Do All Pro Cyclists Have Bike Fits? | GCN Asks The Pros

Do All Pro Cyclists Have Bike Fits? | GCN Asks The Pros


– Professional cyclists
spend thousands of hours on their bikes each and every year so a correctly fitting bike
is absolutely essential. So today I’m gonna go
and ask some of the pros whether or not they’ve had a bike fit, if they’ve stuck to the recommendations, and also some more in depth answers too. I’m looking forward to this one because I think they’re gonna
have a lot to say, come on. (smooth hip hop beats) Have you ever had a bike fit? – I have. – And did you stick to it? – Yes.
– Did you? – Yes, you have to go to someone
who you believe in though. Who you trust and believe in their theory, so if you just ring someone up
and go oh I want a bike fit, maybe if you’re not a professional cyclist you’d be willing to try but
riding the amount of Ks we do, if you just put your hands
in someone else’s theories that you don’t really know and you’re doing the amount of Ks we do, it’s hard to convince yourself to stick with any changes that they make. So you really need to
get to know the person who’s gonna fit you and
understand their theories and how they come about positioning you. So you can understand when
they make an adjustment, why they’re making it and from what information they’re
using to make that adjustment. – [Interviewer] Out of interest, was yours purely done on visuals or was it like electronic with lasers and all the pads and everything. – Lasers and the sensor stickers
are all the way to go now. The latest technology
which I’ve been using a lot is pressure pads. So we put pressure pads inside
the shoes and on the saddle, and so from those pressure sensors they can get information of, in the inner sole, if you’re pushing in
the center of the shoe, or if the cleats too far forward or back and so they can centralize the cleat, not necessarily in the center of the shoe, but in the center of where you’re pushing. It’s interesting stuff. – [Interviewer] Okay right, so you did stick to the bike fit changes. Were they big changes or not?
– No, no – [Interviewer] That’s what
I’m really interested in. – No I haven’t changed
my position very much over the last nearly 10 years. It’s all within small margins. – Yeah, a couple of millimeters. – Yeah. (smooth hip-hop beats) – Have you ever had a bike fit? – Yes I have. – On both bikes? – Both bikes, yes – Did you stick to the recommendations? – Over years it’s sort of
changed slightly, but it was very minimal changes to be honest. It was a professional bike kit from when I was a little bit younger. I haven’t grown so when
the results come with that bike fit, why change? – [Interviewer] What sort
of changes were they? – [Rohan] The TT bike, the only
thing I really have changed since 2012, was my arms
coming up instead of flat. Other than that, nothing. – And do you normally have a
bike fit then at the start of each season or not, just to make sure, no? – No we just scan each bike and we make sure it’s
the same as last year. If I change teams it’s the same as my last year’s bike and that’s it. Try to have minimal changes, one millimeter or nothing is our deal. – I’m here with Rolf Aldag,
the head of performance at Team Dimension Data, and well we go back a little bit don’t we? Probably too long, but you can’t seem to
shake me off actually. I’ve got to ask you, do all of your riders undergo bike fits? – Yes they do, in
different ways of course. One of all, like road bikes and TT bikes, that we really have to divide. And yes they do and of
course like bike fitting is a lot of a mental thing
because you have to believe in it because cycling always hurts, and you know, you want to put that pain, in the category like
that, something positive, and not something because
I sit wrongly on my bike. – [Interviewer] Now years
ago when we started to cycle, our bike fits were done by
probably the mechanic of the team or a local ex-pro or something like that. Who does your bike fits
now or does it vary? – It’s much more scientific
than it was in the past. You’re 100% right, I mean, the
head mechanic of Team Terra basically sent me off to my auto room when I came down to him to say, “Look the new handlebar
shape does not work for me “can I go back to the old?” his only comment was like,
“Doesn’t work for you? “Then you have to stop.” So that was the end of
the story, you know. – No option to go back. – About 30 years ago, and now of course you try to find a solution. And in bike fitting you have
a lot of people involved. So that’s a physical therapist, because you need to understand
the flexibility of the body, the limitations of the body. The mechanic is still a big part of it because ultimately it has
to be physically doable or people figure out and then
we still have the UCI routes that also became more and more tight. How far you can sit back
and how long it can be and stuff like that so
it’s a pretty complex thing that a lot of experts out there… And we keep it a little bit
flexible so we don’t force it, in general, on them
especially on the road bike. On the TT bike it’s more obvious,
it’s more number related. You know you go to a track,
have them riding around, you go through the wind tunnel, you have them sitting on
there and then you figure out what is the best and then you still have to make it ride-able for them so field mechanics still play a big role. – [Interviewer] And do
you find most riders stick to the changes that are made or, it is really tough isn’t it? You’ve already said it’s
a very big mental thing, and some riders, they’re convinced that they’re never comfortable,
I think, on a bike. All I’ve got to do is look
around here this morning, and the number of riders
who are still adjusting their saddle height, their
cleats, things like that. I guess part of your
job as well is probably just to reassure them
that things are okay. Would that be fair to say? – Yeah, true, give them a
little bit of confidence on this is done you don’t
have to play around with it, but for some it’s just
like clicking a box. So in the morning they take an Allen key, and they open a screw, and
