Friday, February 22, 2008

Does Size Really Matter?

This post asks an important question of a certain segment of our athletic community... and you know who you are.

So, without further delay here's the question: Does size matter?

Really? Does it? Is its size THE all important quality when it comes to performance? How about for comfort and enjoyment?

Or, is it more about the fit? Can you make a small change in your position to get comfy with one that's too large or too small?

Again, I ask does size matter?

A couple of hours after finishing the Austin half marathon I took mine to the special district in town where men are known to buy their desires. I figured this would be THE place to go and ask an expert if size matters.

To be completely graphic I had pictures taken of the encounter. We're all adults here, right? As athletes we're comfortable with the human form, right?

If you find these kind of photos objectionable please don't scroll down the post. Use this time to exit.

Still here? OK... let's see the photos and find out what my hired "expert" says about the size and fit of mine.



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here is comes...



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wait for it...



it's....

it's...


....


here it is....


My bike fitting at Austin TriCyclist, of course.


I paid a visit to a member of that certain segment of the athletic community, the bike fitting professionals, at the famed store in Austin's "athletic district."

After a few measurements he determined my bike frame size was right but my position needed improving.

His assessment, as seen above, was my hands sloped downwards at too steep an angle reducing my climbing power that comes from pulling on the aerobars, my butt was too far back hindering my pedal stroke and causing lower back pain.




For an hour he adjusted this.... fiddled with that... replaced a part here.... and adjusted my saddle there until .... the fit was just right.

Notice in the lower photo how my aerobars are angled upwards a bit, my elbows are directly under my collar bone, my butt is pushed forward allowing my hips to extend through the pedal stroke, my back is flatter, and head is a few inches lower.

In short, I'm in a more aero and efficient position.


So ,now I understand... size does matter. Bike frame size that is. And so does stem length, body position, comfort, and stroke performance.

Man, I love this sport!

Stay tuned...

19 comments:

21stCenturyMom said...

Thta's a really dramatic difference. Can't wait to hear how it feels on a long haul.

ps- bummer about you not making the top 10 for round 1 but I'm thinking there are 2 more rounds to go, right?

Jen_runs said...

Wow, that's a huge difference in your setup. Will be interested to hear how it feels

Ryan said...

Thanks for the pics.

I can definitely tell a difference in your rotational Q angle dividing the torsion of your back in the coefficient angular delta of your aerobar.

Oh and you look a little cooler too! Really thats all that matters.

triguyjt said...

you had me going there. I thought you were talking about the size of your....
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stay with me

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don't leave
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YOur pedals.

size does matter.

anything that reduces that potential back strain ..i am all for.

Bigun said...

Money well spent. I'm sure any money spent making your stroke and power better is worth it.

Actually, you LOOK much stronger in the second picture. You are going to love the new position - Triboomer's gonna be FAST!

Jameson said...

Wow. Those setups are like night and day, like you are riding a completely different bike.

And yes, I'm jealous of your... er... frame. Do you like the transition? I'm thinking about picking one up later this season.

Flatman said...

You're gonna fly, bro!

Matt said...

I've had the same stuff done. You will probably see an increase in wattage as well. Enjoy!

Tri to Be Funny said...

All of that poking and prodding and you didn't even have to pay for it!! Nice!!!

Shelley said...

I could have told you size matters and saved you a few bucks...ummm we're talking about bikes right??

UntPawGal02 said...

Why didn't you just get the bike fit when you got it at first? Oh gosh!!!!

Bilko said...

Hope they checked your foot to pedal connection as well. That is a HUGE factor, worth the effort to check. Everything [seat & hands connections] builds off of the that....

IronMin said...

The before and after pics are a great add. You can really see the difference. I spent significant time (and unloaded significant cash) in that store when I was down there for the 3M Half. Awesome bike/tri shop!

Cliff said...

Tri Boomer,

The new position looks much more aero.

How do you feel riding with the new setup? The first time i rode in aero position, I felt like my crotch was pressing up against the seat. After a few weeks of riding in and out, my body finally got use to the position :).

IronJenny said...

Depends on how you feel - if you are comfortable you will be able to ride for hours and hours and hours...

IronJenny said...

... on your bike dude!!!
What did you think I meant???

Tri-Dummy said...

Nice fit...I definitely need to do that.

Steve Stenzel said...

Ahh, nice and smooth!!...

Lance Notstrong said...

It's all about the stem length :-)