Thinking of purchasing a new bike?

These days purchasing a new bike that fits your needs and budget can be quite a challenge. So many brands and models exist, different geometries, various components groups, etc,. Add to that all the ever changing technology, wheel choices, and most importantly, making sure the bike fits you properly, and you’ve got a buying experience that can be very complicated.

Our adjustable bike allows us to define multiple sizes and geometries

Over the past 8 years, we have helped countless cyclists and triathletes specifically with this process utilizing our New Bike Fitting service.  Athleticamps takes pride in being your “bike consultant” or “bike concierge”, helping you find the right choice to fit all of your needs.  Here is a brief summary of this valuable three step process:

  • Frame identification (1.5-2 hours) - Finding the right size bike is more than just determining small, medium or large or 52, 54 or 56cm.  It is understanding your needs and finding the right frame geometry that works for you.  Each manufacturer has different models.  As an example - Trek has the Domane, Emonda, and Madone models, each one with a different geometry (defined simply as different lengths of tubes and different angles within the same “size” bike).  So in Trek’s case, their Madone 54cm is drastically different than their Domane 54cm.

    By using our fully adjustable bike and 3D motion capture system (see video below), we take the guess work out of this process by being able to quickly create any bike’s dimensions to “pre-fit” and determine if a particular frame will work for you.  We can then add in any stem length, saddle, handlebar width, and stack height and get an accurate assessment of the overall fit on that particular brand/model.  The ultimate goal of Step 1 is to determine a specific list of bikes that will work and not work for you.

  • Purchase the bike and additional consulting (as long as you want) - After we come up with the specifics,  you go purchase the bike (with our assistance).  We help guide you through a variety of options: what components to buy (Shimano, SRAM or Campy), electronic vs mechanical shifting, carbon or alloy wheels, disc vs rim brakes, etc.  We may also come across a bike not assessed and we can run the numbers to verify whether or not it will work.

    We highly recommend, if possible, to test ride the bike options.  Prior to the test ride, we supply the shop with measurements (from step 1) to ensure the bike is setup according to your specifications.  This will give you a good idea as to how that bike will feel on the road and also give us a basis to discuss the pros and cons of each bike.  When bikes are not available to test ride (e.g. some of the Italian brands) our new bike fitting service becomes more valuable.

  • Final Fit (~1.5 hours) - You have now bought the bike of your dreams and you feel good about the money you just spent. It’s time to do the final fitting!  This step doesn’t take too long because all the research has been done upfront.  But there are still some details and fit refinement that have to be addressed (based on the bike you have chosen).  Some of the common adjustments during this step are a stem change, grip angle adjustment and stack height, and possibly choosing a different saddle.

In summary, buying a bike can be a challenging experience.  The primary value of going through this process is knowing that you are getting the right bike for your needs and taking control of the purchasing process. You can go through the purchase with confidence knowing you bought the ride bike for your needs and budget.

Contact us to setup your new bike purchase here.

New bike fitting process utilizing our fully adjustable bike and 3D motion capture system.

Our Three Pillars of Bike Fitting Success

Trust me when I say, every bike fit really is unique to each person.   Each rider requires a different focus with some combination of elements that will allow them to leave with a fit best suited for their riding style, goals, and body type.  

The benefit of using a high tech tool like Retül's 3D motion analysis system, is it gives us an accurate assessment while in motion (pedaling) of where you sit on the bike relative to the geometry and components.  Secondly, it allows us to accurately track changes. For example, when you tilt a saddle, how does that affect your position relative to the bottom bracket?  

Let's look at it another way:  When you visit your doctor, wouldn't you rather have him or her use the best technology to assess a potential problem you may have? Think of Retul as the MRI or echo cardiogram of bike fitting.  Like those medical devices, they don't tell the doctor what to do, but give him or her accurate data and information to assess your situation and take the proper course of action.  Over the years, after doing over 1500+ fits using this great tool, we have developed three pillars of bike fitting that help us guide each fit:

