My recent blog post about saddle comfort falls hand in hand with this one. The Ribble hasn’t felt quite right for a while, it has still been quick but there has been a couple of niggles. I’ve felt like I’ve not been getting the most out of being in the saddle, felt like I was too far forward over the pedals, and had pains between my shoulders after long rides. All of which are disappointing seeing as I have had and paid for a bike fit previously.
Luckily my friend Andy works at Hargroves Cycles Fareham and has just been trained in the Specialized Body Geometry bike fit system, and to complete his training he has to assess and fit ten customers. I had the privilege of being one.
Specialized BG Fit is scientifically tested to work to improve power, comfort, and endurance. As Specialized are one of those bicycle manufacturers who literally make everything, their fit system really is a complete package. They have options on fit for everything from saddles to shoe foot beds, for all different body shapes and fitness levels.
Getting into the fit Andy started by asking if I had any specific issues whilst on the bike, or if I had any specific goals for the fit. My issue was as before, something didn’t feel right on the bike, and my goal was to increase my endurance and comfort.
The bike was then popped into the turbo trainer and the position of the saddle/stem/cranks/handlebars were measured in relation to each other for later comparison. I then jumped on and the set up was photographed before anything was changed. Off the bike Andy moved onto taking assessment of my bodies flexibility and the way my joints in my hips, knees, and ankles moved. A very impressive assessment at that, it highlighted the way my feet sit in my shoes , how they were lacking support, and how foot beds and toe wedges would correct my pedalling motion. There was also an assessment of my sit bone width, to gauge what saddle would suit me better. To aid calculation of how much drop between saddle and stem I could handle, flexibility and range of motion tests were done. All the tests carried out were on both sides on my body, working to the worst performing side as the base point. Luckily for me both side performed the same! but this would help people with restricted movement or previous injuries to find the best fit for them.
Back on the bike again Andy could start to make some adjustments based on his findings. Firstly my cleats needed adjusting, my feet were set too far back causing instability in the pedal stroke and adding to fatigue. Then using a weight hung from my knee he could see my seating position was too far forward over the pedal axle at full leg extension, meaning my saddle would need to be shifted back an inch. In doing this it caused me to stretch even more. My arms were already locked out with the existing drop and stem length, the saddle move worsened this. With an adjustable stem and different post in place a more neutral fit was achieved, with no lock out of my arms and a better position over the pedals. Pedalling on the bike I felt a lot more stable, I wasn’t clenching my ankles to keep my feet steady, my knees felt constant under pedalling, and my arms weren’t locked out. This would help to stop the crushing between my shoulder blades whilst riding. I was then photographed to finish the fit so that comparisons to original could be made.
The fit left me with a little shopping list because I’ve made some errors with my previous purchases. The seat post I had fitted was a direct fit with no layback and my stem length was 100mm. Both were big contributors to my positioning problems but purchased because of weight chasing! Lesson learned. I’ve since purchased replacements and the bike will be set up ready for riding in the new year. The other thing the fit service left me with was a complete breakdown of where the bike was before the fit and where it finished up afterwards, this included pre and post fit photos of my position and all in a handy PDF document.
Overall I was very impressed with the level of analysis and the knowledge the service was carried out with but the biggest benefit has been how I feel whilst sat on the bike. It feels more natural and less Obree! I’m very much looking forward to getting out there on it as that’s where the real test of the service will be. Andy has invited me back to complete the fit when I have hit up a few miles to ensure I have gained what I was looking for, and make any other adjustments if necessary. More on that when it happens!
To wrap up, if you need a bike fit and are in the Fareham area I recommend you check yourself in with Andy. You may just be surprised on what you could gain, even if you have been sold a professional fit in the past.