OCBC Cycle 2016: Why Bike Fit is important

To prepare participants for the OCBC Cycle 2016, which takes place on 1 and 2 October, a series of talks were held recently at the National University Hospital (NUH).

One of these talks focused on the importance of Bike Fit, and it had been conducted by Timothy Lim, the founder of Loue Bicycles – a company that offers professional bike fitting services in Singapore and South East Asia.

The team from National University Hospital Sports Centre at the injury prevention and management talk at NUH. (Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle 2016)

The team from National University Hospital Sports Centre at the injury prevention and management talk at NUH. (Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle 2016)

What is bike fitting

Said Lim, “Bike fitting is mainly adjusting a bicycle to fit the rider based on the rider’s needs and goals. A good bike fit will help the rider to find the right size and correct components to use in order to enjoy cycling in a comfortable and efficient manner.”

He added, “Many think that bike fitting is only for professional riders, but it is actually for everyone. For professional world tour riders, their priority for a bike fit would be for optimal performance and ultimate endurance depending on their event.”

To professional cyclists, the need to be aerodynamic is important but not for a leisure cyclist. Said Lim, “The aims of a leisure cyclist are more for health and fitness reasons and optimal comfort, and not so much on performance.”

However the main problem with many cyclists, especially those new to the sport, is that they jump into buying a bike rather than getting insights into what sort of bike and components is most suitable to them.

Mr Timothy Lim, Owner and Director of Loue Bicycles. (Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle 2016)

Mr Timothy Lim, Owner and Director of Loue Bicycles.
(Photo Credit: OCBC Cycle 2016)

A bike that does not fit the rider leads to problems

However buying a bike that does not fit the rider properly can lead to problems. Said Lim, “There will be plenty of pain from the contact points, mostly the pelvis or saddle, especially from spending many hours in the same position when cycling on the roads.”

He added, “It is important to do a bike fit before the pain occurs and refit if something has changed – rather than wait till something has gone wrong.”

Independent bike fitters and retail shops offer bike fit services

Lim points out that there are many independent bike fitters and retail shops across Singapore that offer such bike fitting services.

He added, “Gone are the days where the shop sales people measure your limbs and choose your bike size. This is less relevant because it means that everyone of the same size will have the same bike which is not the case.”

Some bike fitting shops today advanced methods such as motion analysis to fit the bike to the rider – this involves putting sensors on the person’s body and this in turn, helps the bike fitter to know how the body reacts when he changes or adjusts certain parts of the bike.

Others use adjustable fit bikes which are machines that can be adjusted manually based on the person’s reaction to a certain set of parameters.

Bike fitting is like seeking professional advice

Bike Fitting is like seeking professional advice. Photo Source: CDC/ Amanda Mills acquired from Public Health Image Library (Website)

Bike Fitting is like seeking professional advice.
Photo Source: CDC/ Amanda Mills acquired from Public Health Image Library (Website)

A professional bike fit, according to Lim, should cost about $60 – 700. He explained, “Bike fitting is a service and you are seeking professional advice; it is like seeing a doctor. After a bike fit, any problems that you may have with the bike should be solved; you should be able to ride in better comfort.”

He added, “But of course there will be an adaptation period to any bike fit and you should listen to recommendations from the bike fitter, for example on what exercises to do to strengthen any weak body parts as well. People expect a bike fit to be magic but it takes time. The bike is merely adjusted to alleviate any issues, but sometimes the body dysfunctions may also require fixing.”

Get the bike fit done well before the event

So Lim stresses that you should not get a bike fit done say, the week before an event, as this will most likely cause more problems – due to the need for the body to adjust.

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