For months I’d been reading Facebook posts about people getting a remote Peloton bike fitting. Most of the people doing these bike fit sessions were in the Power Zone Pack. They wanted to make sure they were in the best position possible on their Peloton for their power zone training and other classes.
At $149 for a remote bike fitting, I wasn’t sure I could justify the cost. But lately, after riding my Peloton, my left hip had been hurting me. Plus, my left knee was starting to bother me. On the other side of my body, my right foot was going to sleep about 45 minutes into a 60-minute ride.
Why get a remote Peloton bike fitting
Even with getting out of the saddle to get blood back into my legs, my big toe always ended up asleep. Plus, whenever I did longer rides, I always ended up with a sore lower back. In addition, the heels of my hands were sore a lot.
I just assumed that, as a writer who is on a laptop for hours a day, this could have been a contributing factor. But, I figured, let me ask about it. Finally, with plenty of stretching afterwards, including foam rolling classes, my symptoms weren’t improving.
When I first got my Peloton, I’d watched Christine D’Ercole’s bike fit video on her instructor Facebook page. That helped me get a sense of what setting I should have my seat on.
I’d searched online for a Peloton bike seat height chart, hoping that, at five foot, four-and-a-half-inches tall, someone could tell me where I should have my bike seat and handlebars set. But I soon learned that finessing a good fit on your Peloton was about more than your height. There are inseams to consider (your leg length), how long or short your torso is, etc.
If you really want to learn how to properly sit on a Peloton bike, this remote bike fitting is worth it. So, here’s my experience using this service.
Matt Wilpers remote Peloton bike fitting
Earlier this month I made my way to Peloton instructor Matt Wilpers’ company page to sign up for my virtual bike fit appointment. I’m not sure how long his training company had been offering them. But it made perfect sense since he is already coaching people on the side for their running and cycling skills. Making sure you’re riding your bike–be it Peloton or outdoor–correctly is key to training smart, as Matt likes to say.
Let me walk you through my experience of signing up for my appointment, what the appointment itself was like and how I’m feeling riding after the appointment.
Who is Matt Wilpers
In case you didn’t know, Wilpers is a former Division One college runner. Post college he took up cycling. Since then he’s competed in a number of road races–on foot and on the bike. In 2019 he did the New York City marathon.
Wilpers is the lead power zone training instructor at Peloton. He joined Peloton in 2016, just months before we got our bike. At home he wasn’t my go-to instructor for classes. That all changed in February 2019.
Riding live with Matt Wilpers
It was in February 2019 that I was in New York City and had the chance to ride live in studio for one of his classes. It was a 60-minute rock ride. Boy, was it loud, but it was fun.
During that class he talked about power zone training and the challenges that the Power Zone Pack people were constantly participating in. I wanted in and signed up for the next challenge as soon as I got home.
I was fortunate enough to be able to ride with Matt again about six months later. By that time I’d completed two or three power zone challenges, and I could tell how much my fitness had improved. Before we took our picture together in the Peloton lobby–a tradition in the old Peloton studio space in the “before” times–I shared this progress with him, and he was thrilled for me.
Signing up for a remote Peloton bike fitting
But enough about my history with Matt Wilpers. Let’s get back to signing up for a remote bike fitting for your Peloton on MattWilpers.com.
At first it was confusing to figure out where to go to sign up, because “virtual bike fit” or “remote bike fitting” wasn’t one of the options. So, I took a guess and clicked on the “coaching services” menu.
That brought me to a page with other options, including services. I figured bike fitting had to be there, and it was. So, I clicked on “bike fit.” There I learned what to expect when you sign up for a remote bike fitting.
His virtual bike fitting sessions are 45-minutes long. The page doesn’t specifically say that these bike fittings are exclusive to Peloton. In fact, there is a picture of Matt on a “regular” bike inside. That bike is on rollers or trainers.
Underneath that picture you’ll find the button that reads, “Schedule a Fitting.” So, I clicked on it.
