Thursday, March 1, 2018

Increasing Comfort and Power by Using the LEOMO TYPE-R for a Better Bike-Fit

by Bart Lipinski, a Peaks Coaching Group Elite Coach

In this article I want to explain how I used the LEOMO Type-R to fit myself on a new bike that I’ll be using for the 2018 road racing season. I am a Peaks Coaching Group Elite Coach and LEOMO Motion Analysis Certified, but I am not a certified bicycle fitter. So, what better way to test my coaching knowledge and to better help others, than to perform a little experiment on me?

Please note, that all my testing was done indoors on a trainer and that some of these settings might require re-adjustment once I have the opportunity to ride outside on a more consistent basis. Winter in New England along the Atlantic seaboard all but eliminates outdoor testing on a race bike!

This past fall, I picked up a Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 frame set. Within a couple of nights, I had it all set up with measurements from previous bike fittings. I started to wonder what would happen if I slid my saddle just a bit forward from where I thought it should be, raised my saddle, tilted the nose of my saddle down, lowered my bars or installed a longer stem?  With my Type-R in hand and all the data that was being collected from the 5 motion sensors and the head unit, I should able to answer all these questions.

I first started to analyze data over a few weeks to see if I could establish some “consistency” with my TYPE-R MPIs (Motion Performance Indicators).  Once I saw some consistency in the data, I then needed to establish a base line before making any adjustments. Paying close attention to things like the Q1 and Foot Angular ranges were important. I was constantly correcting my foot angle in order to get a good balanced score. Once I was generating numbers that I could live with, I essentially threw everything else out the window.

(Data prior to saddle adjustments)

After reviewing the data from my base line PSI (Pedal Stoke Intelligence), I discovered I was generating most of my dead spots in the 6 o’clock position. I was seeing slightly higher scores on my left side; my right leg is just a bit shorter then my left.  So armed with that knowledge, I started by adding a shim under the insole of my right shoe. Instantly, the scores were much closer than without the shim.

Next, I started playing with the height of my saddle. Again, with most of my dead spot scores in the 6 o’clock position, I decided to raise my saddle. As a result, scores improved a little. I also wanted to see what happened if I slid my saddle forward a bit and tilted the nose down a degree or two. Again, scores were even better.

Over the next two months, I probably made ten or more small adjustments to my saddle height, tilt and fore/aft position; and by small, I mean a millimeter or two at a time followed by more testing.  I was paying close attention not only to my DSS (Dead Spot Scores), but also to Pelvic Tilt, Rotation and Rock scores.
Along with all the data from the TYPE-R, it is vitally important to assess how you feel on the bike.  With a ride or two lasting 3 to 4 hours on the trainer, I felt more comfortable than I ever have on any of my bikes and my power was great as well.  I was even able to raise my indoor FTP 10 watts in the beginning of January over a test completed in the beginning of December. I am totally happy with all the results to date.

(Data after saddle adjustments)

One last thing I wanted to look at was handlebar height and stem length. It’s always cool when the stem is “slammed”….but now, it was easy to tell how “slammed” I could go. So, it was time to test yet again, with 110, 120 and a 130 length stems and a handful of 5mm spacers. As a result I ended up with the stem that I would have never thought of using…..a 130mm with 12 degrees of drop (as opposed to a 120mm with 6 degrees of drop) and only one 5mm spacer.

 (Data after saddle and stem adjustments)

In conclusion, I want to re-state that I am not a certified bicycle fitter. So, with an open mind, a commitment to testing over a several months and with the knowledge I have of the Type-R,  this year I will be racing a bike that is more comfortable than any bike I have raced in the past,  I am riding in a more efficient position and I won’t be sacrificing any power. I am now riding a bike with a setup I would never have found or even attempted without the data from the Type-R. Once the New England weather starts to cooperate, I’ll be doing additional testing, evaluating that data and making necessary adjustments to further fine tune my cockpit.

Last year I raced in the USA Cycling Masters Road Race and Time Trial Nationals in Augusta Georgia. I started working with the TYPE-R a few weeks prior to Nationals and even used it during the Road Race, where I finished 2nd!  Now, with almost a years’ worth of data, my new Specialized S Works  Tarmac and an entirely new cockpit configuration , I intend to utilize  this technology and knowledge to “up my game” in 2018.

(Base and Current Bike Measurements)