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  • Writer's picture90 Plus Cycling

Don't Leave Watts on the Table: The Power of Bike Fitting

Updated: Apr 18

Cyclist performing on the road after a bike fit.  Dramatic background with mountains.

Cyclists are on a relentless quest for that extra edge – a way to shave seconds off personal bests, conquer longer distances, or simply feel more powerful and efficient on every ride. But what if performance gains were lurking within your current cycling setup? A professional bike fitting can be the key to unlocking this potential. It goes beyond just ensuring a comfortable ride; it optimizes your biomechanics to help you transfer power to the pedals with maximum efficiency.

Imagine this: You're pouring all your effort into each pedal stroke, but a less-than-ideal fit might be hindering your power output.  Discomfort itself can be a performance barrier. Pain can limit your ability to exert force effectively. Bike fitting addresses these issues, creating a foundation of comfort that allows you to focus on pushing your limits.

Unlocking the Power of Bike Fitting:  Reducing Negative Pressure Through Crank Length

Crank length plays a crucial role in your pedal stroke. The wrong crank length can force your leg beyond its comfortable range of motion, creating a negative pedal stroke. This inefficiency puts stress on your joints (ankle, knee, and hip) and prevents them from transferring power efficiently. Think of it like trying to perform a complex task with an awkward tool. Your body ends up working harder to compensate, leading to fatigue and reduced power output. A professional bike fitting can help ensure the right crank length for your unique body, promoting a smooth, powerful pedal stroke that maximizes your power output.

The "Aha!" Moment:  Feeling the Difference

A common scenario at 90+ Cycling involves cyclists who feel stuck in their performance.  After a personalized fitting process, we might recommend a shorter crank length to address negative pressure. Here's where our dynamic fit bike comes in. Unlike traditional fit bikes with fixed crank lengths, ours features adjustable crank arms.  This adjustability allows us to fine-tune the crank length to your specific body geometry and riding style.  The range of adjustment typically goes from 155mm to 185mm, giving us the ability to dial in the best fit for each cyclist.

Expert bike fitter John talking to a cyclist on the dynamic fit bike enjoying the increase in power and performance of a professional bike fit

So, after analyzing your biomechanics and posture, John, one of our experienced fitters (and owner of 90+ Cycling), might suggest a shorter crank length to improve your pedal stroke.  He can then seamlessly adjust the crank arms on the dynamic fit bike to match his recommendation.

After the first few pedal strokes, you might exclaim, "It just got easier to pedal!"

This is exactly what John hears often from cyclists!  

He smiles and says, "That's great! Now, increase your resistance to the same perceived effort you had before the adjustment.” John then observes the data on the screen.

"Interesting," John says, "Notice how your RPMs (revolutions per minute) have jumped by 10, and your speed has increased by 5 mph?  And look at that, your power output is up by 40 watts!"

The cyclist's eyes widen.  "How did you do that?" they ask.

John leans back and explains, "Well, before the fitting, your body was all jacked up. The improper crank length was creating negative pressure and inefficiencies throughout your pedal stroke. You were essentially working harder for less output.  By optimizing your biomechanics, we've removed those roadblocks, allowing you to transfer power more efficiently.  Now, with the same perceived effort, you're generating more power, spinning faster, and going quicker."

Data Backed by Real-World Results

This scenario isn't uncommon. Cyclists have experienced power gains of 10-40 watts simply by addressing negative pressure points and optimizing their biomechanics. Imagine pushing through headwinds with newfound ease, conquering hills with less effort, or simply feeling stronger on every ride. That's the power of a professional bike fitting.

Maximizing Efficiency:  Foot and Pelvic Stability

Another crucial aspect of a performance-enhancing fit is foot and pelvis stability.  Minor instabilities create "power leaks," where force isn't optimally transferred into the pedals.  Think of it as trying to run a race with loose shoelaces – you lose energy with every step.

Another Common Bike Fitting Scenario  

During the fitting process, we might make adjustments to cleat position, wedges, or even recommend different shoes to improve foot and pelvis stability. You might notice a dramatic shift in the soundtrack of your ride.  A clunky, lower-pitched, surging "whish" pedal stroke you might be accustomed to portrays a lack of neuromuscular control or range of motion issue--a sound that portrays inefficiency and wasted effort. After the adjustment, this could be replaced by a smooth, high-pitched purr. This higher register and consistent sound could be your first clue that your pedal stroke has become noticeably faster and more fluid. You're now transferring power more efficiently, allowing you to spin the pedals at a quicker cadence with less struggle.

This "Aha!" moment often happens right after the fitting adjustments. John might say, "Listen to your stroke!" and you'll hear the difference immediately. The smoother, higher-pitched purr is a testament to the newfound stability and efficiency gained through the fitting process. It's a clear sign that you're no longer fighting against inefficiencies with each pedal stroke.

The data confirms this too

Improved foot and pelvis stability can translate to significant gains in RPMs (revolutions per minute) and power output. This allows you to maintain a faster pace for longer distances, all while reducing fatigue.

Ready to Improve Your Performance?

Don't settle for a generic bike fit. At 90+ Cycling, our experienced fitters take the time to understand your body, riding style, and goals. We use advanced tools and techniques to create a personalized fit that addresses foot and pelvis stability, crank length, and other critical biomechanical factors.

Schedule your fitting today and start unlocking your full potential as a cyclist!

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