5 reasons why a bike fit will save your bits

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James Wakelin, Condor’s bike-fit master, tells us why expert bike fit adjustments can make a big difference to your cycling comfort

Saddle soreness 
Saddles often get blamed for being uncomfortable, but the reality is that it's often a saddle’s height, angle and position on the rails that's affecting your comfort, rather than the saddle itself. 

To test this, we'll assess your hip angle and position relative to your pedals and chainset, then make adjustments so that you're sat in the right position and putting less pressure on the wrong parts of your body.

Shoulder and lower back pain
A more aerodynamic position has its benefits in helping you ride faster and be more efficient, but go too low and it can overstretch your back and put extra pressure on your shoulder muscles. 

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If you suffer from back or shoulder pain, a bike fit will help you find the right balance between efficiency and comfort by making adjustments to things like the stem length, saddle height and spacers. 

Knee pain
Quite often, knee pain is caused by your feet being unstable and rattling around in your shoe, which has a knock-on effect on your knees. As part of your bike fit, we always measure your feet, assess the depth of your arches and potentially suggest a special inner sole to stop your foot rolling around in the shoe.

Hip pain
When people suffer from hip pain, we usually find they have a very slight, often imperceptible difference in leg length. We're talking millimetres, but the result is that you end up sitting on the saddle at a weird angle to compensate, which can then put a strain on your hips. If that's the case, we'll set up your saddle to suit your longer leg and look at inner soles to level things out.

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Hand pain
Any aches or pains in the hands are usually a result of too much pressure on your bars. To fix that, we will look at the width of bars to make sure they aren’t too wide, the set-up to ensure you aren’t reaching too far in front and the type of tape and gloves you are wearing.

Final word
Casquette editor Danielle Welton had a bike fit with James just before she took on Land’s End to John O’Groats with Deloitte. 

With nine gruelling days in the saddle and 996 miles to cover, she wanted to give herself every chance of finishing in relative comfort, so signed up for a bike fit at Condor. “When I went in to see James, I was suffering from knee niggles and a pain in the top of my spine that I brushed off as an inevitable result of all the training," says Danielle.

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"James did his thing and diagnosed that I was riding with handle bars that were a good few inches too wide and that my knee niggles were as a result of a high arch in my foot.

"With new handlebars, special inner soles, plus a few other adjustments, I came away sceptical that this would really be the cure-all I was hoping for. Thankfully, I was wrong. 

"After a few more sessions of training I realised my knee and shoulder niggles had started to ease and my bike felt like new. Oh, and I managed to survive LEJOG with all my bits in tact.

"If you have any aches or pains as you ride, I’d definitely recommend a bike fit. It’s amazing how small tweaks can make a huge difference to your long-term comfort. For me, it was like getting a customised bike, but without the customised bike prices."


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