Fit to be Tied

I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to be getting a bike a fit. Well I got it done. For anyone who hasn’t had a fit, I’ll relay the experience so you will understand what to expect.
Background is that I have a new(ish) bike and have been putting in trainer miles as part of the of season. I’ve found that as I’ve put in more miles I’ve developed some pain in my hammy. I’m not entirely sure when or where I did something to it. I noticed the pain start back in November and its just gotten progressively worse. Wanted to make sure that it wasn’t being caused or aggravated by my bike, so that’s why I had the fit done.
The fit started with an interview where we covered my right hammy and past injuries. Back in my twenties I tore my left achilles tendon most of the way of my heel. From there I go through a series of strength assessments (everything from basic walking to squats and more). After that there was a flexibility assessment. And finally there was a series of measurements to help map the length/relationships between points on my body.
The fit was a full simultaneous 3D motion capture fit (real honest 3D, not 2D taken at two different positions). It was actually performed in the motion capture lab at Boise State University. Using a series of markers on the body (reflective dots placed at landmark locations on my body) and at least a dozen Vicon motion capture cameras I was assessed on the bike for fit. The technology was super cool. Once points were mapped in the system a 3D skeleton representation was dropped in and did what I did. There were also vector arrows that would map and exaggerated movement to make it easier to tell what was happening.
There where some interesting things discovered. I have one leg that seems to be 1cm longer than the other. It is unknown at this time why (hip alignment, bone length, injury, etc.). This made my fit more complicated than if everything was in alignment. I also was dropping my right heel mid pedal stroke and had an ankle that was collapsing as I hit the bottom of my stroke. This drove some lateral movement of my knee.
These type of issues are where the 3D fit should really shine. Because the data can be visualized as a full skeleton, it was easy to see that some of the issues could be solved with an adjustment to the bike (while others will need to be solved through strength, mobility, flexibility training, and technique improvements).
So, in terms of outcome, am I happy and do I feel like I got my money’s worth? The honest answer is both yes and no. I think that some of the changes to my bike were positive. For example my seat came up slightly (4mm). I knew my seat was low because I set it low. I dropped it slightly for cross. I kept catching my leg on the seat during my remounts, so I brought seat position down slightly to help “Band-Aid” a technique issue that wasn’t going to be addressed in season (that what March through September is for, right?). Next he brought my seat forward 3mm. This rolled my pelvis under me more and this was more of a change to address a tight hip flexor issue while keeping my sit bones appropriately positioned on the saddle (also a positive).
In terms of the not so positive, my left cleat was, I believe mistakenly, moved forward. In the discussion of spindle placement in relation to the foot, it was discussed how the spindle need to come back on my foot. I was a little disappointed/surprised to see he had actually moved the cleat forward when I got my shoes off and could see what was done (cleat moves forward, so does the spindle). There were a few things like this that were observed about my fitter. A number of times I had to correct him in regards to my injuries (specifically which leg had what injury) and also which leg was shorter. I also has a strange issue with the chain somehow ending up on the wrong side of the divider in the  rear derailleur cage that I can’t explain. The fitter pulled my wheel to place the bike in his trainer and it was clicking oddly when I first got on it. I had to remove a pulley and open up the cage to get the chain routed correctly. I rode the bike into the fit and didn’t have the issue prior. I also didn’t see the wheel removed as I was getting markers placed by his assistant at the time. I have checked it out on the stand and there was no harm. Shifting is spot on, so no issue.
All that said, in the fitters defense, I think things started off poorly for him. There is some pretty major construction and he was late because of it. I think this either frustrated or flustered him and that may be the driving factor in the not so positive portions of my experience. He also offered a series of exercises and stretches to help with my flexibility and strength issues (also a positive).
In the end, I loved the tech. I think there is a large amount of merit in the technique. I will move that cleat myself to where it needs to be and from there will feel like the fit will bring improvement (anyway that’s what I hope). Time will tell.

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One thought on “Fit to be Tied

  1. I feel like I should follow up on this entry further. While I believe in bike fits, I don’t know that I’d recommend this fitter. There were more issues that unfolded as I spent time on the bike. The saddle was actually moved backward (not idea) to the point of being at the max rear rail position on 25mm setback post (meaning I’m either a totally freak or the seat was moved in the wrong direction again).

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