Scheduling a remote bike fitting
From there I needed to register all of my information:
- Phone number
- Credit card
Basically, you have to give all of your information and your credit card upfront–and have the $149 charge go through–before you get to the page when you can schedule your actual virtual appointment.
I’d read on the Power Zone Pack page that people were waiting months for an opening. I hoped I wouldn’t have to wait that long. Anyway, I completed the registration form and completed my check out.
From there I could choose a specific person for my bike fitting or I could choose no preference. There were 17 names to choose. Some of them were familiar given the discussion threads I’d read on the Power Zone Pack Facebook page. However, I had a sense that if I choose no preference, my chances of getting my remote Peloton bike fitting would be better. And I was right.
I registered for my remote bike fit on the 9th. Mine was scheduled for the 15th of the same month–or just six days later. So, if you’re interested in getting a remote bike fit for your Peloton, the best piece of advice I can offer for you is this: choose no preference unless you want to wait four to six months.
Confirming my remote Peloton bike fitting
The Matt Wilpers website was really great in communicating with me about my upcoming appointment. For starters, they sent a calendar invite and confirmation email that explained what to expect.
This included a note that, though, the virtual bike fittings are booked as being 45 minutes, they ask that you give them one hour of your time, in case things run long. Here’s a portion of what it said:
Your bike fitter will need to see you both on and off your bike from head to toe. On the bike, they will need to see you from the side. Off the bike, they will need to see you standing up as well as laying down. Please try to identify the right locations to place your phone or computer prior to your fitting.
Make sure you have the tool required to adjust the cleats on the bottom of your cycling shoes.
Please reduce the tension in your pedals prior to the appointment so that you can easily clip in and clip out of your pedals.
We typically use the number you submitted to call via FaceTime.
While these appointments typically take 45 minutes, please reserve an entire hour just in case we need to go over.
Two days before my fitting, I got an email reminder.
Day of the remote Peloton bike fitting
I knew that my bike fitter would be calling in at 2 p.m. So, around noon that day I did a few things to prep.
First, I took pictures of my seat settings (vertical and horizontal) as well as my handlebar settings. I wanted to have something to compare to after the fitting, assuming they would be adjusting them.
Second, I got a phone tripod and figured out how I could set up for the fitting. I needed to find out where to put my phone for the standing up and lying down part as well as when I’m on the bike.
Third, I located my hex wrench or Allen wrench to work on my shoe cleats. FYI, if you’ve ever built furniture from IKEA, then you’ve used a hex or Allen wrench.
Finally, I made a list of the issues I’d been having so I could discuss with the fitter.
Remote Peloton bike fitting by FaceTime
From the instructions I knew that the fitter would be calling in via FaceTime. First, this is important to know if you have an Apple computer and an iPhone or iPad. Why? Because if you have your computer open when they call, it will come in on both devices. I tried to stop it on the laptop so I could pick up on the phone but I ended up hanging up on them. Oops.
Second, this is also important to know in case you do not have an Apple product. I imagine plenty of Peloton users have Android devices. So, when you register for your professional fitting, you’ll need to work out ahead of time what method you’ll use to communicate. Remember: they need to see you on and off the bike. I’m guessing that Zoom or Skype or even Google Meet would work.
Anyway, after hanging up on them, I called my fitter back.
Bike fitter Brian Hammond
I ended up working with Brian Hammond. No one I’d talked to has actually worked with Matt Wilpers for their bike fitting. My guess is that Matt has put together a group of fitness professionals who know a thing or two about bike fit, and he refers work to them. I didn’t get the chance to ask Brian this specifically, but he did reference riding with Matt outdoors in real life. So, I know he knows them.
Behind Brian on the wall, I could read “TruFit Solutions.” Thanks to Google (after the call), I discovered that TruFit Solutions is a New York City-based company that offers fitness coaching services, including bike fitting.
