Find your own Tri bike setup like a pro

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.

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

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.

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

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