Does a Bike Fit Make a Difference?

As I [recently mentioned]( I got a proper bike fitting. I’ve always been an advocate of getting a proper fit on a bike while skipping it myself. I just figured after riding for 15+ years I had the bike fit fine, boy was I wrong.

### What Changed

As I said in the fit we moved me much lower and further forward in the saddle. We also moved the handle bars down since I could reach it without discomfort.

All told the changes gained me about 60 watts on a ride and added about 10rpm to my spin. Those aren’t small changes at all. The best comparison comes from the same ride about 10 days apart. I know it says they’re a bit different but trust me I was on the same roads each time. The second ride (faster) was really really really raining (seriously wettest I’ve ever been on a ride, there were even huge puddles to ride through) which is known to screw specifically with the altitude sensor on a Garmin. I also tried the ‘course’ feature for the first time on the Garmin Edge 500 which thought I was off course a few times (I wasn’t this is a regular loop for me). Those two items may explain the slight differences in distance/elevation.

#### April 26, 2011

#### May 7, 2011

Not only are the rides the exact same, the rides the day before are roughly the same so I was going in to it with about the same level of fatigue. I don’t track sleeping schedule but my kid is sick this week not in the last few so I probably got the same amount/quality of sleep. Looking at the ride after the fit (May 7) you’ll notice I cut 20 minutes off and added 69 watts over the course of the ride.

Even more telling is the segments from the ride. On the Climb in to Cultus segment ([May 7]( | [April 26]( you see my times are exactly the same. This is a steeper climb that requires seated spin or standing, it’s just hard.

Now move on to the Cultus Lake segment ([May 7]( | [April 26]( This is more of a gradual hill, not much standing involved (if any) and cut almost a full minute off the time.

The final segment in to Columbia Valley which has a mix of standing and sitting ([May 7]( | [April 26]( Again here I cut a minute off the previous time. If you look at the comparisons you can see that each time is flattens out a bit I gain more time. I gain a little on the steeps but not near as much as the flatter portions.

With all of that information I’ve concluded that I haven’t gained much overall power. My standing climbs are pretty close to what they were. This makes sense because I’m in 90% the same spot while standing. Seated is where the fit yields the biggest rewards which again makes sense because we moved my seat lots.

### Get a Fit

Even if you’ve been riding for years and ‘know’ how to get a good fit, go get a proper professional fit. I thought I had myself in a comfortable position but it would seem that I had lots of power to gain by getting things right.

Now, I’ve got my cleats off the rusted plates. The fitter thought I could get some more pedal torque by moving the cleats back. Did it last night, lets see if I pick up some more speed.