On the About page I found out more about Brian. He’s got a pretty impressive fitness track record. Some of his certifications include:
- USA Cycling Coach
- USA Triathlon Coach
- Ironman University Coach
- F.I.S.T Bike Fitting
- Precision Nutrition
According to his bio, Brian has competed in the Ironman as well. Seven times. Whoa, that’s impressive. But here’s the part about his bio I liked the most:
The evaluation portion of the remote Peloton bike fitting
Brian had me run through a series of exercises off the bike as part of his evaluation. It reminded me a lot of one of my evaluations with a new physical therapist when I had chronic lower back pain and he wanted to see what my hip strength was like. Brian was doing the same.
He had me do one-legged squats, forearm planks, a sit and reach (to determine my hamstring flexibility) and side planks on each side, with a leg lift thrown in for good measure. On this last set of exercises, I was a rock star on my right side. I went right up into a side plank and lifted my top leg, no problem. Then, I rolled on to my left side. It was a completely different story.
I pushed up into the left side plank without much effort. But, then Brian asked me to raise my top leg, my right leg. I could barely get it up. He had me go back down onto the floor and try again. So I did. This time, I completely collapsed.
Off the bike diagnosis
Considering that I’d been complaining about left hip pain, it was no surprise that Brian diagnosed me as have a weak left hip. Sure, we would address this with my proper form on the Peloton bike. But he also said he would be sending me some exercises to do off the bike to help strengthen my hips and tools I should invest in to help with those exercise.
He also said that because I had a high arch in my foot, he would send foot exercises for me to do. It was his diagnosis that my feet were gripping in my shoes and/or not strong enough so I needed to work them out, too. Again, he would recommend tools for those foot exercises.
When he mentioned the gripping, all I could think of was Denis Morton admonishing riders during class not to curl our toes in our shoes and grip like an eagle on a branch. Who knew that so many of us did this?
Adjusting the cleats on my cycling shoes
Next, Brian wanted to see the cleats on the bottom of my cycling shoes. So, I held them up to the camera for his evaluation. Almost immediately he had a solution.
“Loosen them with the wrench,” he said, “and then slide them so they’re all the way up and in towards your big toe.”
In other words, make sure that the cleats were sitting as close to the front of the shoes as possible. At the same time move them so they are all the way close to the inside of each foot. Previously, I’d had the cleats centered on my shoe bottoms. In fact, he complimented me on how straight my cleats were. Thanks, Brian!
Getting on the bike for my fitting
Brian was ready to see me on the bike. But, first, Brian wanted to see where my settings were. So I brought the camera closer so he could see that my seat was as position 16 for height and the fore/after or horizontal position was what I called “D and a half.” Basically, between D and E. Next, I showed him the handlebar setting, which was at max.
To be honest because my husband is 6′ 3″we’ve kept the handlebars that high. Plus, I have trouble moving them up and down. Brian said he hears this a lot–about the handlebars being hard to move. He promised he would share a secret with me to make that easier.
Finally, it was time to get on the bike. I set the camera back in the position I’d preplanned for showing him what I looked like on the bike. Unfortunately, he could see all of me except for my head. But there was nothing I could do about that.
Our Peloton is in a vestibule outside bedrooms upstairs. That meant that unless I cut a hole in the wall, the phone couldn’t go back anymore. So we just accepted that I’d be a headless rider for this bike fitting.
I clipped in and started pedaling. Brian watched for a few minutes. Then, he asked me to dismount and adjust my settings.
Adjusting my seat and handlebar settings
First, he had me bring my seat down to 15. So, not much of a change there. Second, he asked what I thought about moving my seat back to E. I told him that I’d tried this in the past and that my fingertips could barely touch the handlebars. So, we left that setting as is.
Third, he wanted me to bring the handlebars way down. He said five settings, which would take them from Max to setting L.
Then, he shared the trick for making it easier to move Peloton handlebars. First, loosen the crank arm between the water bottle holders. Second, put one hand under the rounded part in the middle of the handlebars. Think about it like picking up a suitcase handle.
