The main purpose of this study was to identify a suitable bicycle setup for children between 7 and 16 years which accommodates developmental differences in anthropometrics, flexibility and perceptions of comfort.
One hundred and forty-two subjects between 7 and 16 years of age, free from any physical impairments or injury, volunteered to participate in the study.
Data collection comprised 4 components: 1) measurement of anthropometrics, 2) assessment of flexibility, 3) determination of comfortable bicycle position and 4) assessment of bicycle fit limits.
A modified “sit and reach test” was used to assess the combined hamstring, hip and lower back flexibility of each subject.
The bicycle fit was performed on an adjustable fitting bicycle; the fitting bicycle was modified to accommodate a large range of anthropometric variations including very small children.
Once the bicycle fitting process was completed, we were then interested in the range for reach and rise that the subject would be comfortable with; the rationale for including this procedure was to accommodate the fact that when putting our results into practice, a specific configuration might not be achievable on a child’s bicycle.
The authors observed that seat height (measured from the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle in line with the seat tube) was significantly predicted by inside leg length.
Differing rates of growth of thigh and shank may have an impact on cycling kinematics, with shank length showing the greater growth rate.
The authors concluded based on the results that the most important bicycle setup parameters can be obtained from only three simple measurements – inseam, torso length and arm length, requiring neither expensive equipment not extensive training.
These measurements may then be used via simple calculations to generate an optimum seat height and reach.
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