Steve from In The Know Cycling notes one of the best ways to ride faster is...
Get Your Bike Fit
He states, "As you train mentally and physically with better riding techniques, you’ll notice improvement. You also may notice your knees or back or butt hurts. Or, you may plateau. While some of these may be a result of hard training or the need for appropriate rest in your training plan, it may also be that your bike isn’t set up right."
Steve notes, "you likely bought the right size bike and had some help adjusting the seat when first buying it, the rest of the bike may not have been fit to your unique anatomy or adjusted as your flexibility or an injury made your initial fit out of date. You may be riding inefficiently because of your fit alone, beyond what you are doing right with your training or technique."
Below are a few pictures of the May Street Bicycles' Bike Fit and Assessment Area.
At May Street Bicycles I do several assessments on and off the bike versus just measurements and metrics. Along with assessing your skeletal structure I evaluate range of motion, core stability, and muscle imbalances that often make your feet or knees bow one way or the other, as well as alignment of your spine, and pelvic alignment.
Upon an initial dynamic assessment on the bike (how you are riding), I determine ideal saddle height/width and fore/aft position, reach to your handle bars, length and angle of your stem, crank length, cleat position, and foot beds.
Steve, notes, "All of this costs money, both for the fit assessment and for any components you need to make the fit work. After three generations of the Roubaix frame and about 8 years from the first one till now, I finally got a new bike fit for $300 (my fee is only $200)."
Steve's says it was the best money he had spent on his bike. He noted he had no more hip pain and more comfort in the saddle. As well he is riding faster on the road. In his article he states, "My power on the trainer is up, though I can’t isolate how much of it is due to a better bike fit vs. being more physically fit from training. Probably some of each. I can definitely go longer, always a good thing on the bike (and off of it too)."
It's funny Steve states he could have put that money toward a lighter or more aero wheelset. But he is confident that getting a bike fit first will make the speed (and enjoyment) gained from a new wheelset all the more than he had not done it. Interestingly, many of my clients come see me after they had spent loads of money on equipment. I wonder how much money these folks would have saved by focusing on being faster, more efficient, and more comfortable if they had gotten a bike fit first.
Steve, says, "There are many types of fitters who lean on different combinations of experience and technology to fit you. The better ones use the input from the realms of both art and science. The use of motion capture camera technology and better measurement systems have advanced the science significantly in the last few years to really help the experienced fitters do the job more precisely and less iteratively than in the past." At May Street Bicycles this exactly how I do a bike fit/assessment. With over twenty years experience of bike fitting I take a holistic approach to helping my clients with imbalances, but also using technology and science in identifying that optimum position for my clients.
So, if you wanting to ride faster... consider a bike fit. You may even enjoy riding your bike more, too:)
Yours in Cycling and Fitness,
President of Fun
May Street Bicycles is not your typical bike shop. Sure we sell awesome bicycles, provide bicycle repairs, and rental bikes all at great prices. But we do a great deal more such as dynamic bike fitting, metabolic testing, altitude training, and personal training.