Bike Fit

john miller physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Cyclist Information 

How to Guarantee that "You Fit Your Bike" Perfectly


bike-fit-brisbane

What is a Bike Fit?

A professional “bike fit” aims to fit YOU PERFECTLY to ... YOUR BIKE!

What's Your Bike Size?

Most bike shops will be able to size you accurately for a bike based on some simple body measurements. Most bike mechanics then work off guidelines provided by bike manufacturers.

However, that doesn’t always guarantee that you actually FIT YOUR BIKE.

Unfortunately, bike manufacturers have no idea about YOUR specific anatomy, injury history, muscle control, flexibility, nerve length, bone lengths and riding style. Luckily, your Bike Fit Physiotherapist does!

Generally, most bike shops will get your size correct or pretty close. In most cases the bike fit formulas is more accurate for female sizing. Male sizing is more irregular due to your pelvis shape.

If you are purchasing a bike frame from the internet, we can help you to order the best size for your body based on your specific anthropometric (body part) measurements.

The golden rule is that we can usually build up a bike but not shrink it!

bike fit ashgrove

What to Expect with Your Bike Fit

The good news is that your professional bike fit is tailored specifically to you and your bike. Cyclists are often surprised how a few subtle changes can make their ride more comfortable, efficient and effective. Now, who doesn’t want that?

A professional bike fit will address several components:

  1. Assess your riding style and level. eg. recreational, aggressive elite, road, track, MTB.
  2. Take into account your injury history. (eg back pain/surgery, knee pain)
  3. Measure your body’s anthropometry. (eg body dimensions)
  4. Identify your ideal bike frame size.
  5. Analyse your current bike set up - then compare it to your ideal setup.
  6. Assess your current flexibility. (joint, muscle and neural)
  7. Analyse your current muscle control .
  8. Analyse your optimal riding position via slow motion video analysis.
  9. Work with you to improve your setup, riding technique and pedal efficiency.

We'll also include a detailed bike fit report with an action plan for any recommended bike modifications or exercises you can do.

At the end of the day it's about fitting you better to your bike, so you can work together efficiently and comfortably on the road, trail or track.

 bike-fit-sandgate

Who Should have a Bike Fit?

  • Elite cyclists.
  • Serious recreational cyclists.
  • Cyclists suffering pain or discomfort eg.
    • knee / back / hip / shoulder / neck / wrist pain
    • crutch / perineum pain, numbness or pins and needles
    • hand numbness or pins and needles
    • fatigue cramps
    • can’t reach the drops comfortably
  • Cyclists who have adapted their cycling motion from normal:
    • wandering knees
    • saddle sliding/tilting
    • straight arm
  • Cyclists wishing to increase their cycle efficiency (more power for the same energy).

Bike Size vs Bike Fit

Most bike shops are usually very good at quickly measuring a few of your body parts to determine the best bike frame size for you. They’ll then adjust your pedals and seat height to where things should be. This works for most people and you can usually ride happily as a recreational cyclist.

However, sometimes they get things wrong for YOU! Your body isn't the same as someone else's. People have short legs, long trunks and dodgy knees and somehow that has to fit your bike as best we can make it. How often do you sit in someone else's car and have to adjust the seat and mirrors?

bike-fit-ashgrove

Right Bike Size - Wrong Body!

Unfortunately even though you may have the right bike size, your body can’t always fit it! For example:

  • cyclists who are too stiff or inflexible can’t attain that ideal cycling position.
  • cyclists with poor muscle control or endurance who can’t maintain that position for the length of their ride.
  • cyclists suffering pain or who have some physical reason why they can’t ride “ideally” eg previous surgery, leg length difference.

The point is a bike fit is very individual. We're here to help you ride better.

How Long Does a Bike Fit Take?

Your Bike Fit is totally individualised which does take time. But, we’d rather be too thorough and get things right! We will need you and your bike, for between 1.5 and 2.5 hours - depending on the level of fitting you require. We'll also provide your with a detailed report that we'll send to you after we've further analysed your videos etc. That way we can save you time, by just doing the assessing and measuring during your bike fit consultation.

bike-fit-brisbane

At PhysioWorks we offer 4 Levels of Bike Fitting:

1. Bike Sizing

This simply requires a normal physiotherapy consultation where your physiotherapist can accurately measure you and advise you of your bike size and recommended crank length etc.

2. Standard Bike Fit - Fitting You to Your Bike

A professional bike fit takes time and accurate analysis. Bike fitting is all about ensuring that YOU fit YOUR BIKE optimally.

