Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frame Stack and Reach - The Easy Way

In the coming months I will be doing more triathlon bike fitting and have been doing more studying on brand differences and sizing.

One item of interest to me has been the standardization of frame stack and reach to quantify frame size and future bike decisions.

I have used bar stack and reach to consistently set up my singlespeed mountain bikes for years and am going to start using frame stack and reach measures more often for my fit folks when it is time to ask the question, "Will my new bike fit?"

Firstly, what the hell is frame stack and reach?

The horizontal and vertical relationship between 2 points:
1. The center of the bottom bracket.
2. The center of the top of the head tube.

Take a look over this Velo News article for a primer - http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/05/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq/technical-faq-setting-your-bikes-up-identically_216035





X-Y (Stack & Reach) measurements of the center of the handlebar and the top of the head tube from the center of the bottom bracket. Mike Reisel illustration


The pic illustrates frame AND bar reach/stack but this post is concerned only with frame stack/reach.

The bigger question: How do I measure this at home?!

As you can see in the article...it is doable but takes some special equipment (I use a self leveling laser at the shop because it is so easy) or fiddling to keep it against a wall. The purpose of this post is to show how I do this at home with only a level and a tape measure. You will also need to use a triangle calculator app to obtain the reach measurement from the hypotenuse (diagonal BB to top of HT measurement). I like this site for calculations but any will work:
http://www.csgnetwork.com/righttricalc.html

Time to get to work. Side note...this stuff is easier with a soft tape measure. It makes it easy to tell the zero mark is right in the center of your starting point. Just make sure to hold it taut when measuring so the flex of the tape doesn't throw you off.




1. Set your bike DEAD level with a 3 foot level between axle centers. Don't guess. A trainer is helpful here. By helpful I mean critical so don't lean it on a wall.

2. Measure the distance from center of BB to floor in mm. This is "d".

3. Measure the distance from the top center of the headtube to the floor. This is "e".

4. "e" - "d" = Frame stack. Easy. This will be "a"

5. Measure directly from center of bb to top center of headtube. This is "c". This is a diagonal measurement.

6. Plug "c" into the triangle calc app as the hypotenuse (diagonal) and "a" in as the frame stack or vertical dimension. Hit calculate and voila...there is "b" the frame reach.

*In the instance of a popular bike, a Cervelo P2 size 54, the stack "a" would be 512 mm and the diagonal "c" measurement BB to HT would be 661 mm. Calculated reach is 418mm.

This is pretty useful for any type of bike although be careful with your MTB. Rigid bikes are easy but front and rear suspension complicate matters once sag is thrown in. The ideal situation would be to have the rider mount the bike to sag it out then have a friend/understanding significant other get your measurements. Often a rigid and suspended bike will feel the same when both are set up right but have differing measurements.

Also be careful in comparing bikes with integrated vs. external headsets.

There is a good chance someone has already written this same thing but better. If this is the case... oh well. This is simply my experience and what I find to work well. It is simple, consistent, and requires minimal tools. Hope it helps.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How Do I Squat?

A great question.

This is not a post to provide benefits of squatting or to talk you into doing so.

Motivation comes from within and if you have arrived here you have likely already decided to squat so let's get on with it.

I have many fit clients and PT patients who have no idea how to squat and nobody has every showed them!

I had some trouble finding a comprehensive video on how to squat for those NOT able to do so already. A plethora of things can limit squatting and in this video I try to take a systematic and logical approach.



I will likely revise this a bit but it turned out well.

Please take a look and if you have feedback I welcome it

johnkarrasch at gmail dot com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ready to shred. Iron Maiden style.

Man...busy few weeks.

Fits are coming at me fast and furious. I'm busy, but happy Flex Fit is working out so far. Couldn't do it without Melissa. She's awesome and and always listens to the crazy ideas I have brewing. I have some new stuff for you mountain bike folk that is pretty killer if I say so myself.

Others seem to like it as well...

