When it comes to speed on a bicycle, there is nothing more important than comfort. Whilst aerodynamics are great, a person who is uncomfortable in their ‘aero’ position will generally be slower than a person who is slightly less aero but comfortable and able to hold that position for the duration of a race.
So how do you get comfortable on a bike? There are three main areas that affect your comfort on a bike. Pedals, saddle and handlebars (or aero bars if you are a time trialist or triathlete). Getting these three contact points correct will go a long way to ensuring your comfort and ultimately your speed on a bike.
Computerised vs. traditional bike fits?
With advances in technology, there are now computerised methods that can assist in fitting a bicycle. Note the key word there is ‘assist.’ Technology such as the popular Retul can help get you in the ballpark of correct fit. However, just because your local bike shop has Retul doesn’t mean that you will obtain a good bicycle fit. The experience of the bicycle fitter is what counts the most, and a good fitter will be able to use their experience in making you comfortable and fast by using their know-how combined with the technology available.
Traditional bike fits, in comparison, also have their place in the fitting industry, and yet again it comes down to the bicycle fitter and their experience. So don’t be afraid to see a bicycle fitter who does not have a computer-based fitting system. Check their credentials, experience, and ask which athletes they have helped. Some great bike fitters are able to ‘eyeball’ a position based on their experience and adjust your fit just as well as the computerised software can.
Advantages of computerised vs traditional?
The great thing with a computerised fit is that your coordinates are saved and can be reverted back at any point, if measured correctly. This is often required if you are a ‘fiddler’ and happen to adjust your position slightly over time or even if you travel, constantly removing bars, seat, saddle, etc, each time.
I have recently seen Nick Formosa at Bike Fit Studio in Brisbane, who not only has a wealth of experience in fitting the best cyclists and triathletes in Australia, but has a keen eye for what works for different athletes and knows that not everyone will fit in Retul parameters.
Whilst a bicycle fit is not cheap, at approximately $300-$500, a good fit will have you riding faster, feeling more comfortable, and will help you enjoy your cycling experience a whole lot more. In my opinion, if you are looking for extra speed and have not yet been properly fitted, you are missing out.
By Ricky Swindale – Pushys Sponsored Athlete