At Contender Bicycles, we feel strongly that a proper position on your bike is imperative to being able to enjoy cycling to its fullest. So we decided to ask Blake, our Fitting and Training manager, a few questions to hear some of his insight into the fitting process.
Who will benefit from getting a bike fit and why?
Anyone looking to improve their level of comfort on the bike, to boost their efficiency, and to reduce their risk of developing overuse injuries will benefit from getting a bike fit. This is especially true with those using clipless pedals and cycling shoes as they significantly reduce our ability to cope with any misalignments caused by an improper position on the bike. Naturally speaking, humans are made to function asymmetrically. On the other hand, bikes are highly symmetrical devices. This demands a greater degree of functional symmetry in order for us to interact with the bike to the best of our abilities. Therefore, a quality bike fit should specifically involve improving a rider’s level of symmetry on the bike while optimizing their comfort, stability, and efficiency according to what their current structural makeup permits. This will help allow us to ride as far as we want and as hard as we want, pain free.
What’s typically involved with a bike fitting?
Pelvic stability as well as proper hip, knee and foot alignment are essential for injury prevention and optimal performance on the bike. Therefore, bicycle fitting is essentially a process of removing as many factors possible that are negatively impacting our level of symmetry on the bike. This ensures that a rider has a sustainable position to work towards their riding goals taking into consideration their current level of fitness and physical limitations.
Listed below are some commonly made adjustments during a fit:
Cleats adjusted for providing a stable and neutral foot position
Seat height adjusted for appropriate leg extension with smooth, stable form
Seat setback adjusted for placing the pelvis in a balanced fore/aft position for leverage
Seat angle adjusted for soft tissue comfort and stabilization of pelvis
Handlebar rotation adjusted for proper ergonomics at wrists and arms
Handlebar height and reach adjusted for torso/shoulder reach
Client provided with a working knowledge of their bicycle and it’s accessories
How much time should I plan for when getting my bike fitted?
Depending on the level of service you’re interested in, plan on your fit taking anywhere from 30-60 minutes for a basic fitting and 1.5-2 hours for a more in-depth, comprehensive fitting.
When is the best time to have a bike fit?
This can be a tough question to answer as many factors can play a part in this, but long story short – fits are constantly evolving. Our flexibility and core strength fluctuate; we frequently replace our equipment, riding goals change for the season, etc. As much as we would like it to be just black and white, unfortunately it never will be. With that being said, we should not experience any significant discomfort or pain on the bike. Pain is rarely the first sign of a problem. Injuries occur once we’ve run out of ways to compensate for a given problem and then shift the load back to weak and/or tight muscle groups unable to bear it. Ideally, you should be able to ride as long and as hard as you wish pain free. If you’re unable to do so, then it’s time to make a change for the better. Listen to your body and be attentive to what it’s trying to tell you.
What can I expect after getting my bike fitted?
Expect to feel added strength, stability and comfort on the bike. Although it can be tempting to immediately “test” a new position out, it is best to “work into” the changes for a week or two to allow your body to adapt to the new position. Neurologically speaking, we adapt to new motor patterns much faster while riding at a lower intensity. Make sure to ease into the changes made to your fit before increasing your training intensity or duration too much.
Lastly, what’s the difference between a good bike fit and a bad one?
Ultimately, the difference between a good bike fit and a bad one can only be based on the final result. A bike fit cannot be reduced to a formula or a computer program. Fits are almost always a work-in-progress that require some time for simple adaption and to work on other fundamentals such as core strength or flexibility.
Drawn away from his native Minnesota by Utah’s big mountains and deep winter powder, Blake chose the University of Utah to earn a BS in Exercise Physiology. Since graduating in the spring of 2010, Blake has taken on an integral role in our fitting services and organizing and managing the Contender Camp throughout the fall, winter and early spring months. Blake is the Fitting and Training Manager at Contender Bicycles and wants to help you be comfortable on the bike, boost your efficiency and reduce the risk of developing overuse injuries. Blake is an enthusiastic cyclist who enjoys riding on both the road and mountain bike. Blake is also very interested and knowledgeable about nutrition, so we at the shop often seek out Blake’s advice when choosing nutritional products.
Join us this Sunday morning, May 24, for a viewing party of Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia followed by a ride up Emigration and Big Mountain. This particular stage of the Giro finishes on the legendary Madonna di Campiglio climb which should provide an exciting battle!