Did a quick ride to try out my new fit from John Karrasch.  I already had my CX bike fit by him and thought he might be able to help me out on the MTB.  Since he has a professional background in physical therapy (he is a physical therapist 40 hours a week), and is also a total bike geek, he seems to understand the intersection of the body and bike better than most bike shop folks.
We made some fairly substantial changes to my fit, especially shortening and widening the cockpit on my bike.   
Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by the difference it made.  Can't believe I've been riding around way too stretched out for years.

Thanks John.  Look forward to getting my road bike fit by you.
I usually caution people of an awkward period post fit while getting adjusted but sometimes it feels pretty solid out of the box. I'll take it.
Road, cross, mtb and all the other disciplines all have their needs and I'm happy to apply my knowledge to the best of my ability to get you moving and riding more efficiently. 
If you wanna get in you can get all my info on the sidebar to your right or go to the FLEX FiT site.
On the racing front, I'm sure some of you remember the Burn 24 Hour...it was awesome. Now it is sadly no more.
Chainbuster Racing has you covered with the upcoming 24 Hours Of Iron Maiden! Great people and great trails. Can't or won't ride for 24? No prob, plenty of duo and team options. Hit the link HERE and go get in while online reg is still open. See you there!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Flex Fit Testimonials

"The verdict? The fit has made me feel dramatically better on my cross bike. My handling is wildly improved as is the back pain. It has taken me a few weeks to get 100% adjusted to fit, and during that time I’ve been backing off the intensity but still doing longer road rides on the cross bike and the difference has been noticeable and pleasant."    
-Andrew


"The exercises were good and I liked that you included the YouTube channel. I'm more of a visual learner and it helped me to remember what exercises I needed to be doing. My fave was the one I can do on the couch that stretches my quads/hip flexors. I can do it while I watch tv :)"
-Marion



"John Karrasch has a bike fit business now. I went and had one done yesterday and was pumped about my new setup when I left. Nothing against any bike fits that I've had done in the past, but John's was unique combination of his PT knowledge, years of bike shop know-how, and real world application. It was more than just millimeters, the guy is thorough. Took 3 hours. He even gave me a list of exercises to do at home to help fix my goofball riding style."
-Lee






Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Jerry Gerlich Bike Fit and Austin trip

Melissa and I went all the way to Austin, Texas this past weekend for a bike fit! Here is the how and why of it all...

I have had my Fuji Roubaix now for a few months and it has been a good bike so far. Nothing fancy, just a solid road bike...my first one in about five years I would guess!

I have fiddled with the position here and there but due to the fact I cannot watch myself ride some things were not quite dialed in. I knew I was close but needed some help.

Whats an obsessive bike fitter to do? Find another obsessive bike fitter of course!

My experiences with traditional fits have been disappointing to say the least and one of my inspirations for finally getting my own fit business started.

I came across Jerry Gerlich of Castle Hill Cycles in Austin, TX through Steve Hogg's website. Steve has an amazing mind and a boatload of common sense on his website. Some of it may seem a bit out there but it holds up to the important question, "Does it work?"

Anyone that has ever had a bike fit or is thinking of getting one should read the Perspectives on Fitting article on Steve's site. Read it. Trust me. "Pro bike fits" are not all the same and range from great to quite poor. Choose carefully.

I have felt best on my bike through setting myself up based on comfort and advice from Steve via email. Steve has only trained a few people in the world and Jerry happens to be one of them! Steve only takes a select few fitters to train and there is no guarantee you will pass if you go train with him. Those selected to train with him stay for three weeks of learning. I hope to make the trip to Australia in the next few years to train with Steve myself.

Melissa was nice enough to get me a fit from Jerry for my Christmas present this year and we had a great trip out to Austin aside from a mild panic over a broken starter in downtown Austin.

The Castle
Jerry is super knowledgeable about all things bike and body related. He knows his music pretty well too. The gym at Castle Hill Fitness next door to the shop is probably the coolest one I have set foot in. Tons of free weights (sorry...) and Pilates equipment. There are a variety of yoga and indoor cycling studios in the building. There is also some wild Jacob's Ladder contraption people climb which fortunately I didn't have to suffer on!

