One of the great things to do in the off season is get a bike fit. That’s what I was able to do back in November when Podium Multisport- North Carolina ran a special on their Guru Bike Fits.
I contacted Mike there at Podium to set up an appointment in the middle of the day. The whole process was very easy and they were very flexible with my schedule since I had a bit of a drive to get to them. Once I got there they grabbed the measurements from my current bike set-up and then they input them into the guru fit system. For those not familiar with the system, there is a computer and ipad system that connects to a special fit bike. This fit bike has motors that the fitter can control to change the various aspects of your position while you are on the bike pedaling. The bike also is equipped with a power meter that measures power and cadence so that you and your fitter can see how different positions affect your power output.
Mike started by taking a look at my cleat position on my shoes. This was huge for me because that is the only ear I had really been having problems. He checked my flexibility and knee alignment and did some others things I’m not really sure about in measuring my feet. Then he adjusted my cleats and got them on like they should.
Once they set the fit bike to my current position, I got on a did a little warm up. At this point Mike started to find my limits on each position. He raised the saddle to the highest point possible so that I could barely reach the pedals. Once we found that point, he brought it back about halfway back down. Next, he did the same with the aerobars, moving them as far out as I could stand. Both of these points felt very weird, but it would good to have a reference to start with.
Once we brought both back to a happy medium, he started with the saddle again adjusting up and down to find the most comfortable position, and then the same with moving it back and forth. When we settled on a nice position with the saddle, he did the same with the aerobars, up and down, back and forth. We settled on a position and saved that into the computer. We did this three more times to get a few different positions to compare with differences between drop from saddle to bars etc.
With four positions to choose from, we went through them one by one to compare them back to back. It was obvious from those comparisons that the first one was NOT the best for me, and in comparing them we settled on the last two positions as the best ones. The only difference between them was 1mm drop in bar height. After feeling the differences a few times while pedaling, we decided on the higher bar positions because it would take some time to get use to anyway, and we could easily take a spacer out down the road if I decided I wanted a lower front end.
With that, Mike saved my positions and the computer spit out measurements for him to use to adjust my bike to this position. The computer also spit out various options for new bikes, sizes, and adjustments needed to make them fit me. I didn’t need this, but it was nice to see I can fit quite a wide range of bikes without too many adjustments.
The guys took my bike and got it all set up for me while I cooled down and changed clothes. Overall I’m very happy with the process. I can feel the difference in the bike and am getting settled into the new position. As part of that, there are a bit of “growing pains” with that new position. I’ve emailed with Mike about some things and I’ll probably go in for them to take another look at my position. Right now I think I started to sit a little different on a new ISM saddle I had them put on and that is affecting my position just slightly enough to feel it in the knees. I’ll update this when we get it figured out.
I can now say that I think everyone needs a bike fit! I had gone 3 seasons without once and messed with my cleat about once every couple months trying to get it right. One trip to a fit and everything is wonderful! Even just that one change would be worth it in my opinion. So a big thanks to Mike and the guys a Podium!