What should I buy myself or a loved one at Christmas? A BIKEFIT….
I popped into the BICIMETRICS studio near Son Moix to chat with owner Jon Sowerby about the benefits of bike fitting.
DM – How long have you been Bike fitting?
JS – Personal knee pain led me to start studying bike fitting and it has now been about 10 years. Having worked on boats for most of my life, in 2005 decided move on land and base myself in Mallorca. I started training properly again on the bike. For the next three years I would suffer from knee pain in the early season, destroying my goals I had set for the year. I was buying books on knee pain, biomechanics, and functional movement to try and gain some knowledge to fix myself. I eventually travelled to the UK to get a bikefit – a relatively a new concept in those days. After a couple of years of pain free cycling it occurred to me that no one was offering this type of service here in Mallorca…. A cyclists Mecca. I quit my job and started to retrain at the Serotta International Cycling Institute in the States and obtained my Retül certification. Bicimetrics was formed in 2011 and I have been commercial bike fitter ever since.
DM – Is a bikefit just for the experienced bike riders?
JS – Most definitely not – A novice rider probably has the most to gain from a bikefit. They are more keen to learn, to be open minded and don’t have any preconceptions of what they think they should look like on a bike, or how there bike should look.
DM – What are the benefits of a bikefit to a novice rider?
JS – A bikefit conducted properly will give the rider comfort, efficiency and pain free cycling. This in turn leads to greater speeds/power on the bike. The foundation is comfort and stability, without these two aspects little improvements will be made to your cycling.
DM – Explain what you are measuring when you are conducting a bikefit?
JS – We measure and gauge quite a lot! Starting with an interview we look at the riders riding style, goals and aspirations. We also look at rider’s injury history, a broken collar bone from five years ago and affect the way you sit on the bike. We look and test the riders flexibly and biomechanics with a series of functional movement screens. Poor biomechanics and inflexibility off the bike will be a key factor when adjusting the bike. During the actual fitting phase, we use a 3D motion capture system and we watch the body angles in real time whilst the rider is on the bike. From these figures we can make an informed decision to adjust the bike relative to the information we have collect earlier on the fit process.
DM – So, it’s just about getting the saddle height correct?!
JS – Not at all, there are five contact points between the rider and the bike. Right hand, left hand, pelvis and the right and left foot / shoe / pedal interfaces. All need to be looked at, assessed and adjusted correctly. There are a lot of adjustments that can potentially be made especially with the foot shoe / pedal / interface. Cleat adjustments, insoles shims and wedges may be added to ensure the pelvis knee and foot are aligned and tracking correctly whilst pedalling.
DM – You mentioned insoles – what do you do and what are the benefits?
JS – A high percentage of riders will benefit from insoles. A supportive insole gives the foot more stability in the shoe leading to better tracking between the pelvis knee and foot. A custom insole will lead to greater comfort, by dissipating pressure points or hot spots within the shoe. We can mould custom insoles in the shop during the fit process and gives the customer a more complete service.
DM – If I get a bikefit once, is my position for life?
JS – No not at all, the body is constantly changing as we get fitter, lighter or get older. If you sustain a broken leg or wrist, this can have an impact on your position. For an active cyclist, I would recommend a bikefit revision every year.
DM – What steps should you go through when buying a new bike?
JS – Firstly the bike choice needs to be fit for purpose. There is no point buying the same a frame designed for a Pro Tour Team if you just riding at the weekend with friends and have no intention of racing. The geometries of the frame will be too aggressive for a relaxed position. Most brands offer bikes with geometries depending on the purpose of the bike. Once you have chosen the bike relative to your budget, you need to know your frame size. There are a couple of formulas out there used to calculate frame size, but I would always recommend a full bikefit before you buy the bike. After the bikefit, the bike can usually be speced to your own individual requirements in terms of stem length, handlebar width, etc.
DM – What are the best pedals to go for?
JS – Generally speaking the greater the surface area of the pedal/cleat the more comfort you will gain. Shimano SP-SL and Look pedals probably provide the greater surface area. Anyone with poor knees I would recommend Speedplay, they off the greatest amount of float. For recreational rider or touring rider I would look at a mountain bike style pedal the Shimano SPD – the shoes are also easier to walk in.
DM – I see you have a Run Analysis Room, What’s that all about?
JS – Same concept as the bikefit, but a little more complex. We analyse the customer running and then create a coaching session to improve their technique. We video you running on a treadmill. We then slow down the footage to look for any deficiencies or poor technique. This can be anything from poor biomechanics, such as a hip drop (poor glute activation and strength) to lateral movements in the arms whilst running. The video analysis is followed by functional movement screen similar to the bikefit. All this information is then conveyed to the customer before we can then start the Run Technique Coaching session. Most people’s movements patterns can be changed over six sessions over a six week period. The benefits are enormous and cover increased efficiency and speed as well as injury prevention.
BiCiMetrics Palma, Son Moix Centre, Palma 07011 www.bicimetrics.com – [email protected]
Other Bike related Christmas pressie ideas…
- Books – “Greg Lemond A Yellow Jersey Racer” by Guy Andrews
- Magazine Subscription – to the “Cyclist Magazine”
- Stocking filler accessories – Castelli Foul Weather Cream (brilliant for UK summers!)
- Stocking filler accessories – Castelli Toe Thingy Toe Covers (brilliant for Mallorca winter)
- Stocking filler accessories – Castelli Light UPF50+ Arm Warmers, black (brilliant for Mallorca winter)
- Clothing – Castelli Gabba Short Sleeve Jersey (various price points)
- Vouchers – Rapha gift vouchers (available from their website)
- Bike Computer – Garmin Edge 520, 820 or 1000 models