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The Significance of Proper Bike Fit for Mountain & Road Biking

mountain bike rider trail

Here in Summit and Eagle Counties, biking the incredible trails and viewpoints has become a popular pastime. Whether mountain biking in Breckenridge or Eagle or road biking around the counties, having a properly fitted bike is key to enjoying your ride. Yet far too many riders overlook the importance of proper bike fit and suffer from discomfort.

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned pro, understanding the importance of proper bike fit can ensure your ride is always comfortable and enjoyable. If you’re not careful, an improper bike fit can cause aches, pains, and even injury. And this truth exists for both road and mountain biking.

At Axis Sports Medicine in Eagle, we see numerous riders each year who come in with injuries due to an improper bike fit. We understand the importance of helping you get the right setup for your riding style and goals. Let’s walk through some of the basics of proper bike fitting.

Why Does Bike Fitting Matter?

Before we look at what you can do to ensure that your bike is properly fitted, let’s look at why it matters. An improper fit is any fit that causes strain, discomfort or pain. It could be due to the size and shape of your frame, your seat position, or even the equipment you’re using.

Often, riders will chalk up a bad fit to simply “getting used to the bike” or “being out of shape for the ride.” But more often than not, the reason they are feeling these aches and pains is due to an improper fit. A proper fit reduces the risk of strain and injury while also maximizing your pedaling efficiency and power.

You can often get a fitting done at your local bike shop or through the help of pros in and around Summit County. It’s crucial to get a proper fit done if you are looking to get the most out of your ride and avoid the risk of injuries down the road.

Injury Prevention Through Proper Bike Fitting

Think of an improper mountain or road bike fit similarly to a shoe – if you are a distance runner or sprinter, you want to make sure you have the right shoes for your foot shape and size. 

The same goes for biking – if your saddle is at the wrong height or you’re using a frame that’s too small, it can cause pain and even long-term injuries.

A customized bike fit can significantly impact a cyclist’s experience by:

  • Reducing the risk of overuse injuries: A proper fit will reduce your body’s stress, which helps prevent overuse injuries.
  • Preventing pain during the ride: An improper bike fit can cause aches and pains throughout your ride. With a proper fit, you’ll enjoy your ride without worrying about discomfort.
  • Maximizing performance: Proper bike fit can help you maximize your performance, as it will make pedaling more efficient.
  • Benefiting physical therapy and injury prevention: Proper bike fit can help you during physical therapy and prevent injuries down the road.

What Are Some Common Overuse Injuries Due To Bad Bike Fit?

What should you look for to make sure your bike is properly fitted? Here are some common overuse injuries caused by improper bike fit:

  • Neck pain: This can be caused by having your handlebars too low or too close to you.
  • Back pain: This can be due to a saddle that’s too high or a frame that’s too small.
  • Hand numbness or tingling: This can be caused by having your handlebars too low, which puts pressure on the nerves in your hands.
  • Knee pain: This can be caused by having your saddle at an incorrect height, putting excess strain on the knee joint.

Riders can quickly alleviate potential issues and prevent injuries in the long run by adjusting a few key components on the bike, such as saddle height, handlebar reach, and cleat position.

Physical Therapy and Injury Prevention

An important aspect of bike fitting is injury prevention. If you’re recovering from an injury, having a proper bike fit is crucial to ensure you are riding safely and not causing any additional damage.

The same goes for physical therapy – if your bike isn’t properly fitted, it can be difficult to make progress during physical therapy. A professional bike fit can help you make sure that your body is in the proper position to optimize your recovery and get back on the trails more quickly.

A proper bike fit helps:

Promote proper biomechanics in cycling

One of the most important aspects of a bike fit is determining proper biomechanics. This means that your body will be in the correct position to produce maximum power and efficiency while riding, which helps prevent injuries and maximize performance.

Encourage optimal muscle activation patterns

Another critical component of bike fitting is muscle activation patterns. Muscle activation patterns refer to how your muscles work together when you’re riding. If your body reacts to a wrong frame size or saddle height, it can lead to inefficient muscle activation and the potential for injury.

Prevent recurrent injuries by identifying and addressing potential issues

When you’re riding in Eagle, Colorado, it pays to be prepared. A bike fit can help identify potential issues and provide solutions to prevent recurring injuries on the trails. For instance, when your handlebars are at the wrong height, it can cause you to overextend your back and create a greater risk of injury.

What Goes Into A Bike Fitting?

What can you expect during a bike fitting? When you get fit for your road or mountain bike, the experience can include a few different components. Here are some of the key elements:

Dynamic bike fitting:

A dynamic bike fitting is when a professional analyzes how you ride your bike and makes adjustments so it fits you better. This helps you be faster and safer on the trails when mountain biking in Summit County or Eagle. A dynamic fitting will include measurements of your body parts and bike components and video analysis to determine how you’re riding.

Static bike fitting:

A static bike fitting is when a professional looks at your bike’s frame and makes adjustments based on fit measurements from your body. This helps ensure that your frame size is appropriate for your body size and that your saddle is at the optimal height.

Whether you opt for a dynamic or static bike fit, it’s vital to get your bike fitted by a knowledgeable and certified professional. With the right fit, you can take full advantage of all that Summit and Eagle County offer without putting yourself at risk for injury.

Stay Safe On Your Ride with Axis

Proper bike fitting is an essential aspect of mountain and road biking – which can play a huge role in a successful time out on the trails. Not only does it help prevent overuse injuries, but it also improves performance and can be an invaluable tool in physical therapy and injury prevention.

For beginners and seasoned cyclists, investing in a professional bike fit can significantly enhance the overall cycling experience. Take the initiative to ride safer and more efficiently by getting your bike professionally fitted – and enjoy all that Eagle, Colorado, and Summit County, CO has to offer!

At Axis, our professional therapy and rehab services can help bikers and other athletes optimize their performance and prevent injuries. Whether you are recovering from an injury, looking to maximize your potential, or simply want to learn more about proper bike fitting, we can help.

Contact us today for more information about how our services can help you stay safe on your rides and optimize your performance!

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Avon + Edwards are Joining Forces

avon colorado physical therapists

After much thought and evaluation by our team, we have decided to consolidate our Edwards clinic into our Avon clinic location. 

Our staff and resources from our Edwards location will be moved into our Avon clinic on October 31, 2023.

We are excited to be able to offer a wider option of appointment times to accommodate patient needs in one location.

Our Avon location is 142 E Beaver Creek Blvd, Suite 109, next door to Doctors on Call and Kiwi International Delights.