Another way to fit a bicycle

Adam Thompson, Rasmussen Bike Shop in West Des Moines.

I asked a bunch of cyclists for their thoughts on the best bike fitter in Iowa, and that’s the only name that has come up repeatedly so far. He has fans.

No doubt there are other good fitters, and if the right people read the blog those other names might well surface, too.

I asked Thompson in an email if he could share some info about what he does, which he said is different from Colin O’Brien’s approach.

He identifies himself as a certified Specialized Body Geometry Fitter and a F.I.S.T (Fit Institute Slowtwitch) certified bike fitter. Here’s most of what he said:

I start with an interview to see what the bike is going to used for. From there I go into a pre-fit assessment where I see what your limiters are, from flexibility, to range of motion, or maybe even a leg length discrepancy.

At our shop we use the DATA (Dual Angle Technical Assessment), which uses two cameras, taking video from two different planes. I use the info I get from the assessment to start your fit. I’ll take five seconds of video and the first thing I try to do is to get your knees tracking straight up and down, with every pedal stroke. Sometimes this isn’t completely possible depending on the way you may naturally move on the bike. Then once we get your knees tracking how I want, I will adjust seat height, fore/aft position of your seat, handle bar width, angle, stem length and angle.

The computer program that I use is really interactive for the rider because you can see and feel the changes that I make instantly.

Thompson said the fitting he described is most in demand from triathletes and road racers, but he also has worked with mountain bikers and some other cyclists who needed special help because of injuries.

I’ve emailed some related questions to a couple of other shops – including the one where I bought my own road bike – and will pass along their answers. (I’m assuming for the moment that there will be some. We shall see.)

Thanks, Adam.

Pedal on.

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