DIAL IN YOUR PO­SI­TION

BIKE FIT

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - BY DAVE RI­P­LEY

LET’S MAKE ONE thing com­pletely clear: a poorly set up triathlon bike is mis­er­able. Fit is where it all starts when it comes to per­for­mance on a bike. Be­cause of my pas­sion about bike fit, a few years ago I left a longterm po­si­tion with Zipp to part­ner with Mat Stein­metz of 51 Speed Shop and opened a stu­dio in In­di­anapo­lis. We spe­cial­ize in fig­ur­ing out how to max­i­mize the value of your in­vest­ment. Be­lieve it or not, you don’t al­ways have to spend thou­sands of dol­lars to get the most out of the bike leg in your next triathlon. My job is to get you the most per­for­mance for the amount you have to spend.

Pri­or­i­ties

When it comes to your setup the pri­or­i­ties are: com­fort, power and aero­dy­nam­ics. In that or­der, no mat­ter what level of triath­lete you are.

Sit­ting pretty

The sad­dle is the key to ev­ery­thing, re­gard­less of what type of rid­ing you’re go­ing to be do­ing. A sad­dle has to do three things: sup­port you, put you in a po­si­tion that pro­vides op­ti­mal lever­age over the cranks and al­lows an­te­rior pelvic ro­ta­tion that al­lows you to relax your lower back. Once you’re in that po­si­tion you’ll be able to con­trol the front end of the bike rather than prop your­self up prod­ucts don’t work. For the av­er­age con­sumer, it’s hard to fig­ure out what works and what doesn’t be­cause of all the mar­ket­ing their sub­ject to.

hy­dra­tion

All of the pe­riph­eral parts of the bike come next. Clean up the front end of your bike by hid­ing all the ca­bles and find­ing an aero­dy­namic hy­dra­tion sys­tem. When it comes to an on-the-bars wa­ter bot­tle, hor­i­zon­tal op­tions where the bot­tle lays flat be­tween your arms is the best. Those sys­tems are the most func­tional and pro­vide the best per­for­mance. You want to min­i­mize the bike’s pro­file as much as you can, but never com­pro­mise on your needs. You might gain four sec­onds an hour by get­ting rid of a wa­ter bot­tle cage, but if you bonk be­cause you didn’t have enough liq­uid you’ll lose a lot more time than that.

aero ev­ery­thing

Don’t just stop at your bike. There are lots of lit­tle things that you can uti­lize that will go a long way to im­prov­ing your per­for­mance. You need to wear a hel­met, so why not make your next hel­met pur­chase an aero one? That said, make sure you’re get­ting the right aero hel­met, one that cor­re­sponds to your bike fit.

re­sis­tance

An­other “must have” that is easy to change on race day are your tires and tubes. Good per­form­ing tires and tubes have a huge ad­van­tage when it comes to rolling re­sis­tance – up­wards of 15 to 20 watts. La­tex tubes roll much faster than butyl tubes, so why not throw some of those on for your race? Butyl tubes hold air much bet­ter, so you’ll want them for your day to day train­ing rides, but mak­ing the switch for race day can make a huge dif­fer­ence. So take the ex­tra time ev­ery race week­end and have your­self some train­ing and rac­ing tubes and tires.

tires

Re­cent re­search has also shown that good clincher tires and rims can per­form bet­ter than tubu­lars.

game chang­ers

Fi­nally, don’t be­lieve that any one piece of equip­ment is the “fastest.” Ev­ery­thing is sub­ject to the other parts of the sys­tem. Max­i­mize your aero po­ten­tial based on what you have and what you can af­ford. Ul­ti­mately that will make the big­gest dif­fer­ence.

Af­ter many years in aerospace with Rolls Royce, Dave Ri­p­ley now runs the 51 Speed­shop in In­di­a­nop­o­lis, Ind.

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