Bike Fitting Guide
Serving Portland OR | Vancouver WA
Portland, Oregon – the most bike-friendly city in the U.S., with a bicycle network containing 385 miles of bikeways!
Do you experience pain or discomfort when riding your bike?
The cause might be the fit of your bike! Here are the basic causes of pain while cycling:
- Neck and shoulder symptoms are related to handlebar or stem position.
- Lower extremity (knee/hip/ankle) pain is related to saddle position.
Riding your bike should be a pain-free experience. Getting your bike fitted to your body is a great way to minimize pain and maximize enjoyment!
What is a bike fitting?
It’s pretty simple: we examine you and your bike to make sure you fit together! Whether we’re performing a road bike fitting or a mountain bike fitting, the principles and process are the same:
- We’ll give you a comprehensive evaluation of your flexibility, strength, and posture
- Your bike is properly adjusted to fit your individual body
- We’ll look at painful areas and how they might be caused
- We’ll examine the biomechanical alignment between you and your bike
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Why bike fitting by a physical therapist?
Bike fittings are often performed by bike shops; there are even websites that can teach you how to fit the bike yourself. The difficulty with basic fittings is that they don’t address underlying muscle or skeletal issues. Our bodies vary in alignment, muscle balance, conditioning, and injury history. The most important part of your bike riding is: you! Physical therapists have expertise in posture, injury, anatomy, tissue physiology, and biomechanics. They can teach you about your individual cycling posture, strength, and flexibility. Here at New Heights, we look at four main areas during a bike fitting:
- Your bike’s frame: We want to make sure your standover height is appropriate for your inseam, and that the frame is the right size for your entire body.
- Your bike’s components: We look at every component–from forks to saddles–to make sure your body can move appropriately without pain or restriction. Your saddle height, tilt, and type are some of the most important factors we consider. To avoid injury and possible neuropathy, your seat should be properly fitted for your body and for your bike.
- The type of bike you’re riding: There’s a reason road bikes are not made like mountain bikes! We can help you decide which type of bike is right for you.
Handlebar set-up and type is really important for proper upper body posture. Without adjustments, you could experience back or neck pain.
- Your riding performance: Component set-up can change over time, especially as your performance increases. Components like handlebars, forks, pedals, and gears need to shift with your changing physical abilities. Similarly, if you’re just starting out cycling, we can evaluate your current condition, and make small changes to make sure your body is performing well.
Interested in getting a Bike Fitting?
We offer Bike Fits at all three of our clinics.
Please call to schedule a bike fitting appointment today!
Portland Clinic: 503-236-3108
Vancouver Clinic: 360-737-3346Back to Physical Therapy Treatment Options
Bike Fitting in Portland OR and Vancouver WA
Seeing Patients in the following Portland and Vancouver areas: