Friday, December 23, 2016

2017 Vector Cycle Works Services - Introducing CoreFit

As the new year approaches, it is time to revisit the services offered at Vector Cycle Works.  2016 has been a great year in the studio, and I'm always thankful for all the great people I meet.  As my knowledge and processes have evolved, I felt it was time to update my services accordingly.

ForeverFit is the cornerstone of what I do.  It's a very thorough deep-dive into understanding the human body and how it interacts with the bike.  It is also about a 3 1/2 to 4 hour initial session.  That amount of time is not for everybody and it also limits my availability, as I can't do a ForeverFit on weeknights.  I don't feel right making people wait as much as 8 weeks to get in.  I've pointed about 20 people to other fitters in the area this year because they couldn't get in soon enough.

One other important philosophy I hold is that cycling can be for everyone.  One challenge for bike fitters is that we are a cottage industry within a niche industry.  I am an evangelist for cycling and healthy living before I am a fitter.  What percentage of the general population actually own a bike?  How many of them ride it regularly?  How many of them have actually been fit, or see the value in being fit?  How much are they willing to pay for a fit?  As we ask these questions, the size of the market gets smaller.

I want to see more people having fun on bikes.  I don't want the cost of bike fitting to prevent people from getting a fit.  I have always felt it should be affordable.  So, in an effort to be more available to more people, I am introducing a new fit service: CoreFit.  I think CoreFit helps round out the services at Vector Cycle Works - providing comprehensive services for the cyclist looking to get more out of their experience.

With all that said, here is the new menu:

RightBike - $100

RightBike is the Vector Cycle Works sizing service.  This is the "pre-fit" for someone looking to purchase a new bike.  RightBike is based on F.I.S.T. protocols where we find the best bike solution for your body.  As I covered in a couple of previous blog posts (found here and here), the days of walking into a store and having the salesperson guess your size based on your height are over.  With RightBike, we'll put you on a fit bike, work through a series of trials, and then let you decide what feels best.  We do some measuring, a little math, and you get a list of all the bikes that work for you, with any adjustments that need to be made.  We aren't trying to hack together a bike and make it work - you deserve an elegant solution that fits well, is comfortable, handles well, fits your budget and looks good, too.  While I am a dealer for a few brands of bikes, I believe in putting your comfort, efficiency, budget, and tastes first, so the list includes all the bikes available in the central Indiana area from the local bike shops, as well as online sellers.

The cost of RightBike can be applied to a subsequent CoreFit or ForeverFit.  So, in a perfect world, you get sized up, buy the bike that fits you best, and come back to iron out the details with a proper fit.  In my opinion, this is the best way to buy a bike.

CoreFit - $150

CoreFit, as the name implies, gets back to core fit technologies to get you comfortable and efficient.  Based on BikeFit and F.I.S.T. protocols, a typical CoreFit session typically takes about 2 hours for the initial fit.  We will gather some basic measurements of your body and feet, dial in your overall geometry and interaction with the bike, and put the icing on the cake by spending time on your foot-pedal interface.  1 follow-up session is included.  CoreFit is guaranteed - if you're not happy, you get your money back.

ForeverFit - $300

ForeverFit is the ultimate comfort and performance partnership.  Building on CoreFit, ForeverFit incorporates Functional Movement work to dive deep into understanding your deficiencies and asymmetries so we can understand what is holding you back from performing at your highest level.  ForeverFit is guaranteed for as long as you own the bike, and also offers a 100% money back guarantee if you're not happy.

If you choose to do a CoreFit and later decide you want to upgrade to gain the benefits of ForeverFit, you can do so for the cost difference.

Once you have been fit on one bike, a subsequent bike is $100 for CoreFit or ForeverFit customers.

Functional Movement Training - $50 per hour

If you are looking to get more from your cycling experience, you may want to look at how well you move.  To perform well as an athlete, we need to be mobile, stable, and strong.  A Functional Movement Screen and Y-Balance test are part of ForeverFit, but can also be done separately.  With Functional Movement, we screen and measure your deficiencies, and work together to develop a training plan designed specifically to overcome those deficiencies without preventing you from your normal training.

Whether you are dealing with pain, nagging injuries, or just looking to get a few more watts on the bike, Vector Cycle Works can help you find a better you.

Saddle Testing - FREE

A bad saddle can keep you from spending time on the bike.  Don't waste time with the wrong saddle - try one of over 70 saddles available for testing at Vector Cycle Works.  Testing is free.  Bring your riding attire, shoes, and bike in and we'll find a saddle that works better for you, mount it to your bike, and let you take it home to try for a longer trial.  There is no reason to be uncomfortable on your saddle anymore.

Other Stuff

In addition to services, Vector Cycle Works is able to provide expertise on many other aspects of cycling, including:

  • Bike components - Vector Cycle Works has a wide variety of bike components from handlebars to wheels.  All components include free installation.
  • Power meters - Vector Cycle Works is a Power2Max Competence Center and will gladly discuss the power meter market.  A power meter purchase includes free installation and batteries for the life of the power meter.
  • Trainers - Indoor training is one of my favorite subjects.  If you are interested in getting more out of your indoor cycling experience, Vector Cycle Works is an authorized dealer for Wahoo, Tacx, Kinetic, Elite, and CycleOps trainers.  All trainers include free delivery and setup in your home (in the Indianapolis area).
If you are ready to make next season your best season ever, you can schedule time at Vector Cycle Works at  If you're still unsure, call Travis at 317-833-0702 for more info and we'll figure out what is best for you.  Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017: A Turning Point in Triathlon Bike Innovation?

This is an interesting time of year for a bike fitter.  As the new year approaches, most of the manufacturers have introduced their new bikes.  For me, this means a lot of data entry as I gather all the geometry information on all the bikes available from Vector Cycle Works, the local bike shops, and online.  I track over 90 brands of bikes that are currently in production.  I get to spend at least a little time looking at every bike out there, and sometimes the details of a certain bike grab my attention.  Sometimes, I see trends.

The 2017 triathlon bike introductions have brought some pretty interesting changes, with some radical-looking designs coming out around the time of the Ironman World Championship in Kona.  The most radical of these are the Diamondback Andean and Cervelo P5X.  These look like something Batman would ride.

In the triathlon world, it has become hard to separate the concept of "the best bike" from "the most aerodynamic" bike.  Aerodynamic efficiency rules the triathlon bike courses of the world and engineers strive to find ways to save every possible watt.  Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnels are an integral part of bike design today.  This is also a part of why these bikes command some pretty hefty price tags.

In my opinion, the triathlon bike industry has hit a point of diminishing returns.  I call it "peak aero."  The trend with triathlon bike design over the last few years has been all about aerodynamic performance, with manufacturers introducing their new high-end models with increasing price tags and white papers desperately trying to demonstrate why this bike is so much faster than the others.

