Push to the Next Level with ERO Optimized

It's time for another level of bike fit.

I've been thinking a lot about our bike fit process lately, especially in regard to aero positioning for triathlon and time trial. Watching races, I've seen a lot of less-than-optimal performances out on the course from both pro and age grouper alike. Many of you, those looking for ways to get faster to stand up on the podium, or get that tough-to-achieve, but oh-so-close qualification, are leaving minutes out on the course with positions that are good, but perhaps could be better. The key is this, sometimes achieving the most aero and efficient position possible is a process. That's why we've come up with ERO Optimized.

At ERO, we've honed our fit protocols over time, through thousands of fits, and we've come up with what I believe is the best aero bike fit experience anyone offers. Of course, I'm biased, and there are many people conducting great fits out there, but there's no doubt ERO Sports is one of the recognized leaders in the world when it comes to fit, which is why we work with so many elite atheltes (6 Elite World Champions in 2016 alone). Recently, though, I've seen the need for us to offer more. Sure, our goal with every fit is to find your optimal position, and we do that pretty darn well, I believe. But, what if optimal on that particular day isn't as optimal as you could be? What if you're capable of a better position, a more powerful, aero, and efficient position? What if the equipment you use, and how you use your equipment could be refined to help you go faster than ever? What if all those were possible if we conducted a more optimized fit process over time? That's the new ERO Optimized service...pushing your limits and extracting every last piece of efficiency out of both you and your equipment for your best possible performance.

This rider started with a decent position, but over time has honed his position and equipment into something much more efficient.

Here's what ERO Optimized will look like:

  1. Initial Triathlon-Specific or TT-Specific Fit - It all starts with a full bike fit inside the fit studio. If you're already an ERO client, and have been through the fit process with your Tri or TT bike, you get to skip this part and pay a nicely discounted price for the service. If not, then we're going to begin with a fit from scratch. After an initial look at your current position, we find what's optimal on your bike and/or our adjustable fit bike using the ERO fit process. Beyond obtaining your fit coordinates, this will also allow us to identify any parts you may need to purchase in order to move forward and achieve your desired position.
  2. Field Observation - Let's go outside and see how you ride! This is something that's been huge for us lately with our Ride-A-Long Service. We go outside and ride with you to see how you handle your position in the real world, which is often quite different than in the studio. We learn quite a bit from watching you ride, and this is where ERO Optimized really kicks into gear. You're leveraging all the knowledge we've gained through fit and aero testing over the years; it's being applied directly to you. We'll evaluate everything: position, bike setup, hydration/nutrition, clothing, helmet, drivetrain efficiency...everything. The first appointment outside is where we begin creating the list of what we're going to work on to get the very best out of you. Position changes will be the first priority, but no stone will be left unturned, and the plan will now be in place ready for implementation. Your first Field Observation appointment will take place one to two weeks after your initial fit.
  3. Adjustments and time - Now we begin to optimize that position. We're going to push you to the absolute maximum here. We're going to find out just how far we can take you to squeeze every last bit of performance out of you and your equipment. These changes will quite possibly require periods of adaptation, which is where the extended periods of time for the service kick in. We'll make adjustments, and then allow time for you to adjust. You might initially be uncomfortable, your power might go down at first, but we're going to push the limits and allow adaptation. With each session, we'll push a little further. Change and adapt...that's the name of this game.
  4. Equipment and Equipment Use - We've long since left the fit studio behind. This is about real world work and we're still making position adjustments, but now we're observing the effects those adjustments have had on your equipment's use and effectiveness. For instance, what clothing will now be best? Which helmet might now fit you best for an optimal aerodynamic advantage? How are you able to use your hydration and nutrition set up? It might be aero, but by using it, are you actually destroying those aero gains and costing yourself time? For instance, if one of your bottles is in a position optimized for aero, but not easily accessible, you may be tossing those aero gains out the window and then some just by reaching for it again and again over the course of your race. Maybe that bottle should be in a less aero position which is easier to reach and use? Overall, would that be not only more aero, but also more beneficial to your overall comfort and use? Those are the things we're going to begin optimizing. We'll even have multiple hydration systems available and ready for you to try as well as clothing, helmets, and storage systems.

