Bike Fit Myths Debunked

Head Fitter Matt Hallam answers some of the common questions about bike fits.

Do I need a bike fit?

If your goals are to get fitter, faster and stronger on your bike, then a professional bike fitting is a great opportunity to maximise your output on every ride. From complete beginners through to World Tour professionals riding a bike that fits you well is just as important. Let’s think about this from a logical point of view - with each pedal revolution you make, your biomechanics are effectively working around the parameters of your bike position. Throw clip-in pedals and you are also locked into a singular plane of movement.

A professional bike fitting will take all the guess work out of your bike position, our goal is to achieve a position that works around your personal goals, injury history and physiological limitations. Every fit is different, find yours with Crimson Performance.

Are cycling insoles worth the money?

In short, yes. Every cyclist can benefit from supportive insoles. Improving foot stability is an important part of our fit process, all the power you produce on a bike goes directly through your feet, supported feet = happy feet. Have a look at the stock insoles that come with your cycling shoes, in most cases you can bend these in half. They offer your feet zero support, a set of insoles (either custom or stock) can transform how your shoes fit, offering your feet a stable platform for optimal power transfer and stability up the kinetic chain.

Should my saddle width reflect my sitbone width?

Yes, it’s important that your saddle is wide enough to support both sitbones evenly. Saddle manufactures are developing much wider saddles for a reason, wider saddles = more pelvic stability and comfort. Take sitbone measurement tools with a pinch of salt, they provide a guestimate on sitbone width which helps streamline your options. If you are a larger rider then try a wider saddle, if you are small and slender then give a narrower saddle a try. Be logical around saddle selection and always make sure you are covered with a money back guarantee if the saddle doesn’t work for you. That’s something that we offer on all the saddles we retail.

Longer cranks mean more power right?

The crank length debate is ever evolving, but we can safely say that longer cranks do not produce more power than shorter options. We are big advocates of shorter cranks which have several benefits over their longer counterparts:

• Increased hip angle
• Improved pelvic stability
• Sustainability of a lower torso angle / more aero benefits
• Higher cadence

I’m using knee over pedal spindle to set my saddle fore and aft is this right?

A myth to dispel… KOPS should not be used to set saddle fore and aft. Instead we suggest referencing body mass representation, shoulder angle and saddle contact.

Do cleats with high amounts of float reduce power output?

No, they don’t. Float is a good thing. It allows your feet and knees to work outside of a set plane of movement. As such higher amounts of float can lower the stress put through the knee and ankle joint. Some riders feel more engaged in the pedals with zero float cleats, but these riders are often track sprinters or hill climbers. For most riders a range of between 2-9 degrees of float offers a good range. Speedplay offer the biggest adjustment range with up to 15 degrees of float.

How do I know what handlebar width is right for me?

Handlebar width should reflect a rider’s shoulder width. We measure this centre to centre from the acromion process. It’s very easy to do with a tape measure at home. Most stock bikes come with handlebars that are a size or two too wide. A well-fitting handlebar can help reduce pressure on a rider’s hands, neck and shoulders as well as offering more aero benefits for the racers.

I’ve seen pro’s riding long slammed stems, what’s the deal with this and can I do the same?

Earn your position… If you have exceptional conditioning off the bike and can match the training volume of a World Tour Pro then try it out. It’s important to note that a lot of pro’s adopt the long and low position for pure performance gains rather than comfort. Radical bike positions are best left to the pro’s rather than sportive riders or aspiring racers.

Can using the upstroke increase power output?

Another myth to dispel. Think about the muscles you engage when you pull the pedal up vs the muscles you engage when you push the pedal down. Hip flexors are tiny muscles in comparison to the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. There is no evidence-based research to suggest that the upstroke increases power output. From experience riders who actively pull up are often more unstable on the bike and have poor pedalling technique.

Questions about bike fitting?

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