Basic Bike Fitting
A seat that’s too low or too high can cause more than just discomfort. A little amount of pain you are feeling right now can lead to more serious injuries down the road.
• Method: Position the crank arms so that they are parallel to the seat tube ie straight down. Sit on the seat and put your heel on the pedal. If you can’t reach the pedal, lower the seat until you can. If your leg is bent at the knee, raise the seat just until your knee is straight.
Reach to the Handlebars
Proper reach to the handlebars keeps your upper body pain-free.
• Method: When you sit comfortably in the saddle, you should be able to easily reach the tops and brake hoods on a road bike, or the grips on a mountain bike. Your elbows should be slightly bent, not locked. The lean of your torso should be supported by your core in a comfortable position with your weight equally balanced between your seat and your hands.
Seat position for knee comfort
Many people use biking as a form of exercise to avoid knee pain, so in order to keep you on the bike and pain free this section is a must read,
• Method: Check your seat position first. The clamp connecting the saddle to the seat post should be relatively centered in the saddle rails, not slammed all the way forward or back. Sit comfortably on the seat with the crank at the 3 o’clock position. Hold a plumb line from your knee cap. The line should pass through the ball of your foot directly above contact with the pedal. Adjust the seat forward or backward to achieve the correct alignment.
Common Symptoms and how to trouble shoot
If you are getting a sore neck make sure you are in a position to keep your elbows slightly bent. Try raising the handlebars. It’s also possible the “reach” may be too long. You can address this by installing a shorter stem. This will bring the handlebars closer to you.
It’s important not to have the majority of your weight resting on the handlebars. Your weight should be equally distributed between your saddle and the handlebars. For example you may need to lower your seat or raise your handlebars.
Knee/ patellar pain:
Pain in the knee cap can often be dealt with by raising the seat. Even one centimeter can make a difference. Refer to the graphic regarding the plumb line to make sure your seat is not too far forward or backward. Another common problem is that many cyclists try to ride in too hard a gear. Lower your gear so you are increasing your RPM and decreasing the amount you are “pushing”.