Sunday, January 31, 2010

Understanding Competition?

Wheres the weight?

It's not about the Internet, magazines, or finding the most stylish glossy bike or that set of high-tech wheels, or even the lightest components. It about business and who is the (100kg) heavy weights.

Some say competition is good! In racing and even bike fitting business reliability, precision and innovation make you the bench mark. What might be viewed as "state-of-the-art" from heavy weighted (mass) marketing can mislead you. That doesn't mean smaller businesses can't compete and even have superiority services.

Only with (maximum accuracy of measurements) and those measurement results can you guarantee optimization of the complete product (human & bike). Development comes through the testing, investigations and analysis. That takes a long time.

This was sent to me by one of our top WN dealers, Eddie O'Dea of 55nine. As Eddie states, it's a good read! If you are willing to work you can compete! Perhaps the (100kg's) and their networks have market weight, but they don't have to be the source of excellence!

Desptie conventional wisdom, not every roadie wants to ride Lance’s bike. The very success (and don’t get me wrong, technical excellence, too) of monolithic brands creates increased cachet for boutique brands & products. Sure, it’s cool to show up on the Sunday morning ride with a new Tarmac SL. But it’s so muchcooler to show up on a BMC SLT 01. Ditto on the offroad side, of course. And the same goes for fixies, commuters, 29ers, e-bikes; helmets, shoes, wheels, pedals…you name it.

3.2 The same process opens up new and exciting opportunities for retailers as well i.e. WN, etc...

WN has dealers coming to train and that is exciting and that opens up more options for the customers! You don't have to be told what you have to sell.

3.3 Ditto for equipment, although to a lesser extent, since equipment suppliers can sell in more (or even all) locations.

4. The “A” Brands (and retailers) aren’t going away. But neither can they be all things to all cyclists.

4.1 Even in a shrinking market, there are still about 3,000 specialty bike retailers in the USA. And less than half of them sell either Specialized or Trek.

Again, many of these smaller retailers are smart, savvy, financially sound businesspeople (they have to be— a contracting market already killed off the dumb ones years ago.

It's confusing, even for the experienced cyclist! You can't always get what you want because of the heavy weight that large companies place on their dealers.

Most of the pros don't have the best equipment. I recall being at a race camp and the GM said to the riders, shut up and ride the bike! The point, ride what their sponsors give them and get results regardless. In our case, we see many different brands and bike sizes so it gets pretty crazy.

Your better off to focus on gaining more experience as that contributes more to your improvement and success than equipment.

Manufactures make frames mostly in even or odd sizes, to stretch their frames to jump a couple of centimeters at a time. You have fewer options between the many compact sizes. The task now is placed on a salesperson to help you find a bike that comes close. The bike is a tool and if you don't have a good feel for the tool, you are going to get worked.

Be wary of a salesperson who pressures you toward one bike or pressures you towards some special part that "makes that bike the perfect setup for you." Understand, given the times, that a shop might want to clear the floor of a particular brand or model.

Many go to a WN dealer and get their measurements first! It is very helpful!

Competition is not forgiving. People find out the hard way that less than precise geometry of a frame and precise balance really adds up over many miles. How a bike fits and how it rides, especially in corners and at speed is huge.

A steeper seat tube, means a more aggressive frame and it makes a bike more quick and perhaps more responsive but will also "transfer the shock" of the road straight up to your seat, spine and hands.

Many think that having you sit up is going to reduce the "transfer of shock." Not true! You might want to think of it as having a pair of super stiff ski race boots on top of super stiff skis. Great for setting down the fastest time for top speed for a few runs, but you can't ski in them all day?

If the bike has not been adjusted for you, and I am not talking about only a few minutes and only an eye. You very well could find yourself on the ground in a fast turn, not able to sprint and not able to climb hills. Balance is a big deal.

I am seen more than my share of poor, upright setups have a guy or gal hit the deck in a fast turn! It's not pretty to see the shorts and skin taken off!

Bikes flex, tires flex and all of those flexs provide you the confidence in turns i.e. snow ski flex & ski boots.

This is determined by your handlebar positions and how you feel the bike. Be aware, there are frames that definitely won't work for you. Most of it comes from your skills.

If you are not willing to learn how to ride, that race bike will kick your butt and wear you out!!!

Another point, the most expensive isn't always the best. You need to find seats, seatpost, stems, handlebars, shoes that are shaped for you. Not just copy the fastest pro in the hood. Remember too much or too little flex will keep you perhaps more comfortable when it comes to a longer ride. But it also allows you to carve your turns better.

Take saddles for example, you are going to hear you need to find the correct this or that, a certain shape, a saddle with a cut out in the middle and more. What really matters is something that is going to last and you learning how to address it. Like a ski boot, saddle is going to be a bit uncomfortable in the very beginning. On the other hand you can't believe how many saddles are broken down and I mean only 1/2 season? The boys & the girls parts aren't going to like that!

There are many fit systems today. Many of them have your saddle too low and not allowing the leg to extend. When your knee is not allowed to extend enough, the cartilage is compressed, add the thousands of times you pedal in one hour and you can now understand why cartilage crunches are not good. A poor pedal stroke even with a bike fit will hurt you.

Eyeballing is not good enough, that correct position is only a static fitting. Using a plumb line is a static fitting and it has noting to do with the many sizes of knee caps.

You don't have to guess. You can use a "led" on the skin, but understand you are only tracking the "led." But we all know that skin moves and tracking an led on the outside of the skin is not going to help with compression, shearing, tension within joints and those are the things that cause us to have an ouch! However, the sizzle is cool.

Competition allows us to push the limits, to find more truth. Anyone who's serious about getting into racing, wanting to ride in comfort needs pro advice and insights. This is not just basics, but essential information you need to hone your skills and get the most out of each ride.

We took years to come up with our system. You have to ask the question? Is your fitter just using something they can buy or have they done their homework? We have done our homework and we have the many years of results to back it up.

We don't show you what we are doing on our website. Our science is in our software and we don't estimate it. That is the difference. Our rivals drive us to take the science to another level until most just copy our methods. It's good to lead! To be the first!

World-class competitors help us learn when the heat is on, what is needed. To take you to the finish line means you can't overlook the smallest details. You have to be fully prepared. The wrong pressure in the wrong area, however small is enough to have you going to your physician.

Things like saddle sores are very real. A poor saddle position can keep a rider off the bike. Saddle sores are inflamed boils or pimples on your skin, on your rear end while pressing too much on the saddle. They are very painful!!! They come in many sizes, as small as a pea, or the size of a golf ball. Most of the time they start as an infected hair follicle or chafing from poor saddles that have seams or bad shorts.

Keep it clean! Good clean chamois and lubricant in your shorts every time you ride is a must.

The compression on a saddle is enough to get a professional fit. You want the best interface with the best saddle that fits you and your sits bones. In other words, you have to know where the sit bones are and you can't change your body to adapt to a given saddle. That means you need to learn how to address the bike saddle.

Sitting upright is not going to help you regarding the compression on the saddle!

Get your bike properly fitted to you by a professional fitter. Someone who measures the size and the function of the knee motions, correct saddle zone. To just say that most frontal knee pain is caused by having a saddle too low or too far forward is "way to general."

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