Over the years, we have found some misconceptions when it comes to bike fitting. Some of this can stem from how the cycling industry has marketed their products, but also your experiences with your bike set up. Below are 3 common mistakes people make when they think about bike fitting:
1: Assume that a low handlebar is going to be an uncomfortable position. "That's too racy/aggressive for me!"
When you are sitting on the saddle, you are not sitting on a chair, your body is rotating forward. A lower handlebar, depending on the rider, can allow that pelvis rotation to occur and depending on the rider, allow more core engagement and take pressure off the shoulders, wrists, hands and create more power to the pedals. Again, each person is unique so what might work for your riding buddy, doesn’t necessarily translate to what works for you. Read our post on cycling posture and how this affects how you are properly rotating forward on your saddle.
2: Assume that a firm saddle is uncomfortable. "That's too hard for my behind!"
As we discussed in our post “Here’s what you need to know when choosing the right bike saddle”, the function of the saddle is to support the hips and allow the pelvic rotation to occur. You want your saddle to support the ischium. A soft or gel saddle can create unwanted pressure and will not provide that foundation you need. Think of a foundation under a building, if the foundation is unstable, you’ll have issues in the rest of the building. However, if you have a strong foundation, you can build a solid structure.
3: Assume that the bike fit measurements from one bike transfer over to another bike. "I'll just transfer this road bike fit over to my triathlon and mountain bike!"
One bike fit does not transfer over to another bike fit. Your bike fit can change based on the type of riding you are doing and bike geometry. For example, how you sit on the road bike is very different on how you sit on a triathlon bike. No to mention the different bike geometry. On a mountain bike, you are more dynamic, so your bike set up needs to accommodate this to allow you to move the bike around better, have more flow, and power.
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About Aaron Ross:
Aaron has 20+ years in the cycling industry with 12+ years as a master bike fitter. For 5-years he was the director of technology and general manager of the FASTER wind tunnel in Scottsdale. Aaron has extensive technical experience in aerodynamics and biomechanics and has worked with many Olympians, world champions, and Tour de France riders. Currently, Aaron lives in Laramie, WY with his wife, two young daughters, and three border collies. He is busy fitting athletes virtually, consulting cycling brands on product development, and working on building a new wind tunnel facility. Aaron has cycled all over Europe, was a Cat 2 Road and Cyclocross Racer and Pro Level Mountain Biker. He now enjoys riding a fixie, teaching his girls to ride, and taking adventures on his dirt bike.