Very happy with my Custom-built Frame
Having been a serious cyclist for 40 years and being one of the most average sized guys in the world, I never thought that I would benefit from a bike fitting or a custom built frame. However, after riding in severe discomfort for the last decade, I decided I needed to do something if I wanted to continue riding. Having known Smiley for a very long time, it was natural to go to him for advice.
He was quickly able to establish that my position, which may have been fine when I was 15-40 years of age, was no longer realistic. In addition, to get the proper fit, I would benefit from a custom built frame, as it would be difficult to get the proper position on the stable of bikes I was currently riding. Never being one to want to ride what everyone else is riding, a custom frame definitely appealed to me.
In the end, I was so pleased with my experience with Smiley and Kelly; I decided my wife should have a new custom bike as well.
Jay and Jeanette H.
Bikes: Both Bedford Steel Road Bikes
A Bike Fit is a Must
I am a Randonneur and bike fit proved to be necessary - just as much as it is for the guys that race. Until then, I was doing most of it myself like many others. I was not even close. Bike fit is important if you spend significant time on the saddle.
After research and bad experiences with other bike fitters in the area, I kept reading about Smiley and his skills. Prior to seeing him, I had a bad knee pain that had been really bothering me for the past 2 seasons. I also had back, shoulder and neck pain, as well as numbness in my hands every time I rode more than 50 miles – which I ride almost every time and even more since I am doing long distance cycling.
After getting a bike fit done with Smiley earlier this season, I have noticed big improvements in my efficiency and power, as well as the way I feel after a ride and a lower time to recover.
He spent two hours fitting me on my bike, explaining the reason behind every adjustment along the way. He also showed great attention to detail. Then I went for a part two of the fit after I bought the recommended parts. He does not force you to get the parts from him like most bike shops. He also does not complete the fit the same day you arrive, like everybody else does. You will come back on follow up appointments for final adjustments. Any questions you have about the fit - he will explain every detail behind it. I would highly recommend him. He is amazing. I wish I had heard about him long time ago. Thanks Smiley!!!
Sincerely, Your Georgi
Hey Smiley - I'm having an incredible season and the bike feels great
After spending all of last offseason fighting my new tri bike, in major pain and discomfort at distances over 10 miles, and unable to figure out how I was ever going to race on it, I finally got with Smiley at the beginning of this year. After two bike fitting sessions, I was able to ride with my bike instead of fighting against it. And what a season it has been! I took 1st place at 3 sprint distance triathlons, 1 olympic distance, and 2nd at one sprint. Additionally, I finished my first 70.3 with speed and comfort on my bike. Thanks Smiley!!
Treat yourself to a bike fit it's worth the money.
Smiley is terrific! As a learn-as-you-go triathlete attempting to complete my first Ironman I decided to finally treat myself to a bike fit for my birthday. I'm a girl on a budget and in triathlons it seems there's an endless list of things to buy that will "make the difference". I tend to see most of it as smoke & mirrors for those of us just trying to finish. This turned out to be one of the more valuable things I spent money on. There were so many things I learned from Smiley in addition to getting my bike fit that helped me get through. The best thing about Smiley is the ongoing relationship. He wants you to go ride your bike and report back. I still have loads to learn so this back and forth really helped me improve and become a more aware & knowledgeable biker. Smiley is super straightforward and helped me out a few times with minor injuries & saddle adjustments in the months following our initial fit. His patience and flexibility to work within a budget was so appreciated. I can officially call myself an Ironman and have to credit Smiley with his help in getting me there. I'd refer Smiley to anyone.
Smiley's bike fit made the Bike Friday commuter a
Every day I commute to and from work. I love, love, love my "new" bike Friday. The biggest difference was riding home; no knee pain or back pain, and I swear I felt like I had a motor on my bike. It was so much easier to go up hill. Also no pressure on my hands. I can't believe how much difference the handle bar angle feels. I feel I finally have the bike of my dreams.
