Compact, Anatomic or Classic? What to consider when choosing handlebars

During our bio-mechanic bike fitting sessions, one of the most common things we see are people with the wrong handlebars. Either they’re the wrong shape for the specific type of rider / use, or set-up incorrectly.  Therefore, in this post, we’ve asked our Bio-Mechanic Giuseppe Giannecchini to answer the basic FAQs when it comes to choosing one set of handlebars over another… and getting them set-up correctly:

Which handlebars are right for you?

The right handlebars must allow you to grip correctly and strongly, while resting the hands in a natural way. If you find you’re pushing (rather than pulling) it is a sign that something is wrong. There shouldn’t be any ‘conflict’ with our handlebars, it should be an easy, harmonious grip… this is the basis for a correct bike handling and the perfect reach of brake levers / shifters. Obviously, a rider with big hands is better suited to a big drop curve and a rider with small hands will find dropbars with a narrower curve better. But in both cases, the handlebars / stem can be considered as the extension of the bike frame’s top-tube, horizontally, and of the head-tube, vertically, in order for the rider to obtain the position with the correct trunk and arm angles, with the hands nicely inline on the bars.

Pulling on the bars is a sign of a good riding position
“If you find you’re pushing (rather than pulling) it is a sign that something is wrong”.

Who suits Compact, Anatomic, or Classic drops?

More than ‘suit’ we should talk about ergonomic relations between the different type of bars and the different grips, as there are pros and cons to all of them, which go further than just their dimensions and shapes. For example, the ‘anatomic’ drop forces you, while on the drops, to precisely stay in one position only… which is not the case for ‘compact’ and ‘classic’ dropbars, as these allow you to adjust your position a little, letting you move your hands forward or backwards. On the hoods, this ‘forcing’ is less relevant, but the reach and drop of different bars considerably affect the position, in length and saddle-bars drop. An interesting thing to notice is that, if you compare these three different types, sidewise, you will realize that the ‘compact’ shape is a modernisation of the ‘classic’ shape (which is still widely in use amongst the pros)… with the lower portion of the curve a lot less rounded, in order to be easier on the palms.

resting hands with no conflict on the handlebars
“There shouldn’t be any ‘conflict’ with our handlebars, it should be an easy, harmonious grip… this is the basis for a correct bike handling and the perfect reach of brake levers / shifters.”

If we use ‘compact’ can we slam the stem like the pros? What are the pros and cons of a bigger saddle-bars drop?

If you change the shape of your bars, you alter your entire riding position, it’s simple. Hence you should address your whole set-up, not just the handlebars. If you change drop and reach with different bars, you are shorter or longer, higher or lower. The important thing to understand is that such a thing as ‘slammed’ stem does not exist, it is a myth. What does exist, instead, is a wrongly set up height of your stem, or a correct one. In my opinion, the reason why people in the UK often think that pros ‘slam’ their stem is because the majority of people (in UK) ride with their stems far too high. You need to have the perfect set-up while riding in all of the three different hands positions: top of bars, hoods and drops, while reaching the levers comfortably. Wrong stem height can be equally dangerous either if too low (‘slammed’?!) or too high, creating serious issues to the neck, back, shoulders and hands.

RHM (Rapid Hands Movement) or 'Compact' on the left. Classic shapes can be 'Italian' (Shallow) or 'Belgian' (Deep)
RHM (Rapid Hands Movement) or ‘Compact’ on the left. Classic shapes can be ‘Italian’ (Shallow) or ‘Belgian’ (Deep)
Anatomic Drop Bar
“The ‘Anatomic’ drop forces you, while on the drops, to precisely stay in one position only”.

What are the elements to consider when selecting a handlebars for your clients?

I always consider the handlebar setup as part of the bigger picture: the correct riding position. Then I consider the proportions of hands and shoulders. Also, the habits and personal perceptiveness / sensitivity to the use of one type of bars rather than another are very important. Very often clients come to me with handlebars wrongly fitted on bikes, mostly turned up too much, which makes levers closer when on the hoods, but impossible to reach when on drops.

easy reach of the brake levers
“You need to have the perfect set-up while riding in all of the three different hands positions: top of bars, hoods and drops, while reaching the levers comfortably”.
Jonathan Edwards on Honister Pass
A narrower, compact handlebar, as part of a generally revised bike position, allowed Jonathan Edwards to climb more effectively (here on Honister Pass); and to stay for a longer time on the drops without discomfort… Before the position update with us, he “would have needed to take painkillers after a long ride”.