Problem is, aerodynamics is a cruel science.  There are so many factors involved in what makes something aerodynamic, how it is measured, and how wind tunnel data compares to real world information.  Two bikes tested in the same wind tunnel on different days can have different results due to atmospheric conditions.  The same bike in different wind tunnels can have different results.  Testing with or without a rider, pedaling or not pedaling, introduces even more confusion.  It's hard for anybody to present a good apples-to-apples comparison of how their new bike is faster than anything else out there.  It's not anybody's fault, but it's hard to trust the white papers.

We're at a point of diminishing returns.  I'm certainly no aerodynamics expert, but when you look at the bikes on the market today, for the most part, we're settling in on some very similar concepts across all models.  Cables runs are clean, front ends are tidy, and tube shapes are similar.  Much of what was introduced on the superbikes of 3 years ago has trickled down to even the most affordable models in the lineup.

As bikes leave the factory, they are all very good nowadays.  I feel that there is a lot of bang for the buck in the sub $3,000 triathlon bike market - bikes like the Felt IA16, Cervelo P2, and many others get a ton of trickle-down technology from their more expensive stablemates.  In my mind, it makes it hard to justify the more expensive bikes.  How much does one spend for each watt saved over the more affordable model?

This is good for the consumer, but the manufacturers (and specifically their marketing departments) have a challenge: the bike does not race by itself.  The bike is one part of a system, and as it turns out, is a relatively small part.  Throw a big blob of meat and bones (i.e., a human body) on top of it, and the bike is only about 20% of the system's total frontal area, at most.  Put that human body in a bad aerodynamic position, and it's even worse.  As a bike fitter, I can help you get more aerodynamic and we can even go to the wind tunnel, but in all honesty, comfort is going to trump aerodynamics (although you might be surprised just how aero you can get while being comfortable).  Throw on the nutrition people need for training and racing, and we are a long way away from that that thing of aerodynamic beauty that left the factory.

This is where I see a shift happening.  Bicycle manufacturers need to tout the other features of the bikes.  The shift has started to happen, with an emphasis on a few things:

  • Non-traditional designs
  • Integrated storage
  • Disc Brakes

Non-Traditional Designs

Looking at the P5X, you'll notice something is missing.  A seat tube.  And chain stays.  The classic "double diamond" design is being challenged again - Dimond, TriRig, Ventum, Falco, Reap, and others are challenging the traditional design.  Many of these have had a parallel design from the past - what's old is new again.

The early Dimond prototypes were based on the Zipp 2001 frame from the early 90's.  The TriRig Omni and Ventum One look similar to the Lotus 108, also from the early 90's.  The idea is that if you can remove unnecessary parts, you can reduce drag.  Some folks think they're ugly.  I think they're beautiful in their own way.

Integrated Storage

Integrated on-the-bike storage is a fun one.  If you look at the P5X and Andean, they have been very clever in how they've integrated storage.  Cervelo put out a white paper for the P5X.  I haven't seen it, and I don't believe most of us can.  Dan Empfield did, so his write-up on it will tell you more than I can.  It appears that the P5X will save the average rider maybe a minute over the P5 on an Ironman course.  How much is that worth to you?

The P5X and Andean aren't the only ones who have jumped on the integrated storage bandwagon.  The new Dimond Marquise has 3 storage compartments.  The Ventum One has a 1,4 liter water bottle integrated into the top tube.

Of course, none of this is totally new - Trek has had their integrated rear storage solution on the Speed Concept for a few years now.  Quintana Roo has their similar QBox on their PR series of bikes.  Many bikes are including top-tube bosses to mount a bento box like the Profile Design ATTK behind the stem, helping to improve airflow through that area.  The Scott Plasma Premium has a nicely integrated between-the-arms (BTA) drink system.  Ceepo offers their Viper-R with storage up front, on the top tube, and in the back.  These are just a few examples.

Disc Brakes

There is one other big thing to point out on the Andean and P5X: disc brakes.  While disc brake technology is pretty much the standard in the mountain bike world, it is only now catching on in road cycling.  The aerodynamics of the disc itself have been a challenge for triathlon bike designers, and part of the reason for the relatively slow adoption.  So far, I am only aware of 3 tri bikes with disc brakes - the P5X, Andean, and the Parlee TTiR.  Over the next 2-3 years, I think we'll see a big shift in braking systems.  The wheel manufacturers are all over this and the products are coming.

I think we're starting to see a shift in triathlon bikes that will start to gain some momentum.  Marketing departments will be looking to find ways to quantify things beyond aerodynamics.  We'll start to see more integrated storage, more disc brakes, and maybe more attention to other factors like how the bike rides, handles, and brakes.  If we can start quantifying these things, we'll see a lot of innovation that will benefit us as consumers.

While late 2016 has brought a lot of big bike announcements, what is interesting to me are the big players that haven't said anything lately - Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, and many others have been fairly quiet.  Is this the calm before the storm?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Vector Cycle Works 2.0

Life in the fit studio is as busy as ever, but now there's a bit more room to move.  Over the last month or so, Vector Cycle Works has transitioned to a bigger room in the house.  I thought I would share a few pictures of the new studio - Vector Cycle Works 2.0!

Schedule now at  This is a great time to get fit and ready for 2017.

The new studio gives me more room to work.  I can step back further when observing a fit.  There is still some room for more stuff on the wall, too...

We now have a bit more room for Functional Movement work and body analysis.

Saddle testing and sizing has some dedicated space now.  Handlebars and saddles are closer to the bike, making it a bit more efficient when setting someone up for a test or a bike sizing.  Saddle testing is still free!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Trainer Season is Here: Smart Trainer Edition

While there is plenty of opportunity to get some great rides in outside (anybody doing the Hilly Hundred in a few weeks?), many of us will choose to start riding indoors soon.  Indoor training can be a great way to improve your bike fitness during the winter months, and we are seeing some great new products coming out for 2017.

The theme for 2017 seems to revolve around smart trainers - trainers that have the ability to adjust resistance for you, based on software providing commands to increase or decrease the load as the workout or virtual course demands.  The CompuTrainer is the granddaddy of them all, but has a lot of company from the likes of Wahoo Fitness, CycleOps, Tacx, Elite, Kinetic and others.  As a consumer, I love having all these choices!

One note about the "smart" trainer tag:  There are some products that are labeled as "smart", but are not able to control resistance.  An example is the Kinetic Road Machine Smart, which was introduced a couple of years ago.  It has the ability to provide measurements, but not provide variable resistance.  Elite also has a few products labeled as "smart" that are not what we are discussing here.