A Standard Bike Fit is Recommended for:
  • a cyclist who does not experience any pain or discomfort when you initially ride your bike, but you do experience some pain of discomfort with longer rides.
  • optimising your bike fit for efficient power / minimal energy expenditure.

Note: If you experience pain when you initially start riding your bike you should really have a normal physiotherapy assessment consultation. You may have a significant musculoskeletal problem!

Your Standard Bike Fit includes:
  • Measuring YOU.
  • Measuring your BIKE.
  • Checking if your bike is the right size for YOU.
  • Analysing and modifying your bike to best fit you.
  • Video analysis of your cycling setup and style.
  • Thorough report of your current status and any recommendations.
What to Bring:
  • YOU - in cycling attire: shoes, knicks and tight fitting top.
  • YOUR BIKE - We’ll pop you on a wind trainer so be ready to ride!
Allow 1.5 hours.

Your bike fit physio will prepare a report for you outside of your consultation to save you time at the clinic.

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3. Cyclist Musculoskeletal Screening

This is where your cycling physiotherapist is the ideal professional to assess you and your ability to comfortably and optimally cycle. Not only do they have an insight into the correct biomechanics of cycling, they can also assess deficiencies and strengths in your body.

A Cyclist Musculoskeletal Screening is Recommended for:
  • elite cyclists, serious recreational or competitive cyclists who wish to prevent a cycling injury or wish to improve their cycling performance.
  • a cyclist who is suffering pain, discomfort, cramping or fatigue.
  • optimising your bike fit for efficient power / minimal energy expenditure.
Your Cyclist Musculoskeletal Screening includes:
  • Joint flexibility and hypermobility testing: spine and limbs.
  • Muscle power testing.
  • Muscle control testing.
  • Muscle endurance testing.
  • Muscle timing and activation order assessments.
  • Muscle flexibility and tone.
  • Neural tissue extensibility.
  • Previous injury or surgery assessment.
  • Treatment plan and initial corrective techniques or exercises.
Allow 1.0 hours

bike-fit

4. Full Bike Fit - Standard Bike Fit & Cyclist Musculoskeletal Screening

Combining your standard bike fit with a cyclist musculoskeletal screening is the best and most efficient way to either optimise your cycling or eliminate any pain or cycling discomfort.

If you are suffering pain or discomfort with prolonged riding or you would like to simply prevent injury or optimise your cycling efficiency (lowest energy expenditure for cycling output), then we highly recommend the Full Bike Fit option.

A Full Bike Fit is Recommended for:
  • elite cyclists.
  • serious recreational or competitive cyclists.
  • any cyclist who is suffering pain, discomfort, cramping or fatigue.
  • optimising your bike fit for efficient power / minimal energy expenditure.
Your Full Bike Fit includes:
  • Measuring YOU.
  • Measuring your BIKE.
  • Full Cyclist Musculoskeletal Screen.
  • Plus, all the components of a Standard Bike Fit.
  • Thorough report of your current status and any recommendations.
  • Treatment plan and initial corrective techniques or exercises.
Allow 2.5 hours

Your bike fit physio will prepare a report for you outside of your consultation to save you time at the clinic.

Who Performs Bike Fit at PhysioWorks?

Bike Fit Physiotherapist

bike-fit-physio

John Miller

John Miller has over 25 years clinical experience and is our most experienced Bike Fit Physiotherapist. In addition to being a keen road and MTB cyclist for many years, John has a personal interest in the latest research regarding cycling biomechanics, injuries and performance.

John has been trained in optimal bike fit setup techniques and has benefited from workshops and observing other leading Australian and AIS Cycling and Bike Fit Physiotherapists.

Where Do We Offer Bike Fit Physiotherapy? 

John is currently performing our Bike Fit Physiotherapy services at Ashgrove PhysioWorks and Sandgate PhysioWorks.

Ashgrove 33664221

Sandgate 32691122

Please note that bookings are essential.

Bike Fit Feedback

"You did an amazing job fitting my bike it is so much better to ride than before much more comfortable. I wish I had it done years ago. Thanks heaps you are a champion!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Thank you very much for your time and expertise. I’m pleased to report that the results have been extremely positive with no back pain to speak of following today’s ride. I have had the stem reduced to 80mm (same inclination so no increase in height) which has removed the weight from the shoulders and hands. Bike is super comfy now and it’s really unleashed the potential for long distances I was targeting with this bike. A further apparent benefit, cornering seems much improved I suspect to a higher center of gravity contributing to more effective counter steering. For whatever reason, way faster cornering on descents than before without any conscious effort."

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Last updated 10-Feb-2017 08:12 AM

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