A hybrid bike is designed to provide both commute and recreation. Use it to get to work on weekdays and for leisure activities on weekends. But did you know that getting your hybrid bike fitted to your size is important for a better posture?
Why the Right Hybrid Bike Posture is Important?
As you go over different models, you will realize that every design is intended for a specific use. Hybrid bikes are suitable for both transportation and exercise. They have you leaning forward in a proper riding posture so your body can absorb the shocks you may come across without causing unnecessary pain or stress to you or your bike.
The Importance of Fit when Riding a Hybrid Bike
Fitting a hybrid bike means choosing the correct sized frame for your height and weight. It should also be suitable for your arm, leg, and torso length. If you choose the wrong size, you will be quite uncomfortable while riding.
You might also experience shooting pains in your arms, neck, back, or knees. It will also cause extra stress on the bike, which further escalates the shocks you may encounter. Riding the right-size bike is not only a comfortable experience, but it also prevents fatigue, injuries, and numbness. Here are some aspects that describe why fitting a bike is very important.
Proper Frame Size
Frame size, as apparent, refers to the height of the frame. The relevant measurement here is the height of the middle top tube. Having at least one-inch clearance between your inseam and the frame tube creates for a comfortable posture.
If the frame is too tall, you will face difficulty while straddling. And even if you do manage to climb over, you won’t be able to ride it comfortably. The same applies to the bike with a shorter frame. While straddling a shorter bike won’t be a problem, riding it definitely is. Fitting for a proper frame-sized hybrid bike ensures that you get the correct standover height, can easily straddle it and are comfortable while riding.
Initial Bike Setup
Growing up, most of us rode bikes that we inherited from siblings or other family members. Those who did get new ones never bothered to go through a fitting. Now that you have opted for riding one regularly, you should have an initial bike setup conducted. It is an important procedure that ensures that you get a properly fitted bike for maintaining a comfortable posture while riding.
Although choosing the proper frame size is certainly the most important aspect, little adjustments to seat, handlebars, and stem can go a long way in terms of comfort and injury prevention. Commute, exercise, or leisure riding, regardless of the extent you will use your hybrid bike to, it is important that your bike is set up according to your level of comfort and needs.
Right Seat Height
Whether you are a daily commuter or a recreational bike rider, having the right set height on your bike is as crucial as having sufficient air in the tires. You need to be seated for maintaining the right posture while biking. It guarantees that you get the most out of your pedaling experience on a bumpy trail or while riding on a road at high speeds.
To find out the right seat height, try riding your bike for a few pedals while seated. If your leg extends around 80 to 90% at the bottom of the pedal stroke, you have the right height. If your leg extends completely, then you are at risk of sustaining leg strain. This posture robs you of your maximum pedaling power.
On the other hand, if your leg bends too much, the seat is low, and you won’t be able to pedal effectively. The improper seat height may be fine for casual riders who barely ride the bike, but if you are hoping to ride with any sort of regularity, you need your seat at a suitable height for the correct bike riding posture.
Seat’s Fore/Aft Position
A seat’s fore and aft positions are its slope and position above the seat post. Maintaining the correct seat position takes the unnecessary stress off your legs. When you are not seated properly, you are at risk of injury and pain in multiple body parts, including back, neck, arms, wrist, legs.
To find out whether your seat’s fore and aft position are accurate, check the position of your knees in relation to your foot while pedaling. At the 3 o’clock position, your knee and forefoot should directly align with each other.
If your fore-foot is way ahead, you need to make adjustments. You can loosen the saddle binder bolt and slide the seat forward or backward as needed. Also, ascertain that the seat is completely flat. If it does not look parallel against the ground, adjust it until it’s completely flat.
Every biker knows how important handlebar height is. If it is too short, you will not only have difficulty maneuvering it, but it will also put a lot of pressure on your arms and back, leading to serious injury.
Similarly, a longer handle is hard to maneuver because it extends your entire body, putting it under a lot of strain. Go for a suitable height that allows you to lean forward. This puts you in a comfortable posture. And since your arms are more relaxed, you can steer accurately and effectively.
If the stem of your handlebars feels short or long, you always purchase a longer or shorter one that is more suitable for your needs.
Find a Bike Fitting Expert
Now that we have you convinced to get your hybrid bike fitted, you might be wondering who to get it done from. It is the job of a bike fitter to get you the right fit. However, not every bike fitter is an expert. We have heard a lot of bad bike fit stories where the bike fitter might be well-intentioned but failed to deliver the right fit. This has prompted us to classify bike fitters into three types.
- Experts: They have the knowledge and know exactly what they are doing.
- Novice: They have the education but are not yet sure if what they are doing. Hence, they are not very good at their job
- Fakers: They don’t have the knowledge but think otherwise.
Judging from the stories we have heard, most bike fitters in the industry fall into the lower categories. Their less-than-satisfactory service ruins the experience for the client while tarnishing the business’s name at the same time. If a client is not happy, he will not shy away from saying so. He is also not likely to recommend the bike fitter to anybody else.
So how do you evaluate the bike fitter who is serving you? Here are some things that you can ask a potential bike fitter to find out if he/she is an expert.
An expert bike fitter knows how a human body functions. He/she should have a background in kinesiology or physiology. Being a certified, personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach is also useful as they completely understand human anatomy. If your bike fitter has any of these advanced traits, you can trust him/her.
We think that taking bikefit.com’s courses should be the minimum qualification for a bike fitter. Other certifications include Trek Precision Fit Level 2, 3/Cyclologic Contact Point Analysis, the new Guru Range of Right, or the Serotta Cycling Institute Advanced certificate. All of these are advanced training courses. And if your potential bike fitter has taken any of them, then you should take him/her seriously.
The number of successful consultations also helps you determine whether the bike fitter is an expert. A number higher than 250 of successful and documented bike fits is a good answer. It is even better if they can provide you with a list of recommendations or testimonials. Having a history of working for cycling teams or groups also shows that this person is serious about his/her job.
Riding and training
If your bike fitter has a history of riding and training, it is a huge plus point. A person who rides regularly knows about the challenges you may face and the amount of comfort you will need to overcome them.
In this article, we have described the importance of maintaining the correct posture while riding a hybrid bike. We also described the goals for achieving the correct posture. Now that you are informed, when you head out to purchase a new hybrid bike for yourself, you won’t be fooled by a bike fitter who will simply measure your height and point you towards a particular size.
Even when shopping online, be sure to check all measurements to pick out the ideal size for yourself. A good bike fit will not only straddle you on the bicycle correctly but will also allow you to pedal more powerfully. It will also assist you in staying injury-free and actually be safer throughout the ride.