Also of note, Elite has introduced a few new products at EuroBike, although I have not seen anything from them as far my availability goes.  I can get one of their trainers, so will include that here and add the others if/when they become available.  Elite is an Italian company, and we don't get all of their products here in the U.S.

Here is a quick look at the smart trainer options available from Vector Cycle Works this year (click on any of the images for a bigger view).


CycleOps has one of the more extensive trainer product lines available on the market.  Their product line has been fairly stable for a few years, but have introduced a couple of interesting new additions this year - the Hammer direct-drive trainer and Magnus wheel-drive trainer.  Both the Hammer and Magnus are smart trainers, like the PowerBeam Pro and PowerSync.  They also offer their Silencer direct-drive trainer, but note that it is not a smart trainer - it has 5 levels of magnetic resistance, but is not software-controlled.

CycleOps Hammer

Hammer - $1,199.99

The Hammer appears to be CycleOps' response to the Wahoo KICKR and Tacx Neo direct-drive trainers.  This direct drive trainer will emulate up to a 20% grade or 2000 watts.  It has a 20 pound flywheel, and weighs 47 pounds total.  It incorporates ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity to all your devices.

CycleOps Magnus

Magnus - $599.99
The new Magnus is a pretty exciting option, and I think at under $600, is going to provide some tough competition for the KICKR SNAP and Tacx Vortex in the affordable smart trainer space.  

Not a lot of info is out on this yet, but we do know that it will provide up to 1500 watts of resistance, is both ANT+ and Bluetooth 4.0-compatible, and will fit a pretty wide variety of bikes (although you'll need a <2" rear tire on your 29er).

CycleOps PowerBeam Pro
PowerBeam Pro - $999.99
The PowerBeam Pro is CycleOps' first smart trainer, and is still a solid choice with +/- 5% accuracy.  It can provide up to 1000 watts of resistance, and will fit 29ers with 2.25" tires.  It is available with either ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart connectivity, and you can get their Joule GPS bundled with the ANT+ version for an additional $200.

CycleOps PowerSync

PowerSync - $899.99
The PowerSync is available in ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart versions for the same price.  The PowerSync is a bit more affordable than the PowerBeam Pro, although the tradeoff is that it won't fit your 29er.

Read more on the CycleOps PowerSync here.


As mentioned earlier, Elite has introduced a few new products at EuroBike including their Drivo and Rampa interactive trainers.  Elite uses "smart" to describe their trainers that can send data to your devices, and "interactive" for what most manufacturers call smart trainers.  I don't have pricing or availability info on the Drivo and Rampa yet, but will update if I hear anything.  For now, Elite offers their Real Turbo Muin B+.

Real Turbo Muin B+ - $1,149.00
The Real Turbo Muin B+ is a direct-drive smart trainer similar to the Wahoo KICKR, CycleOps Hammer, and Tacx Neo.  It is the most affordable of these-direct drive trainers.  I have not ridden one, so I can't tell you how it behaves compared to the KICKR or others.  It is interesting because it is a hybrid fluid/magnetic resistance unit.  While fluid trainers are nice for their road-like feel, most smart trainers use magnetic resistance in order to control the resistance via software.

Read more about the Real Turbo Muin B+ here.


While Kinetic offered their Smart trainers a year or two ago, these are not the type that can provide resistance via software control like most smart trainers.  For 2016/2017, Kinetic is going all-in with smart trainers and offering their new Smart Control units.  One thing to note is that Kinetic will offer the Smart Control resistance unit by itself, if you want to upgrade your existing Road Machine or Rock 'n Roll.

Road Machine Smart Control - $649.00
Kinetic has taken their tried and true Road Machine frame (which is what I use in the studio) and replaced the resistance unit with the Smart Control unit.  At this point, I don't have a lot of info on the Smart Control as far as max loads, etc.  I like the potential here.  Price-wise, it slots in between the CycleOps Magnus and the KICKR SNAP.

Read more on the Road Machine Smart Control here.

Rock 'n Roll Smart Control - $849.00
This could be a really interesting option.  The Rock 'n Roll challenges you a bit more than most stationary trainers, and now they've added the power resistance unit.  Like the Road Machine Smart Control, I don't have a lot of info on this right now, but it is expected to be available soon.

Read more on the Rock 'n Roll Smart Control here.


Tacx offers 7 different smart trainers, if you count the new Magnum bike treadmill (sorry, I can't get these yet).  New this year is the FLUX Smart direct-drive trainer.  The rest of the lineup is unchanged.  At some point soon, I hope to take a look at the Tacx software offerings, which look like a lot of fun.

FLUX Smart - $899.99
It's probably best to just start with DC Rainmaker's hands-on review of the FLUX.  Some interesting notes from there is that it is more accurate than it is rated, can provide 1500 watts of resistance, and it won't be getting here before late October or early November'ish.

Read more on the FLUX Smart here.

Bushido Smart - $799.99
I've been riding the Bushido Smart for over a year now.  This is unique because it doesn't have to be plugged in to provide resistance - it is completely wireless, yet can provide up to 1400 watts of resistance.  I will try to do a long-term review on this in the near future.

Read more on the Bushido Smart here.

Genius Smart - $849.99
For $50 more than the Bushido, what advantages does the Genius Smart offer?  It is no longer wireless and offers a bit more resistance than the Bushido at 1500 watts.  What is interesting is that it will simulate a -5% grade, so it will actually accelerate your rear wheel to simulate descents for a more realistic experience.  This is where Tacx's software is going to be especially fun.

Read more on the Genius Smart here.

i-Genius Multiplayer Smart - $1,199.99
OK, so this looks like a lot of fun.  With the Tacx software, this will simulate 20% uphills, 5% downhills and offers steering input, too.  Join up with some friends for some virtual reality fun, like riding your tri bike on mountain bike trails.  DC Rainmaker has reviewed the Genius system here.

Read more on the i-Genius Multiplayer here.

Ironman Smart - $1,099.99
Honestly, I'm not sure why this unit exists.  Throw the Ironman name on the Genius and bump the price up $200 and you're there.  Oh, it adds a controller and a Kona course DVD.  I guess I'd rather spend an extra $100 for the i-Genius and have more of the virtual reality stuff.

Read more on the Ironman Smart here.

NEO Smart - $1,599.99
The NEO was introduced just last year and is Tacx's first foray into direct-drive trainers.  It's an impressive unit on paper, able to simulate uphill grades to 25% (2200 watts) and downhills to -5%.  It is extremely quiet, and will also simulate different road surfaces for enhanced realism.

Read more about the NEO Smart here.

