A bike fit for most cyclists involves going to the local bike shop, the mechanic will adjust the seat and handlebars and put you back in the saddle and off you go.
A good bike fit will involve your bodies position on the bike, how you deliver power to the pedals, comfort, how your cleats are setup, seat position, rise of the stem, crank length distance from crank center or bottom bracket to saddle, saddle angle, seat tube angle and saddle offset, distance from saddle to handlebar, relative height of saddle and handlebar, handlebar width, and handlebar drop on road style handlebars all of which may cost a few hundred dollars. If you don’t have a few hundred dollars to put towards a professional kit then The Bike Fitting is worth taking a look at.
The Bike Fitting Kit comes with an instructional DVD that shows you how to make each adjustment, explains the benefits of having he correct position, also included is a level, tape measure, plumb bob, 12 inch goniometer, 4,5,6mm hex keys, and a fine tuning guide that lists 16 poor fit symptoms with a cause and a cure.
For DIYers, The Bike Fitting Kit DVD was easy to follow, to make the Fit easier, get a friend to help you with the measurements to make them as accurate as possible. The fine tuning guide is helpful along with a couple of hex keys allowing you to make minor adjustments if need be out on a ride.
Use the level to make sure the crank is level when using the plumb bob to determine proper fore/aft position with the seat, drop it inside the shoe to determine where the pedal spindle is. The goniometer is used to determine joint and body position angles and the range of motion in your ankle, knee and hip. Using the level you can adjust the seat raised so that your pelvis is resting on a level surface. The closer you can get to a level platform, the easier it will be to find the best fore-aft position of saddle and handlebar.
I was having cramps in my lower back when I went on long rides. I ended up raising my handlebars as recommended in the pain troubleshooting guide, and made some small adjustments to the saddle. I also slid my cleats back ?” and noticed a difference spinning up hills. I now don’t have any cramps at all and I noticed a substantial difference in my power output. A slight adjustment has saved me a few hundred dollars in a bike fit and physio!
It doesn’t take much to make subtle changes to your setup to get results rather than having to ride back into the LBS and fine tune a setup which already cost you $200+ and might cost you a lot more and before you pay for a new seatpost, handlebar or cranks you may want to try fitting your bike yourself.
While the Bike Fitting Kit is still a package solution that doesn’t replace a professional fit, the price point makes it an attractive solution, in particular for hobby riders who may never consider a professional bike fit. Small adjustments and a better theoretical understanding for better riding mean that the Bike Fitting Kit can reap benefits. The kit caters for both Road and Mountain Bike.
The Bike Fitting Kit is available online for US $29.95: www.bikefittingkit.com