–By Charlie Seymour
If you ask most cyclist which upgrade is most important, a good percentage won’t mention bike fit. They’ll comment about a carbon frame or some fancy wheels they read about. But, I would argue the value of a bike fit, for the racer or the recreational cyclist. Recently, my past few races have not gone as planned, most of which have come down to lower back pain due to bad fit. I contacted by local bike fitter and used the Retül bike fit machine. This system projects a 2D image of the rider on a computer and gives exact measurements of your current fit. It does this through small sensors that are put on your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles and the outside of the feet. It also uses front and side angle cameras to get before and after comparisons. The machine was set up to match my bike exactly, and I pedaled for a while so to get the measurements. My before measurements were 72.5 saddle height, negative 6.5 offset, 60.5 reach to grip, and a negative 4 drop. Next, I had my cleats fit. Due to my left leg being longer by about 1 cm, we needed to find a solution to even out my pedaling. This was achieved by moving the cleat almost as far back on the shoe as possible. After getting my shoes adjusted, I went back on the bike. I ended up with a longer stem, 90 before, to 110. This moved my reach to to 62. We also moved my saddle up by .5 mm. I was able to keep my drop at a negative 4, and my offset ended at negative 7.This made me feel much more relaxed, while also allowing an aggressive position on the bike. The fit made my riding much more comfortable, and overall helped my back issue. If you are uncomfortable on your bike, a professional bike fit is a must.