Vortex Smart - $549.99
Last but not least, the lowest-cost Tacx smart trainer is the Vortex.  I like to think of this as the "not wireless Bushido", as the features are similar.  It doesn't provide quite as much resistance (950 watts), but it's still plenty for most riders.  At $549.99, this is the most affordable smart trainer here.  Pricewise, it competes with the CycleOps Magnus, KICKR SNAP, and Kinetic Road Machine.

Read more about the Vortex Smart here.

Wahoo Fitness

Wahoo currently offers two smart trainers - the KICKR and KICKR SNAP.

KICKR - $1,199.99
The KICKR has been recently refreshed.  The new version has an updated drivetrain, flywheel, and software to make it quieter and more accurate (+/- 2%).  Wahoo also added a handle which, if you've ever picked one of these beasts up, you'll appreciate.  The MSRP is unchanged at $1199.99.

Read more on the KICKR at this link.

KICKR SNAP - $699.99
The KICKR SNAP is unchanged for this season.  I've set up quite a few of these, and they are a good, solid trainer.  They are not quite as accurate as the KICKR, but for the price, that can be forgiven.  The new competition in this price range will certainly put some pressure on Wahoo.  The price remains unchanged at $699.99.

Read more about the KICKR SNAP here.


We are seeing more competition in the smart trainer market, with more affordable options starting to arrive.  With smart trainers priced as low as $549.99 for the Tacx Vortex Smart, we've come a long way since the days when the CompuTrainer was the only game in town.  There are 4 smart trainers in the sub-$700 range - the Tacx Vortex Smart, the KICKR SNAP, Kinetic Road Machine Smart Control, and the CycleOps Magnus.  If direct-drive is your thing, the KICKR, Tacx NEO, Tacx FLUX, CycleOps Hammer, and Elite Real Turbo Muin B+ will give you options starting at about $900.  As consumers, we should be happy to have choices!

If you are interested in getting a new trainer, these are all available from Vector Cycle Works.  With any trainer purchase, I will deliver it to your house (within a reasonable distance) and help you get it set up, including setup with any training software (TrainerRoad, PerfPRO Studio, The Sufferfest, Zwift, etc.) that you may be using.

Call Travis at 317-833-0702 or e-mail at if you are interested!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

New Products Coming Out

As we head into the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, we also reach that time of year where some exciting new cycling products start coming out.  Manufacturers are starting to reveal their new stuff for 2017 at some of the big trade shows and events - Eurobike just wrapped up, Interbike is coming up soon, and Kona is often a good opportunity to introduce some new triathlon gear.

Here are a few things that are being introduced that we should be excited about:

Argon 18 is bringing the wind tunnel to your next ride.  The optional body positioning sensors are intriguing.

FSA throws their hat in the electronic shifting ring.  The most interesting aspect of this is the app available to fine-tune your gearing and record your habits.

Wheels are evolving, due to some trends in tire widths, tubeless compatibility, and the increasing availability of disc brakes for road applications.  Lots of new stuff for both on or off-road:

We're seeing some big updates in the power meter world, one of my favorite topics.  I'm hoping to write in some more detail on these soon.  For now:

Winter trainer season is almost here, and some really good stuff is coming out to make it a bit more interesting (I'll be writing more about these soon, too):

While not a new product introduction, the UCI is dropping the 3:1 rule for bike design.  There are a lot of tri bikes that do not conform to the UCI rules out already, but this could open up some doors.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

When 54 Does Not Equal 54: Part 2

A while ago, I posted some thoughts regarding the variation in the sizes of bikes that are labeled as being the same size.  Many manufacturers offer bikes in sizes like 51, 54, 56, 58, etc., but that doesn't really paint an accurate picture of how well the bike will actually fit you.  As an advocate of a "fit first" approach to buying a bike, I feel it is important for my customers to understand that if a size 54 from Brand X fits them, that doesn't necessarily mean that a 54 from Brand Y will work, too.  A different model from Brand X might not even fit.  So, in this "Part 2", I thought it might be helpful to look at some actual data.

I maintain a list of bikes and all of their geometry information and use this data when helping customers find the right bike for them.  The bikes in this list include most of the bikes available from several of the local bike shops in Indianapolis.  There are currently 14 brands represented, and I am always adding more as new models are introduced and time permits.  The 2017 models are starting to be introduced, so it's time to start hammering away at adding more to the list.  This is what bike geeks do for "fun."

The purpose of this exercise is to get a visual of the range of bike sizes that exist within a given size label.  Using a designation such as 54 just doesn't give us the best picture.  The better picture is painted using stack and reach, a concept developed by Dan Empfield and which has gained traction with the manufacturers over time.  Most of the manufacturers now publish stack and reach numbers on their websites.  I've actually run into a couple who still haven't jumped on board with this, and it makes it very difficult to compare two bikes.  I love the simple elegance of stack and reach.

We will pick on size 54 today, since it is fairly common.  Bike sizing conventions introduce a lot of variables.  Some manufacturers might opt for a different naming convention such as XS, S, M, L, XL.  Some brands may have only a handful of sizes per model, while others, like the Trek Madone, can have up to 9 sizes.  We also have the concept of geometric classifications such as "endurance", "race" or "women's" geometry.  These exist based on the intended use and market, and other classes exist based on the type of riding, such as gravel, adventure, or cyclocross.  These are all essentially drop bar road bikes.  We'll look at these by their intended use/market, and then see what happens when we combine everything together.

Road Race Bikes
We'll start with the classic race geometry.  These are the Trek Madones, Cannondale SuperSixes, and Specialized Venges that you see under the Grand Tour riders.  These are the bikes you might think you can't ride because you're "too old," "too inflexible," or "want something more comfortable."  The reality is, these could fit you, but you won't know until you are properly sized up.  Let's see what happens when we plot these based on their stack (Y) and reach (X) numbers:

Road Race Geometries
(click on the image for a bigger view)
Before getting too deep, let's define what we're looking at here.  The X axis of the graph (horizontal) corresponds to the reach of the bike, which is also the X axis of the bike.  As you move to the right, the bike gets longer, while moving left, the bike gets shorter.  The Y axis of the graph (vertical) corresponds to the stack or vertical height of the frame.  as you move down, the bike is lower, and as you move up, the bike is taller.  So, the term "shorter" is a bit confusing, but I will use that to refer to the length of the bike rather than the height.  Additionally, these aren't necessarily scaled perfectly where one mm of stack is perfectly aligned with 1mm of reach, but I hope this will give an idea of the ranges involved.

Looking specifically at the race geometries, we can see quite a bit of variance.  Looking first at the horizontal differences, we have size 54 road race bikes that have a reach of as short as 376mm and as long as 390mm - a range of 14mm.  This is where you might find some overlap with sizing up or down - that shorter bike in a 56 might still be shorter than the longer 54 bike.

