Bike Fitting

Comfort + Efficiency = Performance

This isn’t like the majority of bike fitting services.  Our approach does not involve someone else’s ‘system’ or a gimmicky computer model.  Our clinicians don’t just apply biomechanics – they also teach biomechanics!  The simple fact is we asses manage and improve biomechanics every day at our clinic – it’s our full time occupation not a side-line. We also ride bikes and have previously worked with the New Zealand Track Squad. Due to our combination of cycling experience, training in orthopaedics, neurology, biomechanics and functional sports performance medicine we clearly offer a far more comprehensive and advanced bike fitting package than the standard bike fitting services available today.

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“I knew I needed a correct bike fit, and also had a niggling back pain after long rides. I have learned so much – from the initial examination and changes made on the bike set-up, through to treatment, the kinetic chain assessment and personalised functional stability programme. After each session I left with more knowledge on injury prevention, training techniques and nutrition that I will use for years to come. All my questions were answered! Thank you”

 

Mr Rory Macnair
Ironman & Orthopaedic Surgeon, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd Hospital, North Wales

 

Misconceptions

Many magazine articles, bike shop websites and big brands will make unfounded claims.  The aim of this is simple – excellent product placement + specific marketing = increasing sales and the cycle market is booming at the moment.  So will the carbon stem or the grade 3 ceramic bearings make a difference?  A minor incremental advantage.  Does a slightly lighter rim make a notable difference to your ability to climb Pen Y Pass?  Another minor incremental advantage.  So where are the ‘big gains’ made in power and performance, what are the pros doing?  Well, it’s certainly not about the bike, it’s actually about the rider, it’s about how efficient your body is at creating power whilst on the bike.  Now that’s a monumental advantage! So is it just about training on the bike?  No.  It’s also about a keystone of physical performance – functionality…………..your functionality!

‘I had a serious knee injury which was preventing me from training and competing. I had sought help elsewhere but felt the basic advice just didn’t add up and the problem persisted.  I attended the North Wales Spine Clinic and was astounded at the in depth level of assessment I was put through. Within a matter of weeks I was back on my bike and the modifications actually increased my wattage.  I now have an on-going functional training programme off the bike from the North Wales Spine Clinic – the aim? To make me more functional so I can deliver more power on the bike and keep me away from injuries as I get faster!’

Alex Jones.   Winner of the 2013 Orme Road Race.

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What is a bike fit?

A bike fit is not a ‘one off that’s me for life’ experience.  If you have been told this you have been misinformed.  A bike fit involves putting an ever changing and adapting asymmetrical being on a super symmetrical static machine. The problem we see with some of the current bike fit approaches is a short term ‘band aid’ fix.  They simply do not cater for the changing posture and complex history of the rider and most fitters don’t possess the skills to help the rider achieve better functionality on the bike. Thus, riders can train as hard as they like whilst on the bike but optimal performance is seldom reached. There are two ends to this continuum – the bike and the rider. Both can be adjusted to become more efficient and comfortable by the skilled bike fitter who combines a knowledge of bike mechanics with a deeper understanding of human biomechanics. Something that takes years of training and experience.

‘My bike set up was poor and was causing me to get neck pain.  I kept riding hoping it would get better but the symptoms just got worse.  It was clear I had to do something about it. I went to the North Wales Spine Clinic hoping for some help with my problem. What I got was a complete physical examination including a kinetic chain assessment, an in depth bike fit, my neck pain reduced and I have a progressive exercise programme that I now incorporate into my training schedule.  I would recommend anyone who rides a bike to take time to find out how they can improve their riding whether they are injured or not’

Alex Harvey.   Winner of the 2013 K Tape Series.

As individuals we all have our own particular issues and history, for a proper fitting, a thorough approach must be taken.  A complete medical history is required by a skilled examiner who should ask about previous injuries, fractures, sports, aims etc etc.  Unfortunately the unskilled fitter is not able to take into account the legacy of old injures, occupational demands or exercise habits due to a lack of training in medical science, orthopaedics and sports injury management. Following your history a physical examination is vital to assess range of motion, inherent weaknesses, postural problems and the ramifications of the physical issues that will affect how you ride your bike.  Only then should you be sat on the bike for assessment.  Armed with this information the skilled assessor can consider your history, physical abilities/limitations and bike set up to decide what adjunctive exercises and possible treatment is needed, what alterations to bike set up is required and when to re assess your dynamic ever changing physical set up on the bike.

Anything different from this is a short term, shotgun approach which is unlikely to achieve any long term satisfaction and certainly can diminish performance and efficiency on the bike.

“I attended the North Wales Spine Clinic with a knee problem that had plagued me for years and stemmed from when I was riding professionally in Europe. The team at the North Wales Spine Clinic have helped me in a way that no other health professionals have managed before (and I’ve seen an awful lot). Their knowledge and expertise is second to none and I would highly recommend them if you are troubled with musculoskeletal problems of any sort. To be honest, I’d recommend seeing them even if you don’t have any problems!’

 

Mr Martin Paul

NHS Consultant and Ex Professional Cyclist

If you want to ride your bike confidently, increase mileage, performance and efficiency then you have to attain a thorough foundation off which to build this fitness.  Anything else is like building a castle on quicksand and the bike quickly becomes just another fad left in the shed as oppose to the lifestyle disease fighting super tool it can actually be!

Interview with the Worlds Leading Bike Fitter

As a final note, we see just too many people who have been perplexed by cleat wedges, confused by shimming or just generally baffled by seat set back.  Many of these ‘crutches’ are prescribed by unqualified people with limited training and experience. In truth many of these ‘crutches’ are often not actually needed at all! If you have any questions or want to chat about your current set up then give the North Wales Spine Clinic a ring.