Now that I’ve had my bike about a year and a half, I’m trying to figure out how to tweak it a little bit more to get a little bit more out of it. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is bike fit.
Like most of us, I had a cursory bike fitting when I bought my bike. Saddle height, leg angle, seat postion were all calculated in a short time, and I was sent on my way. It’s worked out well for the most part, although I have fiddled with fore-and-aft position of the seat and seat height a bit.
Jeff Hemmel’s guest post over the summer about the Retul bike fitting system got me thinking. I’m not ready to drop a couple hundred on a fitting session where I’m all wired up to electronic machines, but I want something that will give me a better idea of how to set all the variables on the bike. A couple of sites have come to my attention recently.
A friend pointed me to the Park Tools website. It’s a place I visit from time to time anyway, because of their excellent tutorials on bike repairs of all types. But they also have a page dedicated to fitting your road bike (and a separate page dedicated to fitting your mountain bike, if you are of that persuasion). Park suggests 17 different measurements to take, from bottom bracket to seat, saddle to handlebars, handlebar angle, etc.
Park says the chart is most useful as a record of your various measurements, and if any change in performance results from a change in the bike’s setup. It gives details instructions on how to take the measurements, but makes no suggestions about the ideal range.
A second site is for the Accufit bike fitting system. This one involves purchase of a product, the Accufit system itself. It’s a Windows-compatible program that promises the best fit by “computer modeling your measurements and establishing the correct relationships between you and your bike.” The program costs $29.95 and can be purchased online.
A screenshot from the Accufit web site. Bill Boston Cycles. (http://www.billbostoncycles.com/)
Accufit is geared toward bike shops and offers them a way to fit their customers. It claims to work on people of all sizes, not just adults within certain height parameters. But for $30, some of us might consider buying a copy for our personal use.
What other options are available out there? Have you ever made use of either of these sites? Have you had a proper fitting done at your local bike shop, and if so, what system did they use? Finally, did the bike fitting make a difference in the way you ride your bike?