Bike Fitting IN Surrey
A question I am often asked, "is it worth having a 'Bike Fit'?"; well let's see....
I've been in the cycle industry for over thirty four years, during that time I've set up the cycling positions for literally thousands of riders. So if I've been doing it for so long has what we now call 'Bike Fit' changed? Well yes and no, we haven't invented a new cycling position and we haven't evolved that much physically as humans in the that time. The four key contact points of 'saddle height' and 'setback' then the 'reach' and 'drop' to bars are as similar now as they were back then. What has changed is that in the past I did it all by eye, but to get it absolutely perfect we now have the tools to finish the job. What we now get is so much more data, but it's what you do with that data that's important, it needs to be interpreted correctly then any alterations implemented as a result must be appropriate. There really no substitute to being fitted by someone with experience; after all any tool is only as effective as the person using it.
Arguably the most effective of these new tools is a modern Bike fitting jig, allowing us to fine tune the four key contact points, so you then know what you need to replicate on your current, or new bike. Regarding the latter bike manufacturers normally list the relevant 'fit' data which can be replicated on the jig, so we are able to compare the bike fit of the various bikes you maybe considering; impressive as well being extremely useful, helping ,many with their choice of new bike. At C & N we actually have a purpose built 'Bike Fitting' suite where we can interview each rider covering cycle history, future goals and aspirations, any cycling limitations we need to make allowances for, a bad back or neck for example. We take accurate physical measurements including, height, inseam, shoulder width plus detailed measurements of each foot including arches. We then obtain an assessment of flexibility, range of motion and stability, all this before the we even start to take on the bike measurements.
Either on your own bike or using our custom made jig we are able study pedaling action, ankling, tracking and unique style, as well as cleat angulation and positioning fore and aft, all play a part in the set up. We measure leg angle using a goniometer and a laser to determine the forward and aft positions over the bottom bracket (often referred to as 'KOPS'- knee over pedal spindle). Two riders with exactly the same inseam and foot size may use a different ankling technique throughout the pedal revolution, both may differ but both may still be correct and need a different saddle height to achieve the correct leg angle as a result, so we need to allow for that.
This is exactly where an experienced 'Bike Fit' specialists will be of value, as they need to find out what is influencing the rider's ankling, it may be their previous set up was wrong and they had been using that ankling style to compensate, as such this style will change with the correct set up, yet what the fitter may initially see is the rider out of habit still using this same compensatory style, so the fitter will need to factor that in when doing their analysis. A rider with developed quadriceps and slim calves versus someone of identical leg length but with large calves and less developed quadriceps will often ankle very differently to maximize their muscle groups respectively. Many take up cycling with a back ground in other sports and are as such novices to cycling, they often get on a bike and their muscle memory is such that it initially influences their pedalling action and ankling, in all the cases above an experienced fitter will make the necessary allowances that may be very specific to each rider.
'Bike Fit' naturally allows for each individuals goals and the bike used to achieve them, a road race bike will have a completely different fit to a low pro TT bike for example even though both are set up as race bikes, a Sportive bike may differ slightly from an Audax bike, potentially the set up of these two categories is close enough to be the same, although their are subtle differences which may, or may not result in a slightly different 'Bike Fit', these subtle position differences will be taken into consideration during the assessment. An Experienced fitter should make the whole process informative and educational, showing each rider how to evolve their position as they evolve as a rider. It's actually a very enjoyable and interesting process to go through, but the way we do it's also reassuringly very logical and easy to understand.
Two items that have helped with bike fitting over recent years is the variety of saddles and shoes-footbeds that are now available. Footbeds especially can help greatly with the interface between foot and pedal. Modern foot beds can literally be moulded to your foot shape, the result is a far more accurate and secure connection which greatly helps with pedaling efficiency. Think of it in simple terms, your feet are what's at the end of your levers, the more accurate the connection the more efficient it is, the more comfortable it is; two massive yet often underrated positives.