 

Lombardi carbon frame – feedback and pics

Our carbon frames are proving to be popular and the feedback (see below) from our clients is flattering for our small company… see below – we’re proud to be a ‘hidden gem’ in the market and if you visit us in our store / showroom in East London, you will see why. Our frames are hand-made by master frame builders in Italy; people with generations of experience in building competition frames. Expertise is the key factor in frame building.

But why do our carbon frames ride better than stock ones? Read on to find out (you may also want to read the full: “Made to measure carbon fibre, why?”):

Our 2018 racer Rosa Carbon bike, Made to measure and hand made in Italy, finished with Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels, Deda Superleggero finishing kit, Selle Italia Tekno saddle and Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres.
Our 2018 racer Rosa Carbon bike, Made to measure and hand made in Italy, finished with Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels, Deda Superleggero finishing kit, Selle Italia Tekno saddle and Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres.

 

FIT

Our bodies are all unique. A standard sized bike is always going to be a compromise. A bike built for your body will fit impeccably and ride better.

COMFORT

A well constructed made to measure frame is responsive and stiff – typical aspects of carbon fibre – but it also offers a supremely comfortable ride, due to the wrapped carbon technology on the lugs. This is a big contrast with harsh monocoque (one piece moulded frame) technology.

PERFORMANCE

Comfort and performance go together. The bike with the most comfortable fit offers the best, uncompromised performance. This typically shaves minutes off our clients’ PBs.

FITNESS

If you ride a comfortable bike, you spend more hours on it. As a result you clock up higher mileage over the year and this pushes you to a higher level of fitness (with lower risk of injury).

HERITAGE AND EXPERTISE MADE IN ITALY

Our frames are hand made one by one, by master frame builders who have been constructing competition frames since the 1940’s. They are based in the Veneto, traditionally Italy’s most productive region in the cycling industry. They test and develop their own carbon tubes.

PRICE

It doesn’t break the bank and if you’re interested in a high quality bike that will last you a lifetime then it makes sense. Our prices are similar to a high end, off the peg bike and we’re cheaper than many (i.e. Pinarello, S-Works, Cipollini, De Rosa).

FEEDBACK

See what our clients have to say…

Jonathan Edwards

“I love my carbon made to measure bike from Racer Rosa. It brilliantly manages those contradictory characteristics of stiffness and compliance …. very light and climbs beautifully. Simply, it’s a delight to ride. It also looks stunning.”

Jonatahan Edwards and his Racer Rosa Lombardi Carbon, with Shimano Dura Ace / Miche Supertype groupset, Miche Supertype tubular carbon wheels, Deda Superleggero Finishing Kit and Selle San Marco Concor saddle.
Jonatahan Edwards and his Racer Rosa Lombardi Carbon, with Shimano Dura Ace / Miche Supertype groupset, Miche Supertype tubular carbon wheels, Deda Superleggero Finishing Kit and Selle San Marco Concor saddle.
Jamie Williams

“My new Racer Rosa carbon bike rides like an absolute dream – fast, responsive and efficient. All of the components, selected with the expert help of Diego and Giuseppe, work in harmony with the carbon frame and I cannot help but smile every time I ride it!”

Jamie Williams Racer Rosa Carbon made to measure, Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Deda Zero100 finishing kit, Selle Italia SLR saddle, Miche Syntium AXY wheels and Michelin Pro4 tyres
Jamie Williams Racer Rosa Carbon made to measure, Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Deda Zero100 finishing kit, Selle Italia SLR saddle, Miche Syntium AXY wheels and Michelin Pro4 tyres
Piers Evans

“My Lombardi is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden and it picks up speed with ease compared to other bikes. It hugs the road and gives me the confidence to really attack descents. It’s quick on the flat and uphill too with great power transfer from the cranks to the wheels.”

Piers' Lombardi Carbon, mate to measure Racer Rosa bike, With Campagnolo Chorus EPS groupset, Deda Zero 100 finishing kit and Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels, in the Pyrenees.
Piers’ Lombardi Carbon, mate to measure Racer Rosa bike, With Campagnolo Chorus EPS groupset, Deda Zero 100 finishing kit and Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels, in the French Alps.
Chris Farmer

“I was very impressed from the moment I crossed the threshold of Racer Rosa bicycles. The enthusiastic Italian bike club feel was immediate, and the feeling that buying a bike from Diego and Giuseppe was more than just buying a bike – it was buying the whole package; measurement / fit out, understanding of the best bike to suit budget and type of cycling to be done. The Lombardi full carbon was excellent, very positive feel, stiff and responsive. To be honest I haven’t looked back, apart from to see how far back everyone else was!”

