiform bones of your foot. Better cleat placement eliminates pain and improves your pedal stroke, making for more efficient riders.

Got a niggle that you want to get to the bottom of? Schedule a consultation and begin your coaching journey.