When purchasing a new bike, be it a triathlon bike, road bike, mountain bike or a bike for an indoor trainer, the value of a quality, professional bike fit cannot be over stated.
Too many times do I see people riding around on poorly fitted bikes, which will inevitably lead to injury, as well as costing the rider time and speed benefits associated with a bike set up that helps them deliver power more efficiently.
In the short time I have been riding, I have purchased quite a few bikes and each one has had a professional bike fit. If, like me, you are based in Western Australia, I cannot recommend Gary Suckling highly enough. A former competitive cyclist and cycle store owner, he is a part of the furniture in the WA cycling community, and is a highly qualified, professional bike fit specialist.
How Does A Bike Fit Benefit Triathletes?
Getting a bike fit for a triathlon bike is absolutely essential! Not only does it help with aerodynamics by ensuring that you are in a low, efficient position to cut through the air, it also helps you deliver power as efficiently as possible. As any triathlete will know, running off the bike can be extremely challenging. This can be amplified by a poor bike fit, with the body being forced to use muscles in an inefficient way (or even using the wrong muscles entirely), which can kill any momentum you might be carrying into the run.
Also, with the increased aerodynamic positioning required for triathlon, having a poor bike fit can place massive strain on you neck, back and shoulders, which can be incredibly painful if you are about to strap in for a 6 hour ride!
What Issues Arise If My Bike Fit Isn’t Done Properly?
On top of the problems listed above, when you ride an ill-fitted bike of any configuration (be it TT Road, Gravel or Mountain Bike), you open yourself up to a range of injuries. Common injuries from a poorly fitted bike include:
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Sore Arms/Hands
- Pins and Needles
- Knee (Patella Pain)
- Calf Injuries
- Hamstring Injuries
What About Children’s Bikes?
While many think a child’s bike is easy (just get the seat about right and go, right?), unfortunately this isn’t the case. Children grow very quickly and while an adult bike fit will last for years, a child is growing constantly and as such things need tweaking regularly. While a proper, professional bike fit might not be necessary for a bike to ride at home, any children who are riding seriously or are competing need to get their bike fit reviewed regularly to stop pain and bad habits creeping in.
Where Can I Get A Bike Fit Done?
Typically, most cities will have a selection of bike fit services available. In fact, many sports physiotherapy centres will offer this service, and use some pretty sophisticated technology to help with the process. My suggestion would be to speak to local cyclists – they will generally have a consensus on who is best to use – that is how I found Gary Suckling Bike Fit, who has now fitted me to 4 of my bikes, as well as my wife’s first road bike.
How Much Will It Cost Me?
A bike fit will vary from city to city and from business to business, however in Australia it is typical to see prices range from $200-400, depending on the level of service provided. This usually includes an initial bike fit, followed by a complimentary re-adjustment if necessary.