I’ve had my road bike since September 2016 and since riding it quite a few people have recommended that I get a ‘bike fit’. Why didn’t I get a bike that fitted me in the first place? Well, like most things to do with cycling, it’s actually it’s not that simple
Of course I got a bike that was the right frame size for my height, but you can actually go much more granular than that and tweak parts of the bike you didn’t even know existed…believe me. If you’re thinking about getting your bike fitted here’s a quick run down of what’s involved and whether (in my humble opinion) I think it’s money well spent…
The basic aim of a bike fit is to adjust and tweak your bike so that you’re sitting more comfortably which should mean you can ride for longer without getting aches and pains. Essentially a good bike fit should improve your efficiency as your energy is more seamlessly transferred from your muscles to your bike.
Most good bike shop’s should be able to do a bike fit for you. I got mine done at the Department of Endurance (DoE) in Fulham. I’d been recommended I go there so after doing a bit of shopping around I’m really pleased I did.
DoE use a GURU Fit system which, in layman terms is essentially a machine which you can sit on as though it was your bike. From there the GURU can be adjusted every way imaginable until you find the perfect ‘fit’ which can then be mirrored on your own bike.
To begin, Ben at DoE put all the measurements of my bike into the GURU to replicate my current ride. I then began pedalling (as though I was on a spin bike) whilst, one by one we adjusted the saddle height, bar reach, bar drop, incline and decline. All the adjustments happen whilst you’re pedalling, although they’re very small it does feel quite odd! In fact, the difference between the adjustments is tiny, only millimetres at a time. I found I had to really tune in and concentrate to work out whether a particular adjustment was better or worse.
I hopped off the GURU once we’d tweaked everything that could be tweaked and Ben began altering my bike to fit the making the adjustments we’d made on the GURU.
We increased my saddle “set-back” by moving the saddle back on the rails, we moved my saddle down fractionally and we lowered the front end of the bike. Basically, I’m now a little more stretched out as my torso angle has been lowered pretty significantly. We also also opened up my shoulder angle meaning I should be a more balanced, more aerodynamic and hopefully in a more powerful position – winner.
The whole bike fit takes around 2 hours so it’s not a quick process but for me it was definitely worth it. Even on my short ride home (and on all my rides since) I felt a whole lot more balanced and comfortable on my bike. It’s amazing how a series of such small changes, we’re talking millimetres, can make such a big difference overall.