100519 Road Bike Fit

Athlete Background

  • Experience: Intermediate
  • Interest: Sprinting and group riding
  • Goals: Gain USA Cycling upgrade points via Crit Racing
  • Injuries: None
  • Notables: Athlete’s max power output is 1200 plus watts

Bike Data

  • Brand: Giant
  • Model: Propel Advance
  • Size: 52
  • Year: 2014
  • Notables: The athlete was experiencing discomfort in the saddle and recently installed a new stem. The athlete also had a cracked handlebar that I believe occurred over the course of the season especially during the workouts that included sprints.

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a small adjustment to the fore position by 4-5 millimeters to meet the fit solution of 45mm.
  • The next step is to check the saddle tilt. Tilt was set at +1.5. A tilt in the positive position can cause lower back pain as it causes the athlete to reach for the bars. The saddle was set to -1 degree.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was 7mm too high which can also add to saddle discomfort. The saddle was lowered 7mm.
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension (measured from the sweet spot of the saddle to the center of the handlebar). As mentioned teh athlete recently purchased a new stem in an effort to get into a more aggressive position. The problem with the longer stem is that it was too long and was causing the athlete to lock his arms which were also causing additional pressure on the perineum i.e. saddle discomfort. The athlete had an 80mm stem and considering the need to reduce the reach I reinstalled the stem. The next step was to assess reach after the reinstall of the stem – the reach was still too long. So, I measured the reach on the handlebars and determined that the 100 mm reach was too much so I suggested a compact bar with an 80mm reach (I had a used one in stock and installed it). The stem in combination with the compact bar finally got effective body extension to the solution.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). Considering the athlete’s flexibility and interests (sprinting) I placed the stem in the negative position (+/- 6-degree flip/flop stem) and kept one 10mm spacer – this in combination with the headset set the athlete at 40mm with compliments his interests and torso angle needs.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods, bar angle and lever reach. Being that new bars were installed I set the angle at 10 degrees and made sure the hoods had a flat and smooth transition from the handlebar to the hood (final visual assessment would ensure proper wrist angle)
  • Last I install new cleats. The new cleats were set 2.5 mm closer to the heal and 3mm further from the crank arm than the original cleats.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the new handlebars, stem, saddle height and cleat adjustments eliminated the saddle discomfort and the new handlebar /alignment felt like he could produce more power. The final position can be seen in the pic below.

Giant Propel Advanced

100419 Road Bike Fit

Athlete Background

  • Experience: Novice
  • Interest: Daily rides and touring
  • Goals: Overall fitness and more bike touring
  • Injuries: None
  • Notables: Athlete recently finished a multiday tour ride from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. on an upright hybrid bicycle. Following the multiday tour, the athlete contacted me for a bike fit and frame size recommendation. In addition to bike fitting, I also research and recommend frame size(s) for athletes looking to purchase new bikes -this service ensures purchasing correct frame size. Below is the CAAD drawing which recommended frame size (stack, reach, front center, and the fit solution)

Bike Data

  • Brand: Guru
  • Model: Praemio 
  • Size: Custom
  • Year: 2016
  • Notables: Titanium with an oversized headtube

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a small adjustment to back from the handlebars. Fore/aft is a balance point adjustment and in most cases (my experience) requires alignment to the aft position. When I make an adjustment to the aft position, the saddle height increases so it’s important to assess knee angle during the visual assessment process.
  • The next step is to check the saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at -1 degrees measured from the sweet spot. The saddle in question has a hammock shape with a rather sizeable dip in the center so it required angle measurement from multiple spots on the saddle.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was extremely was close to spot on so only a small adjustment (minus 5 mm in height) was necessary.
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension (measured from the sweet spot of the saddle to the center of the handlebar). As mentioned the athlete contacted me prior to purchasing the bike and I made recommendations on frame size and components so the effective reach was spot on at this point in the alignment process.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). Considering the athlete’s flexibility, experience and custom headtube length I set the bar drop at neutral.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods, bar angle and lever reach. The alignment of the hoods was slightly upward positioned so I reangled them a couple of degrees downward to reduce the pressure on the wrist. The braker/shifter levers were too far from the bar when positioned in the drops so I adjusted the levers towards the bars to ensure access to braking and shifting.
  • Last I set the athlete’s double-checked the cleats. No shifting had occurred so the cleats were left as is.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the small adjustments were not noticed but that the bike especially the bar drop felt powerful and pressure on the perineum felt comfortable. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