In conclusion is 'Bike Fit' worth it, in short if done properly yes, very. After all it’s folly to invest hundreds if not thousands of pounds on a bike if it then isn't set up to fit you correctly. Many will quite rightly take great care to get the correct style of bike, in the correct size, with all the correct clothing, shoes and kit, yet with all these important factors in place then not have the correct set up on the bike, so they have to try harder than they need do and often get aches and pains they don’t need to have as a result.
Bike Fitting Surrey, at C and N Cycles Redhill , we offer four different bike fit packages, from £60.00 up to £140.00, 'click for details' or to email click on the following link email@example.com
My personal Feedback from just a few of my recent bike fits:
Rowena, 'Liv' Road bike: Very friendly and super knowledgeable. In my 'bike fitting' with Paul he took the time to explain things to me at a level I understood, put me at ease very quickly and did a great job with my bike that I left with them for servicing. I’d add I’m still a beginner cyclist - there was no sense than I was treated any differently to professional riders that they have fitted. Thanks all, Rowena.
Matt Blanks, Trek Emonda ALR5, 'sizing' then 'collection fit': Wow, I just did my maiden voyage on the purple beast and it was amazing 40km’s around box hill. Just wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for all your great advice and Paul for such incredible passion and knowledge whilst fitting the bike, it fits like a glove, or a bike that’s meant to fit. All the best guys and thanks again for helping me pick such an awesome machine.
Mark Thompson: Excellent service for the customised Sidas foot beds - well worth getting and although slightly more expensive than off the shelf ones, they make a huge difference. Good, knowledgeable service.
Richard and Liz Gearing: We have been delighted with the service and advice offered by Paul. From an initial visit to determine exactly what bikes would best suit our 'road bike' requirements Paul has helped understand and direct us towards bikes we feel comfortable with. Paul takes the time with you as a customer and has now helped with the final fittings for our bikes as well as helping to sort fittings and fixtures. He also took time to take us through tips for new Garmin we purchased. Edit from Paul: As part of our service we offer a 'sizing fit' to work out not only what model-type of bike is the most suitable, but just as significant what size is the most suitable, in addition when the bike arrives we offer a 'collection fit' so that the whole set up is perfect for each rider.
Álvaro García: Cube Attain Race: As soon as I got home my friends and I went out to Windsor for a ride. Numbers were pretty good even though the weather conditions were awful (too windy) we still managed to do 90 km with an average of 27.4 km/h. And guess what, no pain, no uncomfortable posture, Sidas footbeds were really good, it felt like I was riding like that for ages, my body gave me a great feedback from the fit, so hats off for you Paul; you have done an amazing job. It was an amazing experience the service was outstanding and the amount of advice and knowledge I got from the session was priceless. Thanks a lot Paul and will be in touch for sure!
Danny: I bought a Cannondale System Six and adjusted the fit by feel.I decided to seek a professional fit and choose C&N due to the vast expereince and rave reviews.In the time spent with them i learnt alot about micro adjuctments to the bike and myself. I would recommmed C&N to anyone from novice to a pro
Veselka Marinova, 'Cannondale Top Stone': Very knowledgeable and experience people work at the shop; I had a thorough and detailed bike fit. Bike feels better now, numbness in the hands is significantly reduced. I hope that with few more rides it will disappear completely. I will recommend your services to all my cycling friends. Thank you guys! Edit from Paul Veselka had been having an issue with numbness in both hands that had been getting worse even though there had been no change to her bike. Intially she noticed this issue in the Prudential Ride 100 after 60 miles, but it was becoming an issue much sooner; after only 2-3 miles! Veselka's leg extension was slightly over extending, lowering her saddle and adjusting the saddle set back helped improve her 'bmr-body mass ratio' reducing pressure on both hands, altering the bar height and angle also improved her hand postioning resulting in more comfort and improved blood flow; all helped with reducing hand numbness.
Richard, Boardman Team CX I used the Redhill shop many years ago for bike servicing when I worked locally. The staff were always friendly and the quality of what they did was always very good. Move on many years, I have retired and no longer work locally. Now looking for a 'bike fit' a friend recommended the same shop. Some of the staff were the same which was reassuring but more important the quality of the bike fit itself was outstanding. This was solely down to the individual who carried out the fit. Paul was clearly very experienced in what he does and that showed throughout the time I was there. Every aspect was clearly explained and as the cyclist I always felt that I was key to the process which for me was so important. Cannot thank Paul enough for the work he did and cannot recommend both him and this shop highly enough. Fantastic experience.
