Toe down pedaling style with neutral, quiet ankle. Photo, Kevin Saunders

Toe down pedaling style with neutral, "quiet" ankle. Photo, Kevin Saunders

I have been talking with folks for years about toe down vs heel down pedaling on the bike. It appears that this topic is as controversial as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle) and as such can take on “sacred cow” status.

I even read on a forum that “toe down pedaling should be avoided”, stating that Lance Armstrong does it with good success, but it should be avoided anyway.

The anecdotal evidence of people pedaling heel down to gain power doesn’t make sense to me, even though I was a proponent of it for years, thinking that by dropping the heel at the top of the pedal stroke that the leg would be straighter and thus more efficient through the pedal stroke. My observations with a power meter equipped setup bike disprove this as an unstable ankle is a power sponge, absorbing the energy right before it gets transferred to the pedals.

I am very interested in hearing your perspective on the merits of heel down pedaling. It doesn’t work for me any better than hyper toe down pedaling, which can fry your Achilles tendon. So the question is, Why do you pedal heel down, if you do?

Thanks so much for reading and I always appreciate comments.

Originally posted 2009-05-12 06:58:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



Debra Crosby with her Dream Bike - Photo: Kevin Saunders

Debra Crosby with her Dream Bike - Photo: Kevin Saunders

If you could have anything designed for your new dream bike, what would you choose? I just got an email inquiry from Brazil today and wanted to share the concept of how I help people that live halfway across the world.

The first part of our conversation revolved around fitting, of course. I prefer to meet people in person because I have not found one person who’s position could not be made more comfortable and efficient. Many people  have told me that they were comfortable and yet they discovered another position that was significantly better. When designing a dream bike for road, triathlon, touring, whatever, the extra effort of getting a good design is worth a trip to Texas.

Some people can’t make the trip to visit me and I understand. This particular case is like that. Fortunately, I have a good track record of helping people remotely once they get the dimensional data I need measured from their bike and I have an extensive interview. Without sharing all my trade secrets, getting balanced on a bike is possible if one knows what to do.

Now comes the fun part! I asked my new Brazilian friend what he wanted and requested a wish list. This is the list I got:

Frame, Parlee Z1 with custom paint
Group, Campagnolo Super Record 11
Cables, Black Nokon
Brakes, Zero Gravity or AX Lightness
Seatpost, AX Lightness
Stem, Zipp
Saddle, Fizik Arione with Carbon rails
Bottle cages,  Zipp
Handlebars – Zipp
Wheels, Lightweight
Pedals, Zero Gravity Nanogram

This is obviously an uber dream bike and it represents one of the nicest ones that I offer. My point is, a dream bike is one that is designed for you specifically, that performs the job you want it to perform and does it so well that you feel it is an investment in your lifestyle, not just a commodity. Here is an example of a dream bike that I just delivered locally to Debra Crosby who has upgraded from other stock bikes to her first custom:

Frame, Guru Geneo with premium paint
Group, Campagnolo Chorus 11
Cables, Black Nokon
Seatpost, FSA K-Force Lite SB 25
Stem, Reynolds
Saddle, Selle San Marco
Bottle cages,  Tacx Tao
Handlebars, Reynolds
Wheels, Reynolds MV carbon clincher
Pedals, Look KEO carbon
Computer, Garmin 705

My question to you is, what is your dream bike? Please leave a comment and tell me what you would get if you could. Go ahead, dream!

Originally posted 2009-03-04 17:10:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



Swim leg of Ironman - Photo from Forbes

Swim leg of Ironman - Photo from Forbes just posted a blog article on triathlons called “World’s Most Grueling Sporting Events“.

Its not often that this sport is mentioned in a major financial or business journal, but triathlon is so perfect for business people. Barriers to entry are relatively small and continued growth is possible. The business benefits of increased processing power, increased capacity for work, ability to maintain focus for longer times and basic toughness are proven and invaluable.

No wonder so many successful people are triathletes. I am just glad people are noticing.

Here is what Forbes says about the Ford Ironman Triathlon:

Ford Ironman World Championship

Held annually in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, this turbocharged triathlon is considered one of the most demanding single-day endurance tests in the world. Racers battle it out in three stages: a 2.4-mile open-ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride across a lava desert and a 26.2-mile (marathon-length) foot race along the coast of the Big Island. By comparison, Olympic triathlons comprise a 1,500-meter (0.9-mile) swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. Despite its difficulty, competition to enter the prestigious Ironman is fierce: triathletes who don’t qualify in one of 21 preliminary races can try to bid for a slot on eBay, where prices often top $45,000.

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Originally posted 2009-01-13 16:20:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



TT Home Setup Form

Home setup form to help you document your bicycle position on a tri bike.

I constantly am asked if I can help folks remotely with their bicycle setup. With a few tools and a little creativity and attention to detail, you can document your bike position accurately to help you in choosing a new bike or in returning the bike to the correct setup if it is disassembled. I am also starting a new semi custom bike program with Parlee and the one thing I must have from you is detailed and accurate setup information if I can help you remotely.

