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Book Review: Bike Fit by Phil Burt

bike fit book cover

Bike Fit: Optimise your bike position for high performance and injury avoidance

This is a new book by Phil Burt to be officially released today, August 12, 2014. The title leaves nothing to the imagination – this is a book about bike fit.

I’ve been waiting for a book like this to come around. There are so many books about how to train properly, yet so few about bike fit, despite the fact that bike fit is just as important and just as complex a topic!

Sure, training is crucial. No one will argue that. But as with nutrition, if you get your bike fit wrong, it can nullify all that training you’ve been doing!

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes the importance of a good bike fit, or knows that proper fit is more than finding a good saddle height. And for those that do see the importance, many can’t justify the expense (which could get into the $300-500 range.)

Hopefully this reasonably-priced book can change some of that!

The best way to describe it is eye-opening. I learned a lot myself – both new information as well as getting professional confirmation of theories I had. I’ll probably read through this thing once or twice more, then keep it at the front of my library for easy access, since I’ll be referring back to it frequently!

What You’ll Find In This Book

If you didn’t realize how in-depth you can get with bike fit, you’re in for a treat! Along with the actual bike fitting advice, you’ll learn the history of the bike fit practice, you’ll get an anatomy lesson, and you’ll get to see real-life examples of bike fitting in action, from pros racing the Tour de France to everyday riders like you and me.

The anatomy section covers muscles and other body parts used during cycling, and explains specifically how they’re used during cycling – sort of an Applied Anatomy class. There’s other pertinent info, too.

I thought it was cool how Phil gave a shout out to Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists, which is clearly still applicable today. (Two complementary books for any rider!)

“The Bike Fit Window” is the meat of the book, and this section covers everything about a good bike fit. Everything.

We’re talking details as fine as charting the differences in toe box height between certain popular brands of cycling shoes!

“The Three Pillars of Fit” contains some very interesting info. It’s the stuff I never thought about before. (One of those “you don’t know what you don’t know” situations.)

It’s very interesting and intriguing; the type of stuff you won’t learn in a basic “5 step checklist for a proper bike fit” sort of article.

As if that wasn’t enough, Phil presents “When Problems Occur”, which explains how to deal with problems like hotfoot and other pains. It makes this a great reference book for in your library!

Heck, I found better advice in here from Phil than I’ve gotten from some orthopedists! (And you better believe I paid those guys a hefty sum!)

Then the book gets even more specific, going into specialties like aerodynamic drag, time trialing, etc.

Finally, there is a lot of fun stuff to read, like the case studies and myth busting sections!

It’s spectacular!

Why This Book Impressed Me So Much

Why is it spectacular?

Well…

  • It covers a wide variety of topics.
  • It’s packed with useful photos and graphics.
  • It includes detailed instructions on fitting.
  • It discusses both the “how” and the “why” behind everything.
  • It emphasizes trouble shooting and problem solving.
  • It encourages off-bike work (exercises.)
  • It includes real-life examples and case studies.

And all that is being done by an expert!

Who Could Use This Book

Anyone that rides a bike, wants to ride a bike, or works with people who ride bikes will benefit from this book.

If you already have a bike, you’ll probably learn a thing or two about how to improve your existing fit.

If you are about to go buy a new bike, this book will allow you to go into the buying process with a better understanding of fitting principles will help avoid buying the wrong size bike.

If you’re a coach, you’ll be able to make better recommendations to your riders when it comes to proper bike fit and injury prevention. (Remember, preventing injuries is a way to improve performance!)

My final verdict is…

If you’re on a tight budget, spending $22 on this book is going to help you a lot more than spending $50 on a basic bike fit. If you have tons of money and just need to find a competent fitter, this book is going to help you understand what to look for.

Basically, unless you have Phil Burt himself fitting your bike, you’re going to benefit from reading this book!

Official website: www.Bloomsbury.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Bloomsbury Sport
Product: Bike Fit: Optimise your bike position for high performance and injury avoidance
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-08-12
Obtained Product: Free review copy from publisher.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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2 Comments
  1. One thing this book doesn’t contain is: how to choose the right size frame/bike in the first place! Unless I’m wrong. I can’t find that information in it yet. That’s a bit crap IMO.

  2. @Ben

    You’re correct in that it doesn’t tell you how to walk in a bike shop or go online and pick out the correct size frame. That’s because all frames fit differently. There’s no such resource – and if there is, it’s only an estimate.

    Bike fitting is part of the buying process. If you understand bike fit and the “fit window” (starting on page 38,) you can get on a bike and tell if you’re within that window.

    So, how do you choose the correct bike in the first place? Understand how and why a bike fits. Armed with that knowledge, you can walk into a bike shop and test out bikes and determine which ones fit.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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