Flandria Cycles Stellenbosch
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Flandria Cycling Sales, Spares and Repairs

Optimum Cycling Position

Optimum cycling position is a difficult question that many never find an answer to, and others spend years searching for. Anyone who tells you how to instantly find it is wrong. There are simply too many variables. Do you want the optimum position aerodynamically, or the optimum position biomechanically? Do you want the optimum position for road racing, or for short time trials, or for leisure riding, or for mountain biking i.e. cross country, marathon riding or downhill.

There is no single absolute answer to the question.

Ideally, if money and time were no obstacles, you would have a different bike for every type of riding, each set up differently. Even then there would be trade offs between comfort, and biomechanical and aerodynamic efficiency.

Races can last up to 7 hours, and during this time riders are subjected to many different types of demands. One minute, they may be riding at touring pace in the bunch, the next chasing a breakaway group, or even riding flat out off the front in a lone effort. They ride on the flat, up and down mountains an in all weathers.

The ideal position is an all round best compromise position and we believe that the best place to start is with the focus on comfort. If your bike isn’t comfortable, you won’t want to ride it.

As mentioned earlier, there are no set formulas to find a definitive all round perfect it. There are however, guidelines on determining road racing position which can be used as a starting point. Once this starting point has been established, bike fit becomes an evolutionary process over time. The more you ride, the more your body will adapt to cycling. For example, you may have started with a 10cm stem, but after a year this may feel uncomfortable short as your back may have become more supple, meaning that you now require a longer stem. By swapping the stem, your position has evolved, and you will be more stretched out, with a flatter, more aerodynamic back. Your body has allowed you to make this change, so your comfort will not suffer.

More cyclists often experiment with saddle height and fore/aft position, stem length and bar height as their cycling position evolves over time and with experience.

There are three contact points that a cyclist makes with the bike. The saddle, the handlebars, and the pedals. These points are all adjustable to a certain degree. The saddle height can be adjusted by raising of lowering the seat post, while the fore / aft position can be altered by sliding the saddle either way its rails. Handlebar height position is altered by raising or lowering the stem, whereas handlebar extension can be changed by the use of a different length stem. Foot position on the pedal can be adjusted too, as modern pedal systems allow cleat adjustment. Some are also self adjusting to a certain degree.

The only component of the bike fit element that that limits the adjustability is the heart of the bike – the frame. Once the correct frame size is determined the evolution process can begin.


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