tighten it and that’s it. We just have to make sure
that they keep within the right torque range and everything, that they don’t mess up the
bike, but at the end of the day if somebody sits 80cm high centered to the top of the saddle, and he lowers the saddle by a millimeter, that’s, try to calculate yesterday, 0.12%. 0.12%, so that’s not super relevant. Do you get a different feeling, of course. Just imagine we have a transfer in the car to the start of the race 140K, and you know you have your
legs bent all the time. Of course you feel, first
time you get on the bike, you feel too high, ’cause you can’t stretch
your legs anymore. It’s a natural thing, you
just can’t overrate it, and get out, be confident in what you
do and that’s the best. – Thank you very much. (soft chillstep) – Right Adam, I’ve got to ask,
have you ever had a bike fit? I’ve had many bike fits over
the years, I think we all have. Yeah, it’s very subjective, I’ve actually done a bike fit course. So I wanted to know more about it, because every bike fit’s done
on opinion of the bike fitter. – How was yours done, forget my words, was it done motion sensors and lasers or was it purely just
on wow that looks good. – Well a lot–
– Because years ago that’s how a lot of bike fits were done. – [Adam] True, the
traditional way of bike fit was you want to spin just
right over your knee cap. Make sure it goes through
the ball of your foot and it’s through the pedal axle and it’s a bit different now. They have pressure sensors in your foot, and the obvious idea is
to maximize the amount of the force over time
plot so that’s one thing. I use a LEOMO device a lot
which measures your leg angles, your foot angles, and everything. In training camp we usually
have a lot of riders using that. We do a lot of tests,
’cause it also measures your pelvic rocks, so
we did a lot of tests with rides at training camp, you know, what seat is better for them, and also to maximize your leg angle range to get the most amount of power, and the LEOMO device does that very well. – [Interviewer] And then with
the feedback you get from that you could possibly change your
position slightly to suit, is that something which
riders have been doing? – Oh for sure, for example,
if I jump on my spare bike I don’t even need to look at the position, and I can just see the data from that, that my legs aren’t going as
high up and down as possible, as in my previous race
bikes, and then I can check and I can see that my
seat’s actually lower. So yeah you can use it. – [Interviewer] And this is something you’re subconsciously thinking about then when you’re riding as well, trying to adjust your
riding style in which when you start to tire. – Yeah well the strange thing is when you’re doing a bike fitting, you’re doing it in a
controlled environment, you’re doing it in a lab, and you’re sitting very
well sitted on the seat, where in a race you
move far more forwards, and when you do move far more forwards, you’re actually sitting
close to the bottom bracket, so the distance between your
sitting position from moving more forward to the
bottom bracket is shorter. So your leg angle actually changes when you come more forwards so, with the LEOMO it’s pretty good like this because then you can actually set up your position more race mode and then you know you can get
out in the real environment and you can test on the
climbs and everything. Because what other people fear too is when you ride uphill your bike changes, and it also changes you, everything. So it also compares it
to the center of gravity. It’s a german company, geobiMized, they do a
lot of their bike fits based on center of gravity because when you’re, with their
mountain bikes for example, they set them up mostly because they want the maximum
amount of power riding uphill. – ‘Cause it’s interesting isn’t it, sometimes when you start climbing you end up falling back
on the saddle just to try and get that extra leverage. Have you ever had some
adjustments made after a bike fit and you thought I just
can’t ride like this or do you give it quite a bit of time? – Oh for sure ’cause you know
going back to what I said, a bike fit’s you usually have a company that has their theories, but it’s really up to the bike fitter and how he wants you
to sit up on the bike, and that’s his theory, but a lot of times you just can’t ride it. – I think you’re right you need someone who understands the cyclists
and their physiology. I mean you guys, world tour riders, are totally different
to your average cyclist because you’re riding quite
a bit more aren’t you. So you can possibly ride
in a more extreme position and also ultimately suffer
the pain a lot more as well. – Exactly, well you
know there’s a balance. If you’re in a good position
and if it’s not so comfortable, if you get the power out of it, and you can sustain that
power for six hours, so okay you want the power gains
if you can handle the pain. – Now you’ve done a bike fitting course, are you tempted to fit up any
of your team mates or not? – Well I’ve had them on the
LEOMO device and they’ve changed their position training
camp based on that, but you know I give some advice, it’s a touchy subject you know? Everyone’s very individual,
so I just pass on a few words, that’s enough, I don’t like to play around with other people too much. – No, no, you might not be that popular if you (laughs) do too much. There we are, bike fitting
as told by the professionals. Let me know though, have
you had a bike fit done? Was it done the old fashioned way, just thinking well that looks about right, or were you using motion sensors, and lasers, and all the latest tech. Remember to like and share this
video with your friends too. Give a big ole thumbs up there and there, and why not check out the GCN shop at shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com, whole heap of goodies for you to check out including short sleeve T-shirts, which are very important here in the UAE. And now for two more great videos how about clicking just down
here, and just down here.

