Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why You Can't Get It Right?

Have you ever wondered why bike fitting tips from cycling magazines or bike shop online videos rarely work out well when you try to DIY at home? 

Most of you who have tried these adjustments yourself will usually set off a never-ending chain-reaction of issues, where the numbness/pain/stiffness/strain moved from one part of the body to another, like chasing a rabbit around the forest.

Here’s a common scenario that most of us can relate to: Too much pressure at the groin causing saddle sores, along with unstable upper-body sways when pedaling.

What’s the most common answer you get from internet? Saddle height too high.

Then automatically we’ll search for saddle height calculation formulas (e.g. 0.883, 1.09, etc) and set the saddle height as recommended.

You may have followed the numbers/angles/equations/formulas and yet still couldn’t get it right, right? Why?
  1. Every person’s anatomy is different. Every 5ft 8in does not wear the same shoe size, does not have the same torso/femur/arm/etc lengths.
  2. Limitation of physical flexibility and capability.
  3. Pedaling and weight distribution techniques are incorrectly applied.
  4. Influenced by incorrect information gathered from cycling buddies who mistakenly diagnosed tell-tale signs from your body movement when out cycling, causing you to make adjustments which brings you further away from the ideal setting.
The most common mistake is to have the saddle tipped down too much, causing the sit-bones to slide forward and end up with perineum area compressed against the nose of the saddle. Hence, too much pressure at the groin causing saddle sores, along with unstable upper-body sways as body naturally tilts trying to reduce pressure at the groins. 

But...I can say that many toe dippers who came in for a bike fit are not actually toe dippers. They look like they are pedaling like toe dippers, but in actual fact they are seating too high that the pedals are pulling on the cleats at the bottom of stroke. And yet they claim that they are not seating high enough because cycling buddies told them that he/she has too much bend in the knees when pedaling. Effect of this? Too much pressure at the groin causing saddle sore, along with unstable upper-body sways when pedaling.

BUT...that's not just it...an observant bike fitter will tell you that the saddle shape might be unsuitable for you as the sit bones do not have a stable platform to rest on, hence putting more pressure on perineum soft tissues. With this, cyclist will experience too much pressure at the groin causing saddle sores, along with unstable upper-body sways too trying to reduce pressure at the groins. 

Side-note: I always say this, out of 10 models by a saddle brand, only 1 will fit your pelvis, hence the reason they make 10 models, which are meant to fit 10 different kinds of pelvis shape. 

With one symptom comes three suggestive solutions, however there's more than just these three.

The above example is just one of the many things a bike fitter should be able to observe, analyse and put forward reasonable adjustments during a fit session. 

On top of taking in the bike and body as a whole when bike fitting, we need to take into consideration the cyclist's current capability, training program and goals. And be realistic about it.

We can’t have high propulsion (body weight forward, handlebars low) setting on a road bike and expect the shoulders and neck to be pain free for 160km race, when your weekly ride distances are 40km at most. 

Vice versa we cannot expect a cyclist with 45km/h average on a rocket setting tri-bike to feel sore-free on a slow and steady 25km/h Sunday group ride. Yes, riding too slow on a fast setting bike will cause sores and pains too.

With all the explanations above, you would have correctly guessed that bike fitting is indeed individual and personal. There’s no single generalized formula or method that will work for every individual, and it is the job of a bike fitter analyse all the issues faced by customer and work out a balanced solution for them. Bike fitting is truly a balancing act.

To understand more about bike fitting, please visit: 

For further information on pricing & contact, go here:

Contact: 012-232-4868 Chuah (Watsapp/SMS or call) .

Google/Waze Location: Jalan Hujan Bukit

Located in: Taman OUG, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (nearby Bukit Jalil & Sri Petaling)

Thanks very much. Ride safe and have fun..!!

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