Ed, Kinesis GF Ti 60cm. Thank you for a great bike fit. Bike is much more comfortable now. Definitely recommend! Edit from Paul, Ed had sore knees,a sore shoulder -right side, and a sore lower back. Both cleats set to ‘ball of foot’ with correct ‘angulation’ and ‘Q’ factor spacing; plus saddle lowered 20mm as Ed had been overextending, both helping to reduce the knee issues. We also reset saddle setback which helped with his BMR’ (Body mass representation) to alleviate his lower back and sore neck.
Frances 'Canyon Speedmax ' TT Bike (we fitted Frances earlier in the year to her Dolan Road bike): Once again Paul demonstrated his considerable experience and expertise and has transformed the comfort and handling of my TT bike - looking forward to smashing out some serious PBs on it now! Thanks Paul! Edit from Paul Frances was finding hew new TT bike uncomfortable and unstable to the extent that she was struggling to gain confidence in what are often quite difficult bikes to get used to anyway! Adjusting saddle height and setback as well as the TT bar extensions helped to enage her core and ‘BMR’ (Body mass representation) which both helped with how stable and comfortable the bike felt
Stuart Nash, 'Cannondale Super Six' : Hi Paul, Just an update on todays 'Redhill Cycling Club' ride. This morning I rode nearly 70 miles with RCC with no issues at all. Also achieved over 25 PRs on Strava so I think that it speaks for itself. I am definitely stronger up the long drags as you pointed out and also was 1st out of 13 riders up the big climbs of the day including Leith Hill. There were also some comments from other riders saying how strong I was on the bike today and I think you might get a few in for a bike fit. Once again Paul many thanks for last weeks bike fit and I wish I had it done years ago! Kind regards; Stuart. Edit from Paul, Before the 'fit' Stuart had been having neck and lower back and right knee issues plus the saddle was uncomfortable, correcting saddle height and setback, cleat positioning and fitting a more appropriate saddle cured all those issues.
Andrew Mitchel Specialized Allez 58cm: Just a note of thanks for the opportunity to draw upon your evident expertise yesterday; I rode today and the bike feels noticeably quicker, more comfortable and more efficient...so thank you Edit from Paul Saddle height increased from 773mm to 804mm, setback also increased, cleats set to ‘ball of foot’ with correct ‘angulation’ and ‘Q’ factor spacing and Bontrager inForm BioDynamic High Arch Insoles fitted.
Lena Giebelmann, 'Ribble R872' road bike: I rode the Ribble on Sunday and Monday and no numb feet on both days! Thanks again for your help. Edit from Paul, Lena had undergone surgery on both feet and had suffered numb feet since the operation. As part of a Dynamic fit we reset her cleats to ‘ball of foot’ with correct ‘angulation’ and ‘Q’ factor spacing as well as fitted medium arch footbeds, all combined to help alleviate these issues
Jack Brennan Cannondale Caad 9, original USA built 58cm. I had the bike fit with Paul. It was a relaxed and interesting morning in the shop. Paul made some really beneficial changes to my bikes setup that should result in significant improvements on the road. What was particularly reassuring was that while the shop is kitted out with all the necessary equipment, and Paul can draw on best practice, he also has a wealth of experience from working with a variety of riders C and N Edit. Cleats reset to ball of foot over pedal axle and correct angulation. Saddle raised 21mm and effectively set back to improve ideal ‘KOPS’ (Knee over pedal spindle) and ‘BMR’ (Body mass representation).
Frances and Andy Sheehan, both had Dolan Road bikes. Hi Paul. Just wanted to say a massive thank you for sorting us out on Saturday - it has made such a difference already! We had an incredible ride yesterday, and, as you predicted, Andy noticed massive improvements!!! He is already going much faster on the flat, and I had to work an awful lot harder to keep up with him on the hills. I definitely felt more powerful too, and more smooth and stable cornering and descending. The new saddle is great - much, much more comfortable.
