The Bike Needs To Look Like The Rider - Andy Pruitt

Dr. Andy Pruitt is the Director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. He has more than 35 years of experience as a specialist in Sports Medicine. He's also one of the world's experts in bike fit.

I can attest to getting a proper bike set-up. For years, on my old Cannondale I would develop low back pain after as little as 1.5 hours of riding. When I bought my Cervelo Carbon Soloist, I went through a thorough bike fitting, following the guidelines in Pruitt's book Andy Pruitt's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists. I can now ride more than 5 hours at a time with no back pain issues.

Small improvements in your position mean not only better comfort on the bike, but better power on it too. As Pruitt has said, "The bike needs to look like the rider."

Did Bike Fit Determine Gold?

When I was at the 2003 World Cycling Championships in Hamilton, ON, Canada, I was mesmerized by the time difference between Michael Rogers' 2nd and Uwe Peschel's 3rd on the podium - 0.56 seconds to be exact, after riding 41.3km! What made that even more important was the eventual stripping of the Gold from David Millar for his EPO use. Rogers became the 2003 World Time Trial Champion.

Imagine yourself winning Gold by only 0.5 seconds. That could easily have come from your ever-so-slightly-better bike fit.

Pruitt Consults With Team Saxo Bank

Pruitt is also the main mind behind Specialized's Body Geometry product line. As pro cycling's Team Saxo Bank is riding Specialized equipment this season, Pruitt recently spent some time with the team reviewing their set-ups. See this surprisingly frank report of his review from

Get Your Own Fit Just Right

I'll be posting tips about bike fit, including a few counter-intuitive things to consider.

In the meantime, it would be worth your time to either get to your local bike shop and have a proper bike fit review. Or you could pick up a copy of Andy Pruitt's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists and start working on it yourself.


  1. Just on observation on getting the bike to fit you.
    At age 58 I was fitted nicely on to a Trek 1200 Road Bike. For two years really enjoyed that bike. But now at 61 I am finding that a change is in store. What I did learn is that the body changes and so should the bike. I hate to give up the Trek road bike, but it appears something like a hybrid with more conventional handle bars is what I need now. Should be mentioned that re-fitting the bike is necessary and don't over do with the bike you have, if the body won't handle it.

  2. Good point Joe. As much as we try to "stay young" our bodies do change as we get older. Seems once we pass 40, the change curve begins getting steeper and steeper.

    A good bike shop should let you try out some alternative stem options. You can get some positive rise stems to bring your handle bars higher. You could even consider getting a new fork. Uncut, the steerer tube may be much higher than what's already on your bike. In that case, you only need to buy a new fork and not a whole new bike.

    The only real solution for our aging bodies? Keep riding, and maybe more important now that we're older, really make sure we do our post-ride stretching. No excuses!

    Ride on,