TT bike pre-fit and delivery to a UAE client
I live in Dubai, UAE. I got more serious into cycling around 2 years ago, the same time that the city got its first 50-mile Dubai Cycling Course. After months of renting bikes I decided to invest in having my own bike and bought my first carbon fiber road bike. My cycling hobby quickly transformed into a triathlon passion.
At the beginning, my cycling progression has been limited by shoulder, back and knee pain that caused major discomfort for the first 9 months of purchasing my first road bike, and that's the amount of time that took my bike shop to fix the problem after several visits where a different person would attend to me each time before they get busy with a sales transaction. While the knee pain was fixed my shoulder and back continued to suffer, and still didn't feel quite efficient on my bike, mainly when it came to my push and pull action where I didn't feel I was positioned in a way that allowed by pull to contribute to my power and speed.
After participating in several sprint, olympic and longer distance bike/tri races I decided I wanted to focus more on long distance tri races, mainly Half Iron races. This meant I needed to make sure I invested in a proper Tri bike. After talking to experienced friends who told me about how in some instances they had to sell a bike they bought for thousands of dollars at a big loss after discovering they purchased a bike (at the recommendation of the bike shop) that is of poor fit which leads to poor performance and/or joint/back problems. Most bike shops carry anywhere from 2-4 brands and will never tell you that none of their brands fit you, which puts them at a conflict of interest the moment you walk into any store not knowing what you really need. Hence having a bike fitter who is both skilled and independent is essential to ensure that you get the most suitable bike. Personally, I have extra challenges as I deal with a significant leg length discrepancy where my right leg is more than 1 inch longer than my left which over the years has led to some back problems. The local bike shops where I live simply did not have the knowhow on how to deal with these issues.
As it happens, we don't have a single independent bike fitter in the UAE (I only hear of one who comes twice a year from Singapore to do bike fits). I came up with the idea of doing a visit to Washington DC (I used to be a DC resident between 2005-8) if I could find a trustworthy bike fitter. After some online research and talking to members of the DC triathlon community, Smiley's name was mentioned several times. From people's feedback it seemed he's developed the experience to deal with several problems that cyclists and triathletes face and the service is great. I decided to email Smiley, he was quick to reply and seemed eager to help me solve my problem. Once Smiley confirmed availability to meet me I went ahead and booked my Dubai – DC ticket.
Out of 8 days I spent in DC I met with Smiley 4 times, which exceeded my expectation. At the beginning I was a bit worried about the limited time frame I had to do a fitting and find a bike. We did an initial fit and we walked me in detail through my measurements and things that should be taken into account when choosing a suitable bike. These things were foreign to me before that day. After narrowing on some potential TT models we ran into the limitation that it was early September and bike shops were not stocking enough model/size inventory as they were waiting for the new 2015 models to arrive. After I started getting a bit frustrated with my bike search, Smiley took the extra mile and came down with me to the bike shop (he was not required to but very kindly offered it) and we were able to find a Felt bike model that was not on our initial target list that had very suitable measurements.
After we got the necessary components for the bit that bike the shop ordered to be shipped from California overnight we went ahead with two more sessions to finalise the fit. Smiley helped to significantly reduce the limitation that my leg length discrepancy was placing on my cycling by shimming one of my left cleat. Smiley took the time to explain every step he was doing. Which was great compared to the “black box” approach I witnessed at most bike shops. He emphasized that what he does is not rocket science; but something developed with experience, understanding the human body, basic geometry/physics logic, exercising care and attention to detail. We worked on getting saddle, post, stem, cleats, tri bars/pads in the most optimal positions and then it was time to ride!
I was very pleased with the results. Usually everyone agrees that tri bikes are less comfortable than road bike; but it was on the contrary in my case, I felt more comfortable on my new tri bike. My lower back (I suffer from an L5S1 bulged disc) was not bothering me despite spending time on aero bars (I clock anywhere from 80-100 miles a week), my push and pull motion has become more efficient; my effort is going towards generating motion rather than exercising pressure on my knee joints. Furthermore, I am able to run better right off the bike in brick sessions and triathlons as the improved fit helps keep hips open.
