Professional Bike Fit

Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#1
I recently bought a new road bike (Specialized Roubaix), and ramped up my training roughly at the same time (intensity, brick training, etc.). This is obviously a rookie error, as I am now taking a forced rest with a sore left knee (possibly Chondramalacia or Patellar Tendonitis: see http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm). Web sources suggest the following possible mechanical causes for these conditions (in addition to overuse, stress or bio-mechanical): Pain might be the result of crank length (old: 170 mm; new: 172.5 mm), seat height, seat position (fore, aft), or cleat positions (new cleats on shoes, so maybe moved a bit from original position?).

Hence, the $64,000 question: Just how important is a professional bike fit?

Am I confusing terms? Is a "bike fit" and a "bike set-up" the same thing? For example, is a bike fit done prior to purchase (and therefore moot as far as I am concerned) and a bike set-up done later to optimize or customize fit?

Are there any shops in Tokyo that have the necessary expertise and equipment, and roughly what does it cost to have the bike "set up" by a professional (preferably English-speaking - oh, the demands never stop!)?

Thanks for any advice on this,
Andrew
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#2

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#3
There was a thread here a while back, and someone linked a place for getting a bike fit done.
Here's the link:
http://www.euroimport.sakura.ne.jp/euroimport-cyfac/07_Postural.htm
Maybe someone could link the original thread for us?
I didn't try out the bike fit yet, was waiting to get used to my bike and trying some different settings myself first.
But now I'm getting pretty close to going... also have some knee pain recently.
 

simon

Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
96
0
26
Tokyo
#4
oh, so it was you (Deej), back then :D
thanks (for linking the the original thread)... you beat me to the buzzer again ;) (also, thanks for PM, will reply soon)
 

chazzer

Speeding Up
Nov 23, 2006
449
0
36
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire
#6
Bike Fit

If I may put in a plug for Hiro Aoyama and his new shop Sports Bike Hi-Road. Hiro set up my bike, pre-purchase, when he was with Y's. Now he has branched out on his own. He is fluent in E, if you need, and will give you a very professional fitting and set up service. This can be pre or post purchase.

In the worst case, where the frame size is the problem, then this may leave with limited options but that would be pretty unlikely I think.

He is also the person organising the Norikura run mentioned elsewhere on the site.

Here are the details.

http://www.geocities.jp/bikehiroad/english/index.html

Hope this helps,

Charles aka chazzer
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#7
sore left knee (possibly Chondramalacia or Patellar Tendonitis: see http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm).
For what it's worth, I have this occasionally in my left knee, too (same as you, not 100% sure if it's the tendon or cartliage), and have discovered through trial and error that in my case it is very consistently triggered by having a saddle that's too low. It's quite specific: 1 cm or more below my usual saddle height and the discomfort flares up within the first 30 minutes of a ride.

...Which is another way, I think, of saying that a bike fit is a great idea... :):)
 
Aug 17, 2007
121
0
36
Yotsuya, Tokyo
#8
Thanks!

Much to digest, but thanks everyone for the advice. Think I'll try a pro fit at one of the shops indicated. It makes sense that, if you've dropped a wad of dough on a good bike, you might as well drop a little more to get a customized fit.

Hopefully, I'll be riding again this weekend, with better adjustments, higher cadence and lower gearing!

Andrew
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,514
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#9
SEO shin matsudo has a jig to measure you.... sit on the saddle and adjust it here and there...has tape measure marking on every post. Then you also have to take into account the person measuring you...does their theory agree with the textbook? If you get measured at 2 or 3 shops will they all come to the same conclusion?

My Fondriest and Trek are almost identical in size and geometry and the only difference I feel is the handle bar shape. I took my own tape measure into the shop and bought the Trek because the measurements were identical.

I didn't however get measured to see if both bikes were ideal for me.

I had knee problems when I was a beginner and now after learning proper seat height, pedalling technique I rarely have a problem. ( I have a torn anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee that used to go on fire when I started cycling: It is fine now.). Possibly my body has adapted to the bike.
 

theman

Warming-Up
Jun 10, 2008
1
0
0
USA
#10
HI,
you may wanna check out this software
www.softvelo.com
it can calculate proper bike setup using your body measurements. Basically you measure your arms, thighs, feet, forearm and so on, and the software tells you what your ideal bike setup should be. The software is written in collaboration with a famous italian biomecanics center, and it is renown for its accuracy. The software is in italian, but I think they will come out soon with an english version.
And by the way it lets also track your bikes and components usage for maintenace purpose, plus you can build your own training schedule based on your goals and discipline.

