Why a Professional Bike Fit Matters

Bike in stand
During a professional bike fit cyclists ride on a trainer so the fitter can see how their body reacts to the bike.

In my more than 20 years as a cyclist and multisport athlete, I discovered that there is a common belief among cyclists: if nothing hurts, their bike fit is just fine. In my more than 4 years as a certified bike fitter, 99% of the people that come to me for a bike fit will report some type of pain or discomfort. So, this number seems to corroborate the belief that if nothing hurts, your bike fit is fine.

What most people do not realize is almost all cyclists ride asymmetrically. Most everyone favors one side of their body. They may hang over the saddle on one side more than the other, which creates an uneven pedal stroke favoring one side on the down pedal stroke. Most people do not have limbs that are equal in length, even a centimeter can make a difference in your bike fit. Lack of flexibility in one side can also play a part in unevenness on a bike.

Along with the natural inclination to favor one side over the other, as the human body ages certain changes are inevitable. You will lose flexibility, change your posture and even change how your body responds to your bike. Changes in your body mean changes in how your bike fits. If at one time you were used to an aggressive road bike for competitive purposes and your riding style has changed to more of a recreational style, changes need to be made to your bike to accommodate the changes in your body. It is important to remember that a properly fit bike is only as good as your biomechanics, flexibility and fitness level and as those change, so must your bike fit.

The 10 Percenters

Yes, cyclists do get bike fits even when nothing hurts. They are obviously the minority because why bother if everything feels good. Consider our discussion about changes in the bio-mechanics of the body and the changes in your personal style of riding. If you know that change is inevitable, it only makes sense to adapt over time. Translated into bike fit speak, this means that the way you fit on your bike needs to be checked and re-checked over time regardless of how your body is responding. By following this simple strategy you will mitigate future discomfort, pain and even injury.

Comfort = Fast

The three components of proper bike fit are

  • Power
  • Efficiency
  • Comfort

All three are not necessary for a proper fit, but all three are optimal. Sometimes two will suffice if the situation calls for it. If you have power but not efficiency, then you are working harder than you have to. Your power is at a deficit. Likewise, if you have power but you also have discomfort or pain, your power will also be at a deficit. Being comfortable on your bike and having the most efficient set-up possible will help you to maximize your power and maintain it for longer.

What Makes a Great Bike Fit

Any bike fit studio can be loaded with the latest and greatest technology but if the fitter, the actual human in charge of your bike fit, does not have the experience or the “eye” for a good bike fit, then you might as well do your own fit by following a You Tube video. While technology helps us notice pieces of the fit that we may not normally see, nothing can replace the knowledge of a well-trained and experienced bike fitter.

For example we use the Dartfish system of motion analysis to track pedal stroke, angles of the body and symmetry between both sides of the body, however it takes a knowledgeable and experienced bike fitter to know what to do with that information.  Before your next bike fit do yourself a favor and learn as much as you can about the individual performing your fit just as the bike fitter interviews you to learn as much as they can about you, you will be glad you did.

fit studio 2
Our bike fit studio is stocked with saddles, handle bars and more to make sure you have the best equipment for your fit.

Visit our new bike fit studio in Brookland! Matt will work with you to make sure your bike fit is just right

Join us in Brookland!

On Saturday April 18 The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse will open the doors to a partnership that is a first of a kind in DC, Bikes and Coffee together under one roof.

We are proud to reveal a beautifully designed space where you can grab a coffee while browsing through bicycles, accessories and apparel or waiting for your bike to be serviced.

Filter espresso
Filter Coffehouse’s espresso machine is ready for customers!


In conjunction with our grand opening, the Brookland Farmer’s market will open it’s 2015 season beginning at 9:00 am. To celebrate our opening, our neighbor and friends at Brookland Pint have been busy collecting several coffee flavored beers for you to enjoy throughout the day.

Bikes, Coffee, Beer and a fully stocked Farmer’s Market. The question is not “why join us for our grand opening”, the question is “why wouldn’t you join us?”

Our team puts the final touches on The Bike Rack's service area.
Our team puts the final touches on The Bike Rack’s service area.

Brookland Opens April 18

Join us for the Grand Opening DC’s first bike/coffee shop brought to you by The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse!

The grand opening coincides with the first Brookland Farmer’s Market of 2015. Along with opening our doors for the first time, we’ll join the many farm stands on the Arts Walk to offer free basic maintenance.