Guru Praemio 

093019 Cyclocross Bike Fit

The cyclocross bike is designed for racing cyclocross racing. This is not a typical gravel bike and can be distinguished as such via the bike frames tire clearance, shorter chainstays/ wheelbase, a more aggressive head tube and seat tube angle and a higher bottom bracket.

The intent of the cyclocross bike is speed and maneuverability.

The athlete whose bike is featured the pic went through the entire bike fit process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk, and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the new Cannondale Super X cyclocross bike and then start making changes.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Cannondale
  • Model: SuperX
  • Size: 52cm
  • Year: 2019
  • Notables: Proprietary Ai offset drivetrain

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a small adjustment to back from the handlebars. This adjustment is important to balance and the amount of pressure on the hands while gripping the handlebars.
  • The next step is to check the saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at -1 degrees measured from the sweet spot of the saddle and neutral at the nose of the saddle so no change was necessary.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was extremely was close to spot on so only a small adjustment (plus 2 mm in height) was necessary.
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension (measured from the sweet spot of the saddle to the center of the handlebar). The athlete contacted me prior to purchasing the bike and I made recommendations on frame size and components so the effective reach was spot on at this point in the alignment process.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). Considering the athlete’s flexibility and experience on the bike I recommended 35mm above horizontal – this alignment will allow the athlete to produce power in the hoods and access the drops for extra control.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods and bar angles. The hoods are somewhat subjective when it comes to measuring so visual assessment is key – one key point is wrist angle (too much bend in the wrist can limited control, access to the brakes.shifters and can cause soreness and or a numbing sensation. The alignment of the hoods was slightly upward positioned so I reangled them 2 degrees downward to reduce the pressure on the wrist.
  • Last I set the athlete’s double-checked the cleats. No shifting had occurred so the cleats were left as is.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the small adjustments were not noticed but that the bike especially the bar drop felt powerful and pressure on the perineum felt comfortable.. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

Cannondale SuperX

092819 1X Drivetrain Road Bike Fit

The 1x (1 by) Road bike is a relatively new concept as it has all the characteristics of a normal road bike geometry, rear derailleur, tube shape…but does not include the front derailleur/shifter paddle/cables and chainrings. The 1x Road Bike excels on the flats, crit course and in certain cases rolling terrain.

The intent of the 1x road bike is simplicity. The lack of or need for a second chainring means no front derailleur, fewer cables, a better understanding of shifting, reduced weight, and a very clean look.

The athlete whose bike is featured the pic went through the entire bike fit process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the bike and then start making changes.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Specialized
  • Model: Allez Sprint X1
  • Size: 56cm
  • Year: 2019
  • Notables: 1x drivetrain and Smartweld Sprint Technology