Field observation and adjusments will be on-going for 6-8 weeks. Refining your position, optmizing the fit of all your equipment...we want everything to be maximized for your performance. It's what the best pros in the world are doing, and it's now what we'll do for you. At ERO, we have a unique knowledge base for such a service. We're literally the only service provider in Southern California who can offer this!

Add-ons:

  1. Equipment purchases - Whatever you need to optmize your position and equipment, ERO will offer it to you at prices exclusive for our clients. Aero helmets, clothing, hydration/nutrition systems, bike parts, etc. Whatever you need, we'll make sure we save you money.
  2. Aero testing - Of course aero testing will be offered to confirm all the changes we make are the absolute most aero and efficient changes possible. Here's the cool news...soon, we'll be able to conduct that testing outdoors! That's right, aero testing while you ride your bike outside!
  3. Mechanical Service - We're not leaving mechanical changes up to shops who don't understand the definitition of optimized. ERO will offer an exclusive mechanical bike service to our clients. Whether it's re-cabling your bike, changing out parts, installing low-friction chains, pulleys, etc., we'll do it to insure quality. We look at your tire and tube combinations to make sure they're as efficient as possible (it makes a huge difference in case you didn't know). Even minor tune-ups will be offered. A properly maintained bike will be more efficient and faster, and we've heard you loud and clear. You invest time and money into your equipment, and you're tired of regular bike shop service quality. Online scheduling, 24 hour turn-around, and on-site or curb-to-curb pick up and drop off will be offered.

Pricing: $75 per hour (minimum 3 hours)

ERO Optimized is not for everyone. It's for those of you who want to extract as much performance out of yourselves as possible. It's for our clients who want their bike set-ups to be as efficient and reliable as possible. You don't need to be looking for a Kona qualification to take advantage of ERO Optimized, but this is not for beginners. It's next level stuff.

ERO Optimized cannot be scheduled online. To participate, call 1-855-243-8376, ext. 101. Spots are limited, and due to the time involved, team discounts will not be offered.

Free Aero Testing

ERO Sports, in partnership with select manufacturers, is happy to offer our clients free or discounted fit & aero testing with the purchase of a new bike!

There is no better technology to optimize your position than the Track Aero System (TAS) developed by Alphamantis. Aero testing while you're riding your bike allows us to not only measure your drag in real time, but also determine whether the changes we make are sustainable and allow you to perform in the real world. ERO uses this technology exclusively to optimize the positions of many of the best cyclists and triathletes in the world, and now you can experience the same service when you purchase your new bike at no charge.

Get the Right Bike For You

Here's how it works. We've partnered with several manufacturers to bring you bikes direct from them instead of the hassle of going through a traditional bike shop and the antiquated sales process. Once you've been through a fit with ERO, whether it's a typical fit or pre-purchase fit, we find your optimal position and recommend bikes that fit you based on your fit coordinates. Our recommendations are non-biased because we have no stock of bikes to sell you, nor are we contractually obligated to sell you any particular brand. If the bike you choose is from a participating manufacturer, we obtain the bike direct from them, build it for you according to your fit specs, and then provide 2 hours of aero testing to absolutely optimize your position and equipment. The testing is either discounted or free depending on the price of your bike. It's fairly simple, and guarantees your investment will result in the best set up for your best performance.

Optimize Everything, Save Money & Time

One of the great advantages to this new service is you're also assured of purchasing the correct hydration/nutrition systems, tool storage, helmets, and clothing to go along with your new bike. This is important. The added costs of all these items tend to grow substantially as you try to figure out what works best for you. No more. Now you get to test what's best before you buy. Save time, money, and assure your set up is optimal before you spend your money.

We're really excited to offer this combination of services to our clients. The weakness of purchasing a properly fit bike has always been, ironically, the bike shop. Few understand fit, and all have one primary problem...they need to sell the bikes they have, and they can't offer you a bike brand they don't carry. ERO doesn't carry any brand and, even if a manufacturer isn't partnered with us for this offering, if their bike fits you, we still recommend it. The whole point of coming to us for a Pre-Purchase Bike Fit is you get non-biased recommendations. No sales pitch - just the information you need to make the right purchase. Easy.

Simple Price Breakdown

MSRP Under $5000 = Half off normal Aero Test price - $350

MSRP Over $5000 = Free Aero Testing + 1 Hour Ride-A-Long

Participating brands are growing, and we will announce them soon. Call or email for details.

