Bike setup madness

Most bike fitters are doing great work, but some of the fits I see in my clinics are insane!

This is why I’m now offering “cockpit optimization” services in my clinics.

When I run a clinic I also make setup suggestions … and my clients are telling me some crazy, offensive things.

Some recent travesties:

“I’m afraid of downhills, and I crash all the time. The guys at FITTER NAME HERE told me to put on a longer stem, so I can weight the front tire better on downhills.”

“I’m afraid of my clip-in pedals, but BIKE SHOP NAME HERE said they won’t give me a fit unless I clip in.”

A pro XC rider in the middle of her season: “My hips are hurting so much. FITTER NAME HERE changed me from 175mm to 165mm cranks.” Why? “With this 29er my front end is too high, and the shorter cranks let me run my seat higher, so the bars aren’t above my seat.”

Whoa. Not good.

My recent experience with a high level fitter:

After I told him I love my bike, feel great and make better power than ever, FITTER NAME HERE told me to raise my seat 25mm and move it forward 15mm. That is a HUGE change! In the studio I told him my hips and low back hurt. His response: “Trust the fit.”

What? I gave it a try and went right back to where I need to be. If I was a civilian, I would have been intimidated by him, kept my saddle in his crazy position, developed painful issues and stopped riding. Oh yeah, and of course he wanted me on a longer stem.

Sure we gotta climb …

Hey bike shop/fitter guy:

If you equip your customer in a way that makes riding uncomfortable and/or scary, guess what: You lost a customer!

Hey you riders:

• The fitter is not the boss. You are the boss.

• You DO NOT have to clip in. Not for any reason. Not to be “serious.” Not to climb better. If you have any concern about your feet, ride flat pedals. You might just stay on flats forever: They are fun, teach skills and, IMO, are the mark of a true master.

• If something feels bad, it is bad. Hey man, I was raised Catholic and did time in Catholic military school, so I know all about suffering to atone for original sin. But we’re talking bikes here: Bikes are about love and fun, not fear and pain.

• They might have fancy tools with lasers and such, but most fitters are going to give you a static fit based on traditional road/pedaling wisdom. This has its place, but it does not address the dynamic nature of Riding (capital R).

… made it to the top …

… now what? On a double-red descent I sure appreciate my Shimano PRO downhill cockpit.

Let’s make things better:

After working with thousands of riders, I have a pretty good understanding of how bikes and bodies should interact, and how to set up a bike for great handling (without compromising pedaling).

The LLB Bike Setup Method is now dialed in: simple, quick and easy. Put your seat wherever feels right to you, then I’ll help you position your bars for optimal handling. If you have special needs or wants, we’ll make adjustments.

I’m not the boss. You are the boss.

If you want me to check out your bike setup, schedule a skills clinic with me or one of the other LLB coaches. We’ll help you dial in your bike, then I’ll show you how to Ride it!

In moments like this, a dialed cockpit helps make the difference between an awesome day and an awful one.

Know more. Have more fun!

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