THE BIKEFIT PROCESS
Below you will find a detailed account of why this is the single most comprehensive bike fitting service in Scotland.
The process is exactly the same for both the frame finder and the comprehensive bikefit.
RIDER INTAKE SURVEY
The first thing you will be asked to do, is complete a rider intake survey. This is designed to provide me with your cycling experience, your cycling goals and what you hope to get out of the bikefit. It will also allow me to take note of any injuries (past or present) which may have an impact on the fit as well as your sporting history and how active you have been throughout your life. This will take between 20-40 minutes to complete depending on your age and life events.
AMN - (APPLIED MOVEMENT NEUROLOGY)
The fit then begins with range of motion (ROM), orthopaedic and global manual muscle testing, to assess how well you function relative to the requirements of your chosen discipline on the bike. Orthopaedic manual muscle testing is when we test a muscle to see if it is weak or inhibited. Assuming there are weak and inhibited findings, I then use global manual muscle testing to ascertain the root cause of dysfunction, before bringing those muscles back online, often resolving single sided asymmetries, restricted range of motion, pain complaints and more.
CLEAT POSITION & SHIM STACK (IF REQUIRED)
We then move onto the feet. To talk about cleat position is to talk about your cleats fore/aft, lateral position and it’s float.
A popular method for determining cleat position is to position the ball of the foot over the pedal axle (BOFPA) which I’m sure many of you have done or at least tried to do in the past. The cleat position we arrive at during your fit will be much more individual to you. It will take into account the kind of riding or events you do, the distances involved and will even takes into consideration any injuries you may have at the time of the fit or may have sustained in the past. Everyone’s feet are different, they are like faces, they’re all different. The feet themselves along with a given pedal system, pedalling technique, shoe size and brand of shoe all have an affect on achieving a desired cleat position.
Once that is established, I will then determine whether or not you need a shim stack to account for a measurable leg length difference (MLLD) or a functional leg length difference (FLLD).
More than 99.99% of people need foot correction in their cycling shoes. Common statements from prospective fit clients can typically sound something like this.. "Oh I'm not that serious a cyclist" or "I don't think I need that" which is nothing more than assumption based on a lack of understanding and maybe even confidence. Everyone needs it and that is why it is included in every fitting I undertake.
In so many cases relating to comfort on a bicycle - people just don't know what they don't know. We have not evolved to ride bicycles, it is an un natural activity and there is a proprioceptive connection we need to make between foot and brain if we want to optimise our performance on a bicycle whilst reducing our susceptibility to overuse injuries. When I say everyone needs it, we must think about what riding a bike means. You are riding a bike in a position just now and your saddle may be 40mm too high, it may be 40mm too low but you're still riding your bike. The same can be said for foot correction, you may be riding your bike without it just now, so it is possible to do so, but that doesn't mean it isn't better with it, in the same as your saddle would be far better set at the correct saddle height.
Foot Correction consists of the application of suitable insoles or orthotics (when needed) and wedging or canting of the foot.
Feet vary dramatically and the range of insoles I stock allow for this. It is worth noting here that insoles which have been made for walking and running won't work in your cycling shoes as the way the foot behaves in a cycling shoe is different to how it behaves when walking and running. It's a little bit like the common misconception that if your feet point a certain way off the bike, they should look the same on the bike. I hear this a fair bit as well - the reality is often something different - in both cases.
Wedging can come in several forms. There are in the shoe (ITS) forefoot wedges which are positioned inside the shoe under the forefoot, cleat wedges - which are positioned between the cleat and the sole of the cycling shoe and heel wedges which as the title suggests are placed underneath the heel inside the shoe.
The kind of wedging you need and the numbers of wedges you need are individual to you and are dependent on whether arch support has been properly applied to begin with. There only is a correct number of wedges placed in the correct location which will help attain proprioceptive feedback from the feet and NOT - like many market driven services indicate - as many as are required to get you 'tracking' properly.
This is a complex subject/process which is often implemented wrongly. The issue with doing this wrong is that it can actually do more harm than good.
The result when done correctly however means we have improved the neural feedback loop between the brain and the feet, resulting in improved stability of the foot, better biomechanics, better muscle facilitation and less compensations. These improvements increase efficiency and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
N.B A good fitting, stiff soled cycling shoe really helps in achieving optimal foot correction and also in reducing many other foot related issues on a bicycle. For info on cycling shoes please check here or contact me here.
SADDLE HEIGHT & SADDLE SETBACK
Saddle height, as I bikefit anyway, isn’t a number within a range, nor is it a specific angle, nor is it a result of some equation or formula. Saddle height should be set to within +/-1.5mm and not within 10 degrees, or within any other pre determined parameter. There are far too many other variables to consider in bike fitting which affect saddle height that mean formula based fitting simply does not work. We will find a saddle height that is individually right for you.
Saddle setback - once again as i practice it - is definitely not knee over pedal spindle (KOPS ) either. I’m sure most of you will have seen or heard of KOPS, or possibly even tried to drop a plumb line yourself or maybe even use a laser to position your knee (tibial tuberosity) directly over the pedal axle of your pedals.
We won’t be adopting any of these methods. We will arrive at a saddle setback which is individually suitable for you, both from a neurological standpoint and also one whereby we enlist musculature in such a way we gain more leverage on the pedals and thus better efficiency of your pedal stroke. Much more information relating to saddle setback will be divulged as we progress through your fit and you will become more aware of why it is so important to find what is right for you, rather than just blindly applying KOPS.
THE FOLLOW UP
REACH & DROP TO THE HANDLEBARS
Once the main parameters of fit are sorted (generally speaking) we ascertain your reach and drop to the handlebars, as well as looking at bar width, angle and the placement of the hoods. When I say generally speaking, I don’t always work the same way, sometimes it may be necessary to start with reach and drop, then move to cleat position and then to saddle height and so on, however this is generally dialled in at the end of the fit. Reach and drop is largely determined by limb length, flexibility and the kind of riding you do. Reach and drop should be comfortable for the duration you ride your bicycle for, whilst not affecting on the bike symmetry or pelvic stability.
As you can see, if it was as simple as applying a knee angle, KOPS & BOFPA, we’d all be happily riding our bikes and there’d be no need to seek out the services of a good bike fitter.
The fully comprehensive bikefit is about achieving optimal muscle recruitment, reducing the risk of injury, increasing leverage and power on the pedals whilst improving comfort and increasing efficiency.
Included in the price is the option to have a follow up appointment whereby after a period of adaptation I will take another look at you and see how you have settled into your new position. I see about 1-2% of people for a follow up, but the option is still there and still should be.
People adapt differently and it just depends on the individual as to whether a follow up will be necessary or not. Sometimes I insist on one. If you require a free follow up you must contact me no later than 6 weeks post fit to arrange one.
BIKE FITTING FOR TT, TRI, CX, MTB, TRACK & EVERYTHING INBETWEEN
There are many other factors to consider when positioning a rider within the many other different disciplines of cycling. In mountain biking alone for example , there are many different geometries which directly relate to the many different disciplines of mountain biking. You wouldn't position a rider the same way on a XC mountain bike as you would a downhill mountain bike, in the same way you wouldn't position someone specialising in 10 mile TT's the same way you would an ironman distance triathlete. CX again requires a position to meet the demands of the event itself in the same way a track position is different to the road bike position I would arrive at using the methods described above.
No matter what your chosen discipline I have the knowledge and experince to help maximise your potential through your bike position alone.