Change is in the Air(o)

The last few years has seen a lot of change for us: The revolutionary addition of real time aero testing to our services courtesy of Alphamantis, the change of our name to ERO Sports (formerly Finalfit), and our location at the VELO Sports Center (aka LA Velodrome). All of these changes have helped bring us to the fore-front of all things fit and aero in the cycling and mulit-sport communities, and athletes from all over the world, both amateur and professional, seek us out for our expertise in fitting and aero optimization. With all that has also come an obvious need for us to expand our services for our clients, and we're now ready to begin.

The expansion of ERO Sports will take place over the course of the next year. Some changes will be immediate, others will happen as quickly as we can implement them. All are significant and not taken lightly. The one thing all of these changes have in common is this - you've requested them. Over and over again, these are the things we hear from your ERO wish list, so we figured it was about time to make them happen. Let's go through what's planned...

A Small Retail Operation

Partnering with both local bike shops and manufacturers from around the world, we will now offer a limited selection of fit and aero-related products.

Responding to your repeated requests, we will have clothing, helmets, hydration/nutrition systems, and components such as aero bars for sale at ERO Sports. These are items we continually test and understand perhaps better than anyone in the world. From our testing and evaluation, we know what to use, how to use them, and how to properly fit or install these products for optimal use. In other words, we know what makes you fast, and we'll carry a very select group of items in stock we know to be the best.

This change does NOT mean we intend to be a bike shop or traditional cycling retailer. We've always resisted that business model, and will continue to do so to remain neutral for our clients. We are first and foremost a service-based company; however, you've spoken loud and clear about your desire for us to go this route, so we've decided to listen and give you what you want.

Timeline to Begin: Now

Free or Discounted Aero Testing with Bike Purchases

This is another partnership with local shops and manufacturers, and it's a big one. Pre-Purchase Bike Fits are one of our most popular services, and this is a huge expansion of our bike recommendation service. 

With the purchase of your new bike, dealers and manufacturers will be able to offer our fit and aero testing services as an incentive. In some circumstances, we get the bike for you, build it, and bring you in for both the fit and aero testing. Again, at no extra charge to you.

If you want the ultimate position and component setup for your bike, our aero testing is the best way to accomplish that goal. It's takes our fit service to another level, and finds the most optimal position, helmet, clothing, and hydration/nutrition setup for each individual athlete. While the aero testing technology developed by Alphamantis has revolutionized the industry, and has brought down the price of aero testing by thousands of dollars, at $700 per test, it's still quite expensive considering a $300 bike fit typically proceeds it. But, what if that $1000 worth of services came with the purchase of your bike at no extra charge? That's what we're making happen and it begins now.

We're adding brands and partner dealers daily, so chances are we'll soon cover most any brand you're seeking. Contact us for more information.

Timeline to Begin: Now

In-Field Fit Optimization & Instruction

No matter how much time we spend in the fit studio, you'll ride your bike differently outside. Often, after making significant fit changes, it takes a bit of time to understand what small changes might still be necessary to insure your fit is optimal. Many of you also ask about proper cycling technique and seek our instruction. Our In-Field Optimization Service will address these needs.

This one is simple...we're going for a rider together. We'll go out "in the field" and observe you ride, and as we do so, we'll see how you handle your position, and identify when and why you make small adjustments to your position for minor discomforts. This will enable us to immediately know what tweaks to your position or equipment need to be made, and we'll make them in the field. You'll be able to evaluate the changes as they're made, and know if they've improved your comfort & performance. We'll also be able to provide you with tips on how to ride more optimally, so you get every last drop of performance for your efforts. Cool, huh? This takes a lot of time and hassle away for you, and helps to insure you're performing at your best for race day.

In-Field Optimization will be offered in both one-on-one and group sessions. We're currently beta-testing this service, but expect to be taking appointments by Mid-September.

Timeline to Begin: Fall 2015

Going Back to Our Roots

Talk about requests we hear a lot, this one is going to make many of you very happy. ERO is expanding back into Orange County! No, we're not moving from the VELO Sports Center - that location will remain. We're simply planning a small satellite location in the OC where it all started for us. We know many of you from the OC and San Diego have been asking for this move for a long time, and we're quite happy to be planning an additional location. More than just that, this expansion will come with a new service we know you're all dying for, but we're not letting you in on it just yet. Suffice it to say, it will make your life much easier when it happens.