Equipment inside Castle Hill Fitness
Jerry had me warm up on a Total Gym squatting tower with very light weight and listen to some music while he measured my bike. Afterwards he showed me some of his methods of measuring and I even learned a couple new tricks to use with my own fits. I warmed up for a few minutes on the bike and did a brief time trial at what was supposed to be an 8/10 effort. I hit it a bit too hard and barely made it two minutes but he now had a good idea how my body functioned at high intensity. He briefly went over with me some problems he noticed with my position and how they were affecting my body.

Next we went through an extensive off bike analysis of how my body worked off the bike. This is one of the most important parts of the fit because limitations in your body's function and symmetry can really limit on bike performance. Despite my current holiday beer gut I am still fairly flexible and stable so I did pretty well on this portion. Jerry did find some areas I can improve on to be more stable while riding and I look forward to integrating his suggestions into my off bike exercise routine.

Before I got back on the bike, Jerry did some testing to determine leg length and posture to make sure I was functioning as well as possible before we went through the rest of the fit. Turns out I have a right leg that is a bit shorter than the other and this was playing a role in my pelvis tilting to the right under high load. We went through some of the "weird stuff" that Jerry learned from Steve in Oz which made a significant difference in my symmetry and posture. One of the longest sections of the fit was optimizing my cleat position and foot correction which includes proper arch support and wedging to tilt the foot to where it is most stable on the pedal with no pressure points. This helps optimize proprioceptive feedback to the parts of your nervous system that coordinate the pedal stroke.

Just from the foot adjustments I was more stable on the bike and felt more powerful! I was still dropping that damn hip and while I left the room Jerry made some adjustments to the bike. He didn't tell me what they were but when I got back on it felt different but good. We did another time trial and the hip drop was gone. The stability was further improved as well. We did a quick adjustment of the bars which I had pretty close but they were now more comfortable. Road bars are way harder than mountain bike bars to setup!

We went outside and I did a couple hill climbs to check everything out. Looks good, feels good...I was happy. Jerry did one last measure of the bike setup so I have a reference in case I ship it anywhere. Six hours later and we were done! The time totally evaporated while I was there and I was pretty damn tired when we were done.

Overall it was a great experience and totally worth the trip. Jerry offers a great approach to bike fitting that is individualized to the client to get them as comfortable and efficient as possible. The fact he offers a money back guarantee made me confident in his methods and I felt like he really wanted to help me and not just line some stuff up to make a buck (quite a few bucks really haha...). He wasn't worried about my knee or hip angle while pedaling. No goniometers or plumb bobs to set me up. No plugging numbers into a computer to get a readout. No fancy motion capture. Everything was done by him watching me ride and making adjustments to improve my function on the bike. Cool stuff! I did a ride on the rollers yesterday and felt comfortable although uncoordinated in the new position. I plan on doing some easy rides the next few weeks so my body can reprogram as needed.

Austin itself was a great town. Cool stores, avocado margaritas, barbecue trucks. I'd go again. We also stopped at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop on the way out of town which was fun. Bit of bicycle sensory overload there.

Guy with a cat on his shoulder

Mellow Johnny's fit area

Huge shop

Rapha envy

All Lance, all the time

LA LT100 bike

Awesome Project One commuter

Old Lance tour bike

TT and barely ridden madone

Fastest bikes in the shop

Trek fixed gear conversion. Campy Record cranks


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Flex Fit for Cyclocross? Sure.

Bike fitting can be a complex puzzle to solve and becomes even more so when the high intensity and technical handling demands of cyclocross racing are added to the mix.

Here is a review of my fit process by Andrew Boyd, local fast guy and Team Momentum racer.

Off-season fit | Team Momentum


For those of you interested in fits, more information can be found here:

Flex Fit

Sunday, December 1, 2013

2013 Oak Ass 50/100 Blog Post List

THIS PAGE WILL SERVE AS A COLLECTION SPOT FOR WRITE UPS FROM RACERS OR SUPPORT CREW IN ATTENDANCE AT THE 2013 OAK ASS 50/100 MILE MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE. DONT SEE YOURS? SEND IT TO ME AT
jkarrasch@hotmail.com

Brian Toone

Scott Thigpen

Jacob Tubbs

Gretchen Mcelveen

Jeff McCord

Jan Jenkins-Ardovino

Tracy McKay