100 Comments on “Do All Pro Cyclists Have Bike Fits? | GCN Asks The Pros”

  1. I've had two high end $$$ bike fits. I average about 20 road races each year in the USA. Both fits were done with lasers and sensors. The first person the first year had a very "do what racers do philosophy" and had this well respected pro resume. He seemed really intent on a high forward saddle and low bar set up with a reach I could do. In addition, he felt a flexible ankle during the pedal stroke was optimal where my toe was straight down at 3-6 o clock and then to up through the up stroke. However, it felt awkward and didn't make a lot of sense me to have a flimsy foot whilst pedaling. I tried it for a bit, kept dealing with injury and went to the next fitter. He had a very different concept and was not nearly as renowned for his pro reputation. Nevertheless I liked him way better. He switched me from LOOK cleats to Speedplay, lowered my saddle for a much better feeling of control, brought the saddle back a bit, and modified my reach so I could stay 100% comfortable in a racing drops position. Plus, he suggested a stiff rigid ankle in the pedal stroke allowing more power transfer and was confused as to why the previous fitter put a 5mm shim on the R side of my foot. My FTP by the second persons fit alone the very next week increased by 5%.

  2. Yes, I had a bike fit done using body measurements. No lasers or new technology (it was several years ago), still feel great and transferred the measurements to my new bike and feels just as good. Only modification I have made over the years is to lower my stem/bars.

  3. I had a bike fit a few years back with sensors etc. Because I used to have knee pain. It helped me a lot. Expensive but well worth the money

  4. I'd be interested to know how many bike fits involve the bike fitter and cyclist going out for a ride before and after the adjustment. For me that would be a major part of the exercise as we all have different styles and strange ticks (like knees flicking out, preference to stand up or sit on a climb, etc). Any feedback @torqueback ?

