James Lowsley-Williams has never felt more comfortable on two wheels.
The 26-year-old, from the Cotswolds, has produced the form of his career in the colours of Canyon Eisberg.
He picked up where he left off last season to star in the Ronde van Drenthe in March, selflessly contribute to a memorable Tour de Yorkshire and then deliver a maiden Tour Series title.
Lowsley-Williams raced seven of the 10 rounds of the crit championship, finishing outside the top 14 only once and wearing the Eisberg sprints jersey.
He has transformed from domestique to take on leadership and road captaincy roles under the guidance of sports director Tim Elverson.
And the former UK Youth rider puts a large amount of his success down to a small tweak in his set-up. Lowsley-Williams said:
“I got given the wrong size bike when I started cycling. I then had a bike fit from Wyndymilla back in 2012 and got a 54 with a tiny stem.
“I always felt I was hunched up when sprinting. I was never stretched out. Then I went away and rode Jack Pullar’s bike.
“He is a similar size bloke to me. I told him I needed to be longer front end, so I could get more leverage for the sprint.
“So I have gone longer and suddenly I feel 10 times better. My back is not sore because it is not so hunched over. And when I’m sprinting I’m not all hunched up.
“I’m now on an extra small bike (52cm) and I have gone much longer on the front end (120mm). I feel so much more comfortable and can get much more power out.
“I think that has helped a lot and is the key reason why I am not having any back problems at the moment.
“I’ve gone from a 56cm to a 52cm. I’m 5’10”, so I’m not tiny. But this feels so much better.”
Lowsley-Williams turned professional at the age of 19 with UK Youth and has revealed how his role as domestique has shaped his career.
But his recent epiphany underlines just how important it is for budding young riders to take their bike fit seriously. He added:
“Since the fit with Wyndymilla, I have always told bike manufacturers I’m a 56cm. I haven’t had a bike fit since because I’m not fussy.
“I’ve been the guy who’s happy to get what he’s given and be thankful. If there is a problem, you deal with it.
“But this has made a real difference. I changed it two weeks before Drenthe and that was the first time I have done a 200km race on the rivet and not had a back problem.
“I’m usually cramping up and uncomfortable, so the switch has certainly made me a better bike rider.”
Lowsley-Williams returns to action following the Tour Series triumph with a UCI double header in Europe this weekend.
He will race the Dwars door de Vlaamse Ardennen in Belgium on Saturday, with the Midden Brabant Poort Omloop following in Holland on Sunday.