I will be competing in my first half-iron distance triathlon in few weeks time, I am really thankful to Smiley's workmanship and dedication that has helped me over come a bulged disc and leg length discrepancy to survive 56 miles on the bike during the race!
It was a great pleasure working with Smiley. Not for a second I felt I was left in the dark. It is rare to meet a professional who takes pride in being there for his clients. I look forward to working again with Smiley on future tweaks and bikes!
Breaking the speed barrier
Recently I received as a birthday gift a set of arrow bars and a custom bike fitting from Smiley. It turned out to be the best present I had received in years. The gift was a product of my complaints and confusion about why I was so bad on the bike. The best way I could describe it was that I just could not produce the power I needed to get over 20mph, and could not understand why. Smiley gave me the answer. Using meticulous measuring and video feedback, he assessed my bike set up and modified it to fit my rather long femur bones and narrow hips. He provided new bike stems and new bike seat and watched my form in various positions, giving me not only positioning but also musculoskeletal cues to help me produce power on the bike. The result was that just one week later, I won my age group in a sprint triathlon, and am excited to do more racing next season after having practiced on the new set up. I am also just looking for an excuse to drop by and see Smiley for a chat - he is a fantastic and engaging guy, in addition to being the best and most passionate at what he does.
Thank you, Smiley!
I felt smoother and better on the bike.
I was impressed by Smiley's experience and knowledge of cycling and bikes. He is a very friendly person who listens to your needs and goals and provides detailed feedback to aid you with both.
He was kind enough to teach me how to adjust cleats and fixed my Brooks saddle. After he did some small adjustments here and there, I felt smoother and better on the bike. When I saw the video clips of before and after fit, it all made sense. Now, I can look forward to training and riding longer distances, and will let my friends know about my great fit experience with Smiley.
p.s. Thanks for recommending those handlebars, very comfy.
Changing old habits for comfort and speed
I finally was able to test drive the changes we made Saturday to my bike and they work great! I noticed several things during my test ride. One, you had asked me if I scoot back on my seat when I ride to give myself more room and I had replied no when we talked, but I noticed that I must have developed an unconscious habit of doing so. I still find myself scooting back, but I don't think it is really necessary with the changes we made. I so enjoyed being laid out on my bike and so much more comfortable. I didn't once feel the desire to drop into the drops to laid out further. Another habit I appeared to have developed is raising my shoulders up to my ears. I'm not sure if this was due to the cramped positioning, but I made a conscious effort to drop my shoulders during my ride and to also not lock my arms out. I was very happy to note that I had no trouble with my neck after 26 miles. The laid out positioning was just wonderful though. I noticed the increase power I had from my legs with everything lined up properly and wanted to push a heavier gear with the result of no bad knee problems after. Also the increased power was obvious on the hills where I could get max power. All in all it's amazing that so small adjustment can reap such huge comfort and power increases!
A Craigslist bike and a Smiley Bike fit = Winning
At the beginning of 2015 I probably hadn't ridden a bike for more than a few hundred miles cumulatively over my life, much less done a race. In the spring I decided to sign up for Ironman Maryland. I bought a cheap 12 year old bike off Craigslist and decided to take some of the money I saved and spend it towards getting a good fit. On my first fit with Smiley he recommended a new saddle and shoes, which turned out to be small, incredibly important changes. He made a few other changes to fit my bike to me, but the biggest changes were actually fitting me to my bike. I had no idea how my body should be positioned or how to properly generate power. Over the course of my training I gradually adjusted myself to his recommendations. Then Smiley was able to work me in on short notice whenever I needed get things on the bike readjusted to my improved body position.
I decided to do the Nation's Tri as a practice for the Ironman and won my age group. At the Ironman I finished 13th overall with a 9:22. I'm a lifelong runner and I had the fitness for these events, but without getting my position and technique right on the bike I know that I would not have fared nearly as well. With bikes being so expensive, there's no greater bang for the buck than getting your position right with a good fit.