Chris Farmer and his Lombardi Carbon, made to measure bike, with Shimano Ultegra groupset, Deda Zero 100 finishing kit and Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels
Chris Farmer and his Lombardi Carbon, made to measure bike, with Shimano Ultegra groupset, Deda Zero 100 finishing kit and Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels
Sam Wightman

“This time last year I could not ride my bike at all and was continually injured. All this changed with a visit to Racer Rosa who totally reinvested my position and sorted me out. Thank you seems insufficient for the help you’ve given me. I have ordered a custom frame to match my new position and the service has been great. Highly recommended!!”

Lombardi Carbon, made to measure Racer Rosa bike, with Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels and Deda Superleggero finishing kit
Lombardi Carbon, made to measure Racer Rosa bike, with Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Miche SWR full carbon clincher wheels and Deda Superleggero finishing kit
Richard Gambling

“I only wish I had met Diego and Giuseppe earlier, it would have saved me a lots of aches and financial pains! I would urge any cyclist to have a proper (Giuseppe) fit as early in their cycling career as possible, then, once you have this, talk to someone like Diego who will translate all those figures into the best bike fitting bike you will ever buy – the carbon frame Diego built for me just has the most sublime ride quality, performance and is totally unique to me! The entire process was effortless from start to finish, Diego’s imput was welcome and highly valued, I had extra layers of carbon around the bottom bracket to better handle my weight, the colour scheme was as understated as I could make it and delivery was accurate to the exact day I was promised when ordering. This bike makes me smile every time I ride it, I feel it maximizes my performance because of the fit and careful frame lay-up and also looks stunning”.

Racer Rosa, made in Italy
“Costruito a mano in Italia”… very (very) few can put this on their carbon frames.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advice on Power Meters choice, trying to avoid the most common mistakes

These devices are becoming increasingly popular amongst our clients, but it can be tricky to choose the right one / get the best use out of it. Therefore, with help from ex pro rider Graeme Freestone King (who now runs the official training and service centre for Campagnolo in the UK), we’ve put together some pointers.

01. USEFUL NUMBERS, YES, BUT HOW TO USE THEM CORRECTLY?

Like any measurement tool, it’s not so much what the Power Meter can tell the user, it’s about how the user makes further use of that information.

The first mistake that many users of PMs make is to treat the data as absolute and so to compare the fact that they are outputting (according to their PM), say 400W against professional rider “x” or club-mate “y” at 600W. The problem is one of calibration and the key is to use the number given more like an estimate. Using the figure as an absolute comparison against another PM might not be a great plan. It is better to use a PM as a comparative tool – so to find, for instance, your Functional Threshold Power using that PM, then to base your training on that, rather than going to a lab, getting FTP measured on a Wattbike and then expecting to be able to make a direct comparison to your own PM. You might be lucky, the two devices might be close enough for effective comparison and to base training on one, on a result from the other – but you might not be and a lot of time and effort might be wasted. There are ways to look at your power as measured in a lab and compare it to your own PM but remember that all the training that you do based on power requires you to be conscious of these differences.

02. VERY IMPORTANT EXTERNAL FACTORS:

In terms of who can best make use of PMs, the volume of data produced is large and has to be viewed against a lot of other data to have real worth. You need to consider rest, nutrition, hormonal state (obviously of key importance for female athletes but also in males, especially adolescents and men in middle age), times of day that you are training and so on… this is not a job for the faint-hearted. So a PM may only be part of the picture – a truly competent coach who can help you make sense of the data is also pretty much indispensable, if you are not just acquiring a piece of kit to give you bragging rights on Strava!

There is no doubt that a good PM, with a relatively high degree of accuracy, in the hands of a proper rider-coach pairing is a valuable tool and at the professional level, a virtually essential tool, these days.

03. DIFFERENT CRANK-BASED PRODUCTS TO CONSIDER:

In terms of products available and choices, Campagnolo maintain relationships with three manufacturers: SRM, Power2Max (P2M) and Stages. All three buy cranks – and in the case of SRM and P2M, chainrings – and re-work them to include the relevant strain gauges. This means that SRM and P2M have exactly the right chainring spacing and will work seamlessly and without interfering with warranty in any way, with the Campagnolo systems that they are designed for. Stages of course is a left crank-based system so there is no problem in terms of the shifting being affected and the same crank is used for Chorus and Record, with a second option available for Super Record (because of the Ti spindle).

