This is a post I originally wrote in November 2008 about my bike fit. Since I wrote it, I’ve been getting more and more comfortable on my bike.
When I first got my tri bike I had to set it up myself. I had a play with it but just couldn’t get comfortable. After a while I decided to get an expensive bike fit. I spent an hour and a half with them and they videod me, lasered me, looked at me, adjusted things and I came away having spent a fortune on the fitting and a new adjustable stem.
But my arms still weren’t comfortable so I bought some differently shaped tri bar extensions, cut them to size and played with them and they were a bit more comfortable, but not that comfortable. So I didn’t ride my tri bike too much. I did a half on it and did better than expected but I wasn’t comfortable enough to do a full ironman on it. So IMUK was done on my road bike.
I want to do Lanza on my tri bike. It’ll be quicker into the wind but I need to be comfortable on it. So I’ve been riding the bike more and getting more used to it. My arms hurt less, my neck aches a bit, things are improving.
I decided to get a photo of me on my bike. When I compared it to the pictures on the web, I found my position looked really bad. So I went back to the set up info the expensive bike fit place gave me and compared the measurements to my bike. I found the saddle had slipped 6cm. And I hadn’t noticed it that much! I also found that the seat angle was quite shallow on the measurements they gave me (74 degrees) compared with the 79 degrees that some people think is good.
I found an article on Slowtwitch which basically said that:
1. From the top of saddle to the end of aerobars (just before the shifters) should be the same distance as the top of the saddle is to the BB.
2. 79 degrees is good for most people
3. The drop between saddle and arm rests should be calculated by a simple formula (that gave 12cm of drop for me).
So armed with this info, a bit of trig, a spirit level, a long bit of wood and a tape measure I made some changes to my bike. Saddle went forward, bars went down and forwards. The result: the bike is comfortable-ish (it really does depend on what bike shorts I wear), there is a bit more pressure on my arms and my neck aches a lot more. But there is no sign of any drop off in power and (I think) the position is more aero.
The neck ache should hopefully go as I get used to it. I will be riding my tri bike a lot more than last year (four times a week at the moment). Wearing the “right” bike shorts all the time will help. I do need to work a little on my arm position still.
What I do find incredible though is that I can get a “better” bike position very quickly by following a very simple formula. Obviously I don’t know what it is going to be like in a months time. I might hate it. But at the moment, it has potential. So I am chuffed.