Looking at the stack, we have even more range - the lowest bike has a stack of 526mm, while the tallest bike has a stack of 565mm - a difference of 39mm.  That's pretty significant.  We can see that we have some bikes that are long and low, which is what you might expect from a road race bike, while others are tall and short.  In this case, the longest, lowest bikes are the Trek Emonda H1 and the Felt F1 (the two dots down in the lower right corner of the graph).  The tallest bikes aren't necessarily the shortest, with the Scott CR1 being the tallest in this group, with the Jamis Xenith being the horizontally shortest of the group.

Endurance Bikes
Next up are the endurance bikes, the geometry that I have more people specify they "need" than any other.  Marketing has led us to think that upright = more comfortable, but once again, this is where a proper sizing may change your mind.  Nonetheless, let's take a look at our selection:

Endurance Bikes
(click on the image for a bigger view)
Here, we can see quite a range, both horizontally and vertically.  Horizontally, the reach is as short as 362mm and as long as 385mm - a 23mm spread.  Vertically, the stacks vary from as low as 552mm and as high as 597mm - a difference of 45mm.

I think where this gets interesting is if you combine the race and endurance geometries together into one chart to see how they trend:

Race and Endurance Bikes Combined
(click on the image for a bigger view)
Once we combine these two types of bikes, we can see that we have a wide variety of bikes called 54. Horizontally, these bikes span 38mm, with the shortest bike being the Jamis Quest and the longest being the Trek Emonda H1.  It's interesting that the shortest two bikes in each category are from Jamis.  The longest endurance bike is the aluminum Fuji Sportif.  The Sportif is a bit tall, and if you look at the Felt Z series, you will see these are almost as long as the Sportif, but lower.  You can see a pretty clear separation of the race and endurance geometries, with some bikes that cross over - the Felt Z series is longer and lower than some of the race bikes.

Women's Bikes
For fun, let's look at a few women's bikes.  The women-specific cycling industry has been on the verge of taking off for what seems like about 30 years now.  For the most part, we're still in "shrink and pink" mode - offer some smaller sizes with some pink touches, and it's good enough.  That concept isn't necessarily reflected here, since we are looking at just one size.  So, what do we see when we add in the women-specific size 54s?  Let's look at the race geometries first:

Men's and Women's Race Bikes Combined
(click on image for a bigger view)
A couple of things stand out here:  First, there are only 4 size 54 women's-specific race bikes offered by the 14 manufacturers in this list.  They happen to be from two manufacturers: Cannondale (CAAD10 Women's and Cannondale SuperSix EVO Women's) and Trek (Emonda Women's and the Trek Madone Women's).  I need to look at my list - there may be more out there, but I might not have added them yet.  I would think Liv would be listed here, and this may be an oversight on my part.

Second, with our small selection of women's race bikes, we can see they tend to be a bit more upright and shorter than the men's (or unisex) race bikes.  That is also not necessarily a bad thing when we take into "normal" human proportions and saddle issues.  But, that doesn't mean every woman has a short torso and long legs.  Nonetheless, if we look at the women's race bikes we do have, these are trending towards the endurance geometries.  So, let's look at the Women's endurance geometries and how they fit into the men's endurance bike world:

Men's and Women's Endurance Bikes
(click on image for a bigger view)
You can see a couple of things here - first, we have a few more women's endurance bikes to pick from, and second, they still trend shorter and taller than the men's versions.

That really leads to a discussion about how appropriate and effective women's bike sizing is.  That sounds like some good material for a future blog post.  From what I've seen, there are a couple of assumptions about women that lead to the trends we see here.  There is an assumption that women tend to have longer legs and shorter torsos.  I don't believe that to be 100% true or as extreme as it might be perceived, but I will need to do some research.

Another assumption gets into the female genitalia.  Part of what makes us different is why saddles cause us problems.  The pressure points that cause men and women grief are different, and in women's case, can make it more difficult to rotate the pelvis appropriately.

Let's Add Cyclocross to the Mix
Finally, let's look at cyclocross bikes.  'Cross bikes have some different considerations that go beyond the practicality of fit - we have to take into account the race format itself.  The cyclocross race format is short, intense, often muddy, requires a lot of getting on and off the bike, and involves shouldering and carrying the bike.  Speeds are relatively low compared to a grand tour or crit, so aerodynamics are less important than making power or maintaining traction.  So, the frames are a bit different.  When I fit a CX bike, the fit is different.  I will use the road sizing, but then generally take the bars up and back a bit, and maybe lower the saddle a bit for ease of getting on and off.  Overall, it's just a bit different - a few millimeters on the seat, and a centimeter or so in each direction on the bars.  We can see how cyclocross bikes look if we just mix them in with the rest:

Race, Endurance, Women's, and Cyclocross All In One
(click on the image for a bigger view)
As it turns out, our 'cross bikes seem to mix in all over the place - mostly right in the middle of the endurance geometries, with a few dropping down into the race geometries.  I'm not quite sure what this tells us, other than maybe the few manufacturers that I have in the list can't seem to decide where CX bikes live.  Maybe as I add more bike brands and new models are introduced in the future, we'll start to see a more distinct pattern here.

I don't know if this discussion will help anybody at all, but I found it fascinating to see what happens when we start looking at the variety of sizes within a stated size.  In the future, I hope to continue to look at how geometries align.  There are a few things that fascinate me about this, including how sizes may cross over (i.e. Brand X's 58 is shorter than Brand Y's 54), what the deltas between sizes tend to be, and then delving into how brands equip the bikes by size - what the crank arm length tends to be by size, handlebar width trends by size, trends over time, etc.  If you made it this far, I hope that you will consider be sized properly by a fitter before your next bike purchase.  Don't make a $5,000 mistake.

Bike sizing is available by appointment at Vector Cycle Works.  Schedule now at

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reflections on the Medicine of Cycling Conference

It has been a while since I've posted anything here.  It's not that I haven't had much to talk about, but life has been extremely busy both in and out of the Vector Cycle Works studio.  Sometimes, I like to take a moment to reflect and realize how good things are.  It has been really good - I am so lucky to meet the great people I meet through bike fitting and cycling.

I am and will always be a student of life.  Every person that comes in is a unique challenge, a unique character, and a new opportunity to learn.  I enjoy and appreciate the time I spend with them and what they teach me.  I only hope that I can return the favor.

In order to rise up to those challenges, my bike fitting processes, philosophies, and choice of tools are constantly evolving and adapting in order to provide a better solution.  Bike fitting is not about the bike - it's about adapting the bike to work for the body.  To reflect this philosophy, I have a new Vector Cycle Works tagline: "The body and bike in balance."

