Bike Fit Report - the before and after

@Coach_Theia - did I miss your write-up about your recent bike fit?! I’m very interested to hear the changes!
-Angie

Thanks for the reminder, Angie! So I decided to get a bike fit last October after I went to a CX clinic offered by local bike shop. The owner of the shop looked at me and asked “when was the last time you had a bike fit”? I was embarrassed to say… a long time ago when I got my very first bike and they did a fit at that time. Since then, I had just been making little adjustments on my own, including saddle changes – not very smart! He then offered me a free professional fit!

Issues I had before the bike fit

Before the fit, I was having the following issues:

  • Saddle sores - On all my bikes (2 road and 1 CX), I had persistent saddle sores that were in fact subcutaneous cysts. Sometimes they got as big as a grape and one time it was so swollen I could not wear pants! My saddle was the ISM Adamo. Note that I had saddle discomfort when I first got my bike with a different saddle, but it was of a different kind- it was numbness- and I thought that had to do with the saddle having a longer nose- that is why I switched to the ISM and thought I had nowhere else to go from there… I tried everything- different shorts, different chamois creams, waxing, not waxing, you name it! Nothing helped.

  • Knee pain - I used to get mild knee pain on my right leg from hard, long rides. Never attributed it to the wrong fit. Just thought I had a “bad knee”.

  • Reach on handle bars - This one I knew had to do with fit. As I started riding in a more aggressive position overtime (more aero), I felt like my handle bars were too close to me, and I was putting too much pressure in the area between my thumb and index finger.

Corrections/changes made with the professional bike fit

  • Type and position of saddle - changed to a MUCH narrower saddle, the Selle Italia SLR after trying 6 different saddles during the fit. They put the tester of my chosen saddle on my bike so that I could try it for a week or two before I decided this was “the one”. This choice surprised me completely! The saddle has a long nose that does not bother me at all!

  • Saddle height - went a little higher

  • Handle bar - she placed an extender to better match my reach, the bar height also changed.

  • Cleat/shoe - turns out I have a 10 degree rotation on my right foot only. To correct that, she adjusted the cleat position and put in a wedge to correct it.

Results

UNBELIEAVABLE results:

  • No saddle discomfort. No saddle sores. Even after 3 hs straight on the trainer. Completely GONE!!! YESSSSSSS!

  • No more knee pain on right leg which was being caused by rotation of right foot

  • No more pressure on hands

I am also told that the proper bike fit increases efficiency and with that, we go faster!

Check also these Top 5 Solutions for Saddle Sores in Cycling

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Oh my! What a success story! I just can’t believe the changes/results. Incredible.

My husband just had one, last night - new saddle, lowered 1.5cm (!), new stem. Outcomes TBD.

I had a number of them done, from 2003-2010, but none since then. I definitely move around on my saddle A LOT and my hands have been going numb, recently. I guess it’s time!
-Angie

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I agree! Go for it Angie and report back!

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Last year I got a bike (Trek Dual Sport+) to ride to work and meander around town. My back was hurting on that bike. I felt I was such a wimp for going 3 miles max with battery assist and my back hurt. I took the bike to the fitter. He raised my seat, shorted the stem, and had me put larger flat pedals on the bike. I thought the changes were minor, but the back problem went away.

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Crazy right?

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Saddle sores. Ugghghh. Maybe TMI, but I’m dealing with one right now. Two days off the bike. I think I caught it in time, but still an inconvenience.

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Coach Theia, how often do you recommend getting a bike fit? I had one 2 years ago, have not changed my bike or setup at all, and have not had any new issues pop up since the fit resolved all my prior issues. Do you go back (if no issues) to confirm nothing has changed? I assume if you do develop new issues a recheck is a good idea. Thanks!

The bike hasn’t changed, how about the rider? What was your level of experience 2 years ago and today?

2 years ago was the end of my first year of cycling. So maybe some tweaks would be identified if riding dynamic has changed some in the subsequent years of training?

Possibly. Often times riders are able to stay more aero, adopt a more aggressive riding position, and the most common adjustments in these cases are lowering the handle bar and a longer stem. But of course, when those change other things may need to get adjusted as well. But wait until closer to the outdoor season; no need to do it now- unless they have a special discount!

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Awesome story!! I have had issues with my right knee and had three fits which fixed one thing and made another issue😕. It was recommended that I find a chiropractor which will send for X-rays to make sure no back issues and the pelvis. I found one, did the xrays and he confirmed and we are currently working on the imbalance of the pelvis and have big relief (thank goodness).

One thing you mention is that ‘she’ - you fitter was a female! I would live to find a female bike fitter as sometimes I think it would be a littler easier to explain and have a better understanding!

Thanks again for the share!

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I am glad you pursued the issue to find out what exactly was causing the pain. Isn’t that amazing how pain in one place can mean an issue in another? And yes, Rachel is an amazing bike fitter and I felt super comfortable talking to her about my issues.

Hi, this reply is off topic, but i am keen to know your thoughts on bike fits. I have had a few over my time, and after feeling like i have gone backward from my most recent fit, a female cycling friend thinks that not everyone fits the “standard” fit.

For example, i used to sit quite far back after setting up my original saddle to how i felt most comfortable. I produced more power and my glutes were working. I saw a fitter who adjusted me slightly and it worked, until my shoe broke and i had to get a different model. I saw a different fitter at the start of the year and Now i am in a position where i am more aero, sitting over the pedals and closer to the stem which is supposedly more “efficient”. I have given this position over 6 months to get used to, yet i feel like i have dropped in power. I know everyone is different, but i just dont think this position works for me.

Tomorrow i am seeing my original bike fitter who i sat further back with and see what his thoughts are. I only changed fitters because the original one went overseas and is now back.

I want to enjoy cycling again instead of beating myself up. I am loving the workouts indoors, but riding outdoors is a different story.

@puggles the bike fit should meet you where you are, and it should reflect your body, current flexibility and fitness - in other words, the bike fit should fit your body0 not the other way around. It should not be about looking a certain way, or putting the bike in a more aero position to make you match that fit (that is backwards!) At the end of the day, the more efficient fit is the one in which your body works at its best, allows for maximum power delivery to the pedals, and prevents injury!

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Thanks. I will keep you posted on how i go :slight_smile:

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Hi hi,

Just an update. I saw my original fitter who looked at my setup and agreed with how i was feeling. He further took my knee angle and said it was on the edge of causing an injury because it was on the outside range of where it should be.

Funnily enough, once he had made all the adjustments which included putting me further back to where i was, we noticed my saddle height was back to where it was after my last fit with him.

Yesterday i went for a short hills ride with some old cycling buddies and i am happy to report that my glutes are sore…they are working again!

Moral of the story, what suits some doesnt suit you. You know your body best. What might be efficient for some, didnt work for me (eg. my glutes were not working). I was even told to sit more forward on the saddle and retrained myself to do that…then yesterday i started sitting more back again and it felt great!

Sometimes you just need to “ride”. I over think it alot after having so many opinions on how i should ride or what i should do. It was so wonderful to ride with old mates who didnt try and race eachother up the hill. I even managed to make some PR’s while thinking i was going slower than before!

Despite feeling annoyed that i put up with that position for 6 months thinking that was best, i am now looking forward to doing more training in this better (old) position and with my new power meter.

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@puggles that is great news

I am so happy for you @puggles!!! That’s how it should be when the fit is right!!