Power Meters Choices and Advice
SRM Campagnolo 4-Bolt Power Meter Crankset
Power Meters Choices and Advice
Power2Max Campagnolo Power Meter Crankset
Power Meters Choices and Advice
Stages Campagnolo left Crank Power Meter
04. COMPATIBILITY ISSUES:

Other makers such as Quark and of course Shimano, now, offer crankset based systems but drivetrain compatibility needs to be taken into account – front shifting in mixed systems is always compromised – as is warranty. Mating mixed systems together will always negate a manufacturer’s warranty and in any case, by the time you have spent the money to acquire a suitable bike, groupset and power measurement device, you’ll have spent a lot of money – so it makes no sense to then have sub-optimal performance and to void the functional, as well as the materials and workmanship warranty.

Power Meters Choices and Advice
We fitted this Epoca R60 with Quarq Power Meter Crankset, combined with Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset – its owner had several functionality issues, plus a void of his groupset guarantees.
05. THE ALTERNATIVES OF SHOE, PEDAL AND HUB SYSTEMS:

There are also shoe, pedal and hub-based systems to consider. PowerTap as a hub-based system is a point of reference for many and can be ordered to mount any maker’s cassette. In pedals, Garmin probably lead that market and their system is portable bike-to-bike (like a rear wheel based system) although frequent swapping in and out of pedals is probably best avoided … John Luck from Spain are offering a shoe-based system but experience of that in the market is fairly thin at the moment. All of these systems interface with a Garmin or some other ANT+ enabled devices to display the power measurement they make.

Pedals are very portable but you are of course stuck with the cleat system, so if you prefer, say Time to Look Keo, they are maybe not the best option.

A rear-wheel based option is quite portable bike-to-bike but in some cases you may find it necessary to tweak the rear derailleur settings as you swap the wheels in and out (unless you take the time to accurately shim the cassettes so that they all sit in exactly the same place relative to the frame on all your wheels, assuming that is possible which in some cases it may not be). You also (unless you buy two hubs) have to make a choice between rimming with a race-type rim, or a training-type rim. You may and may not want to train all winter on a carbon deep-section and you may and may not be happy to ride on a more robust, training type rim… As mentioned, shoe-based systems are so far not well proven but do of course potentially offer the ultimate in portability and cross-compatibility.

Power Meters Choices and Advice
PowerTap Power Meter hubs wheelset
Power Meters Choices and Advice
Garmin Vector Pedal Power Meter System
Power Meters Choices and Advice
Power Meter shoes by Spanish shoemaker John Luck
Power Meters Choices and Advice
Power Meter In-soles sold for one or both shoes (for road or mountain), by John Luck
06. THE AMAZING POWER-POD SYSTEM:

There is one system in the market that makes a calculation of power, as distinct from a relatively direct measure like strain gauges at the crank, pedal, in the shoe or at the rear hub – PowerPod. It uses a complex algorithm and a set of accelerometers, along with an airspeed measurement to calculate power based around road (therefore air), speed, slope and bike movement measured by the x, y and z plane accelerometers. Properly and carefully set up, testing against PowerTap seems to produce results that are within a fairly tight (+/- 2%) range of compared accuracy. It doesn’t respond quite as quickly as a strain-gauge based system so for measuring absolute power peaks it’s perhaps not as good as some other systems – but its real benefit is that it can be swapped from bike to bike quickly and the set-up routine is quick, involving a 10 minute, normal, road ride. Obviously its limitation is that it won’t work on a home-trainer … no airflow! But it does not interfere with the transmission in any way so you are not making compromises with pedal system, possibly shifting or your choice of rear wheel on, say, race day.

Power Meters Choices and Advice
PowerPod is the only power meter that attaches to your handlebars–no need to change your crank, wheel, pedals, or bottom bracket.
Power Meters Choices and Advice
PowerPod is the only power meter that moves from bike to bike in less than one minute.
Power Meters Choices and Advice
PowerPod transmits its data in ANT+ and (optionally) Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
07. REMEMBER THAT THE GAINS ARE…… MARGINAL:

As a general conclusion on this subject, we find that a lot of riders get very hung up on the numbers, just as they do on the minutiae of the aero performance of this or that bike or pair of wheels, etc – remember that the basics of rider position have to be right, nutrition and rest have to be right and the body needs to be in a general state to train properly before you start working on how to optimise training and then the plethora of fine detail that follows on from that. Marginal Gains (as “paying attention to detail” is now known, post Dave Brailsford) is all very well but remember they are *marginal* gains – so getting a proper bike fit with a bio-mechanic that has long and wide experience (rather than a flashy computer program, lasers, smoke and mirrors), a coach that actually has time and inclination to coach you properly as well as the knowledge to properly understand the output from and so to use modern technology like a PM, will pay bigger dividends in the end than any piece of hardware in and of itself. Above all, we always advise to ride your bike and enjoy riding your bike for it’s own sake – the rest follows. The great Bernard Hinault, five times TdF winner and winner of virtually every other significant race on the calendar once said: “for me, riding the bike was always a game” …that’s how it should be, before you will see the real advantages of PMs and other related technology.