Good luck
thaMan
 

xtrca

Cruising
Dec 5, 2007
37
1
18
montreal
#11
being a proffesional fitter, pedal and cycling economy consultant i would tell you that many many times i notice that people feeling this type of pain after increasing volume and intensity actually suffer from very tight quads and hip flexors. if after a comprehensive fitting (where your flexibility and range of motion are taken into account) the pain still persists then i am confident this is your problem however, i think the most likelycause is as others have suggested, fitting. the increase in training is the only red flag making me wonder how your flexibility is like
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#12
Last night I went for a professional fitting at my local bike shop, which uses the Specialized Body Geometry system. The fitting started with a chat with the shop's expert covering what I wanted from the fit, any injuries/problems, how much biking I did and the intensity, and any issues I had with my current set up.
We then moved on to a flexibility assessment to check for misalignments between the left and right sides of my body. After that, he took all the critical measurements of my bike: saddle height, saddle fore/aft position, reach to the bars and bar drop, together with crank length, stem length and rise and bar width.
When we had all the measurements noted, he got me to warm up on a trainer, and once I'd been pedalling for about 10 minutes, he closely observed my pedalling and upper body position on the bike. The first change was to insert some tapered wedges into my shoes, which pushed my knees further out from the frame to line up my thighs, calves and feet better with the pedals. He spotted that my upper body was too stretched, so we took the stem off my bike and put on an adjustable unit. With only 10mm less length in the stem, the feel of my bike was very much improved, my arms were less stressed and the brake / shift levers were much easier to reach from the drops. The final change was to move the cleats on my shoes back a couple of mm to reduce stress on my achilles tendons, and he also suggested a narrower handlebar to suit my non He-Man shoulder width.

Fitting_Session.JPG


I was amazed at the effect of such small changes! I've already ordered a shorter stem and narrower bars, and now looking forward to a faster more comfortable bike :)

For people with injuries or lingering complaints, there is a level of fit beyond what I got where the individual joints are tested for flexibility, but this is usually not needed according to the shop's expert.
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#13
Cool

Thanks for the informative post, Alan. Now you'll be even faster than ever! I better start training harder for Hotaka...

I have long been curious about the wedges. For some totally unfounded reason, I've always thought that I would benefit from using them. I'd be curious to see how they are inserted in your case. Did the fitter mention whether the wedge setup he gave you was the most common, or does it differ widely from person to person?

Cheers,

Deej
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#14
Yeah, thanks for the info, Alan. I'm at the stage now where I really want to go in and pay for a good fitting. I have the wedges to lengthen my short leg a bit, but I'm afraid to use them as angle adjusters without having a clue if it would make things better or worse for my wonky knee. :)
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
435
103
Tokyo
#15
Did the fitter mention whether the wedge setup he gave you was the most common, or does it differ widely from person to person?
The wedges are placed under the standard foam insole of my shoes. They are about 2 mm tall on the thicker side and taper down to almost nothing on the thin side. They only go in the front of the shoe, and extend about halfway along the shoe.
The fitter said my setup with the thicker edge on the inside was fairly common, as I had a knees-in pedalling style, but he does sometimes install them the other way round for people with a knees-out style. The objective is to line up the leg in the vertical plane. I think there are other thicknesses available to correct for differing amounts of misalignment.
For leg-length differences, he said he would shim the cleat on one shoe to account for that, rather than use the wedges.
 

marc

Speeding Up
#16
If I may put in a plug for Hiro Aoyama and his new shop Sports Bike Hi-Road. Hiro set up my bike, pre-purchase, when he was with Y's. Now he has branched out on his own. He is fluent in E, if you need, and will give you a very professional fitting and set up service. This can be pre or post purchase.

In the worst case, where the frame size is the problem, then this may leave with limited options but that would be pretty unlikely I think.

He is also the person organising the Norikura run mentioned elsewhere on the site.

Here are the details.

http://www.geocities.jp/bikehiroad/english/index.html

Hope this helps,

Charles aka chazzer
Seconded. Aoyama-san did my fitting when I bought my first road bike, and I think it made a real difference. He's very helpful.
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#17
Difference in leg length.

When I was 14 years old, I was crossing a road on my way to Manly beach.
It was against the lights, but I thought I could make it...
As I was looking to my left for oncoming traffic on the other side of the road, I failed to notice the "Chrysler" Valiant coming from my right.

I spent 10 weeks in traction at the Royal North Shore Hospital, for a broken femur (thigh bone, for the uninitiated), before finally having a "Kutchner nail" hammered down the middle of the bone after the marrow had been sucked out.

Needless to say, my right leg is now 1.5cm shorter than my left.
I mostly notice it each morning in the shower, or after standing for long periods of time. I've never been professionally fitted for a bike, so I can't say how much it really affects my riding / power-output, etc.

But, I do sometimes think it would be interesting to find out.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#18
The fitter said my setup with the thicker edge on the inside was fairly common, as I had a knees-in pedalling style, but he does sometimes install them the other way round for people with a knees-out style.
So, as I also have something of a knees-in motion, if I were to use wedges it would be to angle the feet out. Good to know, thanks.

For leg-length differences, he said he would shim the cleat on one shoe to account for that, rather than use the wedges.
The wedges I have are the type that go between the cleat and the shoe, so by stacking those in pairs (thin end to thick end) they serve as de facto shims.
 

Deej

Maximum Pace
Oct 13, 2007
1,018
149
83
Setagaya
#19
Aha. When you mentioned "wedges," Alan, I was also picturing the type that goes between the cleat and the shoe. I'm interested to hear how you feel after riding with your new setup.

I remember Aoyama-san (who's been referenced a couple times in this thread) telling me that he was something of a specialist in the area of shoe-fit and custom soles. He might be a good person to ask about the type of wedges Alan mentioned.

Deej
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#20
Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but on the advice given here, I have just booked an appointment to see Aoyama.

Will be going in next Saturday, for the full measuring etc.

Looking forward to it, so thanks for the recommendations.

Owen