  1. Comfort - The goal is to eliminate discomfort or pain.  Comfort may come in the form of part changes, like a saddle or new Footbalance inserts or adjustments to help eliminate numbness (most popular) and/or back pain.  More often than not, eliminating pain has to be approached off the bike too, first, by identifying exactly what the issue is.  For example, you can't fix a sound in your engine of your car without knowing what is causing it.  This is specifically why we spend a significant amount of time prior to each fit discussing each rider's situation and what they are trying to accomplish with their fitting.  We have you also fill out a history questionnaire prior to your appointment so we can be prepared for your visit, ready to tackle any problems.
  2. Performance - Getting the most of the bike's geometry and how the athlete sits or stands on their bike.  Are you getting the most power per pedal stroke?   Many riders are setup incorrectly for their given frame geometry.  The trick is finding the balance between you and the geometry to make sure overall comfort is attained.
  3. Safety -  Could be the most important (and overlooked) element of bike fitting. So many riders we see are not weight-distributed on the bike correctly.  Too little or too much weight in the wrong area.   Once we address that issue, the bike can do what it’s meant to do these days; handle well and thus open the door to better safety.

Remember, all three of these elements are  interlaced.   We have to approach each one like a chess board square, but make sure we are taking the complete picture into account.  And that is why ever bike fit is unique to each person!  

Visit us to get your bike fitting solution!  Or if you are looking to purchase a new bike, we can pre-fit you and assist in purchasing the right bike for you! 


Is setting goals enough?

Obviously, setting goals is a major "to do" when it comes to coaching endurance athletes.  With 20+ years of experience, setting realistic goals that are attainable for each unique athlete has become more of a creative art.    

At Athleticamps, we focus on two specific categories.  More improtantly though, there is an underlying principle or philosophy that we apply  to those two categories that help our athletes achieve them.   We will discuss this principle later in the article. First, let's discuss the two categories:

  • Event goals - Setting event goals are pretty straightforward. Perhaps you want to do a specific event like the Markleeville Death ride.  Or you want to peak for a specific race or set of races.  Basically looking at the calendar and giving yourself enough time is the primary prerequisite.  And as a coach, making sure you are capable of those events is obviously important.  For example, if a development racer says he wants to do the Tour de France next year, I would have to pat him on the back and say, "I like your enthusiasm, but let's set that one a bit longer out in the future" :-) 
  • Physiological or training goals - We believe there is a lot of value in  tracking progress through performance testing (indoors) and data analysis (outdoors).  A simple analogy would be businesses setting revenue and expense goals and reviewing them quarterly to see if they are on track or not.  Or if you work with a investment planner, you would want to meet with that person and see how your money is doing and what particulars made your net worth go up or down, hopefully up.  Why wouldn't athletes treat their training and goals the same way?  This aspect of your program is a bit more tricky and in-depth in that it involves understanding the athlete, their background, and personality.  But as a coach, this is what we love and enjoy and do on a daily basis.  There is no simple canned approach because every athlete is different and requires different "ingredients" to improve.  And again, just like with event goals, it requires a knowledgeable coach that can help you navigate through all the training philosophies and "stuff" you read and listen to and make things as simple as possible.

As important as understanding that we need to set these two categories of goals, there is an underlying principle that needs to be applied and is much more important: Teaching proper training techniques.  

Through my experience, goals are achieved not by solely focusing on statements like "let's get you to 300w for a 20' power test" or "You want to ride 21mph or 50 miles".  They are achieved by teaching athletes how to train properly. The goals are a byproduct of that philosophy.   Don't get me wrong, the two categories of goals are important to every program, as that is the light at the end of the tunnel.  But it's teaching how to navigate through that tunnel which is more important.  

We love athletes that not only want to achieve goals, but want to learn how to train properly and ask the proper questions.  After all, you as an athlete are out there dedicating the time and sweat . It's important to  understand what you are doing and why.  Being a coach is also about being an educator.

We believe that our unique environment at Athleticamps fosters this philosophy.  We are not just a training center with over 20+ years of experience, we are a think tank and learning center. We offer all the ingredients needed to make your individual recipe work!  We love athletes take on challenges, want to learn and understand that being a successful athlete includes setting goals and knowing there are ups and downs when achieving their goals.

Stop by, say hello and let's talk about teaching you what it takes to get there!

Ride safe, ride strong....


A bit of cycling history...

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cycling history?  It could be a great rider like Eddy Merkyx or classic races like Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’ Italia.  When it’s narrowed down to cycling equipment, the bike that best conjures up images of history is the Italian company of Bianchi, which boasts an amazing 130-year history, not to mention one of the most recognized paint colors in all of sport; the unmistakable “Bianchi Blue” or “Celeste.” 

