Ken Buckley, Team Manager of Spokes BPC Race Team, shares his write up of team rider Joe’s recent bike fit.
“Joe Hickerton is a prominent Cyclocross racer in the south region and gets regular podium places in the Wessex Cyclocross League.
During the Christmas break he visited Spokes BPC Racing team sponsor, Vankru Cycling for some assistance with his position.
Vankru Cycling are a Level 3 IBFI independent fitting studio and Master Retul fitters. Also voted amongst the top 10 bike fitters in the UK by cycling weekly.
Joe has had bike fits before but never one specific to his discipline of cyclocross. The demands of his event differ from traditional road cycling and so a specific riding position is crucial. Weight distribution and centre of gravity are a much greater concern when races are littered with slow tight corners taken at low speed.
They began by thoroughly assessing Joe’s mobility in the physio room. They discovered Joe has good hamstring and hip mobility. But displays some pronation and external rotation of his feet. Assessments also showed some left leg instability – something to work on away from the bike! This influenced the decisions in adjusting cleat position, saddle height and the drop from the saddle to handlebars.
With Joe’s knowledge of his event and the expertise of Vankru they spent several hours making changes to his position which aimed to improve his efficiency of pedalling, power transfer and handling of the bike.
The most notable changes to Joe’s position began with the cleats on his shoes. His cleats were moved backwards from being forward of the ball of the foot, all the way back so that they were directly underneath it. Joe immediately reported that it ‘felt right’ and there was less wasted effort through the ankle and foot movement. An interesting start to the fit!
Next came adjustments to the shifters and the saddle. One of Joe’s main goals of the bike fit was to improve the handling of the bike in low speed tight cornering where he felt he was losing valuable time. Joe’s saddle was moved backwards slightly to improve weight distribution across the bike, and then lowered to compensate for the changes to his cleat position and saddle setback. This also allowed his handlebar position to be altered. The bars were rotated forwards slightly whilst moving the shifters upwards in the opposite direction. The result of this was a more comfortable hand position where the flat of the bar follows directly into the hoods. Having the right feel through the bars and pressure through the hands is crucial for such a technical event like Cyclocross.
After some final small tweaks here and there, Vankru used the Retul 3D Motion Capture system to assess the changes to Joe’s position and record the results. Interestingly they managed to achieve a drop in back angle of -2 degrees for Joe whilst leaving him feeling more comfortable on the bike and more powerful through the pedals.
A lower back angle is something that aerodynamics enthusiasts usually look for as a quick and sure-fire way of going faster! The problem with just slamming your stem to achieve this effect is that it sometimes comes with a price of reducing your power output. By aiming to lower the front end of your bike in conjunction with a bike fitter you can be sure of a drop in handlebars without compromising your efficiency!
Whilst Joe is an expert in his event, Vankru work with riders of all experience levels to make them faster and more comfortable on the bike.
Joe has since been out testing his position and bagged an awesome 4th place in the hotly contested Coventry RC Boxing Day Cyclocross, won by Stephen Roach of Raleigh GAC.
Thank you Vankru for the support!
Check out Vankru’s website for details of their fits and prices. They are super busy, so book your CX bike fit now before the season kicks off again to avoid disappointment.”
Ken Buckley – Team Manager, Spokes BPC Race Team