A bike fit is only as good as the fitter themselves… Very wise words. You can use all the gadgetry, cameras, jigs, and LEDs you like but if it’s interpreted incorrectly you might as well be throwing numbers in the air. Thankfully Rowan at Handsome Bicycles in Hastings is a competent fitter and when he offered to give my winter bike a tweak to see what I thought I jumped at the chance. Prior to this fit I’d only every used the Retul system to get a fit. Sadly, their nearest fitter was at a store that has long since closed. Happily, following their fit I’ll not be waiting for another to open!
Using influences from the Specialized and Trek systems to setup bikes, Rowan has been fitting riders’ to bikes for years, however the shop he part owns, Handsome Bicycles in Hastings, is fairly new having only recently celebrating their second birthday. The shop is well positioned in Hastings town center, the only problem being parking and a slightly deceptive loading bay for commercial vehicles only (you have been warned – as was I dropping my bike off once!).
Bike fitting is one of the most crucial factors in cycling. You can spent tens of thousands of pounds on the lightest bike frames, components, wheels and such but if you cannot maintain a position or remain efficient for a prolonged period of time it’s all worthless. If you’ve ever brought a bike from a shop a fitting should be free… If you’ve brought a bike off of the internet, more fool you and expect to receive no discount when getting a fit at your local bike store (LBS)! Internet purchases are for those experienced enough to setup their own bike, or know a fitter. There is some argument that if you save enough money on the bike to warrant paying for a fit then fair play, but support your LBS!
The things a fitter will be looking at are saddle height and setback, ideally looking to ensure correct pedalling technique is possible and that the knee position is in correct place in relation to the axle of the pedal itself. The fitter is then looking to set the handlebar height and reach depending on the type of riding you are planning on doing. For me this is mainly competitive so an aggressive position is required while ensuring I am able to maintain an upright position for optimal hill climbing ability. We touched on TT position, which I am often in despite the lack of clip on bars, but this position would make it difficult to move into an upright position, which I felt was more important for when I tackle climbs.
Since my Retul fitting I’ve changed to an Adamo saddle. Anyone who has used one will know that as you are sitting on your “sit bones” you are higher. I realised this and dropped the saddle height. Sadly this meant I needed to setback the saddle slightly. I then started on a very frustrating attempt to get my knee position right on my own, which also resulted in some mild knee pain when I went back to my winter bike this year. Pretty good timing when Rowan offered to help! He was also very honest. He could have said it’s completely wrong and that I needed a lot changing but the truth was actually it was only about 4mm too low and 4mm too far forward. With that fixed I went out to complete an 80 mile ride. The results were very good. The little changes had resulted in a much more comfortable ride without me having to get used to anything. Knee pain gone too!
I’m very happy to recommend anyone to Handsome Bicycles for a fit and they have kindly offered anyone booking a bike fit a discounted one-off price of just £45.00 (£65.00 normal price!) when quoting “Pav Bryan” on booking. If you’ve recently brought a bike online, a second hand bike, moved components around and such the best spend you might make this year is on a bike fit. For power to pounds a correct fit is probably one of the most effective!