6 Hacks For The Perfect Bike Fit

(booming music) – It is not that difficult
to get the fundamentals of a basic bike fit pretty much spot on. I’m talking about things
such as saddle height. But, there are a few subtle
changes that you can make that will make a huge difference to your confidence on the
bike, to your comfort, and probably to how fast you go too. – Yeah and a professional bike fit can be, well, pretty costly. So coming up are six
positional tweaks you can make to get the perfect position. And I mean, well, who wouldn’t want that? – I expect you’d like it?
– May I, no. – There is a lot of
work to do here, James. (sigh) (upbeat music) – And we’re gonna start
with handlebar rotation because that is certainly
not the first thing that most riders will think about when it comes to the
position on their bike. But where your handlebars are rotated, forwards or backwards, can
make quite a big difference to how your bike feels underneath you. As indeed, can the position of you hoods on the bars themselves. So it’s worth being played about with it. – Yes, so if we start with
rotating our hoods forwards, that essentially gives you a longer reach and increases the drop
between your saddle height and your hoods, making
yourself more aerodynamic and, well, lower on the front end. – On the other hand, if you
rotate your bars backwards or you move the hoods further
upwards around the bars, you’re gonna have much more
of a sort of locked-in feel on the bike, and you will have reduced both your reach and your drop. – Yes, so grab an indoor
train and experiment, so you can get your position dialed in. (upbeat music) Now, as well as the rotation of your bars, you could also try changing
the shape completely. Compacts are a relatively recent
invention in road cycling. They have been more common place in the last ten years or so. Because traditionally,
road bike handlebars had a really deep drop,
and what that meant was, that the difference of
your position on the hoods versus being on the drops
was really quite significant. – Yes, and for many riders this was well, uncomfortably, low. So they came up with a compact, which allowed you to be in the drops for those long rides, without
getting much discomfort. This is best for those
aggressive style riders. – So have a look.
– I mean like me, really. – You think you’re aggressive, do you? – Yeah. – Have a look at the bars
that you’ve got at home, and if they are the old traditional shape with a really deep
drop, and you’re finding you can’t get comfortable either
on the hoods or the drops, then it might be worth experimenting with compact handlebars, and maybe just try to borrow some
rather than putting out the expenditure before you
decide what’s right for you. (upbeat music) Next up, layback. This is saddle layback
which is effectively how far your saddle is behind the
center of the bottom bracket. You go to extremes when it comes to this. Traditionally, road bikes have had a reasonably large layback, so that it’s been quite a way
behind the bottom bracket. Then on the other extreme
you have time trialists, and even more extreme than that, you have triathletes who
basically have no layback at all. – Yes, and getting the wrong layback, well can significantly affect you power and, oh, give you a whole
host of knee problems. Well we don’t want that, and interestingly there was a study done that shows there was a higher
compression force on the knee, when your saddle was further back. – Yeah, which went against
what I would have predicted. – I agree with that. – Bear in mind a couple of things, that when you experiment
with your saddle layback, you will also be changing your
reach, so bear that in mind, and also if you move your
saddle forward, for example, you will also need to raise
it ever so slightly too. (upbeat music) Next up, saddle tilt. Now, believe it or not, the
International Cycling Union, or the UCI, for a few
years banned pro riders from tilting their saddle
downwards towards the front. Because they thought it was in some ways performance enhancing,
and what that meant, was that we had a number of
pro riders who complained of being numb and losing feeling in a place where you don’t
really want to lose your feeling. – Yeah, not so much. So to rectify that situation,
is you can slightly tilt your nose downwards, which will allow you to put more power out in a
more aerodynamic position, and will relieve a lot of the
pressure on your perineum, which will actually make your
ride a lot more comfortable. – It can also help if your
rider tends to stay seated on longer climbs because,
in that situation, if you have your saddle level,
when the road tilts upwards it can feel like you’re constantly slipping
off the back of your saddle. (upbeat music) This has to be one of the
least commonly adjusted parts of a bike, which is strange
’cause actually it makes a huge difference, potentially,
to both your confidence on the bike and your control over it. So most modern designs of
brake and gear shifters will allow you to adjust
how far the lever is away from your handlebars,
which is particularly useful for those of you who’ve got smaller hands, because if you can’t easily
reach the brake lever, not only is it going
to affect your braking but also your ability to change gear. Which at best is annoying, and at worst is frankly dangerous. – Yes, and different levers
are adjusted in different ways. But in general, there’s
a small screw in the back of the hood, which will allow
you to adjust the lever. You want to comfortably be
able to reach your lever from the hoods and the drops. And if you need to adjust your hands, it’s probably worth bringing
in your levers a little bit just to make it that little
bit more comfortable. (upbeat music) – And finally we have crank length, which admittedly can be quite
expensive to experiment with. So if you do want to
try changing it about, then try borrowing some
different cranks first. A few considerations
when it comes to choosing your optimal crank length. Firstly the type of riding you do, secondly your preferred cadence. And also of course the
length of your legs too. Tendency at the moment is
to go a little bit shorter, when it comes to cranks. Firstly, it helps those of you who like to have a high cadence. And secondly for time
trialists and triathletes, they’re finding it’s kind of
opening up their hip angle and making it easier to ride in that super aggressive aero position. – Yes, so if you are struggling
to put that power out in that aerodynamic
position, it might be worth thinking about shortening
your crank length. But just remember, if you
shorten your crank length, make sure you adjust
your saddle height also. So, for example, if you’re
going for longer crank length of around about 2.5 millimeters,
then make sure you drop your saddle height by
2.5 millimeters also. – Hopefully amongst those tips, you will find a couple of ways to get yourself more comfortable
on your bike and, handily, as you would have
noticed, not many of them, or hardly any actually, cost any money. So you don’t have to spend the earth to get yourself into the perfect position. What you do need to do, is
invest your own time into it, and we will also suggest that
when you make any adjustments, you note down what you’ve done, and even film yourself on
the bike on the turbo train, so you can see how it looks. – Yeah, and just those
little tweaks have helped me feel more comfortable on a bike. And, if they’ve helped you, then why not give this video a thumbs up? And if you’ve got any
hacks that we’ve missed that make you feel more
comfortable on a bike, then do let us know in the
comments section below. – Yeah, definitely, if there
is anything significant in your time riding a bike
which you would like to share with us and indeed with our viewers, we would love to hear from you. Now we’ve got another video
coming up for you now. This is something that
Emma did a few weeks back. This is bike set-up tips for people that are small in stature. So if that’s the case for
you, click just down here. – Yep, I’ll be doing that.