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a rather sizable adjustment. Based upon the athlete’s hip dismensions he needed to be 55 millimeters from centerline to saddle sweet spot and instead he had the saddle set at 35 millimeters from the centerline to saddle sweet spot.
  • The next step is to check the saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at -0.3 degrees measured from the sweet spot of the saddle. Considering the aggressive above horizonatal i.e. bar drop (this bike is meant for rides at or below 2 hours and to be ridden on flat rides at a high intensity) I set the bike at -1.5 degrees (slightly lower nose tilt accommodates the aggressive torso angle).
    • Fit Fact: A saddle with a tilt greater then -3 degrees can cause numb hands and instability.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was extremely was close to spot on so only a small adjustment (plus 2 mm in height) was necessary.
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension (measured from the sweet spot of the saddle to the center of the handlebar). The athlete did a great job of mirroring his current bikes effective body extension and as a result of the fore/aft adjustment and stem length, the alignment was within 3-5 mm of the fit solution so no further adjustment was necessary.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). The Allez Sprint is an aggressive bike designed to position the athlete with an aggressive torso angle and the alignment at that point in the fit was 75 to 80 mm above horizontal (bar drop). Considering the athlete’s flexibility and experience on the bike I recommended that the current alignment was sufficient and if necessary additional spacers could be removed but it was important to get mileage on the bike prior to making the bar drop more aggressive i.e. lowering the torso angle.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods and bar angles. The hoods are somewhat subjective when it comes to measuring so visual assessment is key – one key point is wrist angle (too much bend in the wrist can limited control, access to the brakes.shifters and can cause soreness and or a numbing sensation. The alignment of the hoods were correctly positioned but the bar angle was causing then to angle downward resulting in pressure on the wrist so I adjusted the angle by 3 degrees upward and reduced the pressure on the wrist.
  • Last I set the athlete’s double-checked the cleats. No shifting had occurred so the cleats were left as is.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the small adjustments were not noticed but that the bike especially the bar drop felt powerful and pressure on the perineum felt comfortable.. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

Specialized Allez Sprint DSW

092519 Aero Road Bike Fit

The Aero Road bike is a relatively new concept as it has the platform of a traditional road bike but also incorporates characteristics of a time trial bike. As such this bike the bike excels on the flats, cornering, sprints or any other situation where the terrain is flat to rolling.

The intent of the aero road bike geometry is to reduce drag. The creative elements incorporate by Specialized with its Venge Vias frame to help reduce drag include integrated cockpit, hidden brake calipers, internal cable routing, wing-style handlebar and more.

The athlete’s whose bike is featured the pic went through the entire bike fit process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the bike and then start making changes.

It should be noted that the athlete was having issues with the bike and commented that it was not a fun or comfortable bike to ride and that it was difficult to produce power.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Specialized
  • Model: Venge Vias
  • Size: 52cm
  • Year: 2017
  • Notables: Hiden brake calipers and Specialized Power ARC saddle

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a rather sizable adjustment. Based upon the athletes hip dismensions he needed to be 55 millimeters from centerline to saddle sweet spot and instead he had the saddle set at 35 millimeters from the centerline to saddle sweet spot.
  • The next step is to check saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at +1 degree measured from the sweet spot of the saddle. Saddle tilt should be neutral or just below neutral so an adjustment was required and resulted in -1.5 degrees.
    • Fit Fact: A saddle with a tilt greater then -3 degrees can cause numb hands and instability.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was extremely high causing the athlete both to overextend his leg and rock side to side in the saddle (big cause for low power output and sloppy pedal stroke). So I decreased saddle height by 20 millimeters
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension which was correct when measuring to the center of the handlebar. However, the measurement to the hoods was too long due to the bar dimensions (reach) – the integrate and the proprietary system does not allow for an easy solution so I made recommendations and left it as is.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). After decreasing the saddle height the resulting bar drop was conducive to the athlete’s current fitness level, flexibility and preference for terrain so no additional modifications were necessary.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods and bar angles – in the hoods were correctly positioned but the bar angle was causing then to angle downward resulting in pressure on the wrist so I adjusted the angle by 3 degrees upward and reduced the pressure on the wrist.
  • Last I set the athlete’s cleats. In this case, the modification was small but millimeters matter when setting cleats and thus resulted in big changes on the bike. I bought the cleats back towards the heal and inward towards the crank arm which in turn pushes the shoe away from the crank arm and brings the stting position forward in the saddle.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the reduced saddle height stopped the hips from rocking and that it was much easier to produce power. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

092019 Gravel Bike Fit

The gravel bike is a relatively new concept as it is a blend of a road and cyclocross bike with some characteristics of a hardtail cross country bike. As such this bike can handle fast/smooth single track, lung-busting climbs, moderate/aggressive descents, all-day epics and much more.

