The biomechanical check-up: function and importance | Selle Italia's tips
The biomechanical check-up

The biomechanical check-up


Biomechanical analysis carried out in specialist centres will help to identify the best saddle position so that you achieve the smoothest pedalling stroke, greatest power and comfort levels.


Man and machine in perfect harmony slicing through the air merged into a single functional entity. In one indistinguishably elegant fluid movement, the power of the foot is effortlessly converted into speed.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? But daydreaming apart, any cyclist enthusiast would be only too glad to find his ideal bike setup, optimising his posture and saddle stance, so as to boost his pedalling effectiveness and overall comfort levels.

The way the cyclist sits, the position of the cleats and the way the hands grasp the handlebar are the key factors which have a direct bearing on the harmony of the pedalling stroke. A misalignment of only a few millimetres multiplied by all thousands of times the same movement is repeated during a ride can lead to discomfort and a whole series of problems: soreness, swollen joints and stiff or painful muscles…

The solution comes in the form of a biomechanical check-up – a habit that is increasingly catching on in the ever-growing ranks of amateur cyclists.


What biomechanical check-up involves

This special test can be carried out in various specialised laboratories using a gamut of different techniques, but basically it always involves taking the anthropometrical measurements of the cyclist. This data is then used to calculate the exact size of the frame, or check to see whether the existing frame is right or not. After which, the setup and posture must be adjusted so as to achieve the best possible performance as well as preventing any functional overload.

The whole process lasts about one and a half hours. You start by optimising the three points of contact between man and bike – that is to say, the saddle, handlebar and cleat positioning; subsequently, a series of other parameters are established, such as height and saddle fore-aft adjustment, distance between the handlebar and saddle, crank length, etc.

The most sophisticated check-ups will require the cyclist to pedal on a cycling simulator whilst a camera is running; the footage is fed into a software programme which analyses his pedalling movement and suggests any corrections. Once the proper parameters and right angles have been identified, this data is transferred to the “real” bike.

A deeper analysis on the pedalling stance is only performed if there are real postural problems.


Before and after the biomechanical check-up

Whenever you change bike or make substantial changes to its setup, it is always a good idea to have a biomechanical check-up done so the right pedalling posture can be established; subsequently, whenever any further modifications are made, a series of technological innovations will make it much easier to find the right position again.

Replacing the saddle or your shoes (… or even just your cleats) is a typical example of a factor that can throw things out of sync and lead to awkward pedalling strokes. This danger can be avoided by mounting new accessories which do not alter the previous setup. With the scientific idmatch setup system, dealers are able to quickly reposition the new saddle with incredible accuracy. Then idmatchCleatFit, another scientifically valid instrument, allows you to adjust the way the cleat is fastened to the pedal with extreme precision – essentially, it must be lined up with the centreline of the pedal, so the leg rests as comfortably as possible.

Last but not least, we must consider that individual parameters can change over time. An accident, or simply the passage of time reducing the elasticity of our bones and muscles, can cause variations. In theory, the biomechanical test should be repeated every 2-3 years, or earlier if you sense there is something wrong with the pedalling stroke and want to check if any adjustments need to be made to the saddle position.






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