Thank you for being so patient and kind regarding our relative inexperience, it is all very much appreciated. Hope to see you again soon. Best wishes. Fran
David Jorr, Canyon Endurance AL7. Hi Paul, thankyou so much for yesterday, it was a real pleasure; I learned a lot. My back was not as bad a problem as for many others, but the readjustment you made made an immediate difference. Time will tell in the longer term, I am so glad I met Amy last summer on our Mont Ventoux tour. Now I feel I have found a really good LBS which every cyclist needs...even though it isn't very local!I will need to get more things in future.Cycling really is a life affirming sport and yesterday was another Bravo moment. Best wishes David. C and N Edit. Cleats reset to ball of foot over pedal axle and correct angulation. Saddle lowered and effectively set back to improve ideal ‘KOPS’ (Knee over pedal spindle) and ‘BMR’ (Body mass representation), all combined to reduce stress on David's back and help reduce an issue with a sore sacroiliac joint
Martin Verrall BMC Road racer sl02: The service was excellent. Paul walked me through each step, gave me the information I needed, was happy to explain what he was doing and why it was important. His enthusiasm for cycling and wanting to help people enjoy their rides more by being in a good position on the bike is clear. He wasn't pushing sales, in fact he suggested a cheap replacement set of bars to try to ensure they were the right fit, and that I then upgrade once I am happy after testing for the season. Overall I was extremely satisfied and felt that I received excellent value for money. I will be bringing my bike in for future servicing needs, as well as upgrades
Eddie Jenvey 'Sizing fit' on his Trek Madone for a Trek Domane: Following up on your changes to my Madone, now that I have had a more representative ride, a club ride of about 30 miles yesterday, my most significant impression was of the almost complete absence of leg fatigue. I found it much easier to keep pace with the group. The overall result is very encouraging and I will undoubtedly be sticking with your settings.I find it amazing to think that for a number of years I have unknowingly handicapped myself with a poor setup.I am looking forward to more club runs through the month of November, and even more so to the delivery and riding of the Domane.
Michael Bloomfield 'Cube SCR LITENING'. Paul. Thanks for sending over the bike fit data, and more importantly thank you so much for your time on Saturday. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the bike fit - the whole experience was really interesting and I'm really pleased with the result. I actually rode the bike into work on Monday (instead of my normal commuting bike, the Bianchi) and it felt comfortable and certainly faster than before. You made the whole experience really enjoyable and easy to understand, thank you so much again, Michael. C and N edit, Saddle went up 40mm and setback increased from 59 to 89mm, the leg angle went from 45 to 30 degrees and the setback helped to engage the core to alleviate shoulder and neck pain as Michael now had the correct ‘BMR’ (Body mass representation); shorter stem fitted and bars lowered.
Chris Rooney Trek Domane 54cm: I completed my normal training route with numerous personal best times on Strava. I felt less fatigued, more comfortable and more powerful. Climbing Box Hill I again felt more power climbing in the saddle, transfering from an 'in the saddle' to an 'out of the saddle effort' on a climb also seemed far more fluid than before: Edit from Paul, saddle raised, nose lowered and set back, bars dropped, Chris's 'fit' was greatly helped by having correct bike, in the correct specification, in the correct size, this was in conclusion the perfect fit.
David Moss 58cm Specialized Tarmac. Hi Paul, Wow what a great job you have done to my bike, It’s a dream to ride, been out today covered 50 miles, set loads of PB on Strava so clearly a lot faster and a joy to ride. Thanks Again, Dave
Trevor Browse, sizing fit 'Focus' road bike: Excellent ride back with new saddle height; felt like a different bike. Edit from Paul, the 'sizing' fit was to determine the size of a new Trek Domane SL6 Disc. There is often value using a current bike to 'size' a new one, providing the current bike is set up correctly of course. In Trevor's case we raised his saddle nearly 20mm, for many that could mean they actually need a different size bike, so if they'd based the size of their new bike size, on their current fit, on their current bike, they may have ending up buying the wrong size; you'll be amazed how often we see that!
