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Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
« on: April 23, 2016, 07:44 »
Silly season has arrived here in Belgium. The Spring Classics awaken everyone to the ripening sportive season and the distant clarion call of summer. Suddenly the workshops of LBSs all over the country are buzzing with activity: upgrades, tune-ups, post-winter fixes. You can forget trying to do quick repairs in April and May.

Such is the case too, it seems, for bike fittings. I'm ready to splurge but there aren't any slots until June and I'll have to travel miles to get it done.

I've been unhappy with my position on the bike almost as long as I've been back in cycling, which is about six years now. A laundry list of issues: I can't do two hours without pain creeping into the neck and lower back. When I ride at maximum effort, my left leg gets tight at the top of the calf and demands a lot of extra attention in post-ride stretches. My feet often feel uncomfortable in my shoes. Saddle soreness particularly on one side comes on way too early to be normal.

I tweaked the position a lot over the years, saddle position and cleats mostly, but it never feels particularly better. I've been to physios and osteopaths who are happy to take my money but don't seem to reach any firm conclusions about an off-the-bike cause of the issues.

So I decided to spend some money and get a fitting. Not so much because I expect it to improve my riding experience but rather because I'd like to establish an optimal position that will enable me to figure out the off-the-bike physical problems and what they might be: "I know this is supposed to be the right position, so where does it still hurt?"

There are plenty of methodologies out there. Esa above tried Specialized Body Geometry - are the results still good today, Esa? - but here in Belgium there are also Retul, (Shimano) BikeFitting, Cyfac and the very fancy new kid on the block Guru. There are also creepy old Flemish guys in their garages armed with  nothing more sophisticated than a turbo trainer and a ruler.

I haven't yet decided which to try but I'm still a bit sceptical about the whole thing.

Three hundred euros is the highest cost I've seen and that's for the Guru fit. A lot of cash but it seems like the most comprehensive process: three hours of laser body measurements, electronic bike positioning, saddle pressure points, foot check. And then they sort out your bike and cleats for you. The lowest is the University of Gent, which is a basic mathematical-mechanical check and you go away and make all the changes yourself.

The hidden cost is perhaps the most worrying aspect: could mean a new saddle, seatpost, stem (plus new tape), crankset ...

So we'll see. I'll report back. :)
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