I have two forms attached to this blog post, one that I use in the studio and one that I modified for use anywhere with minimal tools. Both forms will “fully define” your bike setup, which is a fancy term that means all the contact points are known in space relative to the bottom bracket spindle which we use as the datum point, or “home base”.

You need a few things and here is the list:

1) Level floor next to a wall that has a vertical line, which could be a corner, anything really.
2) A level. You don’t need an expensive digital level but I use one from Sears, 24″ long, less than $60. This is to measure the floor, assure that the vertical line really is vertical and if possible, to measure saddle angle.
3) Tape measure. If you go the extra mile and get a tape measure that reads both metric and inches, you will save much headaches and will reduce the possibility for error.
4) A pencil and some masking tape to place marks on the saddle and to fill out the form!
5) An assistant to hold the bike in one place. This assistant needs to be dedicated and patient enough to keep the bike steady while you do all your measurements.

Once you have found your level floor with vertical line, look at the drawing and line up the bike against the wall and make sure the vertical line goes through the bottom bracket spindle. Make sure that you are at right angles (perpendicular) to the bike so you make your measurements accurately. Now the bike is vertical, next to a vertical wall next to a vertical line. We have a starting point. Here is where the assistant comes in very handy. The bike must not move while you do your critical measurements.

1) Measure your saddle setback. If the nose of the saddle is forward of the vertical line, you have negative setback and use a negative number. This is the only critical fore aft measurement so if the bike moves off the vertical line after this it is ok.
2) Measure 150 mm from the nose of the saddle and place a mark on top. Hopefully you figured out this is where some tape goes first! This is the datum point for saddle height and distance from ground.
3) Measure from this point to the ground. The bike must be vertical.
4) Measure from the centerline of the handlebars as they go through the stem to the ground.
5) Measure the top of the aerobar pads to the ground. Measure both to make sure they are level.
6) Ditto for the top of the aerobar extensions.

Now you can measure the rest of the dimensions carefully as they are all from point to point on the bike.

7) Measure from the top of the saddle at the measuring point to the bottom bracket spindle. Get down and look perpendicular to the bike so you know the tape is in the right place. Once it is lined up, use your thumb to hold the tape against the saddle so you can then pull the tape down to the bottom bracket spindle, and measure to the middle. You can be very accurate if you are careful.
8 ) Measure horizontally (level) from the nose of the saddle to the centerline of the bars at the stem. Look straight down and sight the measurement.
9) Measure from the nose of the saddle to the point in between the back of the aerobar pads. This a direct measurement. If you sight between the back of the pads, you can line a thumbnail up on the tape and read it after you sight it in.
10) Measure the same way to the front of the pads.
11) Measure from the back of the pads to the front of the aerobar extension, not counting shifters.

Double check your measurements and you will have documented your position. If you send me these numbers I can help you remotely to design a semi custom Parlee TT frame or a custom frame. If you like your position we can nail it on a new bike and I can help with balance and handling characteristics. You can get a new frame and get fantastic results.

Of course, this is not the same as coming to San Antonio and having me find your position but I know that in the real world, only a very few people have the time to come here. I devised this plan to help you get a world class bike with the minimum of compromises.

Give it a try and give me a call. You may be surprised how quickly you can get a new bike before the season starts that will serve you much better.

TT Pro setup form

This is the same form I use in finding your position at KGS Bikes

Originally posted 2010-01-17 19:55:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter



What is a high end bicycle, anyway?

18 October 2016

The bicycle industry defines “high end” bikes as those which cost over $1,500. That said, KGS custom bicycles start at around $8,000 and range up to over $30,000. Why are they so much more expensive than the bicycle industry’s definition? I subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog and one of his posts gave me the answer […]

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New Real Life Videos available for VR cyclists

16 October 2016

I just received this info from a Tacx email and wanted to pass it along: Ride legendary stages indoors Phil Stone, our cameraman and an avid cyclist himself, keeps making new films. Starting this year the Real Life Videos are also available in wide screen, meaning that, with the help of your Virtual Reality steering […]

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Fool’s Gold – How not to do high end

14 October 2016

I spend a lot of time researching high end bicycles and try to find the best of the best. My idea of true high end bicycles are those who perform as well as they look. I am aware of certain bicycle racers who look down on my bikes and those of my clients, calling us […]

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Advantages of a new frame vs a new bike

13 October 2016

Since the triathlon season is winding down soon, I am getting more calls from folks wanting advice on their tri bikes plus info on road bikes. Because of the recent boom in the bike business, many people have bicycles less than two years old and want to know what I recommend given the state of […]

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Tacx Bushido surprises the Schleck brothers too

12 October 2016

I am adding more info on the Tacx Bushido wireless ergometer. Here is a story taken from the Tacx Bushido website that I am quoting here in its entirety. Not only do Luxembourg brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck play a leading role on the international cycling podium, they are also doing so in the new […]

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KGS Bikes – Pez found us

11 October 2016

I was checking out Pez Cycling News yesterday and had to browse the Daily Distractions. Our buddy Jen Benepe who designed our KGS Bikes jersey had a pic on there recently and I wanted to see if a picture of my training buddy Cynthia would get their attention. It did. Thanks, Cynthia, Jen and Parlee. […]

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