Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Should You Get a Bike Fit?


This past Friday I had the opportunity to get a BG fit from Dave Richter at Herriott Sports Performance. Many of you know that Dave is also my coach, so before I get into the details of the fit just know that this...review... was not  something I was asked to do. I was so pleased with the process and results of the fit that I felt the need to share.

The basics- BG fit is the style of bike fitting that Specialized introduced to the world. All the World Tour teams sponsored by Specialized go through this fit process. I'll go into a bit more detail, but BG fits take into account the rider first, then the bike. Sure, with another type of fit you may be able to achieve what's considered the "perfect position". That position may be the best on paper, but it is not what works with each individual rider. The BG fit takes that into account.

Before even getting on the bike you go through a series of tests. These tests range from everything from flexibility to natural bone structure. Using these, the tester can determine how to best adjust your bike to the intricate details of your body (if you use that line in a Hallmark card I want 40%). Let me get personal here. I have wide sit bones. Ok, now that I've got that embarrassing detail out of the way, let's look at what we learned.

First, the measurement for this is basically done by sitting on a cushion and pressing all your weight down on it. Your bones leave an indentation in the material, and that distance is measured. I had been noticing that while I was riding I felt like I was very lopsided on the bike. I felt like I was sitting to the right of the top tube. Turns out that the distance between my sit bones was greater than the width of my saddle. Trouble! That means that without even realizing it, I was compensating how I was sitting to make it so at least one sit bone was on the saddle. We changed to a wider saddle, and just like that I was sitting straight on the bike again.

Many tests are done that help determine how your pedal stroke can be most efficient. Through a series of- flexibility tests, fancy tools like the "arch-o-meter" (that are actually REALLY fancy), one-legged squats, and even little observations like which way your feet naturally rest- the fitter (Dave) can use these to place your cleats in the optimal place. I've always felt like my left foot is good, but that the right foot was off. Part of this was how I was sitting, but my cleat was also positioned poorly. My feet naturally rest at an angle (some fancy science doctor term) which led to me feeling like I was pedaling with the side of my foot. Pulling the cleat back, adding a wedge underneath my sole, and rotating the cleat fixed that. Now I'm pedaling with two feet instead of one and a half. Watch out world.

There are many other features of the BG fit that are worthy of praise, but in reality you should check it out for yourself. This fit was more than two hours long, and every minute felt like it was benefiting my cycling.

Invest in a fit. You've already bought the nicest bike, wheels, saddle, shoes, name brand chamois creme, $300 leg warmers, Giro aero helmets and fancy training and race tires. Why even bother with any of that stuff if you don't have the optimal fit on your bike?

If you're looking for one thing to improve this winter, make it your fit. Get the most out of every time you are on the bike. Whether you are looking to improve your comfort or gain 10 precious watts, this is definitely the investment that you should make.

I took that step to get the most out of my bike. Will you?

Check out more details, including how to schedule the fit, here:


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