And what did YOU choose and why?  Please do share with us your experience with Power-Meters…

Power Meters Choices and Advice
The great Bernard Hinault, who won the Tour de France five times

With the valued contribution of Graeme Freestone King of Velotech Cycling Ltd
Campagnolo Main UK Service Centre
Modular Cycle Mechanics Training to Nationally Recognised Standards

Happy New Year…. and some TT talk

Happy New Year! …we’ve started the new year running, today with some TT work in our workshop, in preparation for 13th January fitting sessions… and while we’re at it, we’d like to highlight a few important points on this tricky subject.

Unlike the Triathlon position, which is a less extreme set-up, the Time-Trial position – or TT – is difficult to master. We often use the word “develop” because both Triathlon and TT positions are not easily achievable from day one, during a bike fitting session…. but they are the result of education and adaptation; it takes long term team work, a close relationship between rider, bio-mechanic and potentially coach / personal trainer.

Most importantly, the foundation of a good TT set-up is a specific frame geometry, different from the road one, with very specific angles… and bear in mind that a good TT position, although extreme, doesn’t have to be as uncomfortable as people usually expect it to be.

We follow closely the development of our clients, during the fitting sessions, set-up of the bike, throughout their future physical adaptation and performances… This personal relationship with the rider is vital and the results are always outstanding. The efficiency, comfort and performance improvements shave MINUTES from their PBs.

An important factor to consider is the choice of right bike for you. For example, if a standard size, off-the-peg frame / bike is your choice, you may want to consider one that offers you adjustment options of stem / headset / bars / TT extensions / seatpost, rather than integrated cockpits and seatposts… otherwise you may get stuck with some settings that are not good for your body.

For example the Dedacciai Flash 2  is a generally good standard sized frame, for quality, geometry and price (£3,400). We can order it in on demand and custom build it to any specs:

Dedacciai Flash 2 monocoque carbon TT frame

If your budget can stretch to the absolutely perfect fit of a made to measure frame, then we have no hesitation in recommending the best: Sarto Ferox, totally hand made in Italy – again, we can measure you up, design the right geometry and have it made for you:

Sarto Feox, handmade in Italy carbon fibre, made to measure

Whether off-the-peg or made-to-measure, our bio-mechanic Giuseppe Giannecchini is completely independent and will always advise which brand, model and size is good for each client – depending on their choices and budgets. In an ideal scenario, the best way forward is to come in for a fitting first and afterwards order the bike / frame recommended for you.

This quiet moment of the year – if you’re considering a change, looking to improve / correct things – is the perfect time to sort out your position for the new season.

Happy riding in 2018!

Giuseppe fitting Simon Cox for his TT races
At the first club 10 mile Time-Trial after his initial fitting session with Giuseppe, Simon did his best time in the last 3 years.

Merry Christmas, opening hours and some info…

This year we’ll be open as normal until Saturday 23rd December, then we’ll be around over the festivities period to catch up with the backlog of work we’ve got, but shut to the public until 4th January; Please see our opening hours below:

– SAT 23 DEC, open 10am to 4pm
– SUN 24 DEC closed
– MON 25 DEC closed
– From TUE 26 DEC to WED 3 JAN closed
– Open as usual from THU 4 JAN

In January, the New Year will start super fast again, straight away with the bike fitting sessions, on SAT 13 // SUN 14 JAN… it is now fully booked for the Saturday, but we still have a couple of slots for the Sunday, if you’d like a last minute booking.

We also have this new blog, just launched – part of a new website we’re about to launch in the new year – this blog has lots of informative reads and info, which discuss our views on the industry, what we’re up to and what we’re all about… stay tuned!

Our workshop is constantly busy and if you wish to book in your bike in for a quick turnaround service or repair, please do so by telephone on 020719 37047 in our opening hours, or anytime by email – Remember that if you are a Racer Rosa Bike owner, you always get a 20% discount on any mechanical work, service, upgrade or repair.

Okay then… all of Racer Rosa Team wish you to enjoy a fun, but also restful and peaceful Christmas Time!

Racer Rosa Workshop – officially recognised Campagnolo “Pro-Shop”

Some FAQ about our Bike Fitting Sessions

If you fancy knowing a bit more about our fitting method, you may find the following Q&A interesting:

Q. What is Bike Fitting?

A. The art and science of placing riders correctly on their bicycles by adjusting their contact points, the saddle and handlebars. Within the correct technical parameters for their frame design. Therefore, if the frame is the wrong size/geometry then it may not be possible to obtain the correct fit.

