Active Bike Fit : fitting the bicycle to you
With our extensive knowledge of the sport of cycling and support from a Legend of Professional Cycling, Sean Kelly, SportActive are now taking the objective, to allow everyone to gain a permanent and positive experience of cycling, to another level.
One of the most critical aspects that can affect the efficiency of your cycling is how you sit on the bicycle. Like many sports that require a human to interact with some type of apparatus or machine, how you interact will define your efficiency and effectiveness.
The bicycle is possibly one of the most efficient biomechanical partnerships ever to come into existence. Over the years the bicycle has undergone many and numerous developments, the equipment utilised has been developed using space age technology, all to ensure the machine is as efficient as can possibly be in all the environments it could be used in.
Constantly the science of discovering how to make the human body perform athletically better is studied and techniques applied to improve the performance of human athleticism. We can see the physical improvement as athletes become faster, stronger and as efficiency of the trained human system develops how we can go farther for longer periods of time. The elite athletes pioneer the way, the legacy of their breakthroughs are there for all of us, whether elite professional or interested fun seeker to benefit from. Who really does not want to improve and do a task or challenge with more comfort and ease to a higher standard ?
How you, the cyclist, interacts with your bicycle will determine how effective you will be at propelling your machine to achieve your objective. How you hold your club, bat, racket, bar or stick, the technique you use, all will determine how effective you will be.
Likewise, how you sit and position yourself on your bicycle will greatly determine how efficient and effective you will be. Like all sports, a multitude of other skills surround ultimate performance, that's what makes sport so fascinating, frustrating and compelling. But first and foremost is the biomechanical partnership.
Many people fail to recognise this and as a result their performance, no matter how relevant, suffers. By ignoring the basic core fundamentals you will only make your sport more difficult for yourself.
Sitting comfortably ?
The dimensions of position determine the geometrical relationship between the riders contact points. The position of the contact points of saddle, handlebars and crank axis in relation to gravity contribute to the 'dynamic equilibrium'.
Understanding the static and dynamic functioning of your body is an invaluable aid to define optimum position. Correctly positioned, you will see the advantages, rather than being content to sit on the bike passively, turning the cranks by habit. The search for the right "feel" must go along with setting up your position.
There are many theories and calculations for setting position, however, the blind application of norms and coefficients is not enough. The mathematics of living beings cannot be brought down to the level of general mechanics. Anthropological norms must also be taken in the same spirit, that is, do not give undue importance to numbers.
The calculations determine a start point based on evaluations of elite performers, the experience of the bike fit technician is the key to fine tuning the calculus to give you the correct position. An experienced bike fit technician will know morphological peculiarities so as to adjust data.
Anthropometric description :
Seven body measurements allow 'ActiveFit' to make an 'anthropometric description' of a person.
Trunk, forearm, upper arm, thigh, lower leg, height and inside leg, these measurements allow us to calculate the approximate position of saddle height, saddle setback, saddle to handlebar distance and saddle to stem difference.
We are looking for a position that gives the rider maximum 'efficiency' which is achieved by reducing physical effort while maintaining performance level. This lies within narrow parameters.
Saddle position is the most critical aspect of position : if the saddle is too high, it will cause injury ; if it is too low it critically reduces efficiency.
Therefore, the first and most important aspect of efficient position on a bicycle is the adjustment of the saddle. It is the main contact point and its position relative to the cranks determines the ergonomic conditions of the movement of the legs. For stability and comfort on the bike, body equilibrium is achieved by balancing the tripod formed by the body on the static contact points between the saddle and the hand points on the handlebars. It is impossible to compensate for bad saddle adjustment by playing with the position of the handlebars.
The second aspect of position is the adjustment of the handlebars. These must be set to allow the efficient and effective use of all ( 3 of ) handlebar contact points.
When there is a fundamental disparity between the initial position and the adjusted position the cyclist must understand that although the feeling may seem extreme, "the human body can be retrained". Bodies change little by little, with training it acquires new abilities, agility increases, muscles become stronger and skills improve.
"A walker becomes a cyclist and integrates the bicycle as an extension of themselves."
Making it fit :
Frame geometry and correct sizing enables the bike to achieve good road holding, maintain stability and turn easily. Frame size (height) depends only on leg length, overall height is irrelevant. Proportionality is the determining factor, not subtraction as some methods advise, simple mathematical methods usually lead to frames that are too big and the positions on them give no aerodynamic or effective advantage.
On saddle setback, ergonomics teaches us that for road riding it is more efficient to pedal with a setback of the saddle rather than 'at the front'. The two main reasons for this are that it is easier to push your foot forward when crossing the upper dead spot of the pedal stroke. This has the effect of smoothing out the pedal stroke by increasing the continuity of the force exerted on the pedals. Pushing with the foot tends to stabilise the pelvis on the saddle. This also evens out the stroke, since the legs can then be used solely for propulsion without getting involved, as a reflex, in counteracting the natural tendency to slide forward on the saddle when the effort is intense.
The more forward the saddle, the more the rider will slide forward because of a shift at the lower end of the power zone portion of the stroke. It can be difficult for some riders to adopt such a position because they lack suppleness and lower back strength.
The saddle to handlebar distance is determined by the trunk, arm and forearm, it is easier to stretch on a bike whose saddle is adjusted for biometric efficiency, it is easier for the chest to lean forward, apart from aerodynamics this position allows you to push the handlebars with your arms thus decreasing the work of the lower back muscles while promoting the stability of the pelvis on the saddle.
Active Bike Fit at SportActive :
At SportActive we have always understood the importance of making sure you sit correctly on you bicycle, we take it very seriously. A SportActive Experience is a positive experience and how you interact with your machine is fundamental to that experience. We have taken this to various levels of proficiency and worked with partners to provide you with the best service we believed would benefit you. We have evaluated, studied and sought the advice of professional elite cyclists and with over 100yrs of experience at the upper echelons of the sport we have now made the decision and commitment to incorporate ActiveFit, Professional Bike Fitting, into the SportActive Experience.
We have invested in a measuring jig to measure the fundamental parts of your body and in a fully adjustable bicycle jig that meets the requirements needed to correctly evaluate and position yourself on the bicycle.
We have developed software that allows your measurements to be evaluated through calculations utilising formula determined from data collected from elite cyclists to allow your bicycle to be initially set up in a position that will make you more comfortable and efficient.
Importantly, we have the 'SportActive Team' who have the experience to fine tune and adjust the position to best suit you and your characteristics so as to ensure your cycling becomes more effective.
When everything has been finalised you will receive a printed copy of your body measurements and the measurements of your bicycle relative to position so as you can ensure any bike you have will be set to your efficient position.
Correct position on your bike is important. At SportActive we are committed to making your Cycling Experience a positive one. Now we have made a commitment to provide the possibility for you to be professionally fitted to your bicycle, to make you more efficient and effective, to make you a better cyclist and enhance the Cycling Experience. Cycling is our passion and now ActiveFit is something we believe will help many in our SportActive Family to enhance their own Cycling Experiences