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ROAD BIKE FIT EXPLAINED

   
Doubledown Sale Banner
 

PROPER BICYCLE FIT EXPLAINED! 
-Written by Alex Stanek, Smart Cycles

This animation shows a rider in 1. His optimal cycling posture, 2. The plotting of important points on his body, 3. The geometric design of his optimal frame size and full bike set-up, 4. A blueprint for his bike and full fitting, and finally 5. The rider on the perfect bicycle!  CLICK HERE for a larger, easier to see animation!

 


Frame Size SELECTION, Bike SET-UP, and RIDER FITTING


A bike should fit YOU. 
It should accommodate your body, it should accommodate your interests and style as a rider, it should accommodate any special needs and wants you might have. Your equipment should never "WORK AGAINST YOU" or "MAKE YOU WORK HARDER" . This belief and approach to sizing and fitting leaves nothing to chance or compromise. If we turned around the first sentence in this paragraph, we’d be suggesting that the rider should fit the bike. That sounds like a good thing, and it is. However, starting with that as your mission statement usually leads to "settling" or "compromising" rather than being as accurate as possible. Do you want to compromise your performance? How about your riding experience? Your comfort? How about your FUN? We didn’t think so! Read on…

 

OPTIMAL BICYCLING POSITION
The key to proper bike fit lies in finding one’s personal, optimal cycling posture and position. Being in the correct and proper position for cycling is where it all starts. Much like there is an optimal posture for doing squats at the gym, jogging 4 miles, swinging at a pitched baseball, or bending over to lift a heavy box, there is a correct, optimal posture or position for cycling. The goal is to maximize things like efficiency, power, aerodynamics, and comfort, and to minimize the potential for injury, discomfort, and diluted performance. Everyone’s best position is unique. While we adhere to a general set of rules and beliefs, we proceed very focused on the individual. We concentrate on the ENGINE (rider) at first, and we want to make sure we have its own specifications identified precisely before we unite it with a bicycle to turn the two into a wonderful machine. This is the approach and ideal that our SMARTFIT system utilizes.

 

Seated Ride Out of Saddle Sprint Seated Climb Out of Saddle Climb  Seated 
Descent

 

What is MY Personal, OPTIMAL cycling position?
The concept of a rider’s best cycling posture and position is best illustrated using the "air bicycle" example. Imagine riding an invisible bicycle, made of air. Much like when you play "air guitar", you’d be at the top of your game riding your "air bike" – no matter what your style or speed. No crashes, no flats, no head winds! Certainly, fit problems and discomfort would be some of the last issues to compromise your "air ride". You’d be efficient, fast, and powerful. Your bike would be stable, comfortable and a true partner in the machine that you, as the engine, and the hardware form. Now, if we insert the idea of having your bike fit you at this point on the dream ride, we have the basis, or a blueprint, for your perfect fitting bicycle! As you might expect, easier said than done….but completely achievable for anyone with the help of our approach, experience and equipment.


AIRBIKING:

Seated Ride Out of Saddle Sprint Seated Climb Out of Saddle Climb Seated Descent



Dynamic Coordinates – Bike Fit in MOTION!

If you wander back into the "airbike" dream-ride for a few moments, return to the image of someone riding their invisible bike while you are looking at the right side of their riding profile. Now pause (freeze frame) that image in space so the rider is hanging there in their optimal cycling position. Draw some dots on the following locations: Wheelbase, Pedal axles, bottom bracket, saddle (point of contact), hub axles, stem/steerer, hbar clamp, hoods, tops, drops, and fork rake, ankle, knee, hip, lower back, upper back, base of neck, shoulder balls, temple, elbow, wrist….your image would look like this:

 


Important points "map" Jeff's optimal cycling position.

 

These dots are the COORDINATES for your personal, optimal cycling position. They plot important points on the rider as well as on the bike. The theory now is that if we "CONNECT THESE DOTS" with a bike frame, components, and other gear…we have found the optimal bicycle and it’s configuration for the rider. EUREKA! This is a blunder proof method, and exactly how masters of bike building and fitting approach selling their goods and services.

 

 


Jeff's personal points or "Coordinates" create a BLUEPRINT
for his optimal equipment selection and full bike fitting.  The blueprint is shown in this photo as the three colored triangles.  Scroll down on this page for a more detailed explanation of these 3 triangles.

 

Now "press play" again and watch yourself back in motion on your dream ride, concentrating on all of the COORIDINATES in motion. You now have a view of not only proper bike fit, but proper DYNAMIC BIKE FIT. It is important to consider that a bike and rider are together to be in motion. Properly fitting a bike to a rider must consider that the biker isn’t making the purchase to sit on the bike, but to become one with it and RIDE IT! This is not a static operation, and our approach and system is deeply rooted in the DYNAMIC BIKE FIT concept.

