Now that I’m interested in competing at the long distance triathlon level, I’ve decided to invest in a triathlon bike. Since, tri bikes are an expensive investment and require a different position than a road bike I decided to invest in a professional bike fit to ensure that I order the correct bike for myself. One of the most important things you can do when purchasing a bicycle is to get a bike fit. Having a bike fit will ensure that your position is comfortable and efficient. A professional bike fit is expensive, but it is well worth it in the long run when you hear your teammates claiming about back pain or seat pain because their bikes are not properly fitted to their bodies.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving I took a ride down I-95 to Peabody, MA to get a professional bike fit at Fit Werx 2
. Fit Werx specializes in bike fitting and is one of the premier shops for fittings in the country. Fit Werx’s methods are different than most shops. Most shops require that you have a bike already. Fit Werx fits you without a bike to find your optimal position and then take that data to determine what bike company’s geometry will work with your position (but, you can also get fitted to your current bike too!). Here is what their website says about their bike fitting methods:
Anyone who tells you that you can be optimally fit with just a few measurements or by punching data into a formula based computer program is either woefully uninformed or just trying to sell you something. Building a proper position takes time and requires that the details of your individual situation be considered from a scientific perspective.
At Fit Werx our methodology is based in proven biomechanical assessment techniques that have been developed to address the specific needs of cyclists and triathletes. Physical therapists, aerodynamicists, medical doctors, exercise kineseologists, chiropractors and structural engineers are just a few of the people that are involved in the development of our fitting steps and product testing techniques. It is our goal to not only help you build your optimal riding position, but to also provide you with the insight and knowledge necessary to understand how your body functions while on the bike and how it effects the products you choose.
Check out this video: http://www.fitwerx.com/fitting-services/professional-fitting-video
I originally went down to the shop with a particular bike in mind that I wanted and was hoping that it would fit me. I brought my road bike down with me for the fitter to get some basic measurements from. However, a road bike position doesn’t really translate too well to a triathlon aerodynamic position. My fitter, Geoff, asked me a bunch of questions about my riding style, injuries, and training and race schedule. He then took a bunch of body measurements and checked my flexibility. Next, he set up the fitting bike to a rough estimate of where my tri position might be based off of my road bike and his calculations. I hopped on the bike and started pedaling as he fired up the fitting software. From there he would take video images of me riding the bike and run the angles through the Dartfish Analysis system. We ended up dropping my seat by quite a few centimeters to get the bottom of my pedal stroke to fall within the 145-152 degree ideal position. After my seat position was determined we played with the handlebars to find my aero position. Once my ideal position was finally determined, Geoff took all my numbers and imputed it into an excel spreadsheet where he could then take different bike manufacturer’s geometry to determine if it would fit. The bike I wanted does fit! BUT, I changed my mind and I’m getting this little gem instead:
The 2012 Scott Plasma 20