Fit For Riding, New Riding Position Set Up

In my last blog I promised details of my new riding position so here they are.

I have never actually been measured for a bike or had a bike fitting.  I just ‘knew’ that I had a 23″ frame when a young man based on some archaic formula based on your inside leg measurement and that roughly converted to a 56cm frame now.  The only other dimension I was really concerned about was the tried and trusted formula for saddle height that says you sit on the saddle in your riding kit, including cycling shoes and put the crank in line with the seat tube so that when your leg is fully extended your heel should just reach the lower pedal.  Everything else I just did what looked right and felt OK.

I had recently been thinking about getting a proper bike fit done for my existing bike.  If you are buying a bike from a decent bike shop they will usually have the proper measuring and fitting equipment to make sure your position is just so and its ‘free’.  You can however just pay to have a set up done on your existing bike and the estimates I got was £30 for a basic manual measure and set up or £90 for a proper computerised measure and set up that takes about 2 hours.

Like I said I was thinking about getting it done but prior to that I thought I would browse the web and see what I could turn up.  I found this website,  The Competitive Cyclist, Fit Calculator . You can get a set up for road bike, mountain bike or triathlon bike.  You are taken through the process of taking 8 different measurements, some of which you will need assistance with unless you are a contortionist.

At the end of the process you are presented with a detailed list of dimensions which should be your optimum fit.  Every measurement is explained in detail and there are 3 different types of fit.  The competitive or racing type fit which is what I went for, the Eddy fit which is based on the style of the legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx or a more relaxed long distance touring type fit.

I found it very useful and the main differences were that I had to raise my saddle and move it forward.  The stem and frame size were about right, although there isn’t much you can adjust there except by replacing the stem or a new frame, neither of which is really an option.

Although I didn’t have to make any major adjustments it definitely felt better when I went on the club ride on Wednesday.  I felt I could develop more power when climbing, I could look forward when on the ‘drops’ without getting a stiff neck and after the ride I didn’t have any aches in my lower back.  Also the pins and needles I used to get in my left hand never occurred so for me it worked well.  Hopefully it will for you too if you try it.  Oh and the other thing I found was that when I was riding in the normal position the front wheel axle was obscured by the line of the handlebars.  I remembered this from my youth as well, as being a good guide to the right riding position.  It felt a much more balanced position front and back with a more equal distribution of weight.


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