VIEWING PARTY STARTS AT 7 AM – Please enter through the north door of Contender Bicycles and head up to our training and fitting area. You are welcome to join at any time! There will be coffee, juice and beignets to consume and enjoy during the race!
Former professional cyclist Jeff Louder will be joining us for the viewing party and ride. Having participated in the Giro d’Italia, Jeff will provide a lot of great insight and insider knowledge of the race.
Following the race (at approximately 9:30 AM), a group ride will depart to ride up Emigration and Big Mountain. Following a regroup at the top of Emigration, riders can either continue to Big Mountain or call it a day and head back down the canyon.
Recently a good friend of mine, former Salt Lake Mayor Ted Wilson, asked me if I’d be interested in showing off the Stromer E-Bikes to the folks on Utah’s Capital Hill. Ted had recently purchased a Stromer and had immediately moved it into to his “primary vehicle” position in commuting around the north end of the valley 25-30 miles a day. Within a few weeks, his excitement for the E-bike movement was contagious! I might have caught this “buzz” from him, but then I am pretty sure he caught it from me. Ted works for a group promoting clean air in Utah at the same time he works for sustainable practices that will make our city a better place. With that in mind, Ted has embraced the E-bike and is on a mission to see others catch the fever. I was glad to be asked to be a part of it.
Before we went to the capital, Ted explained some of the places where E-Bike just makes sense. I had my own experience of where the E-bikes can come in handy. For me, I run a lot of errands on the E-bike It also is a great way to go out to dinner or to head to a Utes game or go to the farmers market. Ted explained the “last mile problem” that our local transit system faces. While we have Trax and an average bus system, it is likely you have at least a mile to go on one end of your commute. The E-bike can help solve this and downtown’s growing parking nightmares at the same time. Then there is the “fleet style” opportunity. Think of all the folks dropping off Capital Hill to go downtown or to the City & County Building. The Capital is a beautiful place, but a hard one to walk or ride to. For each Nissan Leaf that state owns in an effort to provide clean transportation for it’s people, they could own six E-Bikes. It might be fair to argue that a green car isn’t all that green if there is only one person on board when you look at the entire picture.
Ted and I met at Contender to ride up to the Capital. It was fun to catch up and here all the things he has done with his E-bike. We gave ourselves plenty of time (30 minutes or so) to get over there and we took the scenic route up Memory Grove. We still arrived with 10 minutes to spare. If we had rushed, I’m sure our travel time would have been well within 10 minutes of a car taking the most direct route. Our first group of visitors was a small group from the Utah Transit Authority. I could see they were interested, but I could also sense some doubts. No problem, a test ride would cure that. And it sure did. Each member went out on one the E-bikes we had with us and within about 20 seconds each one said something to the tune of “holy cow!” or “this is awesome!”. At one point, I was pretty sure that I was going to be walking back to the shop as I thought one of the test riders might have taken my bike for the day. It is important for the UTA to be “on-board” with E-bikes as being able to put these bikes on the bus racks and in the light rail cars really extends the range of an E-bike. Later we met with some people from the various offices in the state government. Again, it was awesome to see how a few minutes on an E-bike have such a big impact. It was interesting to hear how each person could see how they would use an E-bike in their day to day life or how it might help the people in their office get around town.
Yesterday, Peter and Alison rode a pair of Stromer electric bicycles to the state Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ was getting into the spirit of Bike Month by offering various bicycling advocacy groups a chance to speak and discuss goals for the future. Ted Wilson was also in attendance and spoke at the event sharing his interest in bike commuting and replacing short car trips aboard a bicycle or electric bike. Obviously Ted could share from personal experience. During their visit many DEQ employees took the opportunity to ride an electric pedal assist bike for the first time. They quickly discovered that, like any bicycle, the Stromer needs to be pedaled and requires the rider to shift gears as speed and terrain changes; however, unlike other bikes, once you start pedaling the electric motor automatically kicks-in to assist your effort. This resulted in each test ride starting with a “whoa” and ending with a smile.