Beyond Orange County, we're also looking at more possible locations for expansion; other areas around SoCal and beyond. We'll keep you updated as plans progress, but you should expect ERO Sports in Orange County by Spring 2016.

Change is Good

So, there you go. A lot of change coming our way, and even more we have yet to reveal. All of these things, every single one, is a request we hear from you over and over again. In sort of a funny way, we're not exactly comfortable with all of them. Retail, for instance, is something many of you know we've avoided like the plaque, but it's become quite apparent you want us to carry certain products that most bike shops don't, so that's exactly what we're going to do. It also allows us to put the knowledge we've gained to good use for your benefit, so everyone wins.

All of this growth is the direct result of you, our clients, entrusting us with your fit and performance. We're excited to help you more than ever before, and we very much appreciate all of you.

Redshift Switch Aero System

Few things bother me more than putting aero bars on road bikes. It's rarely a good idea, and tends to create more problems than it solves. For all but the very long torso'd athletes, putting aero bars on your road bike will create too much reach, force you into an uncomfortable position on the front of your saddle, and generally not be very efficient. That is until I found the Switch Aero System from Redshift Sports...

Felt IA - Initial Impressions

We had a Felt IA come through the studio, and I wanted to give you my initial impressions of the bike from a fit and aero perspective.  This is not a full review - I'll leave that to the cycling/triathlon media.  These are just a few observations I made as I pre-fit, and then fit, a client to the bike.

First let me say, I love this bike.  It's the new King of the Mountain.  The Trek Speed Concept, and to a lesser extent the Cervelo P5, BMC TM01, and perhaps the Canyon (If you can find one) are all vying for second place now.  Great, great bikes one and all, but they no longer lay claim to the crown.  The Felt IA is now the bike to which all others should be compared, though I highly doubt anyone's going to try for awhile.  I should also note that I love Felt the company.  We recommend their bikes quite often, I've fit many people associated with the company, and they're located in the same town where I live.  But I think because I do like them so much, I tend to be a bit more critical of them then other companies.  Sorry about that Felt.

Okay, so let's get to it.  To begin, this bike is a beauty to behold.  It's lines just flow no matter how you're looking at it.  It's also solid, and by that I don't mean bulky or heavy.  On the contrary, it's quite light and has a very thin profile (if you're not looking at it directly from the side).  No, what I mean is that it's really well built.  There's nothing on this bike that indicates it was put on as an afterthought.  It's like closing the door of an old Chevy vs a Mercedes - you can feel and hear the difference in quality.  Same thing here, the IA just wreakes of a solid build.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by solid build.  Let's compare it to a Cervelo P5-6 in how it covers the front brake.  I'm sorry P5 owners, but I'm going to pick on something you all know to be true.  You own a great bike, but there's one sin on that bike (okay, more than one) that I just can't forgive: the front brake cover.  C'mon now, let's just be honest and admit this...that thing is a piece of loo.  An afterthought.  Seriously, it's two flimsy pieces that never quite fit right together unless the front brake is adjusted perfectly (haven't seen a bike shop manage that yet) and, even then, the two pieces never seem to meet perfectly right at the leading edge of the frame.  And, let's for a moment pretend that they do fit together just so.  You're still left with a seam at the leading edge of the frame. Weak sauce.  Want to know how to do it right?  Look at an IA.

The IA, too, has a two piece cover, but it's top and bottom, not side by side.  Both are beautifully shaped pieces of carbon that fit perfectly across the front of the bike.  Seriously, they're sculptures.  Easily removed and reinstalled with a few screws - no hassle, they fit perfectly everytime.  Sweet.  Oh, and by the way, they cover a very nicely designed center-pull cable-actuated brake.  No hydraulics to deal with...thank you, Felt.  Don't get me wrong, I like the way hydraulic brakes work.  From a fit perspective, though, they're a nightmare because if the front brake cable (or hydraulic hose) goes through the stem and spacers underneath the stem, as they do on both bikes, you can't make any adjustments to the stack height without first removing the cable.  Well, I'm not removing the hydraulic hose.  As anyone who's brought a P5 to us for fitting knows, there's nothing we can do with the front end of that bike until you have the brake hoses removed.  By the way, on both bikes this could easily be avoided, and it's a simple solution.

