"Bit of an update for you following my bike fit last Friday. I went out on Sunday for 60 miles and it felt so much better. More power through the pedal stroke but using less energy. Climbing was easier and I generally felt more assured and in a better position on the bike. Even my saddle felt better. My only regret is not having done this years ago. I've already had a few PR's on Strava so the proof is right there. Thank you for your assistance and knowledge in making my cycling more enjoyable".
Every bikefit is a mixture of Aerodynamics, Power Output and Comfort or sustainability. The mix will vary depending on your cycling goals. If you are targeting track pursuit, city centre crit racing or long, hilly sportives then your position will be different.
You don't have to be an elite bike rider to benefit hugely from having the best possible position on your bike. We use a mixture for science and technology, rider feedback and 25+ years of experience to put you into the most comfortable and efficient position on your bike, taking into account your unique physiology, flexibility and cycling goals.
There is no "one size fits all" as we are all different shapes and sizes with differing amounts of flexibility and different aims and goals. During your bikefit we work with you to achieve the optimum fit for you..
Some benefits of undertaking a bike fit include:
- Improved comfort
- Improved handling and safety
- Improved power output
- Reduced injury risk
- Reduced pain and numbness
- Improved saddle comfort
- Reduced fatigue
Your bikefit will take into account your personal biomechanics and your goals on the bike. Every bikefit is a compromise between comfort, power and aerodynamics. If your goal is to ride long tours and Sportives where comfort is the most important characteristic then your position will be different to somebody who wants to ride short criteriums where we would be much more focused on power and aerodynamics.
The process starts with a discussion about your current position, any problems or injuries you have been having and a check on your biomechanics and flexibility. We will also discuss your goals and aims on the bike.
We will check the cleat position on your shoes and adjust them if necessary.
Once we are ready to start the fit we will allow you to warm up and then we will start to take short videos with our Dartfish software which allows us to measure ankle, knee, hip and shoulder angles so that we can monitor changes until we achieve the best position for you. We will discuss the reasons for each change and If we have identified any abnormalities such as different leg lengths or injuries causing reduced mobility then we will take these into account.
The normal order of changes for a bikefit is.
- Shoe cleat position
- Saddle angle
- Saddle height
- Saddle fore/aft position
- Handlebar width
- Handlebar height and reach and angle
- Knee tracking
In addition to the steps above we may also include an IDMatch saddle assessment if you have been suffering saddle discomfort which we think may be related to saddle type and IDMatch cleat fit if we do not believe that we have achieved a correct cleat position by on bike assessment.
Bikefit is an iterative process and making a change to one measurement also alters other measurements we have to repeatedly have to work through a number of steps until we achieve the optimum position. As an example, altering saddle fore/aft position will also alter saddle height measured from the centre of the bottom bracket.
Bikefit is not a one off process, we appreciate that going out for a long ride is different to the relatively short rides during the fit so if your normal training highlights any issues with your fit we will revisit it and adapt your position if necessary.
The process for fitting you on a TT or Triathlon bike is very similar but there are a few additional steps. Check here for additional fit information for TT and Tri bikes.
Dynamic Bikefit - Road, Gravel, MTB
Dynamic Bikefit - TT or Triathlon
Additional Bike (eg road and TT/Tri)
LOOKING FOR A BIKE FIT FOR A TT / Triathlon BIKE? CLICK HERE FOR FOR MORE INFO
Following your fit you will receive a report with your initial and final fit measurements, details of the changes made and any future recommendations. The report will also contain a link to allow you to view and download the videos and angle measurements taken during your session.
Some of the common bike position faults we see are:
Saddle too low
If your saddle is too low it will reduce your ability to produce power as you cannot straighten your leg sufficiently and the key muscles involved in straightening your leg never reach their optimum length for power generation.
It also becomes harder to start pushing down at the top of the pedal stroke as your knee is overly bent.
When your knee is overly bent it creates excessive force across the knee joint as you start to push down.
Cyclists with their saddles too low often develop pain at the front of their knee due to this excessive force. To compensate for the low saddle position people sometimes push their heels down excessively in an attempt to extend their knee more and sometimes tilt the saddle up at the nose in an attempt to make the saddle seem higher.
The correct height will vary from person to person and depends on a variety of factors. When performing a bike fit we are aiming to get the riders knee angle between 140-145 degrees at the bottom of the pedal stroke and above 68 degrees at the top of the pedal stroke and a change in ankle angle of between 15 and 30 degrees. If we can achieve one of these angles but not both then the next step is to look at saddle for/aft position and crank length.
Saddle Too High
This can be even worse than your saddle being too low! If your saddle is slightly too high you very quickly lose the ability to optimally develop power. You will be stretching excessively to reach the pedal as it approaches the bottom of the pedal stroke and you cannot continue to generate force. You may also start to feel discomfort at the back of your knee due to excessive stretching.
In addition you may start to rock on the saddle to compensate for the saddle being too high creating discomfort in the lower back, arms and shoulders as your upper body struggles to reduce the rocking movement.
If you have limited hamstring flexibility this will limit your saddle height to the lower end of the expected range.
Over Stretching to Reach the Bars
If your bike top tube or stem is too long you will have to reach excessively to reach the handlebars, which can cause significant discomfort in hands, arms, neck and shoulders. This is often a problem for women who tend to have longer legs and shorter bodies than men. People often to try to correct this by moving the saddle forward to reduce the reach but this can create another saddle position problem. It is important to fix the saddle position relative to the bottom bracket and pedals and then adjust the handlebar position by adjusting height and stem length.
You should never tilt your saddle nose up as you then you have to hang on to the bars to stop sliding backwards, your pelvis also starts to tilt backwards putting extra strain on your lower back. If you feel you want to tip the nose then your saddle may be too low or too far forward.
If you suffer from lack of hamstring flexibility or pain/discomfort in the lower back then tilting the nose down by a maximum of 2 degrees can improve comfort as it allows your pelvis to tilt forward slightly, reducing the strain on your lower back. You can experiment with the position between 0 and -2 degrees to find the optimum, most comfortable position for you. On a TT/Tri bike you can tilt the saddle down more than 2 degrees as your weight is supported by your elbows on the armrests, but if you feel you want to tilt it down excessively check your saddle height. It should never be tilted so far that you are constantly sliding forward down the saddle.