In the last couple of days I have been analysing the seat placing of my bike in relation to the handle bars, crank set, the position of my cleatsand the size of the bike’s crank lever. Today I went for a ride to test out the changes.
Firstly what did I do? I have been of the opinion for a while that I have a bike that is too small. Very early when I got my Giant OCR Zero which was their road rather than racing bike in 2005. It is hard to get advice about size fits from a bike shop because they tend to give only so much help unless you a re buying and even if you are prepared to pay for it.
Cleat Position Part 1:- this firstly involved working out if i have the right crank length. to do this I stood i my bare feet with a book firmly between my legs with a book i my crotch area. then I marked on the wall the height. My inseam was 31.5 or 80cm inches and the suggestion is that for 31 inches or 79cm the suggested crank length is 170-172.5mm and for 31-33 inches the crank length would be 172.5 to 175mm. My crank length is 190mm – quite a bit longer than suggested. The implication of this is that a longer crank length is good for those who have a limiter in force though is a greater risk in a knee injury.
Action: I am not going to hide change the crank just yet.
Cleat Position Part 2:- the neutral position for the cleat position is the placement of the pedal axle directly beneath the ball of the foot. My cleat is pushed back as far as it can go which I did to try and protect the ball of my foot from the foot injury I have. In theory this is good for more force in climbing though it doe compromise cadence. Also I loosened the front to straps of my shoe to stop my feet curling and stressing my foot
Action: to move it back to a neutral position. The issue I have is that the cleats are too old and I cannot loosen them.Also because of my sore foot I am considering a wider pair of shoes. In the mean time I might buy now cleats.
Saddle Position:- I sat with my shoe of with my heel on the cleat and my feet were meant to be straight. I found out I could barely reach the cleat- i was too high.
Action: I reduce the height by half a cm.
Handle bar height reach and angle:- I only addressed the issue of the reach. I have been of the opinion that my reach is too short and got a longer extension to the handle bar. I measured the length of the back of my elbow to my outreached fingers which was 19 inches or 46 cm. The reach between the front of the seat and the back of the handle bar sould be the elbow to arm length plus 1-1.5 inches. So I should be at 20.5 inches. I measure my bike and the reach was 22 inches. I then measure my bike from the 1980s and it was also 22 inches. So perhaps the bike does fit but I have had the wrong proportions all these years.
Action: I moved the seat forward an inch – which is a lot.
Well it did feel different. However, I did notice that my standard splits along my 25 km Westleigh ride were a little faster. In fact I comfortable did over 25 km per hour for the whole ride for what seems the same amount of energy normally use.