Neither the spacers on the IA nor or the P5 need to be "closed."  And by that I mean that they could actually have a piece cut from them which would allow their removal without the need of removing the front brake cable/hose.  For the IA, it would be really easy. Just cut out the area already partially cncd'd out between the two rear screws (circled in the pic on the right).  Am I missing something here?  I would think this would be a no brainer.  Still, the IA is much easier to deal with in this regard.  The front cable is both easy to remove and replace.

Speaking of the spacers, Felt provides a 15mm and a 30mm spacer (we used none to get the client low enough).   There also appeared to be only one stem length included.  At least that's what the client was provided by the shop.  More and more, I'm noticing shops keeping all the extra goodies that come with these super bikes.  Hoarding them, in fact.  When you purchase an IA, P-5, Speed Concept, etc.  Make sure they include all the parts that come standard!

The IA has what Felt calls a Dagger aero bar.  Really it's just their Bayonette III bar mated to the IA's stem.  That's a good thing because the bar is fantastic.  Lots of adjustment for reach and height, as the arm pads and extensions pedestal up should you need them to, but also can get quite low to the base bar.  In fact, the pads can be mated right down on the base bar should you choose with the extensions then running underneath.  All good stuff.  I will say putting the pads down on the base bar limites width adjustment.  Almost certainly too narrow for a triathlete on the inner setting.  Inner setting?  Is there an out settting?  Why, yes, glad you asked.

As it turns out, Felt was very wise when they designed this bar.  It actually has an inner and outer base bar setting to which you can attach the extensions.  We're finding that, quite often, a wider aero bar position is actually quite aerodynamic for many people as long as you widen both the arm pad position and extensions together.  If you just widen the arm pads, you end up creating a wedge with the forearms which, while comfortable, is not great aerodynamically.  Felt's bar allows you to do it all.

I do have one bone to pick with the bar.  The extensions do not allow of any adjustment of forerarm angle.  That's a fairly significant problem for us, as we know most people are more aerodynamically efficient with a bit of up-angle to their forearms.  The UCI, cyclings governing body, doesn't allow for this, but the IA is not trying to be UCI legal, so leaving out the ability to adjust this angle is disappointing.  The IA isn't the only "superbike" that suffers from this problem.  Not to pick on it again, but the P5 is actually a bit worse in this regard as it almost forces your hands lower than your elbows, which is really bad aerodyamically.

Looking at the below pictures, on the left you see the rider on his IA with his hands in a normal position.  They're a bit lower than his elbows, so it's slowing him down, no doubt.  To be fair, however, he replaced the stock arm pads with CeeGees, which are a bit taller than the Felt pads and so effectively raised his elbows a few millimeters.  Still, I think angular adjustment of the extensions is necessary for a bike of this caliber.  The picture on the right shows him placing his hands on top of the extensions (not gripping them), and that's a better arm position, though still not likely ideal.  A nice compromise might be to replace the s-bend (Felt calls them f-bend) extensions with some upturned ones like Profile Design's T-4.  Holding on to the ends of a T-4 type shape would effectively raise your hands above your elbows without adding a lot of cost to your new bike.  A better solution, that wouldn't seem to require too much trouble (easy for me to say), would be to provide "wedges" that fit under the clamp which attaches to the base bar.  Including a few sets of these in 2 degree increments would provide a nice bit of adjustment without having to re-engineer the whole bar.  Again, easy for me, a non-engineer, to say.

IA Arm Angles

The only other complaint I have is basically aimed at the entire industry, the bike is too tall in front.   The frame stack on every size should be at least 2cm lower.  The bike comes with an aero bar that stacks up nicely should an athelte need it.  There are many atheltes (more than a few) who we won't be able to fit to this great bike because it's simply too tall, even with the pads placed right on the base bar.  Felt's old B-Series geometry, for example, would be much better suited to this bike.  Combine that with the Bayonette III aerobar and you're giving me a bike I can fit to virtually anyone.  Let's face it, if the Trek Speed Concept has a lower stack than you, you've gone too high.

Okay, I got that out of my system.  I actually feel bad about complaining of any shortcomings on the IA because I otherwise believe this is the best tri bike ever made.  For those who it'll fit, there's nothing better out there, and anybody arguing to the contrary won't likely be doing it with a straight face.

 

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