Think Bike Fitting is Only for Pro-Athletes? Think Again!

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: Hi. so do you think bike fitting is just for professional athletes? I did too quite frankly. We're gonna put that myth to rest today with our friend Adam Baskin who's a professional bike fitter in Orlando. Adam, welcome to the program.

Adam Baskin: Thank you, Jim, for having me.

Jim Dodson: So this is Jim Dodson, the Florida bike guy. Adam has been a professional bike fitter for some 20 years. He's got his own shop in Orlando next to Winter Park Bikes. So Adam, tell me, we'll talk about your background a little bit more in a minute. What is the greatest benefit for the average cyclist that they would get from a properly fitted bicycle?

Adam Baskin: Well I think the main benefit is that they, I mean it depends on what they're looking to get out of it, but for most they can ride longer, produce more power, feel better, and just maximize the performance and custom, I'm sorry, performance and comfort of their bicycle.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So address the issue that we started off the program with. Me and probably a lot of people that might watch this video think that, hey pros do bike fitting, competitive triathletes do bike fitting, I don't need that. So how would you address that?

Adam Baskin: Well I think even weekend warriors are may even be more susceptible to injury because of the infrequent nature of their riding or inconsistent riding. Pros ride all the time, they ride everyday for hours. Whereas weekend warriors may just go out, one week they may ride five days, the next week they may ride one, and so they're definitely at a greater risk for overuse injuries. So it's good to be able to rule out improper mechanics in terms of contributing to those injuries.

Jim Dodson: So tell, hey Jerry, glad you joined us this morning. So who is your, just kind of describe your average client. The average customer that comes to you for a bike fitting. I understand they're not all pro athletes.

Adam Baskin: Yeah, I see the whole gamut from from the highest levels of the sport to someone that's buying their first bike. I would say the vast majority of the riders I get, their typical event are weekend endurance events. So charity rides, centuries, grand fondos, that sort of thing. Or people that just ride for fun and for fitness. I'd say probably 10-15% of my clients are people that race or race consistently.

Jim Dodson: So that means 80% or 90% of them are non-racers, non-pro athletes, non highly competitive athletes. And how does that break down between road riders and off-road riders and men and women.

Adam Baskin: I would say probably 60-40 male, female. Maybe 55-45, something like that. The vast majority are road bikes. Probably see about 50% road bikes, maybe about 40% tri bikes, and then maybe 5% gravel, 5% mountain.

Jim Dodson: And describe what someone would expect when they came to you for a bike fitting. What do you do, and how long does it take?

Adam Baskin: Okay, well my fitting starts with an interview where I basically assess how the rider is going to be using the bike. So what their riding style is, how many rides per week, what their training goals are, what they're looking to get out of cycling. And then I perform an assessment where I look at their flexibility, look at their limb lengths, look at their arches, look at their gait, have them perform a few strength tests. And I use all that information to form a comprehensive fit from their cleats up. And I use a motion capture system called Retul and it's 3D infrared. And what I do is I put the rider and their bicycle on an infrared high motion on an electromagnetically trained bicycle trainer and then I attach an eight LED infrared harness to them, and have them pedal at varying wattage-based workloads while an infrared camera tracks those LEDs in space. So that's how I measure their joint angles, track lateral movement, vertical hip travel, reach to the bars, the angle of their torso with respect to the ground, all the relevant fit parameters. I do that on both sides, I match up right versus left, and then make changes as needed based on that data that I've captured them peddling comfortable so it gives me a much better picture of what they're gonna look like, you know pedal and maintain their posture when they're using the bike out in the real world. That process, well getting ahead of myself here, but at the conclusion of that process, I take all the measurements off their bike with an infrared LED wand, and I create a digital record of their position so within one millimeter, and they can use that information to set up additional bikes if they travel somewhere and need to rent a bike or if they're looking to buy a new bike. They always have a record of that information going forward. That process takes about two hours regardless of the bike type and the cost is $275.

Jim Dodson: So it doesn't sound like anything that the average person has been through. The average person walks into a bike shop, you study the bikes, you look at the dimensions and the geometry, and you do all your homework, but you're way, way, way beyond what any bike shop does or what we might walk in with knowledge to when we select the bike and start riding it for a number of years.

Adam Baskin: Well to be fair, there definitely are bike shops that do provide a similar service with similar equipment, but I'd say the vast majority of shops do a much more cursory, basic fitting with a purchase.

Jim Dodson: Okay, well I think that I mean one of the responses that I assume people in their minds are thinking well when I bought my bike, they set me up at the shop. How would you address that?

Adam Baskin: Well I think bike shops are limited to the brands and inventory that they have on hand. So while they may have positioned you as best as they could on the bikes that they had and the bikes that they offer, that isn't necessarily the best solution. I, as an unbiased resource, try to direct the athlete to the bike that's gonna, the brand, model, size, that's gonna work best for them regardless of the brand. I have no brand loyalty or bias so. And again, most shops don't have the combined, or most shop fitters don't have the combination of equipment, experience, education, and knowledge that I've acquired over 20 years of school and bike fitting.

Jim Dodson: Chris Skalka said hi to you by the way.

Adam Baskin: Hey Chris.