Q. Will my fitting session take a long time?

A. The initial session will take from 1 to 1.5hrs.

Q. Setting up and fitting my bike seems easy, can anyone do it?

A. No, it seem easy but it takes years of experience to be able to set up a rider correctly on their bike. For example, as soon as you move one contact point it changes all the other parameters.

Q. After my initial fit am I then set for life?
A. No, your body needs time to adapt to your new position, you will need a follow up fitting session 6 to 12 weeks [ideally having ridden 1000 to 3000km in your new position] after you first session. If you have also brought a new frame or bike, then the follow up should be done on the new bike. Please note, as you develop as a cyclist your fitness and therefore your optimal bike fit will also change.

Q. How much will my follow up session cost?

A. Your first follow up is Free of Charge. As long as it is carried out within 6 months of your initial fitting.

Q. If you provide the “perfect fit” why would I ever need to come back for re-assessment?

A. The human body adapts to the changes your new position brings, we all get a little older each day, our bodies change, when we are young we are growing, as we get older we start to shrink! As we get fitter… or maybe not quite so fit, after a lay off the bike. All of these complex factors will affect “your ideal position” on the bike.

Q. I am the same height and build as my friend, so we must both have the same fit?

A. Not necessarily so, two persons of identical height and morphology can have two completely different fits. Bike fitting is very much a personal one to one requirement. Our bodies are very individual, we all work to different degrees of efficiency within different ranges.

Q. The position or condition of my shoe plates does not really matter, as my pedals allow my feet to “float” to the right position.

A. The position of your shoe plates is very important! In fact fundamental for a correct position on the bike. Poor cleat position and or damaged / worn shoe plates, pedals and shoes is one of the greatest factors contributing to feet and knee problems in cyclists.
NOTE: For clients arriving for a fitting with the wrong size shoes [if more than 1/2 a size too big.. we never normally see anyone with shoes that are too small!] we may not be able to complete their fit.

Q. How can you say your method of bike fitting is an art and a science?
A. Through many years of study, we have looked at thousands of cyclists, and used Mathematics to provide the scientific answers to the many questions of the art form of bike fitting. We can now demonstrate the science behind the optimal bike fit. There is a real “Art” in being able to evaluate every client fully, being able to interpret their current position, their physical characteristics, their adaptation to an incorrect position on their existing bike. After analysing all of this we provide every customer with their own pathway to their ideal fit, this is where our experience and expertise really counts.

Q. What is the difference between frame size & bike fit?

A. The correct “frame size” and design is calculated from your personal morphology, your body size and shape. The correct “bike fit” is how you are then “fitted” to the frame and all its components. Please note that if the frame is the wrong size or design, you will not be able to achieve the correct bike fit. The frame/bike you ride should be made to fit you, not the other way around, of you having to try and fit the bike.

Q. Why do I need to bring my existing bike to my fitting if I wish to buy a new bike, to which you will fit me?

A. It is very important for us to see how the rider has been conditioned by their existing bike. If you have more than one bike please bring the one which you currently use most of all. If you wish to be fitted on more than one bike we need to know in advance, you need to book multi bike set up session. If it is not possible for you to bring your existing bike[s] to the fitting session, then please email us in advance a photo of the said bike. [side on photo please] Either way do not forget your cycle shoes and your bib shorts [bib shorts are always better than normal shorts]

Q. Does my frame size really need to be an exact size or design?
A. The correct design and size of frame for your personal body size will allow a “range” of adjustments to create the correct bike fit. Therefore the correct bike fit can be achieved on two different size frames. However there are technical limitations as to how these adjustments can carried out by changing the bikes components. Some bikes of the same size with have different geometry and therefore may not be suitable for your correct fit. We offer impartial and independent advice on frame/bike sizing of all bicycle manufactures.

Q. I am not able to attend one of your fitting locations, what can I do?
A. We are also experienced at offering a fitting at distance service, we have fitted customers all around the world who we have never actually meet in person. We are also able to offer our custom frame design service at distance. Please contact us for more information.

Q. I am looking to buy a hand built made to measure frame, can you help with the frame design.

A. Yes! All customers that are fitted by us are supplied with a scale frame design of your ideal frame geometry. We know and work with many frame builders. We also take into account not only your fit when designing your frame, also the material[s] you will use, the profiles of the tubing and the desired ride qualities of the bicycle. Ensuring your dream bike is perfect for you.