The intent of the gravel bike geometry is to create a rider position that is comfortable for an all-day epic and aggressive enough to hammer hard on dirt roads, single track, and even your local CX race.

The athlete’s whose bike is featured the pic below was previously fit under my process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution containing saddle height, saddle fore/aft, effective body extension cleat alignment and other variables like saddle tilt, handlebar angle, hood placement, shifter lever reach. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the bike and then start making changes.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Salsa
  • Model: Cutthroat
  • Size: Large
  • Year: 2019
  • Notables: Fork axle to crown length is 483 (normal range is ~400mm)

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a rather sizable adjustment. Based upon the athletes hip dismensions he needed to be 75 millimeters from centerline to saddle sweet spot and instead he had the saddle set at 65 millimeters from the centerline to saddle sweet spot.
    • Fit Fact: misaligned saddle fore/aft can add too much pressure to the hands thus resulting in numbness and general discomfort.
  • The next step is to check saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at +1 degree measured from the sweet spot of the saddle. Saddle tilt should be neutral or just below neutral so an adjustment was required and resulted in -1.5 degrees.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was low causing the athlete to have too much bend in the knee which results in the athlete wanting to shift back in the saddle to generate more power. So I increased saddle height by 5 millimeters
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension which was a spot on so no adjustment was necessary.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers and or above horizontal alignment (bar drop). COnsidering the length of the fork and intent of the bike I wanted to set the spacers so that the handlebar was neutral with the saddle height. This setting allows for comfort and a more relaxed torso angle.
  • Next, I assessed the hoods and bar angles – in this case, the hood was too upright causing the wrists to bend so I moved them down and correlated the 10-degree bar angle at the same time.
  • Last I double-checked the athlete’s cleat positions. It is common for cross and mtb cleats to loosed this resulting in misalignment which can knee pain and potential long term damage. The left cleat came loose and the angel in which the cleat was positioned was causing a heal out position. THis was creating pain in the knee as the athlete is neutral to heal position so I readjusted and tightened down the bolts.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the knee pain was greatly reduced and that the increased saddle height helped create more power without the need to shift back in the saddle. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

CycloCross Bike Fit 091919

The cyclocross bike is raced on (primarily) on courses varying in terrain from flat to rolling to very steep short hills for periods of time raning from 30 to 60 minutes. The surface is generally grass, hard pack dirt (sand, clay, granite…) and or asphalt.

The intent of the cyclocross geometry is to create a moderate to aggressive rider position with the sole purpose of conquering technical terrain (bumps, off-cambers, high-low speed turns, manmade and natural barriers…) and delivering power, torque and speed in an efficient manner. The big questions are how to get into the right position so that the athlete can tackle the toughest courses and produce the highest power with the least amount of energy expended.

The athlete’s whose bike is featured the pic below was previously fit under my process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution containing saddle height, saddle fore/aft, effective body extension cleat alignment and other variables like saddle tilt, handlebar angle, hood placement, shifter lever reach. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the bike and then start making changes.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Ventana
  • Model: El Martillo CX. “The Hammer”  
  • Size: Large
  • Year: Unspecified (2014?)
  • Notables: Thomson 0 degree stem

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a rather sizable adjustment. Based upon the athletes hip dismensions he needed to be 60 millimeters from centerline to saddle sweet spot and instead he had the saddle set at 75 millimeters from the centerline to saddle sweet spot.
  • The next step is to check saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at -1 degree measured from the sweet spot of the saddle. Considering the amount of aero pad drop, the -1 degree tilt was sufficient.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was too high and causing the athlete to over extended his legs which can cause knee pain and other discomforts. So I lowered the saddle by 15 millimeters
  • The fourth step is to check effective body extension which was too short – this was not due to a short top tube but rather a very short stem (75mm with a -6 degree angle). The short stem caused the athlete’s torso to be too upright and limited the use of multiple handlebar positions (tops, hoods, and drops). So I recommended a new stem which measured 110 millimeters in length and a 0-degree angle which works great for CX bikes. The new stem lengthened the reach and increased torso angle to the proper position which allowed for a more aggressive position and ability to leverage power and handing from the handlebars.
  • The fifth was to configure headset spacers so that the above-horizontal or bar-drop measured around 50 millimeters. This setting allows for increased handling capabilities based upon the riders torso and arm length dimensions.
  • The last steps are setting hoods and bar angles – in this case, the hood was too upright causing the wrists to bend so I moved them down and correlated the 10-degree bar angle at the same time.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athlete for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the ability to produce power was greater and that the cockpit length allowed for a more comfortable position and ability to produce more power out of the saddle while maintaining a high level of control i.e. handling. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

