Bike Fitting Can Make or Break Your Ride

Bike Fitting Can Make or Break Your Ride

Known as The Bike Fit Doctor, Marvin Madlangbayan is a professional cycling fitter certified in the world’s top bike fitting techniques including Serotta, Cobb, Levine, FIST and BIKE FIT. Marvin has done close to 1,000 custom fittings and works with road cyclists, triathletes and mountain bikers, both amateur and professional.

Marvin has worked with the Spanish Pro European Road Race Team “ONCE,” and as a personal trainer has both trained and fitted several Ironman World Championship qualifiers, cycling Triple Crown finishers and Boston Marathoners.

The fact that Marvin is a former Masters Category 3 Road/Cyclo-Cross racer doesn’t hurt either. His experience as a consultant to major bicycle manufacturers in helping these companies design frames, combined with his racing experience and his intimate knowledge of frame design, allows Marvin to bring the highest possible technical quality in custom bike fitting to the table.

We asked Marvin about the importance of bike fitting, and here is what he had to say:

“Buying a bike is like buying a tailored suit or dress. That’s right. When you spend your hard-earned cash you want to get the most value out of your investment. You wouldn’t buy an expensive suit or dress without making sure that it fits you just right. Even if you buy something off the rack, chances are you need it hemmed here and taken in or out there. It’s the same with a bike.

“An incorrectly fitted bike will:

  • decrease your comfort level
  • inhibit or hamper your performance
  • limit your body’s ability to perform at an optimum level
  • put you in an inefficient riding position
  • develop the wrong set of muscle groups, which will further put you in an inefficient riding posture
  • decrease your enjoyment level

“A correctly fitted bike will:

  • increase your comfort level
  • maximize performance
  • increase your pedaling efficiency
  • take away the limiters that your body has such as carpal tunnel, back issues, etc.
  • improve bike handling and control
  • help you develop the correct muscles, which will result in a correct and performance-efficient riding posture
  • increase your enjoyment”

Get Fitted First, Then Buy the Bike

If you are like most people, you do some research online or at your local bike shop, read some magazine reviews, talk to some friends about what bikes they like, get an idea of your frame size and go into a store and buy your bike. You start riding and, if it is a bit uncomfortable, you think to yourself, “I just need to ride more” or “I just need to get into better shape.” You learn to adjust, or you don’t really know anything better than what you are riding, and think this is how a bike should feel—this is as good as it gets. And if it is really uncomfortable, you splurge and get a cushier seat and live with it. According to Marvin, “You don’t have to live with it!”

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Marvin adds, “Every body is different and unique. Every body has a wide variety of skeletal dimensions. Even if you have the right bike frame size, there are many other factors that make up that perfect fit.”

If you are a serious rider, getting the right fit can be one of the most important and yet most complicated and frustrating processes a cyclist can try to figure out on his or her own. There are as many fitting philosophies and techniques as there are cyclists, but not all of them get the result you want—that sweet-spot combination of comfort and optimal performance efficiency. That’s why it is important to know how to choose a bike fitter and bike shop that knows how to help you achieve that sweet spot on your bike and get the most value out of it.

You want a shop or bike fitter that cares about your level of enjoyment and success. Make sure the fitter you select takes the time to get to know you, your goals, your strengths and any areas you may wish to address.

We asked Marvin how nutrition weighs in, in terms of performance and comfort on a bike:

“Proper nutrition, like proper bike fitting, is crucial to optimizing performance. I use Natural Vitality’s sports product Nutra Rev® as a cardio boost in my water bottle. I sip it throughout a ride, and I can tell it enables my muscles to work better. I don’t feel as taxed as I should be feeling, and it gives me that extra ounce of reserve when I need to hammer out a bigger effort. To be honest, it makes me feel like I am in better shape than I really am.

“I also use Natural Vitality’s Organic Life Vitamins®, or “OLV” for short, as an overall maintenance and recovery supplement. And here is a trick that works for me. I take both products before I go to bed and the nutrients that they contain seem to saturate my body more fully, leaving me less dehydrated and thirsty in the morning after a hard training ride or race the day before.

“Cycling is an investment in one’s self. The health benefits and the enhanced enjoyment of life, the thrill of competition or the fun of a lazy afternoon ride are all there to be had with a good fitting bike and proper nutrition.”

For more information visit Marvin’s website at