The history of one of the world’s top bicycles started back in 1885 when then 21-year-old Edoardo Bianchi opened his small bicycle shop focusing on repairs in Milan’s via Nirone.  After just 3 years in the business, he created his first bicycle and as soon as 1896 began using his bicycles in races as a testing ground, which was a totally new concept at the time.  Within 3 years of entering the racing scene, Bianchi Bicycles had their first international victory in the Grand Prix of Paris, the prelude to the Tour de France.

He is also credited with originating a manufacturing concept called “Reparto Corse” which literally translates to: “racing department.” This revolutionary process intends to “create for the purpose of winning.”  By utilizing the race environment to rigorously test his products, Bianchi was able to dramatically improve the bikes that reached the average rider. In Italy today, you see the revolutionary and highly effective “Reparto Corse” process applied in companies like Ferrari, Ducati and Alfa Romero.  Using this philosophy to guide the development of his bicycles, Bianchi became “the” brand of bicycle racing in the early 20th century.

Bianchi was frequently ahead of his time.  For example, he was the first bicycle manufacturer to create a bicycle with pneumatic tires (air.)  He is also credited with creating the first women’s bike in 1895 as a special commission for Queen Margherita, at Villa Reale in Monza. Bianchi travels to court to present the bicycle and provide riding lessons to the Queen.  He invented the first mountain bike in 1915, which was developed for the “bersaglieri,” the elite Italian light infantry division during World War I. With these achievements, Edoardo Bianchi became known as the grandfather of the modern bicycle, just as Henry Ford is considered the grandfather of the automobile.

In between the World Wars, Bianchi continued to develop his line of bicycles and win many races, like the Giro d'Italia and Giro di Lombardia.   In 1940, the great Italian Champion Fausto Coppi began to ride for Team Bianchi. During World War II, the factory was destroyed by bombs, but was eventually rebuilt in 1946.  Around this time their famous bluish-green color “celeste” or “Bianchi Blue” was created.  There are some of the theories (or myths) as to where this highly recognized color came from:

  • Eduardo created the color in honor of Italy’s Queen Margherita’s beautiful eyes.

  • It was Eduardo’s homage to Milan and its beautiful sky, or “celeste”.

  • Bianchi had so much surplus green paint from Mussolini’s WWII reign that they mixed it with blue to create a unique color.

  • Edoardo created it to be a unique standout in the peloton and through a few different variations, the color naturally developed to what it is today.

  • Still another story was that celeste was a complete paint mixing mistake done on the team bikes only days before the Giro d’Italia. Fausto Coppi and his teammates thought the bikes were purposely painted that way for good luck.

  • Wherever the color originated (it looks more green than blue), it remains one of the most recognized and sought after colors in sport.

Today, Bianchi bicycles continue their use of the “Reparto Course” concept and outfit the best professional riders in the world.  

Bianchi USA, based in Northern California (Hayward), realizes that continuing their successful history requires a lot of hard work and dedication.  Keeping up with the aggressiveness of other manufacturers like Trek and Specialized is a difficult task.

“As a world-wide company, the main message that Bianchi wants to get across to its consumers is that it doesn’t matter if you are a pro racer or a club rider. Our new bikes, the pro level, technically advanced 928 SL or the more recreational Coast to Coast model meet all levels of need. The bottom line is that Bianchi has a bike that’s right for you,” said Mark Ashley, Bianchi USA’s National Sales Manager.

With more history than any other bike company in the world comes the experience needed to design a superb product. “Our experience has given Bianchi a great foundation for moving forward and is why Bianchi continues to design products that are at the technological cutting edge while simultaneously meeting consumer demands,” said Ashley.

Sometimes having a great history causes a company to fall back on their past achievements: Bianchi, however, feels compelled by their history to continue creating the best products available and ones that would make Eduardo proud.


Not a Bike Fit, a Comprehensive Bike-Fitting Solution

"If I had to summarize it in a single word, I would probably use 'AMAZING.' Truly, I couldn't be happier. The bike feels like a new ride. Totally different on the road. Per your post-fit instructions, I did a few shorter rides to adapt my body to the new position, then went on a longer ride over the weekend. During these rides, I felt like I could really push myself and grow in strength. I 'thought' I was comfortable on the bike but until I did your Retül fit, I didn't really know what comfort was." Steve B. (Sacramento, CA.)