  5. I've had both, old fashioned and laser and-what-not. It basically comes down to the fitter, because having a feeling for what they are doing is much more important than what computers and lasers tell you. Maybe if you are a pro you can learn to deal with it (like Hansen said weighing pros and cons) but for most of us gaining a few more power efficient pedal strokes is way less important than having a good quality ride. There are many different needs so keep in mind "laser guided" racing fit is not for everyone. You wouldn't want to have you car set up for Nurburgring hotlap for your work commute either.
    But anyways, everyone should get their bike fitted. If the fitter knows what he is doing, you'll think you have a completely new bike afterwards.
    (that said, unfortunately most shops send their mechanics on a 2 week course, then think they know everyting and sell bike fits that are completely off. I've seen ppl ride their brand new bikes in bad positions right out of "shop fittings". cough Specialized cough)

  6. Super interesting, Jon, thanks–fit may ultimately be a personal thing, but those pressure sensors sound like they get the shoe/pedal position perfect. Please tell us more. And to date, I've always found my favorite position on a bike through the usual trial and error–adjust here and there until you get it right. Or seemingly right. But no matter the bike, you should constantly shape shift the upper body to the conditions, I think, sometimes standing, sometimes tucking, sometimes just rocking and rolling. And sometimes, I guess, sitting on the top tube, yikes. And please do a sit-down with Rolf Aldag–I enjoyed your conversation with him and, whoa, what used to happen when a pro would express a preference. That was fascinating, seems like a no-win power struggle and we can only wonder how many racers were hindered by such incidents and threats.

  7. Bike fit is still an art despite all the science behind it. I think it's important to get a reputable, experienced bike-fitter, as opposed to an "out of the box" bike fit system that most shops use.

  8. LOL for Cav photobombing! And, of course, Adam Hansen is basically bike-fitting his team. Gotta love (and admire!) that man!

  9. I had a bike fit a few months ago. I should have had it as soon as I bought my new bike last fall. The improvements were immediate and profound. I gained a great deal of speed. More importantly since the bike fit I have been far more comfortable on the bike. My fit was done with lasers and cameras. The fitter had me do a lot of flexibility exercises to determine just what my body was able to handle. I think the most interesting changes he made were to the location of my cleats on my shoes. A minor change made a big difference. Highly recommend a professional bike fit if you intend to spend time on your bike.

  10. I've done a lot of stuff with Gebiomized. Multiple Bike fits and also joined on some research projects and stuff. Really pleased with their work. They transfered a road bike from PoS to Amazing for me by finding the little piece that messed it up for me (it was the stem). Great people there!

  11. Had both styles done, 1st was plumb bob and eye balling, 2nd was with the sensors. Got a lot faster after the second fit. Changed it up some due to increasing flexibility, longer/lower stem and played with the saddle height a little. Feeling pretty good last two years now.

  12. super interesting video idea… was actually disappointed that it ended! would love to hear more pros weigh in!

  13. Tried to emulate Sean Kelly/Vitus/position, which was fine for that era but now pressure sensors in saddle & pedals takes things to a completely different level. Why not use sensors in the bars as well?

  14. Rolf Aldag is a doper from the Team Telecom days…. As long as guys like him are allowed to remain in the sport, cycling will always be tainted by performance enhancing drugs…

  15. I think I learn more from just listening to Jon and Adam talk cycling than from any other on line source. The two have great chemistry and are obviously very experienced. Both are excellent communicators. I would love a weekly or bi-weekly conversation.

  16. Suggestion: Add voting buttons for these yes/no questions.

    Haven’t had a fit…YET…but I’m pretty studious about these things and love fiddling around with fit. As I get more serious and start to race and do more large events, I’m inching (millimetering) closer to getting one…

  17. Why the hyperbole? 15,000 miles per year at an average of 20mph equates to 750 hours of riding per year….. As a reasonable example.

