There are lots of places out there offering varying levels of bike fitting services costing varying levels of money, and going down the route of getting a bike fit done may be a good option if you have niggling injury woes or are just constantly uncomfortable on the bike. We have newly launched a bike fitting service at our Nottinghamshire Head Office.
However, there are also lots of things your can do to get your bike set-up and right for you to help keep the aches and pains away. Things like tingly fingers, numb hands or sore knees when riding can be a sign that things might not be set-up as well as they could be on your bike. Knowing where to start can be hard, here are a few pointers to help get you riding more comfortably.
The height and angle of the saddle is very important and with many styles and designs of saddles available, it doesn’t matter which one you have if it’s not set correctly. The saddle can be moved higher or lower, back or forwards and tilted up or down. Initially position the saddle level to the ground with the seat post clamp in the centre of the saddle rails.
To get an effective saddle height, start by sitting on the saddle, move the pedal to its lowest point and place your heel on it. Adjust the height so that with the leg fully extended you should still be sat on the saddle when your heel is on the pedal. Now when pedalling normally at the lowest point your leg should have a slight bend at the knee and your hips should not rock side to side. You may find it hard to touch the ground when sat on the saddle at this height, however you want your saddle to be the correct height so your muscles are working efficiently when pedalling and not overworking the wrong muscle groups.
A common issue with handlebars is that they may move slightly overtime or twist if the bike has fallen over. Check that the stem and front wheel line up, if they don’t simply loosen the clamp bolts slightly, gently tap the wheel until aligned and then tighten clamp bolts.
Brake and gear levers – Now the handlebars are checked and straight the brake and gear levers can be checked. No matter what style of bike you have the levers should be in a position that makes them comfortable and safe to use. It’s important to have both sides equal or your bike control may feel strange.
Sometimes referred to as SPD’s or cleats. Whether you have used them for years or new to them, it’s very important they allow your foot to sit in a natural position. Misaligned cleats will twist your ankle and leg causing tightness in muscles and discomfort. If this is an issue or you want to double check, seek advice from a good local bike shop. If you currently cycle in trainers using clipless pedals, while daunting at first, can be a good investment as they can make your pedal stroke more efficient by utilising more than just the downward phase of the pedal revolution.
There is no “perfect” tyre pressure but there is a good range in which to set them, remember higher pressure doesn’t mean faster and too low will make the bike feel slow and heavy.
Each tyre has a pressure range printed on the side so use that as a guide. Check your tyre pressure before each ride, or at a minimum once a week!