Thursday, July 15, 2010


I'm a bit of a fit freak. Everything has to be in it's right place, and if it's not, it drives me crazy. Over the past 9 months I've been really happy with the fit of my GF Cronus. Enough so that I want all my noodle bar bikes to fit identical to it.

Let's take a break from our regularly scheduled program and talk a little bit about fit. Almost 5 years ago I went to Serotta fit school. It's a pretty amazing fit technique and one of the better ones in my book. The one issue I have with most bike fits is the always debated knee over pedal spindle (KOPS) fore aft adjustment. The theory is you are most efficient when your tibia tuberosity is directly over the pedal spindle when the crank is in the three or nine o'clock position (right or left).  Although this is a great baseline to start from, I feel like it's far from precise for the individual. Years ago I started moving my saddle forward and now my knee is anywhere from 1-2 cm in front of the spindle. I can get away with this because I have unusually long femurs. My forward position helps with my mechanical advantage while climbing but also balances my weight distribution between the front and rear wheels. So where does this leave me?

Bike fit is a bit of voodoo science if you ask me, and I struggle with KOPS. So when I set up my Ibis I started with the KOPS method. Why? Hell, I don't know, but it sucked.

So over the past two weeks I've tried it all. Saddle fore aft. Stem rise and reach. The whole time trying to duplicate my road fit on my cross. So why so hard? Well, it wouldn't be if...I was using identical saddles. So enter the saddle debate. I really like the Bontrager inForm I ride on the road but the little pointy tabs on the back make it suck for 'cross because it grabs your shorts and rips them. Enter the Ritchey Streem. But something didn't feel right. I thought, maybe it's saddle shape. So I got on the horn and borrowed a Fizik Aliante from MM as it's more curvy where as the Ritchey is flat. Still no go.

Eureka! After spending a few days on the Ibis I jumped back on the Cronus this morning. Immediately I noticed the road position was more forward and higher. The answer, slide the Ritchey saddle forward about 7mm, raise it 3mm, and install a 140mm stem. Bingo. The two bikes feel almost identical.

Now, team over analysis is wondering if this road position will even work for 'cross. Some folks think you want to shorten reach and increase rise on your 'cross bike. I guess I'm about to find out.

So what you see above is almost the setup. New RS30 wheels installed and ready for a good training ride thrashing and occasional mud race. Extra long 140mm stem, damn it's big, makes you fell like a euro road pro though. Missing is my in transit Dura-Ace 7800 crank with 46t chainring. Other than that we're ready to go. Oh, and it'll of course be sans bottle cages. Why you ask? 1. They get in the way when you carry the bike; and 2. You race for an hour or less, you don't need water.



So 'cross practice...My plan is to start Wednesday, August 11th at 6pm. This gives us 7 good weeks of 'cross simulation before the racing kicks off in Madison for the USGP or KC. For those interested in 'cross, if you've been doing the Wednesday night road ride from the Trek store this will be an easy transition as our families are use to us being out late that night. I have two courses set-up. The first is the one we used last year at Seymour Smith park. It loops around the soap box derby track and includes a gravel pit to test your skills. The second course is at the old Chili Greens gold course. I'm not sure if we're supposed to be in there but it appears to be open to the public so I say we go for it. Chili Greens will focus more on power training as the grass is crazy thick. I will of course have practice barriers on hand so you can get the hang of the odd part of 'cross. We'll move the barriers around week to week so we can focus on high speed dismounts as well as forced run-ups. All are welcome and it will be an awesome opportunity to ask questions and learn proper technique. Hope to see you all there.


Scott Redd said...

Beautiful. I love the colored tape work.

sydney said...

what time are you doing cx practice? might have some lincolnites who want to make the trip

MOD 2.0 said...

Six o'clock on the dot.

sydney said...

I'm a poor reader. I see you typed that. Help me out with directions though.

Google says seymore is 55 min away, so could probably do that one, but not till sept.

Correct location? Directions to Seymore Park from Lincoln

Where's the Chili Greens course?

speedomodel said...

Very nice indeed. I'm surprised that a 140mm stem doesn't look too long, but maybe that's because I still live in quill stem world. :)

MOD 2.0 said...

Syd, probably easier getting off 80 on Harrison.

Chili Greens is south of College of St. Mary's/Aksarben village.

MOD 2.0 said...

James, it doesn't feel or look too long. Maybe it's because we're used to seeing all the pro guys running mongo stems. They all ride one frame size smaller to get the bar drop thy need but it then forces them to all ride 140 stems.

Three years ago you hardly find a 140, now everybody makes one.

mw said...

you said, "unusually long..."

MOD 2.0 said...

That's what she said.

Noah Marcus said...

woooo CX practice!

vaughn said...

Mark, +1 on fit being a "voodoo" science. I think its important to get a proper fit when starting out. But once you have the miles in the legs and know how you want the bike to feel without injury you're fine.

I'm also curious about translating road bike fit to cross fit when I build up my Crossbow. Keep us posted on any thoughts on the more aggressive road fit off-road.

Rad-Renner said...

Can "regular" people come out to the Wed. night CX worlds, or just freaky-fast CX pros? Not to be a killjoy, but I think UNO now owns the Chili Greens property, so I would not be surprised if they called security on a group of bike riders, just sayin'. For the past two years I've been training on a CX loop at Traquility, so if anyone's interested in that as an alternative to S.S., lemme know. The city mows out a grassy loop at Tranquility for the high schoolers to run cross-country on, and that make a pretty nice, very rideable loop.

Matt N said...


What did final weight end up being?

What wheels/tires are you going to use to race?


MOD 2.0 said...

Vaughn, for sure, after my months of fit changes I have a plethora of stems so I'll be tweaking as needed, but right now it feels awesome.

Dave, all are welcome, and feel free to ask as many questions as you have. I'd love to see a huge Omaha contingent racing cross this fall. Yes, Chili Greens was bought by UNO but it's open (no locked gate). It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission right? Unless someone has a inside contact, Brunt?

Matt, I think I was around 16 with nothing too special. The race wheels will be Ultegra 6700 with Challenge Grifo or Fango's. This year the funds are being spent on a "B" bike, next year I'll drop for carbon wheels, probably Edge / DT setup.