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.


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