At the same time, use your other hand to gently pull the handlebars towards the seat. With both the “forces” the handlebar slid smoothly down. No tugging required. I got it to position L and tightened the crank arm. Then I got back on the bike.
Pedaling in my new bike fit position
It felt really weird being on the bike and in such a forward position. But Brian said that this was actually better for me because it had my pelvic at the right position. Turns out that in a more upright setting, my pelvis was tipping backwards and my lower back curving under. That was likely the cause.
As far as pedaling, Brian said that I needed to work on keeping my heel down when pedaling. That I was tending to point my toes down too much and that to engage my hamstrings and glutes, I should think about pushing my heels backwards when I pedal.
Again, a tip I’ve often heard instructors say about getting your heels back in your shoes. Now I understood what they meant.
Finally feeling my sit bones
In this new, more forwards position, I had an easier time actually feeling my sitz bones on the saddle. You may recall hearing instructors talk about securing your sitz bones or nailing your tail to the seat.
I just always assumed that I had too much fat on my backside to feel my sit bones. Now, I really felt them.
Moving my hands around the handlebars
Brian gave me suggestions on how to put my hands on the handlebars to avoid having the heel or pads under my thumbs get sore. He talked about moving my hands around the handlebars, which, again, I’ve heard so many instructors say. Also, with the new lower position, I could actually reach farther forward on the handlebars, which gave me additional options.
I did tell him that I thought a flaw in the Peloton bike was that you couldn’t move the handlebars forward and back, only up and down. He said something to the effect that every bike fitter working with Peloton clients these days agrees with me 100%.
I know there are aftermarket products that allow you make the handlebars move back and forth, but I also know that adding one to a new bike could void your warranty. So, I would recommend doing that.
My first few classes after my remote bike fitting
So what was it like riding my Peloton after my bike fitting? Well, the first class was rough. Really rough. Granted, it was a Matt Wilpers 60-minute Power Zone ride, and I did it on an empty stomach. But pedaling felt harder and my forearms and triceps ached from the new handlebar position. The second ride was no better.
I decided to email Brian and ask if he thought it would be OK to raise the handlebars a bit. Here’s how he replied: “Yes you can move the bars up a few letters with the hope to move them back down after a few weeks as your arms get use to the new effort. Sound good?”
I decided to move them up just one letter–from L to M. Then, I took the FTP test.
Why? First, it was the end of the eight-week Power Zone Challenge, and taking your FTP is always an option. Second, with pedaling feeling harder, I wondered if I needed to ratchet back my zones until my body got used to the new bike fitting.
So the result? Well, the handlebars at M were perfect. Absolutely perfect. No arm aching, I felt secure on the bike, and my pedaling even felt easier. Oh and the FTP? I went up three points.
Update on handlebar position
I recently discovered an aftermarket product called the Aerow Grip. It is a foam “cover” for your handlebars that actually makes it feel like they are one-inch closer to you. They also raise you up a few inches. And they are soft on the hands.
Once I installed this on my handlebars, I moved them back down to the L position. Then I did a 60-minute Power Zone ride. It was great. I got off the bike without my arms or hands aching.
How do I feel after my professional Peloton fitting
While those first few rides were not easy, overall my body feels so much better. Literally, my left hip is no longer hurt. However, you know what is sore? My glutes and hamstrings. It reminds me of, back in the day, when I started doing step classes. Not surprisingly step classes work the hell out of your glutes and hamstrings. I can remember having trouble going up and down stairs afterwards.
Well, these days I’m feeling very sore in my glutes and hamstrings. Which tells me two things. One, I’m using my glutes and hamstrings on my Peloton in a way I never did before. Two, I need to stretch more.
Recommended products after a virtual bike fit.
Now that I’ve got the bike fitting out of the way, I need to work on strengthening the areas of my body that have weaknesses. Again this would be my hips and my feet.
Here are the products that Brian recommended I buy and use to do that.