Andrew Robinson 54cm Specialized Roubaix. The bike fit has been a revelation, no more stiffness and really back enjoying the riding again. Thanks so much, best regards, Andrew. Edit addition from Paul, Andrew's goals were to get back to pain free cycling as he had been having lower back issues
Mark, Trek Domane. I've Just came back from the high mountains after the bike fit, it made a big difference; to be honest I'm actually quite surprised just how much difference it made! Really, really pleased Paul, thank you.
John Bell Cervelo Rd bike. I am very pleased that I made the decision to have a bike fitting with C&N. Even though I was able cycle for long distances (80 miles +) without issues, I felt that I was not getting the most out of my rides and wanted to optimise my position to get more speed on my longer rides.
I spent over 2 hours with Paul, who spent considerable time discussing my riding objectives and taking numerous measurements before making various adjustments to my bike and cleats.
By the end of the fitting my riding position had changed dramatically, with a significantly higher saddle and much lower handlebars. We discussed whether the changes were too much for 1 hit but decided to give it go.
I felt a bit tight across the shoulders during my first couple of rides so went back to see Paul. He offered to raise the bars but thought that I might be tensing up too much and suggested that I make conscious effort to relax in the new position. This tip worked and no further adjustments were required.
A few months on, I am very happy with my new riding position. I’m riding faster and feel that I am now getting the most out of my rides, especially when I decide to push hard. I would highly recommend the both the fitting and the after-service provided by C&N. John Bell
Denise, Cannondale Synapse 48cm. I'm really pleased with the bike fitting. I don't get back ache at all now, and the cycling definitely feels easier than it used to. My friend Sue used to drop my on Tilburstow Hill; last weekend. I had to stop to wait for her - twice!! Ha ha! Thanks again.
Robert, Trek Domane 54cm: Before the bike fit my cycling friend would drop me on a ride; after the bike fit for the very first time I dropped him; happy!
Richard, Wiler Zero 7 Medium, Bike fit made a big difference Paul; feel more powerful and more efficient; just completed 'Ride London 100' in 4 hrs-10 mins. (Saddle was raised from 777mm to 792mm and setback increased from 50 to 80mm).
Gary, Trek Domane 54cm. Hi Paul, just wanted to say thank you for the bike fit and what a great difference it has made; I did the 46 miles (Ride London) on Sunday in 2hrs 40min which having never been past 31 miles before I was very happy with.
Kieran Mekk Poggio 1.6, 54cm. What seemed like small subtle differences made during the fit actually translated to alleviating all the issues I came in with; many thanks Paul.
Brian: Bianchi C2C: Many thanks for setting me up on my new bike Paul, worked at treat, and yes I successfully completed my 'London to Paris'challenge; thanks again.
Jacqueline: Nirone 7 Dama: My bike after the fitting feels REALLY GOOD, so thank you! I think you did the perfect job
Bob, Trek 1.2: I couldn't believe the difference Paul, in comparison to what it was prior to the fitting it now feels effortless
Dawn, Specialized Ruby. On my first ride after the bike fit, bike isn't twitchy at all and I feel I've got more control. With the narrow handle bars, I feel more tucked in as well. Pedalling feels smoother, gear change is smooth and quiet. Many thanks to Paul and you for the bike fit, my Ruby really feels like a new bike. All the best to C&N Cycles.
Phill Tromans Hello Paul, hope you're well. You'll be pleased to hear that the fit seems to have had a really good effect on my riding; after a month I've felt much stronger all round and have been able to ride faster and for longer. Phill Tromans
Chris, 58cm Speclialized Allez, email sent in reply to our email attaching Chris's bike fit data: Dear Paul, Thank you ever so much for this, it was truly a pleasure meeting you yesterday and I really felt like you took your time and cared, to ensure I got the best possible fit and experience. It counts for a lot. Indeed, I was so happy with the ride home, I got out on my bike again this morning and out for 80miles tomorrow morning in the new Forrest. Fantastic...EDIT Chris saddle height went from 794 to 822mm, 130mm stem fitted and bars rotated to increase reach
Dan Hunt: Giant Propel. Thanks for the time yesterday, sat in the turbo last night for an hour and could feel the difference...
