Is your bike set-up too ag­gres­sive?

We can’t all be Geraint Thomas, so should we have a bike like his, asks Si­mon Smythe

Cycling Weekly - - TECH -

UCI ar­ti­cle 1.2.007 states that: “Bi­cy­cles and their ac­ces­sories shall be of a type that is sold for use by any­one prac­tis­ing cy­cling as a sport.” One of the aims of this is to en­sure that the team with the big­gest bud­get doesn’t gain a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage by us­ing pro­to­types or one-off spe­cials that are un­af­ford­able to oth­ers. But while it helps level the play­ing field in pro rac­ing, is it a good idea for the club­man, the week­end war­rior, the fourth cat and the sportiviste to ride a bike with ge­om­e­try de­signed for Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome? Should we try to bend our bod­ies into the same ex­treme po­si­tions as the pros when rid­ing replica bikes?

“Ama­teurs can if they have the time to spend on the bike that the pros do,” says Phil Burt, for­mer head of phys­io­ther­apy at Bri­tish Cy­cling. “But most of the time ama­teurs have some­thing else to do like a day job, so I think the big­gest mis­take peo­ple make is to try.”

But how is an am­a­teur to know if the po­si­tion on their new aero bike is too ag­gres­sive? “It’s nor­mally the amount of drop to the front end,” Burt says. “If you’ve got too much weight on the front end han­dling will be­come twitchy or too fast. Numb hands is a sign you’ve got too much weight on the front. Pe­nile numb­ness is a sign that you’re rolling too far for­ward. That could also be the wrong sad­dle height but these are the gen­eral things. Back of the leg pain, hip pain, neck pain as well. If you’re that slammed at the front it’s like paint­ing the ceil­ing for a cou­ple of hours.

“But what you’re look­ing for is last­ing pain that goes on for more than 24, 48 hours and if you know it comes from your po­si­tion, you’ve got to do some­thing about it. [As a physio] I would ask, can we do some­thing about you or can we do some­thing about the bike? The an­swer is nor­mally a mix­ture of both. The bike is the quick fix and the per­son is the longer term project.

“There’s a sweetspot set-up for all cy­clists”

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