I went had roughly six bikes varying in size before realising I had no idea what size was best, let alone which position was best for me. Unfortunately, I like many other cyclists do it all the wrong way round. We’re too stubborn to part cash for a professional who will take all the measurement into consideration when fitting you on a bike.
Chatting away with Stephen from Yorkshire Bike Fitting I told him that I struggled to justify parting cash for something that isn’t an object. Since new customers won’t have felt the benefits from a fit they’re immediately skeptical on what those benefits would be.
Luckily for me I’d had a rough bike fit from a friend who used to do it as part of his job a couple of year ago, so I can still remember how good the bike felt after. Literally on the way home I immediately felt like the bike finally fit and some of my existing pains and niggles were no longer there.
After the TCR I’d messed around with the seat post height, I switched the saddle and I’d also changed the pedals. It was never really bang on before I went for the race so there was no better time to sort these consistently ignored issues than now.
Time for a bike fit.
I had heard about the Yorkshire Bike Fitting before simply through Facebook advertising, not pushy, more informative and friendly. Something else that caught my eye, there wasn’t any alternative motives involved, Stephen doesn’t sell bikes, just does bike fitting. I’ve been offered a fit from bike shops before but I always got the impression it would end with me leaving with a new bike. Getting it from someone who purely specialises in fitting meant I knew there would be one focus.
There are five main aspects to the standard fit Stephen offered:
Full Bike Adjustment
Full fit report & Fit measurements
At the start of the fit we sat down for the consultation and a brew. We discussed my past cycling experience like what styles of cycling I do, the events I’ve taken part in past/present. He also asked me how I felt on the bike at the minute and if there were any issues whilst on the bike that have cropped up such as knee pain or back pain. The only issue I’d noted before was that I felt stretched out.
Stephen set the bike up on the turbo and got me to pedal for a minute or two so he could observe my position and posture whilst on the bike.
He took me off the bike and asked me to remove my shoes. He worked on cleat alignment, adding some masking tape to the inside of my shoes before adding marks to them.
My shoes are the thing I’ve never really cared for, so long as the shoe is comfy I’ve never really given any further thought on how the cleat is positioned to help with this comfort.
A couple of adjustment were necessary before moving on to seat height & saddle position. This is where Stephen began to tell me about ‘the dead spot’ which is where you restrict the ability to pull your leg over the rotations of the pedal. Something I’d never heard of, but made a lot of sense when Stephen enlightened me – with this in mind my seat height needed to come up 3/4 mm.
On to the saddle height & seat position, Stephen told me about the importance of ‘knee over the pedal spindle’ which enables my knee to flow efficiently and comfortably through the pedal circumference. Rather then just correcting the issue, Stephen took me through the in’s and out’s of getting this right as if it’s wrong it can cause all sorts of issues and really impede on your comfort!
As I’d mentioned previously I had always felt quite stretched out on the bike. I wasn’t exactly doing myself any favours though what with a layback seatpost and flipped stem. Stephen didn’t want to shorten the stem anymore as I was already on a 100mm stem so the best solution was flipping it 90 degrees moving the handlebar position up and thus closer towards me getting rid of that stretched out feeling I’d had issues with!
Stephen then began mapping out all the measurements from the bike for future reference.
On the way back I immediately noticed a difference. Although quite alien at first simply due to the position changing along with the adjustment of the cleats, but if anything, I wasn’t stretched out anymore! It’ll be a few weeks before I can really feel the difference but already I’m excited about the journeys ahead – in particular riding up to Scotland in the next month which will be a great opportunity to see how the new position will feel on a longer ride!
Going back to what I said at the start – folk seem apprehensive about bike fits because it’s not an object they posses or have anything tangible after the session is complete. The session was a real insight into something I had no idea about or real understand of and it was a real eye opener for me. Stephen was really friendly and immediately made me feel comfortable which helped given your position can change pending how relaxed you are whilst on the bike.
Stephen holds all the data without charge and will happily supply you with the measurements if you find you have to adjust your seatpost etc or equally are looking to purchase a new bike.
The best bit of Stephen’s service is the follow up. He’ll drop you a line to see how the bike feels. If it hasn’t improved your comfort, he’ll arrange a time to come back in to adjust anything that’s not quite right!
Thanks for such a great service! If you’re in Yorkshire and having been toying with the idea of a bike fit head over to Yorkshire Bike Fitting (www.yorkshirebikefitting.co.uk) and book yourself an appointment.
*** It’s also worth noting that this isn’t a sponsored post, I paid full price for Stephen’s service and was exceptionally pleased to do so given the level of service and knowledge provided! ***