Whether you are a serious bicyclist or a recreational rider, when it comes to bicycling, you and your bike should fit well together. A proper bike fit minimizes discomfort, increases efficiency, and helps prevent pain or injury.
The way you and your bike fit together is important. Good flexibility of the hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles is crucial because they generate the majority of pedaling force and experience a high-frequency arc of motion. Proper stretching, balance, and strengthening exercises will help coordinate bicycling‐related skills such as pedaling and maneuvering the bicycle. Also, consider your level of endurance as you determine the distances you would like to ride.
Knee to Pedal
The ideal angle puts less stress on the knee. For recreational riders, the angle should be 35‐45 degrees. Road cyclists should have a 30‐35 degree angle.
Foot to Pedal
Position the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle for the best leverage, comfort, and efficiency. A stiff‐soled shoe is best for comfort and performance.
Trunk Position and Shoulder Angle
The recreational rider trunk position should be 40‐80 degrees from horizontal. The shoulder angle should be between 80‐90 degrees. Road cyclist trunk position should be between 30‐40 degrees and the shoulder angle should be between 90‐100 degrees.
Keep it level. If the saddle tips downward, the pressure will be placed on your hands and lower back. The saddle should be a comfortable distance from the handlebars—too close, and extra weight will be placed on your mid‐back and arms; too far away, and you may put extra strain on your lower back and neck.
Consider scheduling an appointment with a physical therapist who can work with you on proper fit. Physical therapists can evaluate the way your body is positioned on the bike to make sure that your biking style “fits” your functional goals, whether they are for comfort and endurance or for speed and performance. If adjustments and equipment changes need to be made to your bicycle, take it to your local bicycle dealer.