Dawn: Bike fit was more thorough than I'd imagined and has transformed my riding and comfort on the bike with a few clever adjustments. Can't thank you guys enough.
Julian, Specialized Allez 56cm: Saddle height was increased from 735mm to 757mm, before the 'fit' it just felt wrong, now it simply doesn't; it feels perfectly natural and more efficient; I can ride for miles now!
Guy, Planet X Pro Carbon: First ride after the fit I timed myself as usual up a climb I have ridden literally hundreds of times on my daily commute; I have never been so fast.
Rob, 'Whyte Suffolk': Thanks you for fitting session Paul, it has proved very useful and I learnt a lot also. My commute time was almost immediately down by about 5 mins on average, with less fatigue. My times are steadily improving also as the legs get used to the new position! So all in all a very good return. Kind regards, Rob
Bhuvant, Giant Defy: The bike fit simply made a big difference Paul
Stewart, Trek Domane: I was just quicker, I was significantly quicker, by minutes, not seconds!
Simon: Boardman Team Road. Just as you said, I instantly noticed a difference, feeling more power and vastly improved endurance.
Crispin, www.cavespider.co.uk, Specialized Allez. The changes you made did have a direct effect best demonstrated immediately after I had seen you. The hill climb described on Strava as 'Fullers Wood Top section’ takes me normally around 4’40”. After your adjustments I did this in 4’07”, a similar result on a number of other sections on my route. So really pleased, thank you.
Steve, Cervelo TT Bike. You were right, it made a difference; PB in first two time trials!
Neil, Trek Emonda: Just to let you know the bike felt incredible and the fit is very comfortable. Overall I'm thrilled with the purchase. Think I'm going to be spending plenty of time in the saddle from now on! Massive thanks to you and the team, particularly for the fitting, which feels great.
Joanne,: First ride after my Bike Fit a not very fit me did a PB on Box Hill!
All listed below from Enigma Bicycleworks where I worked until June 2016
Neil: Bike great - 50 miles ridden, stem exactly right, higher saddle a revelation... Two Strava KoMs in the last 10 days...Neil (Click the following link for an account by Neil for Cycletechreview.com.)
Steve: I have had my first real ride yesterday evening with the CTC and the changes you made to the geometry on my Cannondale became apparent. I was noticeably much faster and even the hill climbing seemed easier. Also I think as I become more used to the different riding position there will be more performance to come. The only downside is that I may be banished to the fast group as 22 mph plus on the flat with no drafting is a bit above the moderate group pace. Edit:I have now done longer distances including a 98 mile ride with some fairly stiff gradients and the new set up worked fine for that especially as I am now getting more used to it.
Andy: You were absolutely right about the extra 30 mm of saddle height on my current bike. A great improvement and I haven't looked back since.Regards, Andy.
Mark: The bike fit was a huge help. I have less strain in my shoulders, and yet I can still get low on the drops and out of the air. You're assessment of needing to move back 20-30mm was spot on. I'm riding on the hoods now, rather than back on the top 'bends' before the hoods.
Nick: Thanks again for yesterday. I had a great ride back. Roads wet but not too bad and the bike is a treat. Comfortable but lively. Must be the combination of that lovely frame and that expert bike fit!
Grigor Wallace 'British Best All Rounder' Bronze Medalist 2013 Via Twitter: Grigor Wallace @velopeak @Smithsrcc @ bike fit he said layback post, I said straight, now changed 2 layback #bikefitterknowsbest
Martin: I went out on my usual club run on Saturday featuring 80 miles and 5500 feet of climbing. You may recall you heightened by saddle by 14mm which was obviously a significant increase. The good news is that I had less back pain than normal and the handling was not altered. If anything I felt more at one with the bike.
Derek: If you recall, when you did the finished set up you raised the saddle height by 2 cm and shortened the stem (I think) to 110cms. I now know that you were definitely right on both measures. The saddle height seems to have cleared some knee and hip problems that I was getting.