You can set-up your bike with top-of-the-line components and get it to weigh as light as a tooth pick at the same time slapping on state-of-the-art cyclo computers that can tell you financial market activities while you're hammering up a climb (No, not seriously). But if the bike doesn't fit you, all these bells and whistles won't amount to anything. For your everyday casual cyclists, bikes are a one size fits all equipment. But if you've been riding long enough, you would know that riding a bicycle with skewed measurements will only bring pain to an otherwise fun experience.
Just recently, I decided to undergo a bike fitting session in Bike Town Cyclery in Chino Roces Avenue in Pasay. The service cost me Php1,000. With it came a print-out of bike measurements for road riding, triathlon and mountain biking based on my body type. Somehow, I believe it also gave me peace of mind on whether the road bike I recently bought is actually in my size. That was a priceless benefit in my opinion. You see ironically, my purchase came before I had a proper bike fitting session. Don't ask me why but to put a long story short, I was lucky that the bike frame I recently bought turned out to be generally in my size. Although I would have preferred a size smaller for aesthetic purposes.
Bike Town Cyclery utilizes the bikefitting.com system. Check out the site if you want to learn more about it.
Basically, the session started out with a short interview where I was asked questions related to my preferred riding style and riding history. Afterwards, I was made to don my cycling threads (except shoes) and asked to stand in front of an instrument that measures my height, shoulder width, arm length, in-seam, foot length and torso length among others. This process of measuring was done more than once to ensure accuracy. The data was then fed into a template and sent to bikefitting.com. A few minutes later, the site sends back bike measurements that are specific to me. These include correct saddle height, frame size, stem length, handle bar width, crank length and saddle position just to mention a few of the data retrieved. I got three sets of measurements for road, triathlon and mountain biking. Also included in the service was an analysis of optimum cleat position. I was made to lay my foot on an instrument where certain measurements were made resulting with a re-adjustment of the cleats on my shoes. Prior to the bike fitting, I already had an understanding that the process isn’t an end-all solution for the perfect fit. At the end of the day, it still boils down to personal preference. For those planning to undergo a bike fitting, keep this in mind. It could spell the difference between satisfaction and disappointment.
It was an interesting experience and I'm glad that I have in hand the correct measurements that would put me in the most efficient position and prevent long term injuries from riding an ill-fitting bicycle. Since then, I've replaced my drop bar and am currently saving up for a new fork with a longer steerer tube for my road bike. Thankfully though, my mountain bike won't need any changes to its measurements. Whew!