Entering a vibrant neighborhood

The concept of the bike/coffee shop began in bike-centric cities such as Portland and San Francisco, and we knew was a concept that both DC and the Brookland neighborhood would embrace.

Bikes and coffee just go together, ask any cyclist. We feel that a bike shop should be a community gathering spot for the local community and for cyclists. A coffee bar helps to create that feel year round.

We’ll share space under one roof with Filter Coffeehouse at 716 Monroe St. NE. Filter will inhabit the street facing part of the store, and we’ll inhabit the rest. We’ll be offering everything you’ve come to expect from our Logan Circle location: the highest quality products and service!

Filter Coffeehouse will offer the same range of menu items available at its Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom Locations. Customers will be able to enjoy various espresso beverages, pour over coffee, and loose leaf tea. All coffee offered at Filter will be roasted by Ceremony Coffee Roasters in Annapolis.

We’ll continue to be the first bike shop open in DC, with hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Filter Coffeehouse will be open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

We hope to see you all April 18 to help us celebrate our Grand Opening!

Brookland update

Our new shop in Brookland is on target to open at the end of February. While we were delayed for numerous reasons, we’re excited to be so close to opening our doors!

Filter's brick coffee bar will serve all your coffee needs right from the same shop.
Filter’s brick coffee bar will serve all your coffee needs right from the same shop.

We are partnering with Filter Coffeehouse to bring you DC’s only bike shop/coffee shop combination. We will be located in the brand new Monroe Street Market development at Monroe and 8th Street, NE.

The Bike Rack's inventory and service counter soon to arrive at our new space in Brookland.
The Bike Rack’s inventory and service counter soon to arrive at our new space in Brookland.

Brookland, along with the H Street corridor, is bringing a lot of attention to Northeast DC. In addition to The Bike Rack and Filter Coffeehouse, several of our friends and merchant partners are coming to the area or are already there. The list includes Brookland Pint, Right Proper Brewing Company, Sticky Fingers Vegan Bakery, CrossFit DC, Wired Cycling Studio and Busboys and Poets. We are excited about our new venture and even more excited about what is happening in and around Brookland. We hope to see you here!

Best Holiday Gifts for a Cyclist

Not sure what gift would be perfect for that cyclist in your life? Let us help you with a few of our own ideas for holiday gifts.

Bicycle Maintenance Products

Give your cyclist everything they need to take care of their bike and make sure it performs at its peak potential. These products range from bicycle chain lubricants to drivetrain degreasers, from bike washes and polishes to specialty brushes and chain cleaning tools.

Giant Numen + Spark headlight and taillight


Giant Numen+ Spark is a super bright LED bike light featuring 15 bright LED’s giving 20 Lumens of light with 5 modes offering a maximum 6 hours run time. Micro-USB rechargeable Li-ion battery and a quick and easy rubber mounting system round out a high performance light.

The Bike Rack’s Branded Apparel


Our Bike Rack branded apparel offers you a unique look combined with high quality apparel wear. Check out our Castelli jerseys and bibshorts, Swiftwick sox, custom caps and American Apparel t-shirts!

Castelli Estremo Cycling Glove


Gloves like Castelli’s Estremo offer the coverage and weather protection for pedaling through those dark winter months.  Not only do these gloves sport wind- and water-resistant WindStopper X-Fast fabric on the back of the hand, they’re equipped with a fleece liner.  The Estremo Glove delivers with a gripy and durable fabric for the palm and fingers. This offers excellent feedback for control, accurate shifts, and confident braking. The palm is also treated to a vibration dampening palm for reduced fatigue on those longer rides.

Road ID


For peace of mind and possibly saving a life, Road ID is essential for any cyclist out on the road or trail.

Park Tool Big Blue Book


Updated with new information, techniques, photos, procedures, and components, the Big Blue Book 3rd Edition is a complete repair manual created to provide both the novice and veteran mechanic the information needed to perform nearly any repair from trailside repairs to complete overhauls. The Big Blue Book is the perfect reference guide and step-by-step repair manual for nearly any bike, including road, mountain, bmx, and single-speed.

Giant Tool Shed Multitool


With the right tool you can take care of any situation. Giant’s all-new Tool Shed HD1 multi-tool is your solution; your trusted companion no matter where the path leads.

The Bike Rack’s Gift Cards

gift card

Get a gift card for any amount, any item or service and it’s always good!