Totally changed how I ride my bike!
My bike fitting with Smiley has totally changed how I ride my bike! I had no idea how much of an impact the changes would have on my comfort and efficiency.I am now able to keep my shoulders and arms relaxed, which help eliminate shoulder and neck pain. I am also able to maintain a straighter torso and more effectively engage core muscles.
Smiley is extremely knowledgeable and explained the reason for all the adjustments along the way, from the placement of the cleats on my shoes to the lowering of my handlebars. I feel like I have a brand new bike! As a Spinning instructor, I plan to use Smiley's guidance when helping my students get set up for class. I would recommend a bike fitting with Smiley to any cyclist looking to take their ride to the next level.
I'm a more efficient, faster rider.
After getting my bike fit over the course of a few visits from Smiley the difference was extremely noticeable! He explained everything that he was doing and I've learned a lot through my time with him.
And Smiley provided great customer service - he is clearly passionate about what he does and is invested in his clients, their bikes, and their cycling goals.
Become a faster, stronger cyclist!
Not only am I now a strong AA rider, but that level of riding feels easier than riding slower had only 6 months ago. I feel like I generate more power with less effort! Granted, I had to do a lot of work. Smiley only fitted me and told me what to do. The rest was on me to actually follow through. But I can say personally, that if you get a fit from Smiley and follow his guidance on form and stretching, you will become a faster, stronger cyclist!
Optimize both comfort and power.
I first contacted Smiley to help me with a pre-fitting for a triathlon bike, expecting to meet with him once or twice, but have been amazed and grateful at the amount of support and attention to detail Smiley offered throughout the purchase and fitting process.
He interacted with me throughout the bike search to offer guidance on which bikes would fit well or not, and above and beyond that, he also helped me sort through all the other component variables to find a bike that was a good value. I'm very happy with the bike we found, and after I bought the bike, he met with me again to dial in the fit and make adjustments to some of the components as well as my racing shoes. Smiley has a unique ability to balance engineering-grade precision (each iteration involved video analysis and testing/re-testing small adjustments) with a deep openness for feedback and listening to how small changes affect the overall feel on the bike.
Thanks to Smiley, I am going into my first half Ironman with confidence now, knowing that my bike will handle well and is set up to optimize both comfort and power. Best,
Smiley knows his stuff!
Smiley knows his stuff. He's wicked smart and has more knowledge than I ever will about the physics of cycling, power output, body position, knee over pedal, gear, weather, etc. He's also been very good about checking in to see how my rides have been going since the set-up, and has even followed up with a couple of helpful articles on some of the cycling areas in which I struggle.
I rode this morning for about 3.5 hours, and it's the first time I've EVER ridden that long and not had any neck or shoulder tension at all during or after the ride. Also, and very noteworthy, I was not at all uncomfortable on the saddle. Usually I get off the bike and my first thought is, “I need a massage.” Or, sometimes I think, “I absolutely HATE being on the seat that long.” Neither of those thoughts entered my mind today. I can't tell you how happy I am that members of our DC Tri club recommend Smiley – I feel so fortunate to have found him, and benefited from his knowledge and assistance. You must go and see for yourself!
Smiley got me through my first Ironman bike leg
Smiley did my bike fit in January 2014 when I had just started seriously training for my first ironman triathlon. I was having back pain and numbness in my toes. Smiley's bike fit made all the difference in my comfort level on the bike. The volume of my training rides steadily increased throughout the summer so that I was often riding 100-150 miles on weekends. I really do not think I could have maintained the training volume or finished the bike leg of the ironman race (112 miles) without Smiley's help. Or at least, I would have been really miserable! Instead, I trained well, and I finished the ironman bike leg ready to run the marathon and finish the race strong. Smiley played an integral role in helping me achieve a long-time goal, and I would absolutely recommend him to anyone looking for a knowledgeable, thoughtful, professional, and friendly bike fitter!