Knowing your limits

A bike fit can help with issues such as discomfort and knee pain, but there will often be limitations as to what can be achieved. There are a number of factors which may impact your position.
  • Optimal fit

    This is term used for your ideal position. In reality it rarely happens as there are always limitations that restrict riders, even the pros.

  • Accomodative fit

    This is where physical restrictions limit the position that can be achieved. It’s something you can work to improve, but the best available on the day.

  • A process not an event

    A bike fit should be seen as a process, not an event. By working with your fitter on the limitations mentioned above you can take steps towards improving your position further.


…but perfection isn’t always possible. At least, not necessarily at the first attempt.

A good fitter aims to get you into an optimal position. This refers to the ideal position that allows the rider to best accomplish all of their goals.

In reality it rarely occurs and even professional cyclists have to make accomodations for their physical limitations. We call this an accommodated fit. This position is a compromise based on one or more limiting factors. For example, it may be necessary to compensate for tight hamstrings, or one leg being longer than the other.

Ideally, an accommodated fit is a short-term solution while the fitter works with the cyclist to identify the restrictions and offer possible solutions.

The goal of the fitter is to remove accommodations over time as the cyclist improves their function, form, and flexibility. Interventions can include education, treatment, or adjustments to the bike.



Things that may prevent you from achieving an optimal fit include; your experience and skill level, and your level of conditioning and general health, which can be effected by:
• Core strength, stability, and control
• Coordination
• Prior and current injuries
• Surgeries
• Flexibility, joint immobility, and body asymmetry
The bike and components may also limit the position you can achieve – it may not fit no matter what alterations are made.

Find a fitter

Getting a fit with an IBFI certified fitter can help you work through your limiting factors




A good bike fit can help with a host of common cycling injuries, as well as improving comfort and efficiency. Some issues, however, could require medical intervention. They may be helped by a bike fit, but would be better assessed in collaboration between a bike fitter and a medical professional.

A good bike fit can help with…

  • Knee pain
  • Low – mid back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Hand pain and numbness pain
  • Foot pain or numbness (hot spots)
  • Perineum pain or numbness (saddle)
  • Other mild discomfort issues

But some things might require medical attention…

  • Pain or problems that persist after several bike fit attempts
  • Pain persists off the bike, including at night
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Pelvic, bowel, bladder or sexual problems
  • Joint symptoms such as swelling, warmth, locking, catching, or popping
  • Significant leg length discrepancies (defined as greater than 5 mm)
  • Sudden or noticeable decline in exercise capacity