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Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area Looking to enter into the realm of track racing? Want to share your experiences and tactics for riding on a velodrome? The Track Cycling forums is for you! Come in and discuss training/racing, equipment, and current track cycling events.

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Old 06-19-17, 03:13 PM   #1
carleton
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DIY Bike Fitting for Track

Hi, all.

At some point in time, just like we should all learn to do maintenance on our bikes, we should also learn how to fit ourselves on our bikes. While I do believe that paying for a good bike fit from a professional can be worth it, there are times when it may not.

Ask any bike fitter to fit you for your track bike, and probably all of them will say, "Sure!" thinking that it's gonna be just like fitting for a road bike.

Bike fitting for track is similar but significantly different than for road which is why I recommend asking the fitter if they are familiar with fitting riders for track and if so, how would they describe the differences when fitting for track sprinting, mass start, pursuiting, and all-around. If they launch into a 30 minute explanation, then you've found your (wo)man! If not, beware!


Why the difference?

Because the difference between fitting for track vs road bikes is like the difference between fitting a crit bike vs a touring bike. Why? Because the physical and time demands are different.

Just like a touring rider may ride for days vs a road rider riding for 3-4 hrs, a road rider riding for 3-4 hours is also different than track rider riding for 20 seconds up to 15 or 30 minutes.

Also, the same goes for time trial aerobar fits. A triathlete may be in aeorobars for an hour. You might be in your aerobars for 30s (500M), 60s (kilo), or 3-4.5 minutes (pursuit). BIG DIFFERENCE.

Now, maybe you'll see why going with the guy at the local bike shop that fits all of the roadies and triathletes may not put you in the best position
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 06-19-17, 03:30 PM   #2
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Here's what I've done in the past:

Get a stable, repeatable bike position setup:
Get a bike trainer that locks the rear wheel. This is a basic setup.
Use Rollers for a more advanced setup only when you want to measure pedaling mechanics and not just angles.

Use a camera:
Either find a good adjustable stand for your mobile phone, use a digital camera, or a GoPro. There are plenty of stand/brace options. You don't need a tripod. Maybe a barstool is enough. You need it to be at a repeatable height, maybe top tube height so as not to distort angles.

Keep the same zoom on the device. Changing zooms will change angles slightly.

Mount up:
Setup the bike such that you and the bike are in the center of the frame. Make sure that you are square to the camera and not angled off. You have to figure out a way to set repeatable cues like (tires on the bottom edge of the frame, top tube on the center line, x meters distance back from the bike...)

Record:
Record yourself pedaling at various cadences (even very slow). This is important. The slow speed is so that you can freeze frame and check your leg angles for comparison.

Check your race tuck.

Add resistance:
Add various levels of resistance and see if your posture changes adversely.

If you can, add enough resistance to simulate a standing start (if that's part of your event).


Download and Review.
Take screenshots of yourself and legs in various positions.
Look for "angle measurement software" for your computer and learn to measure your hip, leg, back and arm angles.

Compare
Now compare all of those to athletes who race the events you prefer and share a similar body type.
Google image search for your favorite athletes and SAVE THE PHOTOS. Use the angle measurement software to roughly measure the angles that they are using and compare them to yours.

I have dozens of videos like this, here is one example:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/carlet...l/12847821545/

This video helped me realize that my arms needed to be extended further out several centimeters. This is a 58cm frame and simply adding a 3cm longer stem would have adversely affected the handling. So, I had a 61cm frame built that kept the same handling but gave me the longer reach...which consequently lowered my back and made me more aero.


What techniques do you folks use?
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 06-19-17, 04:20 PM   #3
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Kinovea (open source freeware) is really useful for analyzing your video. It can vary playback speed or advance frame by frame, lots of other tools included for measuring angles etc.
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Old 06-19-17, 05:00 PM   #4
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Kinovea (open source freeware) is really useful for analyzing your video. It can vary playback speed or advance frame by frame, lots of other tools included for measuring angles etc.
That's pretty cool stuff. I can see this being useful to a coach, or someone with some kinesiology background. It used to be that we did bike fitting by looking to align certain points of the anatomy with our contact points of the bike. I believe that kinematics will be the new way we end up fitting people. We already have equipment that can test someone's output as they move through the motion of a squat. Dialing someone's seat height to maximize the amount of time spent in the range of greatest output is something that I've always thought would be a good way to deal with bike fit. This may help in developing tools like that.
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Old 06-19-17, 06:38 PM   #5
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Kinovea (open source freeware) is really useful for analyzing your video. It can vary playback speed or advance frame by frame, lots of other tools included for measuring angles etc.
Nice! I'm a mac user, so I can't give it a try.

There is a iPhone/iPad app called Coach's Eye that does similar.

https://www.coachseye.com/

It's kinda pricey now. I was an early user of it before it got expensive. The problem for me was the the videos ate up all of the storage on my iPhone and I also had to do the analysis there...on the small screen. So, it wasn't optimal. I found it better for me to download the videos/images and work off of my computer.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
That's pretty cool stuff. I can see this being useful to a coach, or someone with some kinesiology background. It used to be that we did bike fitting by looking to align certain points of the anatomy with our contact points of the bike. I believe that kinematics will be the new way we end up fitting people. We already have equipment that can test someone's output as they move through the motion of a squat. Dialing someone's seat height to maximize the amount of time spent in the range of greatest output is something that I've always thought would be a good way to deal with bike fit. This may help in developing tools like that.
Yeah, I agree. I'd like to learn more about the subject for sure.

I'm not sure how I feel about the super high-tech ($$$$) bike fitting machines that are out there now. I don't know if they are fluff or not. The bike industry is good creating stuff like that because people will pay for it. That's the same crowd that buys $10,000 - $15,000 tri bikes every year or two.

