Super stoked! I’m thankful for having such a great local resource like Footloose Sports in my home of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Footloose is renown in the skiing community for top-notch custom bootfitting since the early 80’s. Superfeet custom insoles and orthodics were started in Mammoth by the same peeps that started Footloose Sports- so it’s no coincidence that with 25+ years of being at the forefront of their field, people come from all over to get their feet handled properly (no pun intended). What many don’t know, is that Footloose offers the same “feet” expertise and custom Superfeet insoles for bike shoes. In addition, they offer Specialized Body Geometry Bike Fitting.
I’ve been racing on my Niner One9 Single Speed all season, and like most average Joe’s, my bike “feels comfy” to me. I have flat feet, and have been wearing orthodics for years, but never put them in my bike shoes (I tried once, but they were too wide and didin’t fit right). I’ve also been having some lower back pain during steep climbs, and was just plain curious to see how my “comfy fit” would compare to a “pro fit”. I finally got the chance to get a proper, professional bike fit and custom Superfeet insoles- so I jumped at the opportunity. Corty is the man! He’s been bike fitting and doing custom Superfeet at Footloose since I was riding a tricycle. He interviewed me, discussed personal goals, health… then we did flexibility tests, manipulations, etc – Once on the bike, it was lots of measurements- A bunch of time trying different combinations of stem length, seat height, bar angles, cleat position, and eventually vacuum sealing my feet while heat molding custom Superfeet footbeds to my feet- NICE!! We came up with a setup specifically tailored to my goals of Endurance Single Speed racing, which is different than on a geared bike – I use a 710mm wide Niner handlebar to help generate the torque needed for effective out-of-the-saddle climbing that’s prevalent when you can’t shift to your granny gear :). Wide bars inherently spread out your arm position, opening up your chest area/ cockpit area, which helps breathing as well. But Corty noticed that this also creates a very aggressive angle on my back- which over the longer “endurance” distances, could be contributing to my lower back pain. We decided to cut 1/2″ off my bars, which still gives me plenty of leverage, but brought my arms in slightly, thus allowing me to sit more upright, which in theory should be more comfortable when you’re on the saddle for hours on end. Other than that, my “comfy fit” was pretty close. Corty’s tweaks were very subtle- we moved my seat back a few mm, and dropped it a couple mm… adjusted my Ergon GS2 grips a tiny bit, and voila- we were done. One note on fitting Single Speeds with a rotating bottom bracket (such as the Niner EBB on my bike) – depending on the position of your BB, your Bike Fit measurements will change slightly. Not a big deal, but definitely worth noting for those super-exacting scientific types. Knowing this ahead of time, I chose to get fit with the BB positioned for my “average/ most used cog” so that any difference wouldn’t fall to far from my “middle” spot. When I get more time, I will go back in and get specific seat height, for/aft placement, etc for all of my gear ratios/ EBB positions.
Anyhoo, I’ve had the chance to do a couple longer rides and and have put in about 120 miles on the bike since the fitting. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass when I say that the difference is extremely noticeable. My lower back is feeling much better. I don’t find myself longing for Ibuprofin after macho camacho climbs… NICE!! Overall, my pedal stroke feels great, my hips are lined up with my knees, ankles, feet… feeling very efficient, and most importantly, my feet and calves aren’t fatiguing as much on longer journeys. Long story short, I’d recommend a professional bike fit to anybody that spends a good amount of time in the saddle, regardless what your goals are… Do IT – You can spank me later 🙂