Bike Fit Evaluation: Can It Help Diagnose And Prevent Cycling Injuries?

Start Page: 28
Bike Fit Evaluation: Can It Help Diagnose And Prevent Cycling Injuries?
The author notes that serious road and mountain bike riders should use a dedicated bicycle shoe with a rigid sole. Bike shoes should fit well and have adjustment straps to aid in fine-tuning the fitting process. Toe clips and clipless pedal systems are tw
As the authors note, most cyclists place the handlebar height at 2 to 4 cm below the saddle height. Recreational cyclists prefer higher handlebars, whereas professionals want a lower height.
By Richard T. Bouché, DPM, Peter M. Vincent, DPM, and Katrina Sullivan, DPM

    Handlebar reach depends on top tube length and handlebar stem length. While riding with hands positioned on brake hoods, the cyclist should be able to gaze down at the front wheel and the handlebar should obscure the view of the wheel hub (center of wheel). Check all hand positions on the handlebars for comfort with elbows maintained in a slightly flexed position. If the rider constantly has to scoot forward or back on the seat, then check the handlebar reach.

In Summary

    What this article provides is a practical though efficient bicycle fit evaluation protocol that should complement conventional clinical evaluation of the cyclist. Establishing a specific diagnosis and identifying etiologic factors will dictate appropriate treatment.

    Poor bicycle fit is often overlooked when it comes to potential etiologic factors that can affect clinical success. One should consider bicycle fit evaluation on all cyclist patients to some degree, especially when it comes to cases in which the diagnosis is not certain and/or initial treatment has been ineffective. Hopefully, this article will stimulate further study and research.

    Dr. Bouché is a Staff Podiatrist at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, a Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

    Dr. Vincent is a Staff Podiatrist at Washington Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine in Kirkland, Wash.

    Dr. Sullivan practices in Seattle, Wash.

    Dr. Caselli is a staff podiatrist at the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System in Montrose, N.Y. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.


1. Wilber CA, Holland GJ, Madison RE, Loy SF: An epidemiological analysis of overuse injuries among recreational cyclists. Int J Sports Med 16(3):201-6,1995.
Additional References
2. Francis PR: Injury Prevention for the Cyclist: Biomechanical Approach, in Science of Cycling ed by ER Burke, Human Kinetics Books, Champaign, IL 1986.
3. Burke ER: Two Wheeled Athlete, Physiology for the Cyclist, Velo-news, Brattleboro, VT, 1986.
4. Furman A: Lower Extremity Overuse Injuries in the Cyclist, In Foot and Leg Function, Langer Biomechanics Group, June, 1990.
5. Borysewicz E: Bicycle Road Racing: Complete Program for Training and Competition, Velo-News, Brattleboro, VT, 1985.
6. Kolin MJ: Cycling for Sport, Velosport Press Seattle, WA, 1984.
7. LeMond G: Complete Book of Bicycling. Putnam Publishing, 1987.
8. Sanner WH, O’Halloran WD: The biomechanics, etiology, and treatment of cycling injuries. J Am Pod Med Assoc 90(7):354-376, 2000

image description image description

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Enter the characters shown in the image.