You can read more from Giuseppe’s website: VeloSolutions

Giuseppe during a fitting session with Ollie Rastall, getting ready for his RAAM (Race Across America – www.raceacrossamerica.org)

Campagnolo 2018 – Disc Brakes Groupsets

As many of you already know, the big news for 2018 will be the choice of Campagnolo Groupset equipped with hydraulic disc brakes. As a Campagnolo Pro-Shop, we have attended the product training and seen all these new products extensively. Our opinion is that, if disc brakes is your choice, Campagnolo ones will make you very happy… Yes, they have entered the market quite late comparing with their competitors but this ended up to be at their advantage, coming out with a superior product, which also looks great. One very good point is that Campagnolo is the only manufacturer who addressed the different chainline (due to the wider standard rear end), accordingly re-designing all the chainsets, in order to keep the shifting as perfect is it can be. Absolutely top stuff… you can see more here in the Campagnolo website…. or browse the Campagnolo products availability from the official UK distributor: Chicken Cycle Kit.

Campagnolo Disc Brakes Carbon Road bike
Campagnolo H11 Lever and Caliper
Campagnolo Disc Brake Rotors
Campagnolo front dIsc brake

Bio Mechanic Bike Fitting

Via a series of quick frequently asked questions, bio-mechanic Giuseppe Giannecchini explains the most common problems and misconceptions about bike riding positions and bike fitting in general.

 

01. WHY DOES MY SADDLE HURT?

 

02. WHY DO I GET NUMB HANDS?

 

03. WHY DO I GET SORE KNEES?

Racer Rosa and Jonathan Edwards

We built a couple of made to measure bikes for Olympic Medallist and Triple Jump World Record Holder, Jonathan Edwards. The first one was a Columbus Spirit steel Racer Rosa ‘Sport’, with carbon fork, Miche Supertype carbon crankset and wheels, Shimano Dura Ace groupset and Deda Superleggero finishing kit. We then met up with Jonathan in his favourite cycling spot – in the northern part of the Lake district for a ride and to ask him a few questions about his experience of choosing one of our bikes and riding it…. here’s a bunch of little vids with the questions we asked:

 

01. WHY MADE TO MEASURE?

 

02. WHY STEEL?

 

03. WAS A BIKE FITTING SESSION IMPORTANT TO YOU?

Made to measure carbon fibre, why?

Our carbon frames are made to measure and hand crafted in Italy by master frame builders who have built competition frames for over 60 years.

Made of Italian carbon tubes, our frames handle and perform like a dream, but we also wanted to design a frameset that has a minimal, classic and elegant look, in keeping with the style that has always distinguished Racer Rosa products. We’re very happy with the result and, at £2,900 for a made to measure carbon frame and fork, it is selling very well.

Now, there is an FAQ – why should you go for a ‘made to measure’ carbon product over a standard sized frame, given there are a lot of affordable carbon frames in the market? We’ve tried to nail down some answers for you:

01 / THE FIT
It’s true, if you’re not an odd shape you can fit a standard frame. However, a standard size is always going to be a compromise. Have you ever compared a made to measure tailored suit with one off the rail, from the high street? The analogy is appropriate: even if you can find a nice suit in a shop, the suit made by a skilled tailor will look and feel completely different and it will fit impeccably.

It’s simple: a frame that is built around your body will ride better. The geometry will be designed for your body type and size, with the right tube angles and lengths and visually it will be beautifully proportioned. It will handle like no standard sized frame; the weight balance will be perfectly distributed on the two wheels affording you ideal, stable lines, especially for cornering and downhill, even when braking suddenly (also safer). There’s no vibrations, no twitching, no nervous handling – the typical behaviours of monocoque, standard moulded frames.

Racer Rosa Lombardi, made to measure carbon fibre frameset, Campagnolo Chorus groupset.

02 / THE PERFORMANCE
The bike with the best fit offers the best, uncompromised performance. It allows all the rider’s muscles to work harmoniously and efficiently, the way they should. This typically shaves minutes off our clients’ PBs.

Jonathan Edwards with his brand new carbon Lombardi, made to measure for him.

03 / THE COMFORT
Let’s bust another myth here; comfort and performance go together. A well constructed made to measure frame doesn’t compromise on performance, responsiveness and stiffness – typical aspects of carbon fibre – but it also offers a supremely comfortable ride, due to the wrapped carbon technology on the lugs areas (where the tubes are joined together). This is a big contrast with harsh monocoque (one piece moulded frame) technology.

Finalising Jamie’s riding position with Giuseppe

04 / THE FITNESS
If you ride a comfortable bike, you can easily spend more hours on it. You can get back on day after day with no stiffness and no pain. You can perform better, with more motivation and derive more pleasure from your training. As a result you cycle more, clock up higher mileage over the year and this pushes you to a higher level of fitness. Not least, the lower risk of injury makes it a long term investment too, as you spend less money on physiotherapy and so on.

