Buying a bike doesn't stop with the purchase. Cycling experts recommend taking the time to have your bicycle professionally fitted.
Local shops offer a variety of levels of fitting, from simple adjustments available for free with the purchase of a new bike to elaborate processes involving specialized software, certifications and equipment. Here's a look at what's available.
Baltimore Bicycle Works
1813 Falls Road, Baltimore; 410-605-0705; baltimorebicycleworks.com
Baltimore Bicycle Works offers three levels of fits:
•The Quick Fit ($25, 20-30 minutes): Body measurements and frame size and saddle height suggestions.
•The Recreational/Commuter Fit ($50, 30 minutes-one hour): Quick Fit plus stem height, saddle height and fore/aft position adjustment, product recommendations and basic clipless cleat mounting and adjusting.
•The Advanced Fit ($150, about two hours): Elements of the Recreational/Commuter Fit plus an introductory interview covering goals, health issues and history, measurements, flexibility assessment, analysis and adjustment in a trainer or fit cycle, analysis of angles and positioning of knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows and hands.
Joe's Bike Shop
Fells Point: 723-B South Broadway, Baltimore; 443-869-3435. Mount Washington: 5813 Falls Road, Baltimore,; 410-323-2788; joesbikeshop.com
Joe Traill of Joe's Bike Shop calls his approach to fitting "old school." He uses his practiced eye, watching customers on their bikes, coupled with careful interviewing to identify a complete body fit. By appointment; $50 per hour (most take between 30 minutes and one hour).
Light Street Cycles
1124 Light St., Baltimore; 410-685-2234; lightstcycles.com
A quick 15-minute fit is free. More involved fittings typically take about an hour and run between $100 and $120.
1544 York Road, Lutherville; 410-583-8734; luthervillebikes.com
Lutherville Bikes offers different levels and types of fit:
•The Saddle Fit ($50). A Cleat Alignment and Foot Assessment ($75, about 45 minutes).
•The Basic Bicycle Fit ($100, one hour to 90 minutes) includes the cleat and foot assessment plus a saddle height and reach adjustment, designed to get the correct height, fore/aft positioning and stem.
•The BG, or Body Geometry Fit ($175, about two hours), includes an interview process to discuss flexibility and injury issues, flexibility measurements and a basic bicycle fit.
Monkton Bike, Tube & Cafe
1900 Monkton Road, Monkton, 443-212-5951; bikestuff.net.
Monkton Bike doesn't conduct in-depth fittings, but it includes a simple adjustment free with any bike purchase.
Baltimore: 6239 Falls Road, Baltimore; 410-828-1127. Columbia: 10730 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia; 410-995-1894; princetonsports.com
After purchasing a bike, Princeton offers free saddle and handlebar adjustment that takes a few minutes.
With the Bicycle Sizing Fit ($60 and 30 minutes for road bikes; $75 and 45-60 minutes for triathlon bikes), the saddle height, angle and fore and aft position, reach and cleat position are set based on customer measurements.
The Three-Dimensional Body Geometry Bike Fit ($300 and 90 minutes to two hours for road bikes; $350 and 21/2 to three hours for triathlon bikes) is a fully guaranteed approach that may take multiple sessions. It includes a pre-fit inventory of riding experiences, goals and injury history and a 20-point physical assessment.
Columbia: Snowden Center, 6925 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia; 410-290-6880. Ellicott City: 8450 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City; 410-461-7878. Federal Hill: 1410 Key Highway, Baltimore; 410-986-0001. Owings Mills: St. Thomas Shopping Center, 9930 Reisterstown Road, Owings Mills; 410-581-9700. Westminster: 1 Railroad Ave., Westminster; 410-876-3001. racepacebicycles.com
Race Pace offers a basic sizing and fitting, including seat height, leg position and reach, free with the purchase of any bicycle (and for $50 for people who bring in a bike). The process takes 30 to to 45 minutes.
They also offer two more in-depth fitting options:
•The Performance Fit ($150, one hour-90 minutes) is a personalized fit conducted by a specialist, including an interview regarding history and goals and in-depth measurements to determine and set angles and positions.
•The Pro Level Fit (about $250 for road bikes and $350 for triathlon bikes, usually between 90 minutes and two hours) is conducted in the Columbia location only. The Pro Level process includes testing for athletic performance using monitors and specialized software, resulting in a highly specialized fit and detailed training and performance data.
The Bicycle Connection
Bel Air: 2108 Emmorton Road, Bel Air; 410-569-8833 Cockeysville: 10435 York Road, Cockeysville; 410-667-1040. thebicycleconnection.com
At The Bicycle Connection, quick fits, focusing mostly on seat height and position, range from $50 to $75, while more detailed fits covering cleats and the remainder of the bike run about $100 to $150.
Hampden: 725 West 36th Street, Baltimore; 443-759-5620. Savage: 8600 Foundry Street, Savage; 410-824-8099. twenty20cycling.com
Twenty20 offers a $50 Express Fit, which includes a basic setup (this is included free with bike purchases), and a $200-$250 Body Geometry Fit with a BG-certified fitter.