In order to find that balance, we must first understand the body, and adapt the bike to it.  The body is asymmetrical, but the bike is not.  In an order to find comfort and performance, we must understand the challenge in front of us, and determine which solutions are best right now.  A bike fit isn't necessarily about where we want to be a year from now, but where we are right now and formulating a plan to get where we want to be.  When a customer comes to me, they enter a performance and comfort partnership.  Vector Cycle Works is designed to support your evolution.  We are not building a better bike.  We are building a better cyclist.

In the constant search for better solutions, I am often reading, studying, experimenting, and exploring things that, at first glance, might seem to be beyond the realm of bike fitting.  Bike fitting is often seen as a mix of art and science, and both aspects offer plenty of opportunity to explore.  There are a lot of things that a bike fitter can pursue to add value to the service, and there are things that might not add that much value.  I often pursue things accepting the risk that the effort might not result in an adequate perceived value for my customers.

As my exploration gets deeper and broader, the reality of what I do is getting to be more and more quasi-medical, for lack of a better way to put it.  The way we interact with our bikes is amazingly complicated, but it's not because bikes are complicated - it's because the body is complicated and always changing.

Dr. Andy Pruitt, one of the pioneers in bike fitting,
leads a discussion of various fitting case studies.
I learned about the Medicine of Cycling conference a couple of years ago and was finally able to attend this past weekend.  This was a very enjoyable trip, on so many levels.  Part of it is because it was in Colorado Springs, one of my favorite places on Earth.  Some of it was because of what I learned while I was there.  Some of it was learning that some of my fitting theories and philosophies (which I felt might be a bit "out there") were validated by other people doing much of the same stuff.  Much of it was the great people I met at the conference, many of whom I have interacted with in the past, but hadn't met in person.

With all that said, here are a few key things that were discussed over the course of the weekend that I really enjoyed.

Functional Movement Screening
When I first started exploring Functional Movement Screening (FMS) and the knowledge around it, I was somewhat skeptical of the value it might provide to bike fitting.  Even when attending the classes, it was obvious that I was one of few endurance sports people there.  There were a lot of strength and conditioning coaches, CrossFit coaches, and personal trainers.  But, I felt there was something of value there - FMS looks at us a species in motion and not just a cyclist, triathlete, or CrossFitter.

I have a lot of people come to me hoping to get faster.  Faster is relative and there is only so much that can be done with the bike itself before we reach our personal limits.  It's then a matter of "building the engine" to produce more power.  The problem is that the engine is flawed.  Our bodies are asymmetrical and a series of deficiencies resulting from accommodations as a result of our history.  In order to truly unlock our potential, we have to address those deficiencies.

I've pursued FMS as a way to identify and potentially correct those deficiencies - helping the rider understand what is holding them back, while helping me understand what I see as I observe the rider on their bike.  Greg Choat, a respected and very knowledgeable fitter and strength and conditioning coach from the Las Vegas area, presented FMS to the group and touched on the portions of the screen that align well with cyclists, specifically.  Greg's presentation validated so much of what I felt, and he was saying things - almost verbatim - that I find myself telling people all the time.  FMS has become a cornerstone of the Vector Cycle Works solution, and I learned a couple of tricks to further cement FMS's place in the process.

Assessment of the Foot
It is sometimes difficult to explain the importance of the foot on the bike, how it affects your mechanics, the aches and pains that stem from our feet, and how the foot behaves differently on the bike than it does when walking and running.  Foot mechanics were a major topic throughout the conference.

The foot assessment and metrics I've been using have been good enough, but I always wanted more.  Armed with some new tools, the foot assessment will get better, as we'll be quantifying how the foot behaves weighted versus unweighted.  This will also give me a better picture of appropriate shoe size for a rider.  I will also be delving into custom footbeds, which I had avoided thus far because of concerns of not being able to receive adequate training and support for something so complicated, and at the same time, questioning the return on investment for the rider.

Crank Length and Aerodynamics
John Cobb discusses his research related to short crank arms
and aerodynamics.
I've often talked about crank arm length with customers.  There are many advantages to going shorter, and John Cobb presented his results of testing different riders in the wind tunnel as their positions changed over time with different crank arms and subsequent fit adjustments.  We can try lengths down to 150mm at Vector Cycle Works, and if you're at a point where you would like to give it a try in anticipation for next year, we'll work together to find the right solution for you.  I can get shorter cranks from various manufacturers - SRAM, FSA, Shimano, and many others will make cranks down to 165mm, while Rotor and Cobb will go as short as 150mm and 145mm, respectively.

Bike Fitting as an Extension of the Medical Community
One of the more difficult conversations I have with people is that sometimes, I simply can't help them - I'm not a doctor.  We may identify issues during the bike fit that are a symptom beyond the bike fit itself, and suggest a need for medical intervention.  One of the neat things about the Medicine of Cycling conference was the mixture of people there - fitters, Physical Therapists, and Doctors.  I continue to build relationships with professionals in the medical community, and we've got some great Sports Performance organizations in the area that are helping to bridge the gap between sport-specific training and medicine.

Where do we go from here?
There is certainly more to come.  There was a lot more covered, and it was all really good stuff that I feel will help improve the quality of the fitting experience for Vector Cycle Works customers.  The evolution continues.  There are a lot of bike fitting services available in the area, and they vary quite a bit in their scope and value.  My goal is to provide the best solution for you, by having the right tools to do it.  Vector Cycle Works has become a bit different approach than the other fitters in the Indy area, and it was good to meet and spend time with other fitters who are on a similar path.

Of course, the only way for you to know if what Vector Cycle Works does for you is the best option for you is to give it a try.  If you don't think ForeverFit is the best bike fitting solution available, not only is it guaranteed for life, but I will give you your money back if you are not happy.  You can schedule at

If you haven't had a Vector Cycle Works ForeverFit yet, or haven't been in in a while, I hope you will consider visiting Vector Cycle Works soon!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Can't Find Anything to Wear?

Men's Red Dragon Cycling Jersey

 If you've been digging through the closet and can't find anything to wear, consider getting some Vector Cycle Works gear!

All Vector Cycle Works clothing is made by Virklon, a Spanish company specializing in cycling, triathlon, and running clothing.  They have a wide variety of clothes including cycling jerseys and shorts for men, women, and kids, aero triathlon/time trial suits for men and women, kids' triathlon suits, T-shirts, hoodies, and much more.

Women's Blue Dragon Aero Tri Suit
I love the aero triathlon pieces, as they are not only comfortable and potentially fast, but they also cover your shoulders and upper arms from the sun.

