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A Few Basic Basic Bicycle Fit Techniques to Think About Before You Ride


Thanks for taking the time to check this article out! I just wanted to brush up on a few basic bicycle fit techniques and guides that could help you out. We can all benefit from having someone who does basic fits or has extensive experience in fitting the body on a bicycle. Fitting a bike can be an amazing thing to have for yourself, especially if you plan on riding your bicycle a lot. So let’s get started on what you can do for yourself.

The biggest thing that we see with folks and their bikes is the seat post being either too low or much higher than it should be. Let’s tell you why this is an issue. Having a seat to low can cause muscle cramping in your legs and cause issues with discomfort and displeasure while riding your bike. Having a saddle too high causes your hips to rock back and forth on the saddle. This will make one side of your body over compensate on one side.  It’s really important to dial in your fit. Generally I would say it’s natural for you to relook at your bike once or twice a year depending on how much you ride.

The reason you should do this is because the more you ride the more your body stretches and changes with time. It’s not uncommon for riders to look at their fit once or twice a year. I would always see a professional fit specialist and see what they recommend. Ultimately they will tell you what would be in your best interest and do the work needed to fit you properly again. There is a lot of folks out there that do basic fits and more in depth fits that will be more then willing to help out and dial in your bike for you.

Stem length and handlebar width are both important to look at while doing fits too. If you have a stem that is too long you will likely feel as though you are over extending and even at times locking out your elbows. To remedy this, you should shorten your stem and take a closer look at this. Stems come in all sorts of sizes, and rises or drops. Most comely you’ll see stems going in increments of 5mm. So if you feel like your reach is too far try decreasing your length of the stem with a short stem. If you feel as though you are in a very aggressive position, you can always try getting a stem that has more of a rise to it. That would help you achieve a more upright position and potentially feel more comfortable.

The width of handlebars can be a pretty tricky thing to pinpoint and narrow down. What we would look into is your shoulders. The front part of your shoulders is a good place to measure. There is two bony structures on the front part of your shoulders that you should use to measure yourself. Have someone help you with this because it would be almost impossible to do yourself and have the proper width. When you come up with the measurement of your shoulders you should add 2 centimeters to that number you come with. This is due to your arms naturally going outwards on the bicycle’s drop handlebar.

When it comes down to it, these are just suggestions and if you have very specific questions you should absolutely see a specialist. Someone who takes the time to work with you one-on-one with your specific needs and desires from a fit. You should always feel comfortable on a bike and if you are not, I would highly recommend looking into talking to someone about these fit issues. After all you want to enjoy riding your bike and not resent the bike right? Talk to someone about fits and get the conversion started! It could turn your cycling into a more enjoyable time.

That’s it folks. Take care and have a wonderful riding season!


Chass Uthe was born with the passion to ride. He's been in the bicycle industry for nearly a decade and doesn't plan on getting out anytime soon. When he's 
not thinking about bikes (rarity), Chass dabbles in photography and chases sunsets. He's our newest sales rep at The Racery as well.

1 comment

  • Karen B

    As a group fitness instructor and employee of a Cycling Team I get asked about bike fit for all kinds of bikes. This article included good and easy to understand concepts. I especially liked the part about stem size (length and rise) since the stem is such an easy an inexpensive way to make a bike more comfortable.

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