Saturday, 21 December 2013

Specialized Body Geometry FIT

If you've ever thought about having your bike adjusted to your body but found it hard to justify the cost. Or you think it's all a load of mumbo jumbo reserved for the elite fraternity or people with general body issues, then think again.  Following months of uncomfortable rides, recurring knee and achilles injuries, I decided to go for a Specialized Body Geometry Fit and it has transformed the comfort and results of my rides, for the better.  


Why won't you get a professional bike fit?

1. Too much money. You can save it by just copying what people say on YouTube.
2. Too proud.  Why should someone else tell you what you can do yourself. 
3. All mathematical bollocks: What's a few centimetres and degrees here and there, hey?
4. Why worry about injuries: You get them all the time so used to it now.
5. Waiting for a new bike: You're waiting until you get a swanky bike in 3-4 years. 

Why should you get a professional bike fit?

1. Money: In the long run it could be the best investment you ever made.
2. Pride: Because the people doing it actually know more than you. Believe it or not.
3. Angles/Inches: They make the world of difference, especially when it comes to efficiency.
4. Injuries: You've still got them (and moan about them) because you're not addressing them.  
5. I'll wait for a new bike:  Bad excuse. You can transfer you're measurements to pretty much any bike in the future.  You're riding badly because of your setup to the bike NOT whether the bike is the latest carbon race-horse or not, and which of course, will fit you like a glove without any adjustment. Wrong.

Why am I writing this post?

Because I've just had a Specialized Body Geometry Fit and had all the conflicting thoughts that I've highlighted above. Am I glad I did it? You bet. And here's why... 

What is BG FIT?

Firstly, here's what it is. Dr. Andy Pruitt Ed.D., PA of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine developed BG FIT, which is a comprehensive fit philosophy created to help cyclists ride faster, longer and in greater comfort, while reducing the chance for injury. BG FIT technicians are trained by the medical consultants and expert staff at Specialized to analyse each rider’s unique attributes, pedal stroke and body position.  Using the data gained during the assessment, they optimise the bike and equipment to match the rider’s biomechanical profile.  The technicians have to pass exams to offer the service. 

STEP 1: PRE-FIT INTERVIEW
The process starts with an interview - like going to a psychiatrist and telling them your history and affair with your body and bike - and what you want to achieve with both in the future.

STEP 2: 16-STEP FLEXIBILITY ASSESSMENT
You then go through a series of body evaluations, aimed at building an accurate picture of your flexibility and other physical attributes, including assessment of foot structure, knee position, spinal curve, shoulder extension, hip flexion and leg length, among others.

STEP 3: SIDE VIEW
Your side view is then assessed. The goal is to deliver a correct neutral position that’s both powerful and comfortable through adjustments to seat height, handlebar height, stem length and cleat position.  The technician uses eyesight and camera techniques.

This (below) is the side view to assess foot position. Only a 0.5 cm change on the right foot but the left foot was 2cm out. I thought I had set both cleats up identically - I had - but my feet and legs are different, which is why the dynamic fit shows all this up and proves that what my body wants isn't what they tell you on random YouTube videos.  For instance, I found out my feet actually supinate!!  I've been running for years and have been on numerous machines and assessed by running shops, who didn't notice it. Although I had moulded insoles from Cycle Fit, we still needed to add an insert underneath that on the left foot.



This (below) is the side shot showing the greatest change - the angle of my leg. The saddle was too low and with the adjustment of cleat and saddle, a 10 degree change. This was undoubtedly the cause of the pressure build up on my left knee. The saddle was too low, too far forward and cleats too far forward too.  All small changes but as a whole make for a more comfortable ride.


 














The biggest change. 10 degrees in leg angle.


STEP 4: FRONT VIEW
Your frontal view is then assessed to optimize hip, knee and foot alignment for greater performance and balanced power delivery. Includes analysis of pedal and shoe placement and squareness on the saddle. The technician uses eyesight and camera techniques.

Again, lots of adjustments along the way, but this highlighted an issue with the left foot/leg.  The supination and minor arch collapse on the left foot was corrected with an insert. As you can see from below the left leg is straighter, with the end result showing that my legs moved up and down in a straight line.  Again, possibly another contributor to a pain on the outside of my left leg. 














STEP 5: FOLLOW UP

After a week or so, the technician contacts you to discuss the effectiveness of the adjustments. My technician is James Bracey (@jamesbracey) at Pedal Heaven, Fleet, Hampshire (@_PedalHeaven), and I know that 'follow-up' means 'come in and chat about it whenever you need to'. It's like a doctor/patient thing.


Results

All things considered, my seat was raised, my bars dropped, my cleats moved, my saddle moved back and all angles adjusted. I won't bore you with all the numbers but I can honestly say I've never felt more comfortable on the bike. This sounds cheesy but I sort of feel like the bike is more of a part of me, whereas before it was uncomfortable and felt like I was fighting it sometimes.  

The investment, in my view, is worth it. The videos and report mean I can take this fitting with me when I upgrade to the next beast, barring any major changes in my body of course.

Do it. It works. No more knee pain or achilles strain - thanks to Mr Bracey at Pedal Heaven and Specialized.


7 comments:

  1. Oh dear: "feel like the bike is more of a part of me". You are right, it did sound cheesy! Though you have got me thinking about getting involved...

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