A basic biking fitting takes into account inseam, torso length, and arm length. A more detailed bike fitting will consider many more measurements: inseam, trunk, forearm, arm, thigh, lower leg, sternal notch, and total height. These measurements help determine the correct seat height, seat-to-stem distance, fore and aft position, and handlebar height and width for a specific cyclist.
During a bike fitting session, you should expect an assessment interview and a physical evaluation. You’ll be asked about your experience and history as a cyclist, your cycling goals, and any previous injuries that could affect your comfort on a bike. Professional bike fitters also evaluate your shoes and insoles, pedal stroke, flexibility, and bone structure to determine your optimum fit.
A quality professional fitting typically takes about two hours to complete and can cost about $200. While pricey, proper bike fit is crucial to maximizing comfort, efficiency, and form. A professional bike fitting can also help prevent stress injuries, saddle discomfort and genital numbness,”hot foot” (burning pain in the ball of the foot), and rider fatigue.
Look for an experienced, certified fitter with a good reputation who has a deep understanding of how the body works. Some cycling-specific physical therapists or coaches can provide this service to you, but you can also find bike fitting specialists at full-service bike shops.