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Achieving Optimal Power Through Your Bike Fit

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This article was written by Michael Lovegren, M.S., FMS, CPBT, Biomechanist for the CycleOps Power training section of their website. You may see all 5 tips by clicking here.

 

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Bike Fitting in cycling seems to be one of the most debated subjects surrounding our sport for the past several years. While some seem to believe the bike fit should just be about the bike. The truth is it’s not! It’s important to look at the bike and the body as one. The fact that every person is different, from body shape and flexibility to power output and race discipline, makes this equation even more involved. While everyone’s fit will vary, there are a few principals that will benefit athletes of all levels.

#1 Cleat Position

Cleat placement is one of the most important parts of bike fitting. If the cleat is not properly aligned then the rest of the bike fit will be incorrect.  Every watt of power you produce is transferred to the bike through your feet and on to the pedals. If the position of the cleat is not directly underneath the ball of the foot you can end up developing some serious foot problems.  We will cover more about the cleat and power in the next series.

#2 Saddle position

When looking at saddle position there are two factors that need to be addressed the fore and aft position, which refers to the location of the nose of the saddle behind a vertical line drawn to the center of the crank axle. The other factor is the angle of the saddle nose either pointing up, down, or neutral. In respect to the angle of the saddle it should be in neutral position (0 degrees). If your saddle is in a negative angle or tilted downwards your hips will slide forward which can lead to knee pain.  Just the opposite having a positive tilt or tilted upwards has shown to cause the cyclist to be inclined and tilt his/her pelvis backwards which results in lumbar pain and can lead to numbness in the groin area.