I have to admit initial scepticism to bike fit, which is mainly due to my self-belief that I’ve been riding fairly seriously now for more than 12 years, and feel comfortable on all of my bikes. How much of a difference would this really make?
Karmea was introduced to Fusion Peak based in Manly, through a mutual friend, and we grabbed at the opportunity to try out Aaron’s bike fitting services. Aaron has been riding bikes most of his life, and has worked as the master mechanic in local bike stores in Sydney. He is a certified Trek and Serotta Cycle Fit technician, and specialises in fitting people to all types of bicycle – road, mountain, triathlon, urban, touring, etc.
I took along my road bike and Aaron talked me through an extensive interview to ascertain my riding experience, training level, and any physiological issues that may be relevant. The bike was set up on a wind trainer on a perfectly level platform (checked by a spirit level), and numerous measurements taken of the bike frame and the current set up of saddle, bars, stem, pedals, and so on. There are as many as 18 different measurements that can be taken on the saddle alone!
After an initial warm up and flexibility analysis of hamstrings and hip flexors, we looked at my feet and the extent to which my shoes (and more specifically the insoles) were supporting my arches. I’d recently swapped out the old unsupportive Shimano insoles and replaced them with Carnac insoles, giving my feet much better arch and metatarsal support. The cleat position was then checked, and we found I’d set my cleats up too far forward. This meant my foot wasn’t fully supported by the pedal axle, and was less effective at applying the power. The cleats were moved back so they sat between the 1st and 5th metatarsal joints, rotation checked, and then back on the bike with this new improved platform. Pedalling felt much more comfortable after just a few minutes on the wind trainer, with seemingly less strain around the front of the foot.
Watching me pedal, Aaron picked up that my sit bones were not level, and as such I was leaning slightly to the right. This may be partly due to my rounded saddle, which is offering me less of a level base from which to ride – potential upgrade in the future! He also spotted that my right knee dives in on the downstroke of the pedal. The cleat was then shimmed and checked to correct the knee position, and the saddle lowered slightly. Apparently the drop I had between saddle and handlebars was the most extreme he’d seen! This new feet and saddle position put me in a much more stable and strong platform from which I could apply power.
At the front end of the bike, he checked my position and reach to the tops, hoods and drops of the handlebars, identifying that my wrist position and lack of comfortable ability to reach the brakes from the drops was hindering my comfort and ultimately how safe and in control I felt in that position. So the handlebars were raised, turned down slightly, and the hoods pulled back up to their optimal position for reach.
I was really excited to try my new position out. During my first ride, I found my position to be more comfortable but still racy. I feel like I have a much more solid platform on the bike from which I can apply power to the pedals much more effectively. It feels good to ride hard. I had no idea I was missing so much potential in my cycling – both from a comfort and power perspective, as what I thought was fine, was simply because I was familiar with it, and I hadn’t had the opportunity to experience anything else.
The Fusion Peak studio also contains a Serotta Size cycle which can be used to help you find the optimal riding position. measuring power output, comfort levels and cadence. You can then purchase your new bike in line with these measurements, in full knowledge and comfort that it will fit you perfectly.
Aaron is passionate and thorough about getting you and your bike working optimally together. He ensures you are comfortable with any changes being made, and communicates throughout the reasons why any change might be made.
If you are keen to unlock your riding potential, from an enjoyment, comfort and power perspective, go and speak to Aaron at Fusion Peak.