  18. You should do a video on Leomo. I've heard about it a few times and had a look at their site, but I still don't quite get how it helps you in cycling exactly. As Adam said, it can obviously help you with bikefits, but it seems capable of more. Is it really beneficial or just another gadget to unnecessarily complicate things?

  19. What I had really hoped you'd ask Aldag was whether/how the team dealt with a new bike (BMC) in terms of whether the bikes were just set up as previously with Cervelo, or whether they went with wholesale bike fits on the BMC for everyone. Surely frame geometry would affect bike fit?

  20. Excuse my bias as an Australian, but many of the Aussie pro riders seem really engaged with the media like GCN.

  21. It seems to me that saddle height and cleat position are critical. Get those wrong and it can cause you problems. And those never change during a ride. Pretty much everything else is personal preference. What just "feels" right for YOU is what you're going to stick with. It's likely why you see such varying positions in the pro peloton. I've read that Chris Froome fiddles with his position constantly.

  22. Adam Hansen with his seatpost flipped around for some negative setback! Definitely chucking our the old knee in line with crank axle method there!

  23. what's the sense of a bike fit if you end up with a unaero position like 4:05? In a group, not that important, but most of us ride alone. better be aero

  24. Very interesting Jon. Don't race but still interesting to learn how your body position changes so much when your moving about on the seat .

  25. I have seen plenty of pros have bike fits. They smash the bike on the pavement, or throw it off into the gutter.

  26. Great video Jon, some interesting comments like you say. Had my first bike fit this year, Boy what a difference it makes to comfort. Always set my bikes up previously from feel and formulas for saddle height. Bike fit recommended 1.5cms up on saddle height from the recommended from the usual formulas. But by using video and checking the angles for the legs the new saddle height works perfectly. I previously suffered from a pain between the shoulders, now gone with minor adjustments to reach and saddle setback. Cannot recommend a bike fit enough. I resisted for years, wish i'd done it earlier. Andy Bishop from Worksop did mine, as a serious cyclist, still races for a semi pro team, and ex triathlete he really knows his stuff.

  27. Never had a fit. Been riding 42 years now so I know what works. When I bought my most recent bike (Jon, a Celeste Bianchi)… I gave the shop my expected measurements and they set up the bike accordingly, and checked me on it and didn't make a single change.

  28. I definetly had some bikefits and although I do agree there is a certain mental aspect involved, the importance should not be underestimated. As suffered a lot of finding a quite comfortable though racy position, without having severe saddle pain and irritation in the perineum I was happy to finally have found a bike fitter who helped me "on track". After 3 fits , with 3 different filters, I got to the position I'm still riding in, although I recently changed the saddle by testing myself, respecting the figures as they came out the bikefit. Surprisingly, as I participated last weekend at a tedt-event where I tested 10 different bikes for just at about 8km at a closed racetrack, I was surprised to notice by just adjusting the saddle height to the the one I 'm now used to,some bikes even felt as good or even better as my own?? I do think the frame you ride on is also very important and a do think the more classic frames , such as Ridley Helium, Merida scultura and other just offers a more balanced feel and mix in stiffness, compliance and response…. Aero frames are more about looks and much more one goal designed, not that all round as most of us are or should be looking for… best regards, Kevin

  29. Have a bike fit recently in an official Specialized bike store and bike fitting center?!? After roughly 5 hours of old fashion measurements and flexibility tests and some minutes of riding my bike on a trainer, the bike-fitter ended up proposing me buying a new Specialized stem and a new Specialized saddle. All in all a rough approach to this so interesting subject. Seemed more like a promotional thing than a bike-fit. Nevertheless I kept the new bike position, buy the Specialized products (which btw are sometimes considerable heavier and much more expensive from any other similar size parts). After some ks a follow up came up and we changed the cleats position once again. All in all not so happy about the way this process went. Was expecting more from an official bike fitter of Specialized bike brand.