The Contender crew feels strongly that E-bikes are going to play a big part in our future. They’ll be used for fun, for fitness, for commuting and for just doing anything that you would normally do in your car. For sure normal bikes can and will be used for this too and we fully support those who want to make their commute under their own power. Once people get out and experience an E-bike and start to think about the possibilities, they’ll see how these bikes fit in the big picture. Europe is embracing them and if the excitement at this small E-bike introduction is any indication, we’re hopefully following in their tire tracks!
Patrick may be one of Contender Bicycle’s newest staff members but he is no stranger to hard riding and fast racing. That being true, he knows that a quality carbon wheelset is the best place to add horsepower to your race bike. The Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c wheel system is his choice due to their technology incorporated in the wheelset to reduce braking heat. This technology involves laying up multiple layers of resins and then fixing them to the rim using a proprietary heat treatment process to achieve the most resistance to braking heat. This is extremely useful for riders who enjoy climbing canyons without having to worry about their wheels getting too hot on the descents. Built with a 40mm deep rim profile, bladed spokes and Mavic’s own tires this wheel system is race-ready and Patrick approved.
TIME recently decided to make a limited edition run of the TIME VXRS to celebrate Paolo Bettini’s victories in the Athen’s Olympic road race and in the 2006 world championship road race. In both races he rode the TIME VXRS to victory. Back then, TIME made a limited edition paint job VXRS forboth Bettini and Tom Boonen who also rode the VXRS to a world championship. While Bettini was always one of my favorites, I actually had a Boonenpaint job. I was excited to have it but always wished that I had a Bettini instead. Paolo Bettini was simply one of the most dynamic, aggressive and tactically smart racers in his era. He was the type of rider that would make any race animated. Needless to say, my ears perked up when I heard that TIME was re-releasing a limited edition run of a commemorative Bettini VXRS. However, I didn’t just want to get the frame as a collector’s piece. I remembered my old VXRS as being a phenomenally riding bike. My memory served me correctly. With great handling, great responsiveness and ride that will keep you comfortable for hours, this bike has simply made me very happy.
Contender is hosting Ban Supply Co, a local artisan creating incredible works of “wood cut poster art” for the 9th & 9th Art Walk. Recently they created this piece for our own Peter Barrett for his 50th birthday! We are very excited to have Bree and Nate Millard from Ban Supply Co at the shop this Friday showing off their hand made creations. Swing by the shop to check out their pieces and cruise the rest of the 9th & 9th visiting all the other business hosting artists. The gallery stroll runs from 6 to 9 pm, Friday, May 8.
After using the SRAM Guide RSC Brakes for 6 months, Luke reviews what he likes about them and how SRAM has stepped up their game to make sure they rival their top competitors. The smooth modulation and lever control of the Guide RSC Brakes help you feel confident as you tackle technical terrain.
Yesterday the staff at the shop caught a glimpse of the new Pinarello Dogma K8-S. We were lucky to have Pinarello’s Luciano Fusar Poli at the shop with the new Dogma K8 in hand! The Dogma K8-S is not just a “game changing” bike for the Paris-Roubaix. It was designed for long rides on less than perfect roads. It starts with the same front triangle as the Dogma F8, a bike often touted as gold standard for bikes. Superior stiffness, Jaguar-designed aerodynamics and Pinarello‘s famous aesthetic are all characteristics within the K8-S platform. The Dogma K8-S is a bit like a mullet. Business up front and party in the back. By party we’re refering to a centimeter of rear wheel travel. This elastomer-dampened movement, designed in conjunction with Jaguar’s engineering team, gives enough to take the edge off while keeping the sense of power transfer and efficiency that Pinarello is famous for. At 990gr for the frame, Sky riders are already requesting this frame for several of the six hour plus stages of the Giro d’Italia.
The much awaited Speedplay SYZR pedal has finally made it’s big debut! Richard Bryne, Speedplay’s founder and inventor worked tirelessly on the pedal system, constantly tweaking and refining it until it met his expectations – needless to say, it just might be a game changer. Unlike all other mountain bike pedal systems currently available, the SYZR doesn’t rely on the softer rubber lugs on the bottom of the shoe to provide lateral stability for the foot as the cleat was cleverly designed to accomplish this. What does this mean for the rider? A more solid and secure connection to the pedal to improve power transfer. But wait there’s more! Not only is there a more secure pedal/cleat connection, the SYZR’s cleat offers ten degrees of silky smooth float, which is significantly more than any other option currently available.