Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taking Bike Fit to the Next Level

Last weekend I attended another bike fitting seminar to further expand my knowledge of bike fitting. This one was held by BikeFit Systems and taught by Kit Vogel and Paul Swift who developed the program. It was an intense weekend, going non stop basically from 8-5 on Saturday and Sunday with a half hour off for lunch. 

This was a seminar designed specifically for health professionals and all but one other attendee was a physical therapist. I was pretty much the class dummy when it came to knowing which muscle is effected by what movement. In terms of riders, we had a great variety from a pro mountain bike racer to a touring cyclist with a trans America tour under her belt to a triathlete who has completed over 10 triathlons.

The basics of the BikeFit training was very similar to what I have already learned. Starting with saddle height and saddle fore/aft position and then on to stem adjustments to get the rider in a good riding position. BikeFit goes from there to work more with the foot/pedal interface. They focus in detail on the alignment of foot and knee. 

By using inside the shoe wedges and/or cleat wedges to create a straighter up and down motion for the knee. The idea being that this is a more efficient transfer of power from the rider to the bike. This is done by looking at each foot and leg separately and making adjustments to the pedals, cleats and shoes. After each adjustment, the pedal cycle is reassessed and the feel to the rider. The goal is to get a smooth up and down pedal stroke with the pressure of the power stroke distributed evenly across the forefoot. In the top left picture, I am placing a marker on the riders knee so that we can judge using a laser how his knee moves as he pedals. 

On the right, I am presenting a fit to the class. Even though each group got to do 4 fits, by presenting our process, we each effectively doubled our experience. A great learning weekend for me and I am digesting the information and deciding how to integrate it into our fit process.


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