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Bike Fitting at Freespeed - more info at http://www.freespeed.co.uk

Bike fitting at Freespeed

For a few years now Profeet have been helping me with my running shoes. They have single-handedly cured the shin splints and sore hips I used to suffer from. One of their staff, Jonathan, moved company to work for Freespeed, a bike fit studio in West London. So I went along to see whether they could get me more comfortable on the bike and create a more efficient set-up before my impending violent death at Ironman Wales later this year.

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I was very impressed. I learned more about bike fit in two hours than I did in 46000 miles of cycling round the world! I wish I had visited them before setting off on that journey.

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The system Freespeed use is pleasingly high-tech. LED sensors are placed at all your key joints (ankle, knee, hip etc.) and your cycling style filmed using the Retul 3D motion capture technology.

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This then produces a mass of data about all the angles of your joints as you ride.

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Proper bike geeks will get very excited by this mass of data. All I really understood was that the bike position I had set up and which felt fine to me was, in fact, not very good at all. I also discovered that Jonathan gets extraordinarily excited about things like elbow to wrist angles and heel positions…

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After riding for a while Jonathan would tweak a few things by a couple of millimetres and then ask me to ride again. His meticulous attention to detail, depth of knowledge and passion for the subject were really impressive.
Far less impressive was his excuse for not yet having stepped up from half-Ironman events to the full, manly Ironman distances:
“I’m too young” was both imaginative and feeble!

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The fitting and careful position of aero bars to my bike means that I am now definitely in the sorry camp of being someone with “all the gear and no idea”. I headed out the door at 6am this morning to set about rectifying this embarrassing position.

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This morning I received an email with feedback from the session:

Hi Al,

I hope that you enjoyed the session and found it helpful.

Attached is a folder containing data and pictures from the session – as the data showed, your starting position on the Cannondale wasn’t too bad to start with. What the data did show though, was that you were sitting a little too high, and back on the saddle and that the handlebars were extended further forwards than ideal causing you to reach for the hoods.

The biggest changes we made were to the height of the saddle, moving it lower (10mm), in order to give you better extension through the legs and to try facilitate a transition in leg extension for your triathlon position when trying to get aero. We also manipulated your seated position by bringing the saddle forwards and adjusting the cleats to suit these alterations. We also changed the set up of the aerobars and shortened the stem in order to bring the position on both road and tri into a more compact, and more comfortable/sustainable range.
The combination of the saddle and the adjustments of the aerobars also allowed you to sit further forward in a much more efficient and comfortable TT position on the road bike. The other shift in position t consider when on the aerobars is to try and bring yourself a fraction forwards on the saddle to further take advantage on the alteration on the hip angles and the power you could produce.

I am confident it will be a better position going forward and that should help you feel a lot more powerful on the bike, without being uncomfortable.

I think some work to do that will facilitate an adjustment to the new position is the following:
- Stretch through the hamstring and hip flexor muscle groups
- Core stability work.

If you have any questions on the data let me know and keep me posted on how you get on with the new position out on the road.

Best wishes
Jonathan

Attached were various documents about my bike fit, such as this one.

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I left Freespeed on a bike that felt so much more comfortable, efficient and powerful. They offer a service which I suspect most riders do not realise they could benefit from. But if you’re training seriously for a big triathlon or preparing for a long journey by touring bike I would definitely recommend visiting them. The small tweaks they make to your riding position will account for a huge long-term benefit whatever you are using your bike for. I was impressed. Get in touch with them here.

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