Remember the first time you met, took your first ride, fell in love and thought you two were inseparable? Then, for some strange reason, things gradually started to change. You no longer felt compatible with your headset. You and your frame started to drift apart. You started having more bad days than good.
Whether you are a commuter, mountain biker, and/or road cyclist we all go through it. The inevitable bike break up.
We evolve. We develop stronger cores. Our riding postures change. An alteration in distance or terrain may shift intensity, cadence and desire for a different gearing and/or break system. Sadly, our current bike may no longer be able to accommodate these changes.
“Changes in flexibility, body composition or discipline are more obvious factors that might necessitate a change in bike fit,” says Colin Tanner of FLASH Cycling. “A rider’s goals or aspirations may also change. For example, a rider who wants to focus on century riding may find value in a fit that focuses on comfort and endurance rather than aerodynamics and pure speed. As you develop and change as a rider, make sure your bike is working for you and towards your goals.
Cyclists should choose a bike to match his or her anatomy and functional needs. How many hills will you have to climb? Are you commuting or a messenger? Are you splitting your seasons between mountain and road biking? Do you have chronically tight hamstrings and calves? Do you have a flexible or “stuck” spine?
But a word to the wise cyclist. One bike fit is not meant to last your entire riding career. Like regular doctor check-ups, it’s a good idea to recheck your bike/body compatibility regularly. Chris Johnson of Head 2 Toe Systems recommends annual bike fits given the emergent nature of our bodies.
For a happy and harmonious cycling future, know when to work out your compatibility issues and know when to call it quits and walk from a bad bike relationship.