Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why Now is a Great Time to get in to Vector Cycle Works

It's that time of the year - the days are getting shorter and it's starting to cool off a bit in Central Indiana.  The  triathlon, mountain biking, and road racing seasons are wrapping up.  The holidays are going to be upon us soon, which generally means a busy time of the year with a lot of calories.  Things even slow down a little bit here in the Vector Cycle Works studio.  Other than the cyclocross folks, bike commuters, and hardcore riders, it's the time of year when we start to spend a bit less time on our bikes and maybe even put them away for a few months.

In my opinion, this is an opportunity.  This is the time to get in to Vector Cycle Works.  Here are a few reasons why:

Get a head start on your next season.  

Bike fitting at Vector Cycle Works is not a "one and done" deal - it's a partnership.  If you are looking at improving for next season, this is a great opportunity to get ahead.  A CoreFit or ForeverFit bike fit can help you establish a comfortable and efficient foundation for winter training, so you can build your engine for your best season yet.  With the Vector Cycle Works ForeverFit and Functional Movement services, you can maximize your work off the bike to improve your performance and experience on the bike.

You still remember what hurts.

If you've been out riding regularly and dealing with knee pain, saddle issues, back pain, numbness, or any of the many other cycling-related issues cyclists tend to accept as "that's just how it's supposed to be", now is a great time to get a fit while you still remember what bothers you.  Maybe the saddle has been an issue, or maybe you just want to try something else.  This is your chance to make those changes - with a CoreFit or ForeverFit bike fit or a free saddle test, we can establish a base to get you more comfortable now and follow-up when you start really ramping up your riding again.

There are great deals to be had on a bike right now.

I was talking with a few of the local bike shops this week and they've got some really nice bikes priced to move.  The 2018 models are coming out now and the remaining 2017s are being offered at a really good price.  If you are thinking about getting a new bike, this is a great time to do a RightBike session to find out what fits you best.

Focus on your function.

As an FMS (Functional Movement Systems) pro and guy who deals with a lot of pain, I'm a big advocate of understanding how our bodies work, recognizing our deficiencies, and doing the appropriate work to overcome our limits.  With FMS, we can do some work off the bike to improve our overall daily function and experience on the bike.  Most of my customers want to just get on the bike and hammer out the miles.  I see a ton of hip dysfunction that is holding people back from being their best.  A little bit of work to establish balance within the body can help prevent injury, improve comfort, and improve performance.  It's a matter of understanding what you need and focusing on that.  With FMS sessions or ForeverFit, you get a functional training plan that might be just 10 minutes a day to improve you overall.  It's really cool stuff.  Whether you are managing pain or looking to get those last few watts, an FMS plan designed specifically for you can help you make big gains with a small investment in time and money.

You can learn to love trainer season.

I geek out about trainers and training with power.  If you are interested in getting a trainer, Vector Cycle Works is a dealer for Kinetic, Wahoo, Tacx, CycleOps, Elite, and a few others.  Indoor training doesn't have to be awful.  With a trainer purchase, I will come to your house (in the central Indiana area), set up your trainer, and help you get connected with your choice of software to make your indoor training effective.  There are really great tools available, and I'm here to help you sort through those and find the best one for you.

The lines aren't as long.

One of the challenges at Vector Cycle Works is that there can be as much as a 6-8 week wait to get in.  There isn't right now - it's down to just a couple of weeks.  If you want to get in, now's the time to do it!  If you're not sure where to start, here's what I would do:
  1. If you don't have a bike or want a new one, schedule a RightBike session.  We will spend about two hours getting an understanding of your goals and sizing you up to find your happy place in space.  You will then get a list of bikes (it usually takes me a few days) that will fit you.  You can then go out and get that bike.  Bring your RightBike report with and the shops can usually set it up according to your report so you can test ride.  The cost of your RightBike session ($100) will apply to a subsequent CoreFit or ForeverFit bike fit.
  2. Do a free saddle test.  If you haven't experienced a saddle that fits you well, you don't know what you're missing.  Try out one or all of the 75 different saddles available and find the one that feels the best.
  3. Once you've got yourself some good equipment, it's time to schedule a CoreFit bike fit.  The CoreFit bike fit service is $150 and is as comprehensive as for what others are charging $250-400.  CoreFit offers a lot of value for the money.  It's a great way to establish a Vector Cycle Works partnership.  We will delve deep into understanding your body
  4. Get some time in now before it's too cold to ride, or maybe start some indoor training.  Maybe use your free CoreFit follow up to tweak things a bit.
  5. Upgrade to ForeverFit.  You can upgrade from CoreFit to ForeverFit for the cost difference, which is currently $150.  You will get the ForeverFit guarantee for as long as you own the bike, and you'll get a Functional Movement Screen and a 6-week functional training plan.  You can use this to help make bigger gains as you get ready for next year.
When it comes down to it, I'm here to help.  I often say that I'm an evangelist for cycling and healthy living before I'm a bike fitter.  I do bike fitting because I love helping people enjoy riding a bike.  Regardless of your abilities or riding experience, you can get more out of your ride.  I'd love to help!  If you have questions, you can call me at 317-833-0702 or e-mail me at and we can get a better understanding of your goals and come up with a plan that will help you reach them.