I wonder how they would compare to a Serotta fit bike with a power meter attached to it:



I mean, that's essentially with a modern spin bike can do:



With the fit bike and spin bike suggestions, I'd figure out a way to use adjustable cranks as crank length is very important.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:36 PM   #7
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I think a spin bike, but one without pin detents for adjustments, but adjustments like the Serotta would be good. A Velotron eddy brake style rear wheel would also be nice. It acts as the flywheel, resistnace unit, and PM all in one.

I'm not so weary of the hi-tech fit bikes. To me they are an economical way to make rapid adjustments on the fly. They aren't that expensive to manufacture (any decent welder/fitter would be able to fabricate one for you for the cost of a normal decent road bike. For a shop this can be amortized over many customers, so in the end, in the hands of a good bike fitter, the small investment in time and $$ can really pay off. A low tech bike can bring the same benefit in the end. It will just happen a lot slower, and may be arrived at over multiple sessions. At the same time, I believe a bike fitting process is an evolution. It doesn't happen over the course of one fitting. I had a coach who tweaked my position 5 times in the course of a year, and two the next. It takes time to adjust to a position, even miniscule adjustments. Often times, a new position will result in a detrimental performance value in the short term, only to rebound to better than before. If done multiple times with positive results, you can make great leaps if you're willing to sacrifice a season.
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Old 06-19-17, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
That's pretty cool stuff. I can see this being useful to a coach, or someone with some kinesiology background. It used to be that we did bike fitting by looking to align certain points of the anatomy with our contact points of the bike. I believe that kinematics will be the new way we end up fitting people. We already have equipment that can test someone's output as they move through the motion of a squat. Dialing someone's seat height to maximize the amount of time spent in the range of greatest output is something that I've always thought would be a good way to deal with bike fit. This may help in developing tools like that.
Yeah I'm pretty sure the fitter I used locally was using Kinovea or something similar. Even for an individual at home I think it can be pretty useful. I've only used the more basic functionality, but for instance I was able to dial in cleat position by using the slow-motion playback to look at knee tracking (left knee was kicking out at the top of the pedal stroke, but it wasn't obvious watching full-speed playback). And you can load two videos side-by-side to evaluate fit adjustments on a single bike or to compare fit across different bikes.
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Old 06-19-17, 10:27 PM   #9
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Nice! I'm a mac user, so I can't give it a try.

There is a iPhone/iPad app called Coach's Eye that does similar.

https://www.coachseye.com/

It's kinda pricey now. I was an early user of it before it got expensive. The problem for me was the the videos ate up all of the storage on my iPhone and I also had to do the analysis there...on the small screen. So, it wasn't optimal. I found it better for me to download the videos/images and work off of my computer.
Coach's Eye looks pretty slick but yeah that's kind of expensive for individual use and being limited to a small touch screen interface could get annoying.
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Old 06-20-17, 06:10 AM   #10
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Coach's Eye looks pretty slick but yeah that's kind of expensive for individual use and being limited to a small touch screen interface could get annoying.
As an official, I am using Coach's Eye to provide photo finishes for Ttown's Masters & Rookies and previously for the Six Days of Kissena. It's surprising how often a rider comes to the officials with 100% confidence stating that he won particular sprint and that we have no clue how to judge a track race only to walk away very quickly and quietly when we say we have it on camera that he didn't.

I installed Coach's Eye on my Android phone for free and paid $14.99 to have the advertisements removed.
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Old 06-20-17, 07:00 AM   #11
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I've been using this, the app is fairly cheap and easy to use. The angle measuring tool is good for knee/trunk etc measuring, get some sticky dots for the key points on your body and you're good to go. If you use Zipp Vuka bars Zipp also do an app which helps you set them up, I've not used it but it looks good.
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Old 06-20-17, 08:51 AM   #12
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I am fairly new to track racing. I naturally set my track bike up to mimic my road fit, as that seemed like the most appropriate place to start. Now that I've got a little bit more experience under my belt, I am learning that is not the best position for track racing.

Does anyone have a more thorough explanation of how the fits are different? I have plenty of experience using mirrors and videos to adjust my fit on the road bike, but I'm not entirely sure how I should be fitting myself onto the track bike. I get that it's generally longer and lower, but I would be curious to know, on average, how much longer and lower people are?
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Old 06-20-17, 09:33 AM   #13
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I am fairly new to track racing. I naturally set my track bike up to mimic my road fit, as that seemed like the most appropriate place to start. Now that I've got a little bit more experience under my belt, I am learning that is not the best position for track racing.

Does anyone have a more thorough explanation of how the fits are different? I get that it's generally longer and lower, but I would be curious to know, on average, how much longer and lower people are?
How long is a piece of string?

This is why I suggested comparing yourself to photos of faster/elite racers to mimic their positions as a starting point.

As Taras says, it's a process. Your fit will change several times even in the same 4 month season as you become more flexible and have usable power when being more aero.

Flexibility is very important. It's not just for injury prevention. When your muscles are stretched (even slightly) this inhibits their ability to perform the micro-recoveries that happen between each pedal stroke. If the muscle were longer, then going to that same low point would still allow them to relax fully and revitalize itself for the next pedal stroke.

To test this, get on a trainer or do a normal road ride while using a heart rate monitor. Ride at a steady pace in a comfortable position and note your heart rate. It will be, let's say 120bpm. Now lower back and bend over until you feel a slight tension in your muscles, you'll see that your heart rate begin to rise alarmingly, up to say 140bpm while maintaining the same cadence.

NOW, if you go and introduce a proper stretching routine to your training plan and do the same exercise a couple of weeks later, you'll see that your heart rate won't rise when you go to that same low position.

That is a quantifiable benefit of stretching.
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