Discover how cleat placement and seat height can effect you bike ride

Published: 07th December 2011
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Getting the correct components, proper positioning and the perfect size will be worth the extra money and time invested.

Create a bike that will fit your body

Most of the fit theories will agree on the most common aspects of bike fitting, but there are no laws set in stone for fitting a particular bike to a certain rider. With proper training and the correct equipment this will help the fitters do their job well as well as bike shop owners. Because fitting a bike to a particular person is more art than science, it's great to work with a fit specialist because they can take fit principles and use them to mesh the bike to your personal situation. For example, if you have some kind of knee injury that may limit your range of motion, they can make special adjustments to help you with this.

The following are a few things to definitely look at when considering the right bicycle fit. Your shopping will be much easier when you are using a couple of benchmark measurements. You can start with trying to figure out your frame size, seat height, and once you have the bike in your possession, you can start to look at the right cleat placement, handlebar reach, and set up position. Again this is where a fit specialist would come and fine tune these things or diagnose the origins of any constant aches and pains.

What about the seat height?

Your hips will rock when trying to extend to the pedals, causing pain in the back of your knees because your seat is too high up. When the seat is too low you can't fully extend to proper length causing pain to the front of your knee. You know is just right we have a slight bend in the knee at full extension. There should be a slight bend your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke, this is when the crankarm is not perpendicular to the ground but parallel to the seat tube. This can be easily checked by wearing a pair of cycling shoes then peddling unclipped with your heels to the pedals. Without rocking your pelvis you should be able to barely maintain contact with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke. Then measure the distance between the top of the seat and the bottom bracket, this will be your seat height.

Cleat placement you can count on

You know your too far when it feels like you're peddling with your arch. This will create foot pain and loss of power. Too far back feels like you're peddling only with your toes and this will also cause power loss as well as forefoot cramps. When you find the most comfortable position over the pedal spindle, you know you have it just right, because you are able to move backward and forward using the ball of your foot with ease.

The proper cleat angle

Overly toed in, is a term used when you feel the cleat reach has reached its full range limit during the stroke of the pedal causing pain on the outside of your knee. Overly toed out, is when the heel strikes crank arm, or float limit is reached by the cleat, causing pain and the inside of your knee. You have it just right when the cleat will move freely within the flow range.

These are just a few of the considerations to think about when are looking for that perfect fit in your sport bicycle.

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