Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Specialized BG Fit Experience

If I was offered a proper bike fit when I forked out $2,000 on my first road bike, I would not have purchased that particular bike. The fit was appalling. The frame was too big, the stem too long, and I had to adjust the seat height 2kms down the road. I didn't know any better at the time. It felt like a race bike and the 'expert' at the shop seemed to know what he was talking about. Why would he sell me something so expensive if it wasn't right? Yeah, naive as hell.

Fast forward six years - I've had a few bikes, had a few epic stacks, and still never been properly fitted to a bike. When Paul from Bike'n'Bean offered me a Specialized BG (Body Geometry) Fit I hesitated at first, it was only a week out from the Tour of Bright, but last week after Bright was done and dusted, I was onto it.

I do about 15,000kms a year with no niggles so I wasn't expecting any wholesale changes to my setup. I also didn't want the front end changed based on any 'comfort template' as I run a low front end to make it similar to being on the TT bike.

I was really surprised at how extensive the process was. Initial questions covering my riding (TT, road, crit, bank robbery getaways on BMX), injury history (collarbone snaps x3, busted hip), then I was measured up, laid flat, stretched, poked, and offered a cigarette afterwards. (ok, the last one didn't happen).

Of the things I can remember, the list and my results were:

Booty size - Sit on a squishy thing and measure the width of sit bones. 118mm.
Foot size / Arch support. 43. Medium arch (whatever that is?).
Touch your toes / Hip angle flex. Had good hip flexies, thanks TT bike! 
One leg squats. Foot/ankle rolls in. Normal.
Leg stretch straight/knee bent. No ballerina but it was ok.
Arms up test (shoulders/back). Handy post collarbone snappages. All good there.
On the bike - cranks at bottom-top-forward angle. Measurements taken.
Pedal motion review. Circles, not squares. All good.

The bag of tricks
The funky BG Fit stem was left in the tool box as front end was skipped. The handlebar drop was noted and the angle of the hoods/bar was given the nod anyway. What we ended up with was a few minor changes to my cleats, moving the saddle back a little, and some comfy inserts in my shoes. Nothing major to report on, and as it is my 'off season' I can't report on any power numbers to see if the changes have made any noticeable difference. After a few 100km the shoes are comfy and it feels like the cleat is more centered on the pedal spindle - as for this resulting in more power, I'll know when I start cranking into intervals and TTs in 2012.

The bike looking like a young Forrest Gump with his leg braces on.
It was good to confirm what I had was pretty close to the recommendations. The ultimate combination would be a BG Fit in a wind tunnel, you'd get the best of both worlds then - the art of comfort and the science to help you win races.

Who would I recommend a BG FIt to?
  • Someone getting their first road bike. No question. It would be a valuable addition, and exactly why a bike company offer it.
  • Someone getting a new road bike that is different to their current setup. ie. Punter road bike upgrading to a race bike.
  • Half of Beach Rd. Including those odd riders who swing a leg wildly through each pedal stroke that takes out children on the adjacent walking path. (we've all seen Kneesy McSideways, admit it).
See, wild-stroke Kneesy needs a BG Fit!
I've no doubt we'll be seeing other market dominating major players (Giant, Trek, Huffy) offer something similar in their stores as a value add.

That was my take on things. Don't take my unbiased word for it though, head on over to Specialized for their PDF on their site that explains a little more. If Andy Schleck is giving it a really cheesy thumbs up with a creepy guy looking on, it must be good! :)


Faizel said...

A very important yet overlooked topic. I recently forked out R800 on a proper bike fit. I ended up with a longer stem, wedges in my shoes, and a lowered handlebar. I was massively impressed with the lowered handlebar, and the wedges made a huge improvement in addressing a niggle in my hamstring tendon suffered after hard efforts.

Anonymous said...

You've been riding for 6 years? How long did it take to get to A grade, if you don't mind me asking?

Shane Miller - GPLama said...

Yeah, it'll be around 6 years. 12-18 months to get to A Grade. About the same again to be competitive in it.

Unknown said...

I just forked out $2,000+ on a new Tarmac, and fortunately read your article before buying! Thanks for sharing your BG Fit Experience. I recommended your post on my cycling blog at http://theofftrackventure.org/otvorgblog/?p=285 and just wanted to let you know how helpful it was.