Proper bike fit: Highlights from the Clinic at Summit Chiropractic and Rehabilitation: Part 2

Picking up from yesterdays post, here are some more thoughts.

Saddle/seat fore/aft position: There are two ways to make this measurement:

1) When you’re legs are at 90 degrees in your power stroke (cranks are horizontal), drop a plumb line from the tibial tuberosity (the bump on the leg just below the kneecap, where your quadriceps attaches).  This line should intersect the pedal axis or be slightly behind it.

2) if you like to ride with the seat a little back, drop the plumb line from the front of the kneecap.  It should intersect or fall slightly behind the pedal axis.

The a general rule of thumb is that cyclists in spinning classes, or those who like to push lower gears, tend to sit slightly forward.  Those who push higher gears and spin slower, sit a little further back.

If your seat is too far back it can cause lower back pain because of the increased flexion occurring in the trunk.  Cyclists will often feel pain just below the waist where the gluteal muscles attach or in the middle of the lower back, where the hip flexors attach.  If the seat is too far forward, cyclists usually experience knee pain.

Handlebar Height & Width: Handlebars should be approximately shoulder width and be 0-2 inches below saddle height. The wider they are, the more they open up your chest and allow better breathing, but this is at the expense of aerodynamics. The higher they are, the less stress on your back and neck. With your hands in your most common riding position (on the grips,hoods, or in the drops) you should be able to look down at the center of the stem/handlebar intersection and not be able to see the front axle. If the bar is in front, you may have trouble with descents, if behind, you way be doing wheelies up hill! Problems can often be remedied with a change of stem with a different length, pitch or both.

Handle bar reach: This is the “softest” and factors.  And old standby method used to measure the distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger from the tip of your saddle to the center of the handle bar stem.  This measurement will vary, depending upon whether your torso is long or short.  Riding style will also be a determining factor; overall, comfort is the rule.  You may need to buy a shorter for longer stem to make yourself more comfortable.

Bike Fit. The Gait Guys. Yup, we do that too