Time Trial Bike Fit 091319

The time trial bike is a specialist’s bike – this bike is primarily used in solo efforts on courses (flat to rolling hills) generally ranging from 20 to 40k in distance. The intent of the geometry is to create an aerodynamic position with the sole purpose of delivering speed in an efficient manner. The big questions is how to get into the right position so that the athlete can achieve the greatest speed with the least amount of energy expended.

The athlete in the pic below was previously fit under my process – a process (in a nutshell) that includes measuring the leg, trunk and foot and then comparing those measurements to the geometry of the bike which results in a fit solution containing saddle height, saddle fore/aft, effective body extension cleat alignment and other variables like saddle tilt, handlebar angle, hood placement, shifter lever reach. With the solution in hand, it was time to examine the existing conditions of the bike and then start making changes.

Bike Data

  • Brand: Diamondback
  • Model: Serios Optum Pro Cycling Team Carbon Time Trial Frameset 
  • Size: 56cm
  • Year: 2013
  • Notables: SRM Power Meter

Fit Data

  • The first step is to check saddle fore/aft which in this case required a rather sizable adjustment in the fore position (pushing the saddle forward from the centerline: center BB, center downtube and center seat post).
  • The next step is to check saddle tilt. The tilt was measured at -1 degree measured from the sweet spot of the saddle. Considering the amount of aero pad drop, the -1 degree tilt was sufficient.
  • The third step is to check Saddle height. The height was almost spot on at 905mm however, measuring saddle height on the TT requires examination of the saddle and the method of perch or how and where the athlete is supposed to sit. For example, saddles with lengths at or below 240mm push the athlete towards the nose so the landmark for measuring saddle changes also.
  • The fourth step is to check the aero pad drop and elbow angle. Too much drop and the quads can hit the stomach and chest area. The change to the fore/aft repositioned the athlete’s elbow angle to 90 degrees and ensure that placement of the elbow is just of the edge of the aero pad.
  • The last check is elbow spacing. The elbows should be position in alignment with the hips. This requires the athlete to pedal at high and low cadence while I assess movement and position of the hips in relation to the elbows.

Conclusion

After a long warm-up on the trainer and multiple hard efforts, I was pleased with the athlete’s position on the bike. I asked the athelte for feedback and based on the changes made he felt that the ability to produce power was greater and that the positioning in the aero pads was more comfortable and required less effort to maintain positioning. The end result of the fit can be seen in the pic below.

Three segments

Bob knows how to navigate a field of elite cyclists – he has the knowledge and physical ability to position himself and teammates for the win! This is no easy task and sheer talent alone will not be enough – dedication to the sport is essential. He along with every other cyclist at the elite level is on the bike training hard year-round trying to gain that extra bit of fitness. The miles and hours tallied in an attempt to increase fitness can take its toll on the body so finding a competitive edge on the competition requires something other than wattage and heart rate, you must understand biomechanics.

Pedal stroke is key to efficiency but the sum of this efficiency is determined by leg extension, reach and cleat placement. Millimeters matters and going over or under when setting saddle height, saddle fore/aft, effective body extension and or longitude/latitude cleat position will result in decreased efficiency and or injury.

The fastest and most accurate method to achieve efficiency on the bike is to see a professional bike fitter. Skip the madness and schedule an appointment with me today!