Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Matter Of Millimeters

A new set up - Not far from the old, but it matters a lot!
Many times I've heard it said that a few millimeters can make a huge difference when it comes to bicycle fit. You wouldn't think that a few millimeters of seat height, for instance, could be felt. Maybe the thought of a stem only 5mm shorter seems miniscule and that it would not be a noticeable thing. However; time and time again, I have been made aware that it really does make a difference. Not just a little bit either.

Over the years, I have become particularly sensitive to seat height, for instance, and a slight slip of a couple of millimeters of the seat post downward can be felt. I also have been working a lot with saddle width- not to mention contour and overall shape- which has been a revelation and has been something that has allowed me to be far more comfortable on the bike than ever before. Well, my latest work in progress, the Raleigh Tamland, has just been tweaked again and I think this is another major step forward in the area of fit for me on that bike.

I know many of you readers have seen this bike now for over a year here and you may be asking yourself, "What the heck?! Why does it take him so long to dial in a bike. He's had this for more than a year now." I wouldn't blame anyone out there that thinks this way. However; I am a big fan of doing this long term. Not only that, but I firmly believe in changing only one thing at a time, trying it out, then if that works, move on to the next thing, and so on. I changed the handle bar first, then I swapped out the saddle, then the crank gearing got tweaked, and I left it that way for quite a while. Lately, I've been wondering if a saddle issue was necessitating a new saddle choice. I swapped to a fizik Aliante which was an improvement from the previous saddle, but I was still not sitting in the right place. I tracked it down, by way of comparing to another bike I have, to stem length. I carved out 10mm of length and added a bit of rise. Wow! What a difference.

So, if you aren't quite "there" with your fit, but you love your bike, maybe a bike fitting is in order. However; I always like the careful experimentation method I employ. If it is a bicycle you will have around a while, and you have the patience, I think it is worth the time and money investment to try a different component and see how it affects your riding. In the case of the Tamland, I think I am really close to being "there" with the fit.

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