With Virklon's help, I've designed 4 series of clothing:

  • Urban Weaponry
  • Red Dragon
  • Blue Dragon
  • Green Dragon
Each series currently has 31 different pieces of clothing, and more are on the way.  I hope to work on a new series or two this year - it's just a lot of fun designing!  You will also find a couple of one-off kids' pieces I made for my daughters for Christmas to match their bikes.

Kid's Urban Camo Tri Suit

If you're interested in checking out the entire collection, you can go to and enter vector-cycle-works in the teamsAREA team code field on the lower left corner of the home page.

All pricing is in Euros, but when you do the math, you'll find that the prices are really reasonable, especially for good-quality custom stuff like this.  Although these are my designs, you are dealing directly with Virklon and I don't charge any extra for the clothes.  

Shipping is also reasonable - each order is about $10.  It will take about a month to get your order - they will schedule it for production about 3 weeks out, and then it usually takes a week or so to get through Europe, U.S. customs, and to your door.

Of course, you don't have to buy Vector Cycle Works kit if you don't want - you can always design your own!  Virklon makes having a custom one-of-a-kind kit easy to do - there are no minimum orders, design fees, or group order requirements.  You just need some vector image skills.  I can certainly help out, if you'd like.

Virklon has been a pleasure to work with, and I am proud to offer Vector Cycle Works clothing.  I'd be even more proud to see you wearing it!

Men's Green Dragon Long Sleeve Cycling Jersey

Sunday, February 14, 2016

When 54 Does Not Equal 54

As Spring approaches, some of us might be itching to get a new bike.  As the rule states, the number of bikes you need is N+1, where N = the number of bikes you currently have.  Before you rush into the local bike shop, I'd encourage you to consider getting sized up for your new bike by a reputable fitter.

Bicycle retail is undergoing a lot of change.  The days of walking into a bike shop, having somebody look you up and down and say, "yeah, you're about a 54" are over.  Well, they should be, anyway.  A 54 from Brand X is not going to be the same as a 54 from Brand Y.  With better tools like fit bikes at our disposal, finding the perfect bike for you based on comfort rather than a guesstimate is much easier to do now, and we should be doing this.  More retailers are taking a "fit first" approach to selling you a bike and this is a good thing.

Bike manufacturing is also evolving.  While bikes are often sized by the length of the seat tube (i.e. a 54 is a 54cm seat tube) starting at the center of the bottom bracket, that length varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer due to the style of the frame, etc.  Some are a virtual 54cm (aka "effective seat tube length") based on where the seat tube would end if it were essentially a horizontal line from the top of the top tube, while others will be actual measurement to where it stops (often referred to as "Center to Top" or "C-T").  For example, in my bike database, I have 9 brands of bikes that offer a size 54 (other brands might call it a "Medium" or something similar, while other brands might offer a 53 or 55).  The seat tube length on these range from 481 to 570 mm C-T.  That's quite a range for something called a 54.

I often have customers come in thinking about buying a new bike.  If they are happy with their bike, they think they need the same size.  If they are not happy, they think they need a different size.  They could be right and they could be wrong.  Sizing varies too much to be able to provide a definite answer to this question.  There are also road race geometries, endurance geometries and variations on those that make it even more confusing.

So, back in the early 2000's, Dan Empfield (pictured above) came up with a better way of describing bike sizes - stack and reach.  Stack refers to the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top center of the head tube.  Reach refers to the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top center of the head tube.  If you want to get into more detail on this, the best place to learn about it is from Dan himself.

With stack and reach becoming the new standard by how bikes are measured, we now have a better way of finding what size bike works for you.  This is what I can do for you during a sizing session.  We start on the fit bike and run you through a few trials to find the position you like the best.  When you are free from the constraints of an existing bike (within reason), you might be surprised as to what works for you.  We have conventions that we can adhere to use body angles and other ways of confirming the fit, the fitter knows what to look for, and you know how you feel.  We can focus on your comfort and find the edge - once we go too far, we'll know it, and we can go back.

From this process, we derive a new pair of numbers: your handlebar X and Y coordinates.  With these, we can then reverse engineer a bike for you based on different stem solutions to find the stack and reach that works best for you.  We can make a lot of bikes "work" with the variety of stem lengths and angles available on the market today.  Of course, we can also put you on a screwed up setup that will handle poorly.  We need to take handling, balance, and aesthetics into account.  We are looking for elegant solutions.  Often, the bikes that come to me that haven't been pre-fit or sized up prior to purchase are not the most elegant solution, but we'll make it work.

After a proper bike sizing, you may be surprised what fits you.  A 56 with a -17 degree 90mm stem in one brand might work, while another brand's 51 with a -6 degree 110mm stem might work for you just as well.  You might think you want an endurance bike, but the most comfortable bike for you might not be an endurance bike.  Stack and reach, along with the stem dimensions, help us put all of this together.

Manufacturers have adjusted their sizes accordingly.  You can tell which bikes have been designed with stack and reach as inputs to the design process rather than outputs from the design process.  Many manufacturers will give more dimensional information on their websites, including the selected stem lengths, handlebar reach (we'll talk about handlebars in a future blog post soon), and crankarm lengths per size.  This helps in making a better decision as to which bikes will be the best out-of-the-box solution versus which ones might need a stem or bar swap right away.

The size variation is not limited to just manufacturer's differences.  Your morphology will also affect your bike size.  Using myself as an example, I might walk into a bike shop and be told I should be on a 56 or maybe a 58.  But, they might not notice I have short legs and long arms (I'm apparently more closely related to apes than most folks).  My long torso and arms makes it kind of hard for me to find a bike - I need a long and low bike with a -17 degree stem and no spacers under the stem.  That's just the way I'm built.  That might mean that I need a smaller bike (a 51 or 54 might work) to get low enough, but might have to have a longer stem (120mm or so) to make that bike long enough.  Bikes with "endurance" geometries don't work for me.  Long and low is my endurance geometry.  I'm an individual, just like everybody else.

So what size do you need?  It depends!  When doing a bike sizing at Vector Cycle Works, you'll leave with a list of bike solutions that will fit you so you can find a bike at one of the many bike shops here in the Indianapolis area.  Even though I can get you Dimond, Ceepo, Chromag, or Liteville bikes, I am not biased towards any brand and only want what works best for you.  Come on in and schedule your sizing session at Vector Cycle Works at soon!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Look Into the F.I.S.T. Workshop

One of the most sought after and respected certifications in the bike fitting industry is F.I.S.T. - Fit Institute Slowtwitch.  The F.I.S.T. certification is the result of many years of research by Dan Empfield, who - among many other things - is the inventor of the triathlon bike and current head of, one of my favorite place on the Internet.  I had been planning on attending F.I.S.T. for a few years now, and the opportunity finally came together.  It was a great experience.

