Cycling: Three crucial steps define bike fitting

Owner of Loue Bicycles – Timothy Lim, who has competed at UCI-ranked level races across Asia, Australia and France, explains why a bike fitting is important and what to look out for.
Former national cyclist Timothy Lim, owner and director of Loue Bicycles, says bike fitting is "mainly adjusting a bicycle to fit the rider, based on his needs and goals."
Former national cyclist Timothy Lim, owner and director of Loue Bicycles, says bike fitting is "mainly adjusting a bicycle to fit the rider, based on his needs and goals."ST PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI

Bike fitting may be an unfamiliar concept in Singapore but as Loue Bicycles owner and director Timothy Lim explains, it is a simple practice that anyone can adopt easily.

The former national cyclist said: "Bike fitting is mainly adjusting a bicycle to fit the rider, based on his needs and goals. The bicycle can be adjusted in many ways - the saddle height, the handlebar height, choice of saddle or handlebar, the bike size.

"A bike fit helps the rider find out the correct components to use and allows the rider to enjoy cycling and have more comfort in a more efficient and safe manner."

The entire bike fit process for one cyclist takes about three hours and comprises three key steps.

First, the bike fitter will observe how the cyclist rides on a stationary platform, tracking his movements via a motion analysis system.

The second step is for the bike fitter to interview the cyclist and discuss what issues the latter has been facing, such as the cyclist's injury history and cycling style, and how they can be rectified.

Finally, the cyclist lies flat for a physical assessment for any joint issues or muscle injuries. The cyclist will also be asked to perform a single-leg squat on each leg for a balance and stability test.

A bike fit can cost between $170 to $500 depending on the tests done. However, for those who are not able to afford the time or money to get a professional fit, Lim has some tips to help riders perform adjustment to improve their cycling.

The 29-year-old said: "According to your needs, you can adjust your saddle height and how high your handlebars should be. A general rule is when you're seated and your feet are hanging, the tips of your toes should just touch the ground.

"A few simple things like wearing the correct bib shorts to ensure proper contact between the pelvis and saddle is important. Wearing the right shoe size is also key."

Lim will go more into detail on the topic in The Importance of Bike Fit talk at the National University Hospital Sports Centre on July 23 as part of the OCBC Cycle Carnival. He will also do a live demonstration of a bike fit with a cyclist and his bike.

Along with game stations and information booths, there will also be sports management tips and injury management talks by experts.

See how a bike fitting is done. http://str.sg/bikefit

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Three crucial steps define bike fitting'. Print Edition | Subscribe