The proper bike fit and set-up is vital to your performance on the bike. Top cyclists in the world refine their bike set-ups and positions on annual basis. If you haven't properly set up your bike yet, it is something you would want to do sooner rather than later since an improper set up can result in injuries, besides being the cause of mediocre performance and slow racing times.
All the experts in the world agree that the objective of a proper set-up is "to maximize a cyclist's efficiency, comfort and performance potential". However, all experts have different opinions on how this can be accomplished. And there are no unifying guidelines or a system of reference to help you accomplish the task of setting up your bike.
In the Pose Method® of Cycling,
the bike set up is all about the effective application of body weight to the pedals. The rider's position on the bike should facilitate application of body weight to the pedals at any cadence in any gear and satisfy specific biomechanical requirements. (Ch. 29).
- Frame Size - The frame size depends on your leg length and height, but within those parameters the most important thing about the size of your frame is how well it fits the requirement of the body weight application to the pedals. Your body should be in a compact position rather than stretched, and you should be able to shift your body weight in any direction as needed, especially side-to-side. [Read more]
- Saddle Height - This is one of the most significant parameters determining correct positioning on the bike. If the saddle is too high or too low, it will prevent you from effective application of body weight to the pedals resulting in inefficient pedaling action. Two positions are used as reference points to determine the correct height. First position is the Cycling Pose where pedals are at three and nine o'clock, and second position where pedals are at six and twelve o'clock. [Read more]
- Fore & Aft Saddle Position - The same concerns about applying body weight to the pedals and shifting the body weight from side-to-side determine saddle's fore & aft positioning. It is important to understand that the saddle is the transitional support point and can be used to regulate the percentage of body weight applied to the pedals. [Read more]
- Handlebar & Upper Body Position - Before addressing aerodynamic considerations, the first consideration remains the application of body weight to the pedals. The height and distance from the saddle to the handlebars should be set so that you can't put most of your body weight on the bars. Nothing should be unnecessarily stretched or strained. [Read more]
- Cleat Positions for Clipless Pedals. Position the cleat so that the pedal axle lines up directly underneath the ball of your foot. This is the point where you will get the greatest transfer of body weight to the pedal. Your feet should point directly forward. If you have structural/alignment problems with your feet, do not attempt to straighten this out. Set the cleats to accommodate this characteristic rather than correct it. [Read more]
In the Pose approach, everything is secondary to the primary consideration of effective application of the body weight to the pedals with the ability to easily shift the body weight from one pedal to the other, no matter what the circumstances of the ride may be. The placement of the saddle, the handlebars, and the cleats, as well as the aerodynamic orientation must be subject to the overall goal of body weight placement on the pedals.
This single requirement of the bike set-up condition is crucial for cycling success.
Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Composed by L. Romanov