So this week I had a bike fit complete at the Bike Fit Studio in West End Brisbane. Why you may ask, I haven’t bought a new bike, I haven’t changed anything significant on my bike, so why have a bike fit? Well simply put I’ve never been 100% confident that my position on my time trial bike (the BMC TM01) was perfect or the most powerful I could be! So I guess it was more out of curiosity I booked an appointment with Mark Watt “a highly regarded and experienced biomechanist, who has turned his sights and skills to bike fitting, Mark Watts is a qualified Advanced Retül bike fitter and teaches bike fitting in Australasia” (straight from his website)! This blog will provide an insight into the process and his findings about my position.
Booking and confirmation
After completing the on-line enquiry form I received a phone call about booking an appointment (very prompt). With in minutes I then received an e-mail confirming my appointment, providing me with lots of information about what to expect, what to bring, what to wear and asking me to complete a ‘Rider History’ form using a funky website ‘typeform’. The questionnaire was all about gathering information about me and the type of riding I do, my equipment and the frequency I exercise.
The actual fit
So I was running about 30 minutes late and ran in flustered wheeling my bike bare foot and in full work getup (jeans and dress shirt)! Mark was calm, cool and relaxed, took my bike off me and set to work removing the (hubbard) saddle bag and unnecessary equipment (drink bottles ext) then into the trainer, before measuring it up and pinning it with his magic beepy tool (that’s the technical term by the way)! I got changed and watch Mark do his thing, as we idly chatted about all things bikes.
Once the bike geometry was setup in the computer, Mark turned his attention to me and completing some simple tests about flexibility, like squats, touching toes, planking, hip stability, leg lengths, pelvis alignment and shoulder flexibility. All this time, the cogs were ticking and I could see Mark was deep into his work of analysing the observations and information gathered.
Finally onto the bike and the initial process included a warm up then straight into a 15 second data capture at 50 watt increments until I perceived the effort to represent 7 out of 10. 3D angles and other fit parameters were recorded via a Retul specific technique called Stroke Intelligence.
Following some minor adjustments, Mark suggested a change of saddle to allow my pelvis to rotate forward to enable me to get into a better position. We completed a quick trial of 3 or 4 different saddles. I finally settled on the ISM Adamo Attach (PN1.0). Mark then set about refining the setup further and analysing the numbers continuously. Finally a neutral fit was achieved by the following:
- Changing to the ISM Adamo Attack (PN1.0) saddle
- Moving the saddle up (approximately 12mm)
- Moving the saddle back (approximately 30mm)
- Moving the elbow pads back
- Tilting the handlebars up
Mark made a few further recommendations for me to continue to work on my hip stability and flexibility to help with my bilateral knee tracking while riding. This can be done by performing single leg squats within the limits of control (hopefully as I get stronger I will be able to get lower)! He advised me to start with the weaker side first and match the other side with number of reps, depth and range of motion (obviously to reduce the discrepancy between sides). We also discussed the importance of keeping up the use of a massage ball on the gluts & TFL and foam roller on the ITB (even regular massage when I can afford it)!
Here is a video Mark put together that highlights the changes and improvements side by side.
I am stoked with how the new position looks, however it is very early days & I am yet to bank any serious time to determine if there is any benefit.
The whole process took nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes. Its one of the most thorough processes I’ve ever been through since getting back into the sport. Would I recommend seeing a professional to get a fit? ABSOLUTELY, without hesitation. I will provide a further update in a couple of weeks, once I’ve done some more testing and can give some more feedback about the improvements.
If your experience any pain while riding your bike, its time to make a change! Riding a bike should not cause you any discomfort, unless its fitness related & you’re in the hurt locker! If you have any doubt about your bike position, I totally recommend spending the money on a bike fit, it’s totally the best money i have spent in a long time (I think)! The link to Marks website again:
The biggest regret we can have in life is to not TRI!
Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!