Whether you’re a mountain biker, road biker or a little of both, a Jans’ expert bike fitting can make a world of difference to how frequently and how far you ride. While professional bike racers have known this for years, recreational riders can benefit from a custom bike fit as well. Not only does the process improve rider comfort, but a proper bike fitting will exponentially increase your performance once the cleats, saddle, handlebar positioning and shift/brake levers are dialed in.
When I moved to Park City, I thought I was a mountain biker. After one very humbling ride at Round Valley, I soon discovered that “mountain” biking in northern Michigan wasn’t nearly the same thing as biking in the Wasatch Mountains. I came off that initial ride more than a little battered – lower back pain, shoulder fatigue and a tweak in my left knee. When I took up the sport of road biking, I noticed the same series of ailments, even when pedaling along smooth asphalt instead of navigating rock gardens and tree roots. So I went to see the experts at Jans to figure out what could be done to not only improve my comfort on the bike, but to lessen fatigue after the ride.
Turns out that neither my mountain bike nor road bike were properly fitted to my body’s physiology, let alone my specific riding style. During the first step of the Jans bike fitting process, we determined that since I was a recreational rider with no aspirations for racing that a Quick Fit was the way to go. Jans also offers an Expert Fit which dives deeper into the bike fitting process and is designed for riders who spend significant amounts of time on their bike or for folks who just purchased a new ride.
Set The Cleats
Once we determined the specific bike fit for my needs, Todd Henneman, Jans Head Bike Buyer, worked on setting the cleats on my bike shoes, as the second step in the process. He discovered that the sole of my left bike shoe was compressing so the cleat wasn’t level. This was causing the tweak that I complained about in my left knee. Todd was able to adjust the cleat properly, thereby eliminating any future knee pain.
Next we turned our attention to seat height, the third step in the bike fitting process. Todd quickly discovered that my seat was too low, given my leg extension, and adjusted it upwards just mere millimeters until it was in the perfect position. This seemingly minor adjustment not only relieved my lower back and shoulder pain, but it also significantly improved my performance while climbing.
Adjust Shift & Brake Levers
As the fourth and final step, Todd checked out the ergonomic efficiency of my shift and brake levers. Since I tend to ride a little higher on my road bike, he moved the shift and brake levers higher on the handlebar. On my mountain bike, Todd rotated the shift levers so they were positioned where I hold the grips naturally. This kept me from straining when I was shifting which further increased my performance on uphill grunts.
As a result of my bike fitting with Jans, I received noticeable relief when riding either my mountain bike or road bike. Not only could I ride longer without feeling fatigue, but my performance significantly increased, making it easier to keep up with my stronger, younger riding partner. More importantly, it has made biking that much more enjoyable. And that’s what it’s all about.
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor