You already know fit is the single most
important determining factor in triathlon bicycle comfort
and performance. This is a look at how we position a
customer- especially beginners, for optimal triathlon
bike comfort and performance.
If you've been doing triathlons in Michigan
for a few years you probably either know Todd Briggs
or have heard of him. Briggs has been a triathlete for
well over a decade, Has won most of the Michigan triathlons
at one time or another and owns several sub 10-hour
Ironman finishes including Hawaii. He is an excellent
swimmer and powerful cyclist.
For the past few seasons Briggs has been
on Beam bikes (Zipp and Softride) but this season he
will spend some time on a new Quintana Roo Tiphoon,
at least training, and then (pending his and our findings)
possibly some races.
This is Todd's position
from two years ago. It has remained largely unchanged
this year with the exception of shortening his "reach"
or "cockpit" length to provide more leverage,
power and skeletal support of the upper body for greater
Here we look at Briggs posture and position
on the bike. Briggs position is one of function that
has evolved over many seasons. It has consistently improved
and there are many practical lessons that can be taken
from this evolution and applied to beginners.
First, the cornerstone of Todd Brigg's
current position is comfort. Todd's success and consistency
at Ironman point to the fact that his position enables
him to pedal for around 5 hours comfortably at a relatively
high level of exertion but still be able to digest food
and then climb off the bike in T2 and have an excellent
Second, Brigg's position is built around
power output. Todd is not a skinny little runner-type.
He has the powerful build of a gifted swimmer. Todd
uses this same position to advantage on flat course
and hilly courses. All his training and racing is done
in this position.
Click to Enlarge
Todd's position is pretty much standard triathlon positioning
as conceived by triathlon bike inventor Dan Empfield.
I recently returned from Dan Empfield's Fit Institute
of Slow Twitch (F.I.S.T.) triathlon bike fitting school
in Southern California. F.I.S.T. is graduate level bike
fitting school specifically for triathlon bikes and
nothing else. It is not for people who are just learning
bike fitting techniques and the basics of bike fit.
You have to have a firm grasp of bike fit before you
go to F.I.S.T. Other attendees at F.I.S.T. included
Cervelo President Gerard Vroomen, Bill and Val from
Mission Bay in Elgin Illinois (great guys and a fine
store) as well as Hank from Edge Cyclesport in Southern
California and Fiona and Dan from Endurosport in Toronto,
Canada- the largest Cervelo dealer in the world. I am
excited to apply the F.I.S.T. principles (most of which
we were already using) to all of our customers including
Todd Briggs. What I found reviewing Todd's position
was that (like most of the people we have already fit
and positioned) he was largely already "F.I.S.T.
compliant" in that it used many of Dan Empfield's
This is Todd's current
position. It is using almost all of the F.I.S.T. principles.
After positioning Todd on this new Quintana
Roo Tiphoon as part of a test we are doing on the bike
itself, we also sought to improve Todd's position from
his beam bikes to the new QR using a few of the F.I.S.T.
We did not move Todd's "center"
or pelvic orientation relative to the bottom bracket.
In other words, we left it the same since he is used
to it and has had success with it. This is the 'Sweet
spot" for Todd. "I left his pelvis in exactly
the same place as his previous bike" said Bikesport's
Mike O'Donnell, who is attending F.I.S.T. in California
during April '03. Mike O'Donnell "translated"
Todd's position from his old bike to the new bike, then
made the F.I.S.T. improvements which we used these photos
to review and interpret.
F.I.S.T. certified fitter Tom Demerly (left)of Bikesport,
Inc. reviews Todd Briggs' new position by measuring
his angles with a goniometer. "This is the same
thing we do for everyone, it is especially important
for beginners." said Demerly.