A New Road Bike

I had a road bike, and it is a good bike. I just wanted something that felt more like mine. Nothing extravagant but a step up – full carbon frame, and just…felt like me. Something I could use for recovery rides, riding in the gaps, and just enjoying being out.

When I went to Podium to chat about a refit on my tri bike, I also spoke with Andy about road bike options. We talked about possibilities and he had suggestions, but, we would start off as Podium starts every bike purchase with a fit on Podium’s new Guru Automated fit system.

I have already blogged about my re-fit procedure, and the fit procedure is not any different: body scan, bike automatically goes to a position based on the scan, adjustments by the fitter, adjustments by the fitter with the rider pedaling through, and final analysis/tweaks.  I actually went through the fit and refit procedures within about 1 week of each other on the same system.

What I like about Podium is the fit first approach. When I bought my tri bike from Podium in 2012, Matt was talking to me about 650 wheels before he ever took a single measurement of me. Like any person coming to the store for a new bike, Matt was sizing me up and already thinking of which bike would work for me, and what is available in my price range. After the fit, he gave me a list of bikes that would work best for me. Most were 700 wheels, but also was my Felt DA-4 with 650s.

On the Guru Fit Bike for my road bike fit
On the Guru Fit Bike for my road bike fit

The fact is, if you have a great fitter, they already have a general idea of the bike that will work well for you. Any bike fit system is a tool to help the fitter take the guess work out of it, and make sure you are getting a great bike for you.  And to make the process more efficient.  And what I have realized is, although snazzy, the Guru Automated fit bike is also a tool that helps a good fitter do their job even better and faster. Which is fantastic.

In speaking with Matt he commented that with the new Guru fit bike he can do 5 fittings in the time he used to do 3 with a traditional (manually operated) fit bike. And it’s not that he is now going haphazardly through a fit and someone is getting less of his attention. In fact, it is the complete opposite. It’s that the new system lets him be that much more efficient. And accurate. He no longer has to have people get off the bike to make adjustments. And he no longer has to move up and down along the fit bike manually making adjustments. Instead he can stand away and with the push of a button, make small adjustments as the rider rides through. He can size things up immediately and (very importantly) get instant feedback from the rider.

The Guru system is also measuring and giving him feedback on some items, confirming what he sees. Measurements from the Guru system include vertical knee tracking, knee flexure, and shoulder movement.

As I keep saying, the system is a tool for a fitter to use. There are also three drivers which I have actually, subtly, mentioned already:  the cyclist (what they like and don’t like and why the instant feedback is so important), the fitter (being able to size things up quickly and knowledgeably), and the goniometer. The goniometer? Yup – goniometer.

A goniometer - tool of the trade for bike fitting
A goniometer – tool of the trade for bike fitting

Even after my bike fitting, Andy checked things over, using the goniometer (and a couple of other tools of the trade) to check that my angles were within acceptable limits. He also used a tape measure to be sure distances were correct from the fit bike to my road bike.

And my experience is not unique – this fit process is done with every bike Podium sells: fit first, bike second. It’s a process, and does take time, and it means you don’t walk out the door with a bike that day (usually). But a good fit is SO worth it. And that the automated Guru Fit  System does accelerate this process (and not just the fit process). It also speeds up the turnaround time for a person to know which bikes will work best for them. While I was sitting on the fit bike wrapping things up, Andy, Gareth and I were discussing recommended options from the Guru system. And, it took only  a few days for me to receive my bike list options matched with what was available from Podium and when they could have the bike built and ready. With my tri bike (pre- automated Guru system) it was more like 2-3 weeks to get my bike list.  It is fantastic to be able to move through the process faster and purchase my bike faster.

After a couple of rides on my new road bike I can say that I truly enjoy riding it. My tri bike is still my first love, but my new road bike is a well-fit and comfortable second.

My new road bike after her maiden voyage
My new road bike after her maiden voyage

Once I had chosen my bike and brought it home, my husband, who rides with me, looked at my bike and said “Your seat is higher than mine.” He has not really felt comfortable on his road bike since he got it (it was purchased and fit at a different bike store). The fact is we spend a lot of time on our bikes, and a good fit it worth every penny and minute. So I called Podium and set him up for a refit on the fit system.

Andy noticed from the get-go that Carlos was all scrunched up. After the automated refit, Carlos had a bike fit that was much more open and allowed him a better range of motion and more efficient use of his muscles on the bike. He feels much more comfortable now, and enjoying longer rides much more.

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