The Art of Cycling
Bicycle optimal setup (fitting riders to their bicycles) is often over looked by the recreational cyclist as being un-necessary, although all professional cyclist spend hours trying to achieve the best position on the bicycle to meet the demands placed on their body during training and racing, allowing optimal power when required. Since Retul launched its fitting system in 2007 there has been a huge increase in the number of people and businesses offering fitting services and companies designing new methods to help capture the rider position on the bike. It is my opinion that Cyclist of all levels would benefit from being fitted correctly to their bicycles, this would help many riders achieve their goals by reducing the chance of injury and optimizing the ability to sustain a functional power output when needed.
Retul, Bikefit, Guru cycling, Bicycle Geometry are all well know bicycle fitting systems, in addition to newer companies such as Leomo which offers a slightly different approach with the use of motion kinematics analysis technology launching its remote fitting service in December 2020.
The use of these fitting systems allows the bicycle fitter to investigated the optimal saddle height, saddle setback, reach to the handlebar and drop to handlebar from the saddle. These systems use static kinematics, two-dimensional kinematic measurements and motion capture to help the bicycle fitter achieve the desired position on the bicycle to suit the rider needs based on their personal cycling discipline and range of motion limitations.
There is little information describing the optimal position of the upper body in cycling, as it is individual in nature and specific to the rider needs, Retul suggest a Back angle range from 16 deg (Time Trial) to 55deg (MTB) Since the launch the Retul fitting system 2007, it has been recommended that bike fitting be conducted in a dynamic functional manner with data being analysed while the rider is pedalling, as kinetics can be influenced by cycling workload, new systems such as Leomo (Motion analysis) and GP Bike mapping system (saddle pressure) expand on systems such as Retul to offer addition kinematics and pressure mapping information for bicycle fitter to work with.
Current research pertaining to the configuration of all bicycle fitting systems from static methods to dynamic methods including optimal performance and injury prevention are based on setting the saddle height using the Holmes (1994) static method. The Holmes method has been used for nearly 30 years for injury prevention and setting optimal Kinetic performance on the bike “Holmes; Pruitt; Whalen 1994” Research set validity and reliability of different kinematics methods used for bike fitting setting guidelines for optimal bicycle configuration taking into account the riders training, intensity and riding discipline by assessing kinematics under various wattage outputs.
Measure my bike recommends that no matter what system is used all riders would benefit from being correctly setup on their bicycle by offering optimal functional power efficiency, comfort, decreasing the potential risk of soft tissue injury, resolve existing problems and help riders reach their personal goals on the bike.
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