BIOMECHANICS

BIOMECHANICS

Biomechanics is the science that studies the structure, function and movement of the human body. Each sport or discipline has its own peculiarities, so Biomechanics experts are usually specialised in one sport or another. In our case, we analyse the position of the cyclist on the bike and, by adjusting the angles and distances, we can avoid or prevent injuries and improve performance.

It improves the aerodynamics and bringing the saddle setback forward, seeking “more vertical” pedalling.

Interest in biomechanics in cycling became more widespread in the middle of the last century, where the cyclists’ inside leg measurement was already used to calculate the saddle height, multiplying the inside leg by the coefficient 0.885. They also analysed the cyclists’ posture in time trials, notably lowering the handlebars to improve the aerodynamics and bringing the saddle setback forward, seeking “more vertical” pedalling.

As the years have gone by, the figure of the Biomechanics expert has become popular. This began with measuring the cyclist and analysing the angle of the cyclist’s joints “by hand”. The lack of accuracy in the measurements led to the launch of biomechanics tools onto the market. Today there are different measurement systems: Calibix, Stt, Retül, Shimano, etc. and even mobile apps to analyse the angle of the cyclist on their bike: Bike Fit, Bike Fast Fit, etc.

It is a service that is accessible to all types of cyclists.

Up until a few years ago, biomechanical studies were restrictive due to their high economic costs and were only within reach of professionals. Fortunately, the number of Biomechanics specialists has increased in the last few years and today it is a service that is accessible to all types of cyclists. Rates for a biomechanical study can vary between €90 and €300.

Personally, I have been providing this service for 4 years at my sports centre and the range of cyclists can vary from cyclists with bikes worth €10,000, to those using bikes costing just €600. The cyclists’ requirements are also very different, from those competing in stage races, to cyclists who rarely stray from cycle lanes.

Many people usually ask what it is that I analyse in a biomechanical study: The positioning of the cleat on the pedals, the length of the cranks, the saddle type, the saddle height, the setback, the handlebar height, the stem length, the reach and the width of the handlebars… In other words, all the components of the bicycle are analysed, seeking optimum pedalling and support points.

 

I would like to insist on the importance of a biomechanical study before the purchasing a bicycle, thus selecting the ideal size with the respective components. An “a la carte” purchase would be ideal; otherwise we run the risk of extra costs in changing components: stem, saddle, cranks, etc.

I truly believe in the importance of good posture, both on and off the bicycle, and I have the feeling that the cyclists who do a biomechanical study (in the great majority of cases) are usually very satisfied with the results.

I have to say how fulfilling it is to help different cyclists eliminate discomfort, avoid injury or simply improve their performance, pedalling more effectively with a simple change in posture.

By MIKEL ASTARLOZA          Ex-profesional cyclist   @TXIRRINDOR

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