Or, if you are ready to take the plunge, you can schedule at  See you soon!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Free Saddle Testing at Vector Cycle Works

If you are having a hard time find a happy place on your saddle, Vector Cycle Works offers free saddle testing.  The best way to determine if a saddle will work for you is to sit on it!

A saddle test session usually starts off with a quick conversation about your issues and type of riding, a couple of measurements, and then we set up the test bike based on your current bike geometry.  A BikeFit SwitchIt (as shown in the picture above) allows us to change saddles and adjust them quickly - it's not uncommon to go through 20-25 saddles in a saddle testing session, trying to find that one that really feels good.  We can quickly swap saddles and tweak position and angle to get immediate feedback.  Once we find a saddle you like, we'll mount it on your bike for an extended test.

If you are experience discomfort or numbness, and are ready to try something new, you can click here to schedule your free saddle testing session!

Vector Cycle Works is an authorized dealer for several brands including Brooks, Chromag, Cobb Cycling, Fi'zi:k, ISM, Profile Design, Selle Royal, SQlab, and WTB.  Inventory is kept to a minimum, but we can order in other models or colors, as needed.  There are currently over 80 saddles available for testing and there are more coming soon.

This isn't a complete list, but here are some of the saddles that are currently in stock and ready for a test ride:

Chromag Juniper 

Chromag Lynx DT

Chromag Trailmaster DT 

Cobb Fifty-Five
Cobb Gen2

Cobb Max
Cobb Plus
Cobb Plus 2

Cobb Plus DRT

Cobb Randee

Cobb SHC


Cobb VFlow

Fi'zi:k Aliante VS

Fi'zi:k Antares VS

Fi'zi:k Arione VS

Fi'zi:k Mistica
(Regular and Large)
Fi'zi:k Vesta
ISM PL 1.0

ISM PL 1.1

ISM PN 1.0

ISM PN 1.1

ISM PN 2.1

ISM PN 3.0

ISM PR 1.0

ISM PR 2.0

ISM PR 3.0

ISM PS 1.0

ISM PS 1.1 

ISM Road
Profile Design Vertex 80 TT
Selle Royal Scientia Series
(Three Models/Widths: A1, A2, and A3)
SQlab 611 Ergowave Active Series
(4 widths: 12cm, 13cm, 14cm, 15cm)
WTB High Tail Series
3 Levels: Pro, Team, Carbon
WTB Pure Series
5 Levels: Comp, ProGel, Race, Pro, Team

WTB Rocket Series
5 levels: Comp, Race, Pro, Carbon, Team
3 widths: 130mm, 142mm, 150mm

WTB Silverado
3 Levels: Pro, Team, Carbon

WTB Speed
4 Levels: Comp, ProGel, Pro, Team

WTB Speed She
2 Levels: Comp, ProGel

WTB Volt
5 Levels: Comp, Race, Pro, Team, Carbon
3 Widths, depending on level: 135mm, 142mm, 150mm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sharing the BikeFit Love

The Vector Cycle Works studio had a bit different feel this weekend - it is still all about getting people more comfortable on their bikes, but this time there were 4 fitters in the room.

I am a BikeFit Instructor, and hosted a BikeFit Level 1 class of 3 students at the studio/my home this weekend.  Level 1 is an intense two days of a little lecture with a lot of hands-on training.  The main objective is to help fitters establish a good foundation for a bike fit by focusing on the foot/pedal interface.  

The first day, we go over the details of cleat placement and the various tools that BikeFit provides to improve the rider's connection to the pedal.  The foot/pedal interface is often overlooked as part of the fit, yet so important for mechanical efficiency and comfort.  Poor cleat placement can manifest itself where you might not expect it.  We take the time to understand how to assess, measure, and implement appropriate accommodations for a rider.  Our students become the test subjects on this day, getting an opportunity to gain experience with each other and different pedal systems.  

Sometimes, in a class like this, things will go pretty smoothly and you get some relatively straightforward people.  That's no fun!  We had some interesting things going on, and that was great - the students got experience with different wedge options, use of pedal spacers, use of leg length shims, and got to see some things that might be a bit counter-intuitive.  We also got to work with Speedplay, Look, Shimano, and Crank Bros. pedal solutions over the weekend.  Each has their nuances, so it's good to get that variety.