All this must be done with a full working knowledge of the equipment that is being ridden by the biker. It is one thing to "draw" or "connect" in a frame, stem, seat height, crankarm length, etc. But, doing so while retaining the intended personality and performance of the bike as a whole unit is another thing. Our system keeps focus on these important ideas.

 


 

Stage One – Analysis of Interests, Needs and Sizing
Our fitting process begins with the basics. First we like to ask you a lot of questions about your interests, goals, and what you expect out of your bike. We then do a thorough measurement of your body. Accurate body measurements are important, for male and female alike. Weaknesses and special needs are addressed when necessary. At this time, we begin to incorporate information and details of the specific equipment (frame, components) you are interested in. All of this data is analyzed using a very integrated approach that includes computer software as well as good, old-fashioned knowledge and experience. We finish Stage One with an actual, physical printout of the blueprint for your own, personal "airbike"!

Thorough Consultation Measuring

     More Measuring

Shoe Cleat Fixing Frame Blueprint Full Bike & Fit Blueprint
Fit Bike Set Up Fit Bike Set Up

     Initial Trial


Stage Two – Trying Your Bike Before You Buy!

Even with all the confidence, experience and success we have with our system and fitting equipment, we are not yet comfortable with taking your blueprint and sending it to the builder. Mainly because up until this point, YOU THE RIDER, have had only some peripheral input and involvement in the process.

Our SMARTFIT system uses our exclusive infinitely adjustable bicycle "position simulator". We have conceptualized, designed, engineered and manufactured a truly MORPHING bicycle fitting apparatus that is unlike any other system of its type. The lengths of the seat tube and top tube are totally adjustable as are the angles of the head tube and the seat tube. We can manipulate the stacking height of the headset, the length of the stem, the rise of the stem and the length of the crankarms. The seatpost height is adjustable as is the saddle fore-aft position. Different handlebar widths, reaches, and drops can be tested.

Keeping in mind that this is "all about you", we feel it is very important to get your input and consider what you actually FEEL. This is where our infinitely adjustable fitting bike proves priceless. We can actually set up the EXACT configuration your blueprint calls for on our fitting cycle. You get on it, you ride it, you now tell us how you FEEL. Together, we make adjustments, troubleshoot any concerns, and try a hundred different possibilities if we need to. When we are done, you can rest assured that not only have you made choices that result in the BIKE FITTING YOU, but also that you’ve tested these results with the most important criteria in the whole process: FEEL!

 

Testing Various Configurations Constant Checks of Fitting Fundamentals Evaluating Unlimited Combinations of Equip.

 

Stage Three – Delivering the Goods!
The day you pick up your new bike, we’ll have it set up exactly to your optimal configuration. You can walk to the shop with your riding gear, hop on your new set of wheels, and hit the road for a long ride. There will be no extensive "trial period". Sure, you may tweak things here and there, but you aren’t faced with a 3 or 4 week "adjustment period".


REAL BIKERS....Not just two pretty faces!

Jeff and His Mondonico!

Chris and SIGNOR Mondonico Himself!
We make a big deal in some sections of this website about using REAL photos of REAL bikes that are right on our showroom floor, shunning studio photographs... and what do we go and do....we take posed, studio (GASP!) photos for this page!  Well, at least we did it OURSELVES while using two REAL bikers who have both experienced the SMARTFIT System for their own new bikes.  We're happy to report both Jeff and Chris love their bikes and ride with a lot of excitement!

 


The NEXT Level – Physical Analysis of the Rider –Strengths, Weaknesses and Functionality - Custom Foot Beds for Cycling!

Accurate analysis of your body is key when determining your own optimal cycling position. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and any structural or functional challenges you may have is very important. Smart Cycles will never minimize this fact. We also know that we are not professionals in the field of physiology. Rather than downplay the importance of this part of the fitting process, or claim expert status on it after attending a hasty clinic at a frame builder’s  weekend workshop (where the ultimate goal is to sell more goods and services - "add on" is the term used!), we have partnered with a true professional (where the ultimate goal is to best serve the rider's needs and interests).

Dr. Robert Zembroski is a Chiropractic Neurologist who specializes in the structural and Neurological function of the body. He is also an avid road cyclist, and knows first-hand, the benefits of a properly fitted bicycle. In fact, he was fitted by Antonio Mondonico personally and owns a Mondonico Monza.

Dr. Zembroski has designed a thorough, cycling specific protocol to analyze a rider’s physiology that helps maximize the fitting process. He has personally trained the staff at Smart Cycles in the execution of the evaluations. When you come to us for a fitting, we can perform this exam and physical test as we need to.

