My First Bike Fit

The other night I did my very first bike fit at Colorado Multisport. The fitting uses the Retul 3D Motion Capture system, one of the best around (so I’ve heard). The fitting dude, Ryan Ignatz, explained what all we were going to do and why. I appreciated that since I quite often need to know the WHY. I jumped on my bike (Trek Madone 4.5) and started riding. It felt like it always does not bad in anyway just normal. He took a video of my (sloppy) form. We played it back and discussed what we were seeing and how we could correct some things.

He hooked me up to the 3D sensors on my left side and had me ride again in the aerobars and in more of an upright position. The system takes the maximum and minimum measurements of your angles. For example, it measures the distance from the back of your calf to your hamstring at the top position while you are pedaling and also at the bottom. At that point, decisions can be made on how to achieve the best angles for comfort and to reduce pain, hot spots, and just plain bad mechanics.

Next, he flipped around my saddle. I thought he was gonna make me ride on my saddle with it backwards (he he). He had just re-positioned the seat-post so that the saddle could then slide more forward and I wouldn’t be so stretched out while reaching for my handlebars/aerobars. The next big adjustment came from dropping my handlebars about a full inch. I got back on my bike and WOW, I could feel how my arms were lower but my hips had more space. It didn’t feel like my quads were banging into my stomach like it usually does.

We went thought a total of about 8 different saddles. Some of them tri specific and some not. Some had wider noses while some were very narrow or had cutouts. The one I liked the best was the Specialized Oura Expert Gel. I thought I needed more padding so my tush would stop hurting on long rides but it turns out that more cushioning doesn’t make it hurt less and can sometimes make it hurt more. On this slim little saddle that I liked I could really feel my sit bones contacting right were they were supposed to. Ryan put my saddle back on and I tried it out. He had figured out what I needed/preferred by making me sit on so many saddles and was able to make mine work for me in a position that reduced pain on the soft tissue areas but provided good contact with my sit bones. Nice, I didn’t have to drop $120 on a new saddle after-all.

Ryan readjusted my aerobars (Profile Designs T1+) by sliding them back towards the saddle, making them more narrow, and raising the farthest end so that there is a slight incline from the pads to the tips of the aerobars. In doing this, my bike computer (Bontrager Node) would no longer fit on my bars. He continued to make small adjustment here and there and added a stem that comes off my aerobars so that my computer could rest there.

We took one last video to compare to the first video and you can really see the difference! My hips are more open, my shoulders are more supported by being stacked over my elbows, I’m not reaching so far out to grasp the bars, and my back is in a more neutral position.

The bike fit as a whole was money well spent! By the end of the session (2 hours) I felt completely different on my bike and didn’t realize that I was in an uncomfortable position to begin with. After the fit I felt as though my body was just resting on my bike with all the contact points being supported. I have a long ride scheduled for this Sunday so I cannot wait to get out there and see what a difference this makes. Thanks Ryan!


~ by willtriforbeer on May 2, 2012.

3 Responses to “My First Bike Fit”

  1. Most impressive! I thought only professional athletes did this sort of thing? I was thinking about getting a “couch fitting” to reduce fatigue while watching TV 🙂

  2. Nice to know that you can use your own bike for this, might look into doing this for myself! Thanks for the write-up!

  3. […] see the write up on my first bike fit in 2012, click the link. It was done by a Retul specialist, Ryan Ignatz, at Colorado Multisport. […]

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