F.I.S.T. is a 5-day workshop at Dan's home, Xantusia, in Valyermo, California.  Valyermo is located about an hour and a half northeast of Los Angeles, in the Mojave Desert.  I flew into Burbank and made the trip to Xantusia on Sunday, February 1, in what was not exactly stereotypical "sunny southern California" weather - it was cold, raining, and very windy.  There were cars spinning out on the highways leading up to Xantusia, and I learned that tumbleweeds can tumble in the rain if there is enough wind.  There was plenty.

Welcome to Xantusia

Arriving at Xantusia, there are two houses on the property.  One belongs to Dan, and the other belongs to Mark "Monty" Montgomery, who hosts all of the workshop guests at his bed and breakfast.  I was the first workshop guest to arrive, and Monty showed me around the house and to my room, which was in a cabin next to the pool.  Monty and I hung out and chatted by the fire until other guests started to trickle in during the rain, sleet, snow, and wind.  By Sunday evening, quite a few folks were at the house and we were getting to know each other.  Monty is a great cook and provided us with meals, drinks, and snacks for the week.  In addition to the F.I.S.T. workshops, Monty hosts training camps throughout the year, including some cycling teams or camps arranged by triathlon or endurance coaches.  It's a really neat area if you just want to get away and ride road or mountain bikes, run trails, or swim.  It might be something Vector Cycle Works could do at some point in the future.

Day 1 of F.I.S.T.
Dan Empfield explains the philosophy behind the F.I.S.T. protocol.
Ian Murray is in the background, waiting for his turn to present.
During the F.I.S.T. workshop, Monday and Tuesday are dedicated to road bike fitting, with a mixture of lecture and hands on fitting.  Dan has help with the training from respected fitters in the industry, and we had the pleasure of learning from Ian Murray and JT Lyons.  Monday was primarily lecture and demonstration, and I was lucky to be one of the demonstration subjects getting fit for a road bike by Ian.

On Tuesday, we had much more hands on, breaking into groups around one of the 3 fit bikes in the studio, and taking turns fitting each other.  It really was a fun way to learn the details of the F.I.S.T. protocol, and a great way to make some friends in the process.  Life at Xantusia is pretty laid back and casual, too.  We did a couple of rides during the week, with many of us grabbing one of the bikes on site, throwing on our pedals, and hammering out a few miles in the Mojave.  We took a nice ride on the "recovery loop" at lunch on Tuesday, which was about 22 miles, if I remember right.  The scenery is beautiful, the hills are definitely more challenging than anything in the central Indiana area, and there isn't much traffic on the roads.

Paul Swift of BikeFit demonstrates how we document our changes
according to BikeFit principles.
On Day 3 of the workshop (Wednesday), we changed gears a bit and switched to learning about one of my other certifications - BikeFit.  While F.I.S.T. is more of a geometric approach to bike fitting, BikeFit gets into the details of the touchpoints on the bike - the foot, pelvis, and hands.  For the BikeFit portion of the F.I.S.T. workshop, we focused on the foot/pedal interface.  Paul Swift asked me and one of the other workshop attendees, David Macleod, to help teach.  This was an honor and a lot of fun.  After about a one hour presentation, we split the 14 attendees into two groups and allowed everybody to get a chance to have their foot/pedal interface dialed in.  It was a pretty big group, and it made for a long day - I think we wrapped up around 8 PM.  Judging from the feedback from the others, learning the BikeFit protocol really enhanced the experience for the attendees, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing many of the attendees at a BikeFit certification course in the future.  I hope that I'll be teaching again soon, too.

F.I.S.T. and BikeFit make a really nice knowledge combination for bike fitting.  I feel the geometric aspect of F.I.S.T. makes for a really solid cake, and the attention to the muscular and neuromuscular details within the BikeFit protocol are the icing on that cake.

Dan dials in Ian's triathlon bike position.
For Day 4 and 5, we wrap up the F.I.S.T. workshop with a focus on triathlon bike fitting.  After a brief discussion on the theories and principles of the F.I.S.T. approach to triathlon bike fitting by Dan and Ian, Dan demonstrated the techniques by fitting Ian for a new triathlon bike.  Ian had wrecked his bike during a race last summer, so this was something that was very useful for him.  One of the fun things about the F.I.S.T. experience is that most of us spend our meals and downtime together at Monty's house, including Ian and JT.  So, we had some good conversation at lunch about which bikes would fit Ian best.  As we had out turns going through the process of being fit for road and triathlon bikes throughout the week, we were all doing a bit of shopping for the bikes that fit us best.

Tyler is dialing in David's position.
After another lunchtime ride on Thursday, we wrapped up the workshop with some more hands on application, taking turns fitting each other for triathlon bikes.  Friday was a bit of a shorter day, with some folks heading out in the early afternoon to catch flights home.  I was the last to leave on Saturday morning after hanging out with Monty, Dan, and the dogs for a bit before heading back towards Burbank to catch my early afternoon flight.

Overall, the F.I.S.T. Workshop experience was really a lot of fun - I can't thank Dan, Ian, JT, Paul, Monty and the other attendees enough for all the shared knowledge, camaraderie, and great conversation throughout the week.  I am pretty certain I will be back to Xantusia at some point or another.

How does this change things for me at Vector Cycle Works?  There are certainly a lot of aspects of the F.I.S.T. protocol that I had already been applying over the last couple of years of fitting.  The body geometry and how it relates to bike geometry in F.I.S.T. are the basis for most fitting systems out there - the genius behind F.I.S.T. is how Dan has taken so much information about bikes and the human body and distilled it down to a practical methodology that works well for most people.  There are a few details I think I will be better at, including bike selection for a customer looking at purchasing a new bike.  Bike choice and how it affects handling is also a key piece that was covered during the workshop.  A bike that fits well, handles well.

One aspect of the F.I.S.T. methodology I really like is the use of the fit bikes to create and document a series of "trials" for fitting, which is much easier and faster than doing it right on the customer's bike.  While I feel that we can often find a very comfortable place on a customer's bike, we don't necessarily know if it's the most comfortable position because it's too difficult to try variations and find the edge.  People can ride lower or more "aggressively" (and I use that term cautiously) than they think, but they won't realize it until they can try it.  I can do this with my poor man's fit bike, but it's not quite as fast or reliable as a real fit bike.  You will be seeing a new fit bike in the Vector Cycle Works studio soon.

If you are interested in purchasing a new bike or getting more comfortable on your current bike, come in and take advantage of my F.I.S.T. certification soon - sign up for your ForeverFit or sizing session at

The view from Xantusia.  Beautiful, isn't it?