If we, or the rider feel the need to take this exam to the next level, Smart Cycles has arranged for our customers to see Dr. Zembroski in his Darien office at no charge. We will pay for the visit all in an effort to totally maximize the potential of your cycling experience.  

This session will include analysis of the following:

  • SpO2 Right and Left

  • Heart Rate

  • Standing Sway

  • Balance and Orientation Tests

  • Head Tilt

  • Low Shoulder R, L

  • Internal Shoulder Rotation

  • Gait - Decreased Arm Swing, External Rotation of Foot, Foot Drag

  • Neck - Range of Motion, Left/Right Rotation, Lateral Flexion, Extension, Flexion

  • Arms - Right and Left Pyramidal Weakness, External Rotation, Arm Fatigue

  • Legs - Pyramidal Weakness, Hamstrings, Hip Flexion, Foot Drop, Individual Leg Length, Heel Spurs, Calves.

  • Back - Rotation, Lateral Flexion, Extension, Felxion

 

CUSTOM FOOTBEDS by Dr. Zembroski

In many cases, NO consideration is given to the feet and ankles during a bike fitting session or even worse, during the simple selection of shoes and pedals.  NOT taking great interest in the condition of the rider's feet and ankles (looking for pronation or supination, foot drop, or extreme gait) is the equivalent of walking right into a huge boobie-trap!  Making sure that your feet, pedals and shoes all work together properly is the foundation of a proper bike fit.  

There are many "solutions" sold through the bike industry that claim to address these important things.  Smart Cycles has considered them all, but in the end we have determined that we would rather forfeit the "add on" sale and send you to a TRUE MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL for this service.  Afterall, we want you to get the absolute MOST out of your cycling and we feel that you'll benefit more from having your foot beds designed by an experienced pro like Dr. Zembroski!  

The Sportmaxx orthotic line has been specifically designed with the professional and skilled amateur athlete in mind. Sportmaxx orthotics feature sophisticated devices manufactured to increase performance and comfort levels for athletes playing various types of sports, such as baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis and cycling. In fact, Footmaxx currently supplies custom foot orthotics to over 100 professional and elite amateur sports teams and organizations. This number includes teams in MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, WNBA, CFL, IHL, AHL, ECHL, ATP, and the NCAA. Sportmaxx Orthotics offer extreme shock absorption, superior motion control and biomechanical correction while allowing for the pronatory and supinatory motions required for each specific sport.  Dr. Zembroski is skilled in the prescription of Sportmaxx orthotics and is eager to help you take your cycling performance and comfort to the next STEP!

EXTRA INFO FROM BIKEFITTING.COM>>>
When adjusting shoe cleats, one often tries to realize the most natural position of the feet on the pedals; however, when doing so, one should bear in mind that cycling with feet in a fixed position is an imposed movement. This means that the circular movement of the pedals is imposed on the cyclist, and the cyclist has no choice but to adapt to the drive mechanism of the bicycle. When shoe cleats are adjusted correctly, the knee remains in the axle that runs from the hip joint to the ball of the foot during the cycling process. Every deviation, both inward as well as outward, results in loss of effectiveness.

 


These 4 graphics illustrates the importance of proper arch and ankle support during cycling.  A drop in arch support in non-supported shoes causes inefficiency, discomfort, loss of power and potential injury.


Longitudinal foot position with the ball of the foot above the pedal axle.


Ankling is in fact rolling off the foot during the pedal stroke.


Correct alignment is illustrated.  Any degree of mis-alignment in the foot or ankle immediately travels up to the knee and hips. 

 

Visit Dr. Z's website:  www.ctneurology.com


LOOKING AT A FULL BIKE AS A COMBINATION 
OF 3 TRIANGLES:

A bike frame is a simple geometric structure made of two triangles. They’re commonly called the FRONT triangle (BLUE) and the REAR triangle (YELLOW). Once the frame is assembled into a full bicycle and a rider mounts it, a THIRD triangle appears (GREEN). This third triangle is formed by the stem clamp, handlebar clamp, front axle and fork rake. The proper set up of this third triangle and understanding its dynamic effects on the bike’s performance is crucial in the fitting process.  

We sometimes refer to this GREEN triangle as the "BERMUDA TRIANGLE", because of all the mystery surrounding it!  We have developed a respect for it after studying it for years ourselves...but, we finally have it figured out.  No more bad fits and twitchy front ends.

SMARTFIT balances the rider onto these three "triangles" perfectly to maximize comfort, stability, efficiency and other important riding characteristics. All this is done without compromising the performance and personality of the equipment you are buying.  YOU CANNOT FIND A MORE COMPREHENSIVE FITTING AND SIZING SERVICE. 

The contents of this page are exclusive property of Smart Cycles Inc.  No reproduction is allowed.  Copyright 2005 Smart Cycles, Inc. Norwalk, CT USA