Being 5ft 2 (and a half, on a good day), my approach to bike fitting has always been pretty simple. Buy the smallest frame possible, put narrow bars and a short stem on it, and I’m good to go. I’d heard good reviews of the bike fitting process, but it was never really top of my list to spend money on. Although I felt happy with my position, I was interested in how well I’d set my bike up when I bought it last year, and what benefits I could gain from having it fitted properly. So I jumped when the opportunity came to receive a proper bike fit from Vankru Cycling at the Team Jadan launch. Garth and Graham from Vankru had travelled up to Yorkshire from their studio in Southampton with all their equipment to do the team’s bike fits throughout the weekend.
We were set up in a lovely room in the Beverley Arms Hotel [in Beverley]. I couldn’t believe it was going to take 3 hours from start to finish, but when I saw the physio bed and Retul equipment for assessing position, I realised it was going to be pretty in depth! We started with questions (training, injuries, other sports, whether my job was desk based etc) and a quick warm up on the turbo. Then it was on to the flexibility and strength tests, which also showed Garth any potential problem areas. Luckily I’ve been doing plyometric and core work this winter, so I was able to do a plank without collapsing, and my strength and flexibility weren’t too bad.
Then it was back on to the turbo, and out came the velcro stickers. These went on to all the important points; wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles and two on each foot. This made more sense when the Retul sensors were attached, and I spent a few minutes at different intensities on the turbo. This seemed to attract interest from the other hotel guests, who kept pausing to have a look through the door at what was going on! By assessing the angles and movements on each side of the body, Garth could identify anything irregular and non-symmetrical. Luckily I hadn’t made too bad a job of my cleat position, which required only a little adjustment.
Then it was back to the computer to look at the numbers. Garth identified that the main issue was my pelvis twisting forwards on the right hand side, bringing my knee in closer to the top tube than on the left, and making it extend further over my foot than on the left. Not symmetrical, and not very efficient! So it was bar tape off to bring the shifters further up, and bringing the saddle slightly forwards, to shorten the reach. Then back on the turbo to reassess. It was amazing how different the bike felt with just some small tweaks. I felt like I was sitting so much straighter in the saddle now I wasn’t reaching for the bars anymore. The figures in the reassessment showed what I felt – the new position was much improved.
A huge thanks to Garth and Graham for all their work (and photography!)