For day 2, we take it a bit further and look at the total bike fit, focusing on the contact points on the bike.  We had two victims, err, subjects come in to give the students an opportunity to fit someone with very little background information.  We had a young triathlete with a new-to-him triathlon bike, and a mountain biker who had just built up his brand new full suspension 29er.  Essentially a couple of clean slate fits.  The students get the opportunity to figure out what questions to ask, how to ask them, and how to hone in on the main focus points for the rider.  I tend to step back, observe, and interject as needed.

The students were from northern Indiana, northern Ohio, and the Boston area.  I like keeping the class small for maximum interaction and 3 was just right.  It was a great group of guys and we had a lot of fun.  While class goes from 9-5 with an hour for lunch, a couple of the guys stayed until around 8:30 on Saturday night, where we chatted about all sorts of things related to cycling, fitting, the bike industry, human movement, and anything else that came up.  It's great to see the passion in others.

When I teach, I can't help but reflect on my experience as a fitter.  I love what I do, and love sharing the knowledge.  Riding a bike should be a wonderful thing, and helping people experience that without pain is what makes me tick.  It seems like ages since I was on the other side of the classroom, taking in everything I could from some really top-notch people (teachers and fellow students) who have been a positive influence on my life and have helped shape my style.  The students in this class have very different backgrounds and fit experience (from no experience at all to 10 years of fitting), and each had their own learning style.  As they get the chance to practice, they will develop their own fitting style, as well.  BikeFit is one of many bike fitting protocols, but it's a very effective one, and should provide a great foundation for the students.  I look forward to keeping in touch with them and hearing of their fitting successes.

If you are interested in learning about becoming a BikeFit-certified pro bike fitter, you can read more here.  I will be hosting another BikeFit Level 1 class November 4-5.

Hunter does not approve of your fit.
We will work to make it better...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thinking About Buying a New Bike? Get the Right Bike!

One of the services offered at Vector Cycle Works is Match (formerly called RightBike).  Match is the service you want if you are looking to buy a new (or new to you) bike.  Buying a bike can be better than walking into the local bike shop, having someone look at you and say, "you're probably a 56" and then throwing you on a couple of bikes in stock for a quick test spin.  That's no longer adequate - you deserve better than that. You should be one with your bike.  This is what Match is all about.

Match is based on F.I.S.T. (Fit Institute Slowtwitch) principles.  This is bike "sizing" rather than "fitting."  Those two terms are often mixed up in the industry - "fitting" is often used to describe sizing, and that can be confusing to you as the consumer.  Sizing as the geometric component of fitting, but real fitting gets into more detail at the touch points of the bike - where your body meets the pedals, seat, and bars.  Match is the pre-purchase sizing, which establishes a good foundation for a Core or Fusion fit.

So, how does Match work?  I thought it would be good to walk through the process and provide a couple of examples.  Here is the Match process, in 10 easy steps:
  1. You want a bike.
  2. You schedule your Match session here.
  3. You receive an e-mail with a document covering how to get here and what to expect (click here to see it), and a form that helps us get a better understanding of your history and goals.
  4. When you arrive at Vector Cycle Works for your Match appointment, we'll spend some time talking about what matters most to you and the current bike market.  Things we cover include:
    1. Your riding history.
    2. What kind of bike you're looking for.
    3. Your budget for the bike and any other accessories or changes that need to be made to accommodate your body.
    4. What attributes you like in a bike.
    5. Any bikes you might prefer.
    6. Your goals.
  5. We take a few body measurements that will drive the sizing process.
  6. We'll set up the aerobars or handlebars for you.  At this point, we're making an educated guess as to what bars might come on the size of bike that will work for you.
  7. We'll find a saddle that works.  It might not necessarily be the perfect saddle, but something that at least doesn't interfere with the rest of the fit process.  By default, we try to use towards saddles that are stock spec on the bikes you are interested in.
  8. We set up the crank length according to what you might typically find on bikes in your general size.  We can go with longer or shorter crankarms, but similar to our saddle selection defaults, we'll start with what is likely found on bikes in your approximate size.
  9. We then perform the F.I.S.T. protocol, setting the bike up based on your morphology and then running through a series of trials to find the position that feels the best and allows you to produce the most power.  You will sweat.
  10. Finally, we use some geometry and trigonometry to generate a report of all the bikes that fit your body and budget.  We use stack and reach to get an apples-to-apples comparison of bike options.  You can read more on stack and reach here.
One thing that makes Vector Cycle Works is independence with a good relationship with the local bike shops.  Vector Cycle Works is a dealer for several brands of bikes including Bombtrack, Ceepo, Chromag, Dimond, and Ventum but the goal is always to find the bike that fits you well and you want, regardless of where you get it.

