Bike Fitting

About a month ago, I had a bike fitting done by Coach Ken Mierke, a local triathlete coach and active poster on Trifuel.com.  I had originally asked for advice on Trifuel back a few months ago about getting a bike fit as I felt too stretched out on the bike and in general felt uncomfortable on long ride.

When I got my bike back in April it was my first road bike – ever.  While I had some very good advice from a fairly serious cyclist friend with respect to the actual purchase itself, I had never got it fit to me.  I assumed that much of the summer my discomfort with the bike was because my relative newness to the cycling sport.  Remember, the last time I rode a bike prior to April was basically in middle school (no, I’m not kidding – I’m dead serious).  And to some degree my lack of previous cycling played a part in it – my first few rides my back hurt after about 20 minutes, but over time that slowly crept up to a number of hours before I would start hurting.  I assumed that this meant I was getting more comfortable on the bike.  But even so, I didn’t feel as powerful in certain positions on the bike. 

It also didn’t feel natural.  I was cycling with a friend and he had just recently gotten a new bike and had it fit to him – during the ride he commented that “It feels so comfortable that it’s like being in a lazy boy recliner…in the aero position”.  That got me thinking that perhaps something was amiss in my configuration.

So I posted a post to Trifuel to ask for some advice on bike fitting.  A number of folks responded, including Coach Mierke.  He has an office a mere 15 minutes away, so it seemed like a logical match.

I made an appointment and went early on a Saturday morning back a number of weeks ago to get my bike fitted.  After asking some questions about what didn’t feel right, how much I cycling and a number of other things; we put my bike up on a Computrainer and he had me start cycling.  Nothing too hard, just a relatively easy spin.  Over the course of the 45-60 minutes he tweaked a number of things.  Each time I would get off the bike, he would tweak it – and I would get back on and try it out.  Rinse, repeat.

A few key changes he made were pulling the aerobars in closer together – which made me feel more compact…and more aerodynamic.  He also brought my seat forward a little bit – helping me to not feel so stretched out.  In addition he raised my seat a fair bit.  I had a feeling for quite a while that my seat height was too low.  By raising it I feel like I get more power out of my legs.  Of course, all of these changes are specific to me.

I’ve gone on a few longer rides (at least two hours) since then where I was aero most of the rides and it feels quite a bit better. And the numerous weekday shorter rides also feel great. While I haven’t gone upwards of the three hour mark since the fit – all signs are pointing to it definitely helping on the comfort scale.  It’s a bit early to determine if it will also help me get more power out of my cycling (or help me on the run due to lower effort on cycling) – but I would venture to guess that it will since I’m not dealing with the annoyance of my back during the ride.

So all in all, well worth the $150 that I paid.  I’m also looking at using his coaching services, I’ll probably be making a decision on that at some point here in the next week now that my knee is pretty much all happy again.

I would say that I do wish I had taken the time to get my bike fit BEFORE I started a year of training – I can’t recommend doing that enough.

6 Comments

  1. After you were fitted was there a significant bend in your knee while pedaling? Or just a small bend? 150$ isnt to bad if it helps you a bunch!

    Reply
  2. That's definitely money well spent. You'll notice a difference with your post-ride running as well. Faster and faster, bro.

    Reply
  3. a bike fit makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE. for me, my aerobars were way to close together right out of the store for as broad as my swimmers shoulders are. it's just the little tweaks that a bike fitter makes that can make or break your season!!! happy comfy cycling!!!

    Reply
  4. Sounds like a very worthwhile investment! The year with the unfitted bike obviously got you all broke in.

    Reply
  5. Here's my question. How long will you stick with a road bike?
    I bought my road bike last year too, and like you, I hadn't been on a bike since middle school. Now I'm wondering if I should've gotten a tri bike.
    ???
    Glad the fitting has helped.

    Reply
  6. It is good to hear about your success with the bike fit. I had a similar experience. I rode for a year with a lot of pain thinking that it would just work itself out.

    It took a bike fit to fix and the difference was astounding.

    Reply

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