Monday, March 2, 2009

My Retül Bike Fit/Videocast 002

Video Description: My Retül bike fit at Gear West Triathlon in Long Lake Minnesota.

Location: Gear West, Long Lake Minnesota

Duration: 0 minutes, 47 seconds

Date Last Updated: Mon 02 Mar 2009 09:17:47 PM CDT

File Size: 13.7 KB

This past Saturday (2/28/2009), I took the next step to try and get every single breath of speed out of my bike for the 2009 season. On a cold morning (5 above) with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground I loaded up the Cervélo and headed to Gear West as I had scheduled a bike fit using Retül technology.

The entire staff at Gear West have been great since I made the investment in the Cervélo back in the fall of 2007. They have built a national following due to their customer service, customer support, and heck...these guys race and train locally as well. I've run across them working out at the same places that I haunt. The connection is there.

Doing my bike fit was Curt Wood and from the minute I stepped foot in the door he was ready to go. Two hours went by very fast. Let's talk about Retül to develop a base of understanding for those not familiar with it.

Retül optimizes the biomechanics of the rider while taking into consideration why people choose to get a bike fit:

  • Performance
  • Comfort
  • Injury prevention

Gear West is on an exclusive list of bike fitters who have invested in this dynamic, 3 dimensional biomechanical measuring system. Retül does not use formulas to tell the fitter what adjustments need to be made, but instead gives the most accurate information available so the fitter can make the adjustments he/she feels necessary.

It is still the experience and knowledge of the fitter which will get you in your ideal position. Retül takes 3D measurements via infrared markers on the cyclist while cycling. The measurements are accurate to less than 1mm and are taken while the cyclist is actually spinning as opposed to a static measurement. These dynamic 3D measurements also provide data to the fitter which validates the changes the fitter has made during the fitting process.

When you are finished you will have ultra precise measurements of your position. This will allow you to duplicate this position in the future, as well as a baseline for any future changes that are made to your position.

My current setup, as pictured below, was comfortable. Yet, I felt as if I could get into a better aerodynamic position on the bike. And that was the main goal of my bike fit: Get aero while maintaining pedal stroke efficiency and mechanics.

After getting my markers attached to various areas on my shoe, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and wrist we were ready for the first run of data. I held a steady cadence of 90 RPM's for twenty seconds and we reviewed the first set of data.

First Run – click on image for larger view

Right away we took note of the 24-degree back angle. We had to get that down. Curt liked the numbers coming back on my hip & knee angles and was very pleased with my knee travel. In short, I had a efficient stroke and we didn't want to hinder that while trying to get the best aero position up top.

The decision was made to raise the saddle 1 cm and bring down the handle-bar stem 1 cm. We then ran another test.

Second Run – click on image for larger view

Even with just a slight adjustment totalling 2 cm's, I immediately felt a bit more comfy & powerful on the bike. Talk about blowing your mind. Two lousy centimeters had reduced my back angle from 24-degrees to 22-degrees. To top it off, there was virtually no change to ankle, knee, or hip readouts. My knee tracing was a bit more wobbly but very, very minor.

The back angle was still not in acceptable range for Curt, so we added another 1-cm to the saddle and reduced the handle-bar stem by another 1-cm. Time for run number three.

Third Run – click on image for larger view

The back angle was now down at 20-degrees and where Curt wanted it. It felt good to me as well. But the saddle seemed just a touch too high. The knee angle extension was starting to drift. The hips didn't feel as comfortable to me and I could tell my right leg, which is shorter than my left, was struggling.

We left the handle-bar stem alone and lowered the saddle 1/2 cm. Again, just 1/2 cm. We ran anothe data set.

Final Run – click on image for larger view

It felt perfect. And best of all, my back angle remained at 20-degrees. We achieved the best ankle range of all the runs at 34-degrees. The knee traveled a bit more in this run but then I ran at a higher RPM, ninety-three, than I had in the previous. Probably as I was now getting warmed up and starting to feel good in the saddle!

So from first run to final (from the left side) we:

  • Bettered my back angle from 24 to 22-degrees
  • Bettered my ankle range from 32 to 34-degrees
  • Kept my knee travel from changing from the increase in saddle height

We then reversed and did the right side. I had mentioned to Curt that I was pretty sure my right leg was shorter. We're not talking inches here, just enough to throw a person off and lead to some mechanic issues. Long story short, we added a shim underneath my right shoe cleat and right away the difference could be felt. My right knee was not acting like my left!

Curt suggested that I ride with the single cleat shim for a few weeks and then return and possibly add another one. He didn't want to add too much too quick as to hurt my mechanics. But even with one shim, I felt much more balanced.

At the end, my bike was 'created' on the Retül system by using a tracing tool that fed directly into the computer. Those measurements can be seen here.

Final Bike Setup for Future Reference– click on image for larger view

Photos and Video

After Fit - click on image for larger view

I'll be traveling on company business through Thursday and not able to respond to any comments or questions in a timely fashion. All the same, any questions on this bike just leave a comment and I will respond. Or you can e-mail me.


cdnhollywood said...

Sign me up! That's the kind of fitting I need!

Vagabond said...

Thats neat. How does it feel after riding a couple of times?? More powerful? You look really fast, I wonder how much this will improve your 40k time.. Good luck at the indoor tri this weekend!

Borsch said...

I super jealous! I'd love to get a real bike fit someday but I'm still stuck between 'roadie' and triathlon. I don't know which one will win.

Hope to see you Sunday!