The main deliverable from a Match session is the list of bikes.  We have some reporting tools that allow us to track a lot of brands of bikes on the market.  Each person that comes in for a Match session gets a report that can be pretty comprehensive - some people may only have a handful of options, but others may have hundreds.  Because you deserve a quality list, it takes about a week or so to get the list to you.  The recommendations aren't taken lightly, and it takes time.  Match is not for the person looking to make a spontaneous purchase.

With that said, here are three examples of recent Match sessions.

Example 1 - Male Triathlete

For this example, we have a male triathlete who is relatively fit, has been fit by me on his existing bike before, and is ready to buy something new.  He had the following rules:
  1. A budget around $6,000.
  2. He wanted Ultegra Di2 electronic shifting.
  3. He wanted to buy from his local bike shop, who sells BMC, Cervelo, and Quintana Roo.
  4. He currently rides 165mm cranks.
  5. He liked the Cervelo P3.
Based on those rules, his report turns out to be fairly simple - a handful of bikes from those 3 brands. He's also lucky in the sense that he's not a physical anomaly - he's tall, but not too tall, lean, and male.  He has a pretty good budget.  He has a lot of options available to him.

You'll also notice that in his report, we shared opinions on what bike would be best.  That is because he asked me for my opinion and recommendation.  We typically share some thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages of certain bikes on the list, but try to keep that as neutral as possible.

Example 2 - Female Roadie

For our second example, we have a little bit trickier person - a woman who is less than 5' 4".  Frankly, the bike industry can be pretty frustrating for people under about 5' 4", as there aren't as many good options out there that fit well.  The problem is not overall height, but inseam and torso length combined with the industry's move to 700c wheels for pretty much everything.  That's another story, though.

Our female roadie actually came in with an existing bike, but it was way too big.  She knew this going in, so she was ready for the news that she might be buying a new bike.  After attempting to make her bike work, we switched from fitting mode to sizing mode.  The female roadie had the following rules:
  1. A budget of $2,000-$2,500.
  2. A preference for a few brands of bikes, but mostly pretty open.
  3. Her inseam is 75.5cm - this is important, especially with smaller people, as it is going to limit which bikes they can stand over.  The manufacturers don't always provide the standover information, which is frustrating.

In her case, a lot of bikes came up - 191 bikes from 13 manufacturers.  Now, some of those are the same bike from different years (the database includes 2015-current, with varying levels of data entry performed based on time.  Many of them are the same frame with different components.  Nonetheless, she has a nice list of options.

Her report also demonstrates "elegant solutions" for bikes.  Based on the person's general size and what we know about how bikes are going to generally be equipped, we select stem combinations that are practical, elegant, and hopefully what might come on the bike out of the box.  We don't put a 6' 4" male on a huge bike with a 60mm stem, nor do we want a 5' 1" male on a tiny bike with a 130mm stem.  There are some cases where that might be warranted (long torso/short legs/long arms), but if we end up there, we failed somewhere.

Example 3 - Female Triathlete

Of these three, this one was the toughest person because of their size.  They are a hair over 5', with a 71cm inseam.  That inseam means there are only a handful of triathlon bikes that she can stand over, and they are most likely 650c bikes, meaning they have a smaller wheel.  These have become rare, and good 650c wheels are even more rare.

Her rules are:
  1. Budget of $4000.
  2. Wants Ultegra mechanical shifting.
  3. Standover height is an issue with a 71cm inseam.

This was one where we went pretty deep with our discussion, as this report was a bit of bad news for this person.  The primary bad news was that she would most likely end up on a 650 bike.  This necessitated a deep dive into 650 bike and wheel options.  With some research, we found that while the 650 wheel/tire market isn't as robust as the 700 wheel/tire market, there are options out there.  Both Zipp and Enve make 650 wheels, and the Continental GP 4000 S II, is available in a 650, too.  So, while not ideal, it's not as bad as it could be.  Our triathlete friend has some options.


Those are a couple of examples of the Match process.  Every person is different, so the reports can vary quite a bit.  It is a lot of fun doing this, living vicariously through others as they get to purchase a shiny new bike!  After the report is generated, we're not done, either - ideally, you'll come back for a full fitting, but will help you however you need help.  We've met up at shops or homes to look at the bike in more detail and adjust the bike for a test ride.  It's whatever you need.

This is the way to buy a new bike, so if you're in the market, schedule your Match session soon.  It's time to find the right bike for you!