The Bike Fitter
The Bike Fitter
Finally – we spoke to a bike fitter who really knows his stuff. Paul Drake fits bodies to bikes at Maison du Velo in Reigate. He’s been in the industry ten years, has a degree in Sports Science, a level three personal trainer qualification and trained in bike fitting with CycleFit.
Unless the lady is around 5’5 or under I’m not a massive advocate for ladies framesets. On a few occasions, generally when the lady is under 5’5 say, she has been more suited to a ladies sized frame.
Drake said: “Unless the lady is around 5’5 or under I’m not a massive advocate for ladies framesets. The contact points are the most vital parts for women, in my opinion. Regardless of the frame, a woman she should have the saddle, bars and cranks checked and set correctly for optimum comfort & performance.”
There are some occasions, however when he has found a women’s specific bike to be a better fit – he says: “On a few occasions, generally when the lady is under 5’5 say, she has been more suited to a ladies sized frame, as I couldn’t match up the stem length, reach and layback on a unisex small frame, to get the bike feeling right and handling correctly.”
When women come for a bike fit, and already have a unisex bike, Drake is usually able to fit the bike to them – he says: “On a unisex bike I normally have to do a saddle fit (Selle Italia ID Match) then let the lady demo one or purchase one. Handlebars are generally on the wide side, even on a small unisex bike they use 40cm or 42cm bars. I find I use 38cm or 40cm bars on ladies fit. Brake levers are wound in or spacers inserted, due to the drop of the handlebar, or if the drop is too big, shallower bars are fitted [so women can reach the brakes with smaller hands].”
And when a woman comes for a bike fit with a women’s specific bike? “I’ve found that if a lady has come to me with a ladies bike I’ve been able to fit it well to her, with marginal adjustments as it has had ladies saddle, shallower bars, shorter cranks etc to begin with.”