Athleticamps fitting process utilizing retul

Athleticamps fitting process utilizing retul

It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a pro tour rider, being setup correctly on your bike is a must.  That sounds pretty straightforward and simple. And in most places, bike fitting is a cookie-cutter process of applying tools to figure out body-to-bike geometries. But that’s not what we do here—because cookie-cutter solutions only work on cookies. Humans are far too complex to fit into a one-size-fits-all system. Instead, we’ve spent years developing a holistic process that incorporates the complexities of each rider to create uniquely individual fit and position solutions.

Here’s what each of our professional fits includes:

Interview you
We start by getting to know you, your cycling history, how often you ride, your goals, and any issues related to achieving an optimal fit.

Conduct a pre-fit biomechanical assessment
Developed by a physical therapist, our assessment allows us to evaluate your cycling-related flexibility and core strength and how they relate to the fitting process. The assessment helps us understand any physical issues you’re having and allows us to create a personal home program plan for off-the-bike work that will improve your comfort and performance.

Provide a foot analysis
Your feet are the foundation of your pedal stroke. When your feet are incorrectly aligned, painful, or not functioning as they should, your cycling suffers (and so do you). We use FootBalance technology, because it’s the best we’ve found, to diagnose issues and quickly custom craft a product that addresses comfort, power, and efficiency issues for a stronger, more relaxed foot. If you wish to, you can purchase the fully customized inserts and use them in any shoe. 

Take measurements
Before and after your fit, we use Retül's Zin digital measuring tool to take detailed measurements of your bike with millimeter accuracy.  The measurements let you see the changes made on the bike during the fit process and give a detailed record of your final setup.

Use state-of-the art Retül technology
All fits use 3D motion analysis to guide the fitting process. Old-school plumb bobs and goniometers can’t compare to new-school motion-capture technology. Measuring your fit while you are pedaling your bike gives a far more accurate result than older methods that try to determine your fit while you are in a fixed position (static fit.)

Explain all changes
We believe it’s important for you to understand what we’re doing and why. We explain every adjustment we’re making and how they will improve your comfort, performance, and economy.

Review recommended off-bike exercises
The majority of athletes that visit us need to work on issues off the bike that create problems when they’re riding. After every fit, we go over specific strength and flexibility exercises with you so that you leave the fit knowing exactly what you have to do to achieve more balanced structural fitness. 

Deliver your report
You receive a detailed report via email with 24 hours of your visit. The report contains our notes, before-and-after measurements of the bike, before-and-after data captures of you in motion, and before-and-after pictures.  We also keep your data and reports on our system for easy reference should you buy a new bike, add a new component, or simply have a question.

In addition to our proven fitting process, there are a few other reasons to choose us for your bike fit:

Another benefit of working with us is that we’re independent professionals who are not connected to a company that’s trying to sell products. Our lack of company affiliation allows us to maintain an objective, product-neutral approach, so that we can freely recommend what’s truly best for you. We have a variety of replacement parts and brands available and choose the best components that compliment your fit and budget.

Saddle library demo program
We understand that your saddle is probably the biggest contributor to bike comfort. When needed, we take during your fit to understand your body and riding style and help you find a saddle that gives you long-lasting comfort and performance. Our saddle library demo program allows you to try out saddles to determine which is best for you.

Priority service
We have an outstanding long-term relationship with nearby Folsom Bike shop, which gives our clients priority on any changes we can’t do at our training center. For example, if you need new cabling installed, Folsom Bike will give you priority in getting the work done.

Time sensitivity
We know your time is valuable. We maintain and appointment-based system and stay on time to deliver your services in the estimated time so that you can plan your visit accordingly. 

Welcoming atmosphere
Our training studio offers a relaxed, professional feel where you can be assured you are receiving the attention you deserve.

Long-term care
As a full-service training center, we view your improved performance as our product. That’s why we take a complete approach that includes coaching, skills training, performance testing, and structural health. It’s also why we’re here whenever you have questions or need advice on progressing to the next level. 

Check out all our bike fitting services and call or email to setup an consultation or appointment today

Retul 3d motion analysis