Chris is a Triathlon racer

05 / HERITAGE AND EXPERTISE MADE IN ITALY
Some standard monocoque frames (mass produced in the far east) can be well made, but our frames are superior. They are hand made one by one, by master frame builders who have been constructing competition frames since the 1940’s. They are based in the heart of what has traditionally been Italy’s most productive region in the cycling industry. They test and develop their own carbon tubes (the carbon tubes are made in Italy too). Obviously made to measure frames standards vary (and not all artisan frame builders make a great product) but our selection of frame builders and brands come with 20 years’ experience of testing frames in the market.

Hand made in Italy carbon fibre frame, from Italian carbon tubes – only made to measure.

 

 

Built on demand, custom painted any colour / any colourscheme.
…Any shape, any discipline, made to measure and custom built.

06 / MADE TO MEASURE!…NOT JUST “BESPOKE” OR “CUSTOM”
Note: there are a number of bike shops and online companies that offer the ‘bespoke build’. This is just a ‘dimensionally correct’ fit, meaning they fit you onto the standard size that is correct enough for your body (mainly considering just 2 measurements: the top-tube length and the seat-tube height) and they let you select a limited range of components and colours. This should not be confused with our Made to Measure approach, or ‘geometrically correct’ – where a frame is designed and built specifically to your body, taking into consideration ALL of the following points, down the mm for length and 0.1 degree for angles:

– Head tube height- Saddle / handlebars drop
– Top tube length- Seat tube angle
– Seat tube height- Saddle setback
– Headtube angle
– Fork rake
– Wheelbase length
– Front wheelbase
– Rear triangle type
– Stem length to top tube length proportion
– Tube profiles / diametres

Unique, individual bike geometry and riding position parametres.

07 / THE EXCLUSIVITY FACTOR
The well known multinational bike brands invest hugely in marketing and Pro Team sponsorship, to create aspirations. If you’re not fooled by the hype you will see your made to measure bike as a unique thing of beauty. Even the paint finish will be exclusively made for you. We are proud to represent a niche alternative to the above mass-production.

Looking pretty special in the UK countryside backdrop.

08 / THE PRICE
If you’re interested in a high quality bike then it makes sense. Our prices are actually similar to any high end, off the peg bike and we’re even cheaper than many (i.e. Pinarello, S-Works, Cipollini, De Rosa). But, when you do your research and price comparisons, please don’t compare our products to £1K Canyon, Merckx, Fondriest and the like. Yes, they may look sexy, but we are talking about a different league here, and you will absolutely feel that, when you ride one of our bikes.

In the Alps

09 / A 360 DEGREE PURCHASE
We’ll have a face to face relationship with you, which makes the purchasing process unique. You will see a number of qualified professionals who will take into careful consideration your needs, before and after purchasing. There’s the (world leading) bio-mechanic to design your geometry and fine-tune your position, the graphic designer who will help you create your unique colour-scheme, the project manager who will discuss your project specs in detail with you, the artisan frame builders / painters (factory visits can be accommodated at any time of the process) and the mechanic to assemble and test your bike. The whole team is committed to giving the best possible bike for your budget.

Weather carbon, aluminium or steel, all of the bikesin our showroom share the same stylish and minimal elegance.

10 / THE FEEDBACK
It is difficult to find online reviews of made to measure frames, it is a niche market after all, but the feedback from our clients speaks for itself, have a look here:

AMIT: “I found myself pushing my limits and I noticed that I didn’t feel I was losing my front when the road conditions were bad. The balance was perfect and makes me push harder. The frame does not flex. I have immediately achieved a personal best and, compared to my previous sportives, the result brings a smile and a great sense of achievement.”

RICHARD: “I used to ride a Ford Escort turbo ­ judderingly quick up the hills and terrifying down. Now I¹m in a Bentley smooth, beautiful to look at and deceptively quick. A brilliant package.”

BRYN: “I feel the urge to pedal faster, as it gets more enjoyable. The ride quality is magical, I just never imagined that it could be this comfortable and this light. BB power transmission is superb. The front end is super stiff and responsive. And there is zero road chatter. It makes me want to ride this cycle exclusively and retire all the others.”

ADRIAN: “Light for the steepest climbs, agile on descents and comfortable for long rides that you still feel fresh after a long day in the saddle.”

RICH: “This bike is so bloody good I find it hard to ride gently. I always end up in the big ring, mashing along, not pushing it too hard but nevertheless, going along at a fair speed. And how stiff the bottom bracket and down tube are!”

Jamie and his full carbon made to measure machine, another happy client.