Three years after getting my road bike (second-hand), I finally was able to get a professional bike fit. I had wanted to do this for the longest time, but somehow didn’t find the time nor the urgency to do so. I thought I could do it by myself, but googling several bike fit web sites with their confusing diagrams, geometries, measurements and angles convinced me otherwise. For one thing, I needed a huge protactor to measure all those angles! Some hints of back pain and numbness in my palms during long rides added to the urgency. A spate of emails recently about bike fit from the various mailing lists (PCN/PECA/firstwavetri) gave me the nudge I needed to arrange for a session. I called up Bike Town Cyclery, the nearest to my place, and scheduled myself for a Saturday 1 pm schedule last weekend.
I arrived on the dot, a bit excited. I was told to show up in a sando shirt, to make the measurements easier. I think I may have overdone myself by coming in my tri suit hehe.
On hand to do the measurements was Goyo himself. He patiently explained the process and went through the measuring tools and equipment. Among 12 different measuring types, he asked me to choose three: I selected Road Racing Competition, Road Racing Sport, and Triathlon 700C.
The first step was to get the body dimensions: foot length, height, inseam, torso, arm length and shoulder width. These are taken using the bikefitting.com measuring platform. Amusingly, I discovered that my left arm is longer by 1cm than my right. (I wonder why).
All the measurements were noted by Goyo, which he then entered into the bikefitting web site, and which generated a computer drawing showing the recommended bike measurements.
Next measurement was the cleat adjuster. Mang Jun expertly located the balls of my feet, and marked it on the cleat adjuster. His finding: my cleats were set too far on the opposite side; he adjusted it accordingly with the assurance that with this “Bibilog ang sipa mo”.
Mang Jun then set up the Position Simulator with the recommended measurements. I tried it out and declared my approval.
Finally my bike was corrected as recommended. It was a good thing that my bike frame (size 54) was fit for my height (5’10”) so there was no need to change the frame. The saddle height was increased by 4 cm (I thought before that it was high already); the handlebar was corrected to the recommended angle. The stem also needed to be moved up by 1cm. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be done as it was stuck up inside, possibly through rust. Mang Jun recommended a daily dose of WD-40 until it gets loose.
As soon as I got home, I went out for a 20K spin around the village. It was amazing. The bike fit really worked. As Mang Jun had declared, “Bumilog talaga ang sipa ko”. Before I found quite an effort when I was on my big plate but now it seemed as if I could spin on it endlessly (naks).
In conclusion, getting a bike fit is really worth it. Especially in my case were my previous bike configuration was off. At a P1,000 investment, it’s cheaper than what you would pay for other performance-improving areas, like upgrading to, say, a carbon fork or frame, but the results are much more noticeable. In other words, getting a bike fit is a basic thing before spending on upgrades. Plus, you get 3 different types of measurements. For example, if I wanted to add an aerobar, I already know how to adjust my bike accordingly. Of course this is truer still if you want to get a new bike.
Getting a bike fit was something I should have done much earlier, and I’m glad I was finally able to it. Can’t wait for the next long ride!