Saddle, stem, handlebars and seatpost.

The costs involved in a bike fit

You might be wondering what sort of costs you are up for when seeking your Winning Position.

My philosophy is to make this process as cost effective as possible. I like to accommodate a cyclist’s existing equipment where possible. That said, it’s common that additional equipment is required to achieve a comfortable and efficient position. I’ll now outline some of the common expenses that customers encounter in implementing a bike fit.

The fit

First of all, there is the cost of the fit itself. Your outlay here is paying for the time and expertise of the fitter. It also covers the not insignificant cost of the equipment the fitter has invested in to make the fit an efficient and effective exercise.

A stem

In my experience, the most common additional item required is a stem. The cost for this can range from about $50 to “the sky’s the limit“. The price typically depends on the material and construction method used in the manufacture of the stem.

It’s my experience that about 90% of customers require a replacement stem.

Cleats, wedges and shims

Cleats, wedges and shims are the second most common additions. They are required to optimise the foot pedal interface.  Getting this interface right is a crucial part of any good bike fit.

Wedges are so commonly required, and so important if required, that I include 2 in the price of a fit. If more are required, their price ranges from $3 – $25.

A saddle

Approximately 20% of my customers find that a new saddle markedly improves their comfort when riding.

The price of a saddle can range from around $100 up to over $500. In my experience, the cost of a saddle and a person’s comfort level are pretty much unrelated. Some fortunate cyclists are most comfortable on a less expensive saddle. Some derrieres are comfortable on nothing but the most expensive perch. Which one works for you is a case of ‘sit on it and see‘.

A seat post

On rare occasions, it’s necessary to acquire a new seat post. This can be due to the saddle needing to be higher or have more or less set back. Prices range from $50 up to hundreds of dollars depending on construction material and whether the seat post is a proprietary item attainable only from the bike’s manufacturer.

Cranks

Sometimes a different crank length is required. This is an expensive change, but one that can make a world of difference to the comfort and efficiency of the cyclist. Cranks start at around $350 and go up from there.

Handlebars/aerobars

Sometimes the bars need to be swapped out to alleviate wrist, arm, elbow, shoulder or neck discomfort. A change might also be required to enable the use of all hand positions. In the case of aerobars, a different model might be required to achieve the fitted position on an existing bike.

It’s my opinion that this is a change that should occur much more often than it does. Far too many cyclists simply ride the handlebars that came on their bike, not understanding the improvements in comfort and performance that can be achieved with the right set of handlebars.

Handlebar prices typically range from about $150 up to “the sky’s the limit“… again. Construction methods and materials are the main influences on the price of handlebars.

Labour costs

Finally, there may be a labour cost for the client to get their favourite mechanic to implement changes. Whether this is necessary, and how much it costs, is often dependent on how integrated your bike is. Having to change cabling, lengthen or shorten hydraulic hoses and fishing cables and hoses through internal routing takes time and time costs money.

Be prepared

It’s very rare that any one client would need all of these changes. However it’s also rare that there are no additional expenses incurred. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for some of the additional costs involved in a bike fit. It’s unfortunate when riders compromise their comfort, efficiency and enjoyment on the bike to save some money. In the grand scheme of things, the money spent is a small outlay compared to the joy of riding in an optimal position.