  30. Had a bike fit. I stuck with it for quite some time but had some issues on longer rides. Made my own adjustments and am now pretty far from the original fit. Unfortunately still not in an ideal set-up so thinking of getting another fit, maybe Steve Hogg style as his philosophy is quite reputable I hear?

  31. I’ve had a bike fit done (by eyesight with plumb bob etc) and well worth it. Quite expensive but considering the gains that can be made well worth it especially when you factor in the price of a bike. I think the recommendation I can give is to use a bike fitter that is open minded.

  32. Regarding the idea of having Adam Hansen work as a tech presenter, I think he makes a great technical consultant. He’s very intelligent and well educated. He’s great to listen to in small doses, but as a full time presenter? No. I think after the first four minutes most people’s eyes would start to glaze over and their attention would drift to something else. Blinded by science.

  33. This is one thing I wish I would have done before buying my bike. I think the bike shop I bought my bike from just wanted to sell the model they had on the floor and I think it is a touch too small and definitely not a perfect fit for me.

  34. Did anyone else notice all the riders interviewed were Aussie? As an Aussie myself, it's very interesting and heartwarming to see.

  35. Every 'professional' bikefitter does their own thing in the end. I've had 2 no 3 different RETUL fits by different fitters the settings are not the same. One wants me more forward and lower, another up and back, same RETUL gear. F knows whether I have the best setup or not. the LEOMO sounds like the emphatic 'on the bike' tool to tell the actual riding position the rider is adopting. I recall I have a right knee that floats in and out when just spinning on the Retul test rig, however when I put a lot of seated power down, the knee float is gone. So where do you test the setup, just spinning or under MAX load? I'd say MAX load as that is where everything has to be at its best.

  36. i had a bike fit done. it was "old fashioned" because i chose not to pay extra to use computers and lasers and what not. the fit made such a huge difference that i would never go without one again and i can't believe i waited as long as i did to get one. i have more power overall and on long rides, much less knee pain and other discomfort such as finger and toe tingling after gravel rides. the changes included: a longer stem, cleat fit, pedal spacers and several other details that are perfect for me.

  37. I strongly believe that aware and taking care of right bike fitting is the very first thing to do after purchasing bike. Otherwise every motion of mechanisms of body movement go wrong and leading discomfort and injury. Like a practice in wrong way. And body changes time to time as developing muscle and strength so I do bike fitting periodically for better comfort and energy efficiency. Every person has different body shapes and strength, and each different riding styles.

  38. I’ve had a bike fit done by a great friend and experienced rider. We did the fit on his home trainer – in the garden on a sunny day with a beer 😊 – and is was definitely worth it… now I sit more relaxed on the bike and can put more power in the pedals or more km on the road…

  39. super interesting! I've had an eyed + plumpbob fitting when I first got my bike, and later made wee adjusts when I started doing more climbing. that was 7 years ago, I'd be curious what the technology says about my bike fit as I always feel quite comfortable despite a racy-agression position (ie flat back), of course to maintain everything yoga is a must as i get older

  40. Good job getting Adam Hansen..he was a SME top say the least and added a lot of value to this video.

  41. But pros have fitters to make their bodies adjust to their "one" manufacturer. Where we as the public, can be adjusted to fit more than one frame.

  42. Have just had a bike fit for my first road bike – bought a new MTB a few years ago which I could never really get to fit and gave me a bad back, so this time round bought a 2nd hand road bike, spending the rest of the money on bike fit & bars, cranks etc to fit me – with a much happier outcome so far.

  43. I will have my first ever bike fit by Long Beach Bike Fit, a little prop to them, on Sep 22, 2019. Will let you know how it goes. Otherwise, i set up my bike on feel.

  44. This is a really good video which has helped to confirm in my mind that all this fit-up stuff is a bunch of expensive hooey. Thank goodness I'm smart enough to move the seat around until the pain in my knees goes away. Is this really rocket science?

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