Jim Dodson: Hold on a minute. A good shout out from Harris Hickman here about how he values the program. Thank you Harris. Hey listen, I know that when I bought my bike several years ago, from one of the large bike shops in my area, they didn't do any of the things you're talking about. They didn't have any equipment. It was the bike fitter met with me, put me on the bike, made certain adjustments, and off I've run for the last number of years, so sounds like you really have a way of dialing in exactly what's going on.

Adam Baskin: Yeah, one of the things that we discussed bringing up is one that I've already hit on a little bit, is using the fitting as a tool to identify a bike. A lot of people feel that I've already got a bike, I'm just gonna bring it in, just get fitted on it. Whereas the bike that they have may not necessarily be the best or even appropriate for their flexibility, for how they're using the bike. So I offer a service that's essentially what I described earlier but on size cycles. So I have an infinitely adjustable bike, it's called the Retul Move. So when the client comes in, they bring their cycling apparel, they bring their shoes, their pedals, and I put a saddle and appropriate handlebar on the size cycle and I run them through that same process, and at the conclusion of the fitting, I pull their handlebar stack, handlebar reach, their frame stack, their frame reach, air bar pad stack, air bar pad reach, and use that information to figure out a brand, model, size that's gonna work best for them. And I think that's a great way to avoid making a $5,000-10,000 mistake on getting a bike that may or may not be appropriate for you.

Jim Dodson: Yeah, you and I were talking about that. And it never occurred to me and the average person doing research on buying a bike or maybe getting a new frame you've heard about, kind of fallen in love with, and looks like something you'd really enjoy riding, but really is it the right one for you. You have the right geometry for that bike from your natural physical setting. And it sounds like you're gonna invest 2000, 6000, 8000, 10,000 dollars on a bike, maybe you might make sure it fits you before you buy it.

Adam Baskin: That's true. I've certainly had cases where somebody comes in and they've got the resources and they wanna buy a Pinerello F10 and I put them on the size cycle and I have to break it to them that there's no way that F10 is gonna work for them. And they end up getting spending an equal amount of money on an equally nice bike but it's not what they thought they were gonna be getting.

Jim Dodson: Right, but it fits them.

Adam Baskin: That's right, and they're gonna enjoy it. They're gonna enjoy it more. They're not gonna be icing their back after every ride.

Jim Dodson: So Adam, what are the kinds of physical issues that usually bring clients to you who aren't really tuned into getting a bike fitting. They're just kind of being driven to you because I've got problems with my knees or my back or whatever.

Adam Baskin: I see a lot of foot and toe numbness, a lot of knee discomfort, lower back, neck discomfort, and hand numbness. Those have to be the most common cycling complaints. As well as saddle issues. Saddle-based comfort, pain, and numbness are unfortunately very common until you find the right saddle and have that saddle positioned correctly. Because you could have the right saddle and it could be perfect for you, but it's not positioned correctly, it's too high, it's too low, it's not angled correctly, you wouldn't even know it's the right saddle.

Jim Dodson: It just sounds like I don't know what I've done the last few years and never had this service by you honestly. You know everybody out there that I know, it's just all trial and error, you know. I'll try this, I'll try that, and

Adam Baskin: There's certainly a bit of that to what I do too. On the trainer bike, the saddle that we choose might be perfect but after a couple rides in the real world, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Bike fitting is definitely a dynamic process that can certainly turn into, require some followup, just to make sure that we landed on all the right equipment.

Jim Dodson: So let's drop back a minute. Why don't you tell us about your background. I know you've got an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology I think. But then tell us what you have done since you graduated from college that's kind of led to where you are.

Adam Baskin: Well I have two exercise science degrees, I have an undergrad and what was called exercise science grad prep, and then I have a masters in clinical exercise phys. Which is I think the undergraduate was a little more applied and certainly relates a little bit better to what I do. My masters is more geared towards electrocardiography, metabolic testing, that sort of thing. Which I still use. But right out of undergrad I got a job offer from the USA Triathlon National Training Center in Clermont, Florida that was looking for someone with a cycling background and couple years down the road we had a 12 year contract with the British Olympic Association for all their sports, and we had a 5 year contract with USA Triathlon. So we had injured triathletes from the highest levels of the sport coming through for gait motion analysis, outpatient physical therapy, and we quickly saw that there was a need for a bike fit. So I in 2002 roughly, started accumulating bike fitting certifications and a few years down the road started getting some good press in some of the triathlon magazines, Triathlon Magazine, Inside Triathlon, and I kind of realized that it made sense for me to be my own boss and that's where I am today.

Jim Dodson: So how long have you had your own shop?

Adam Baskin: Well I initially, after I left the training center, I used some physical therapy clinics. There was a company called Sports Specific with six locations in Orlando, and I would just sort of bounce around depending on which location was most convenient for my clients. And then in 2009 I connected with what become Winter Park Cycles who set me up in my own studio in the Winter Park area. That was in January of 2010. So I've been on Corrine ever since.

Jim Dodson: And your business, your website, tell us what that is.

Adam Baskin: My website is, you can view it either via Probikefitter.com or Catonefitness.com

Jim Dodson: Okay, and where are you physically located?

Adam Baskin: I'm located just down the road from Baldwin Park in Orlando. The name of the studio is Fit Lab, and we're on Corrine Drive, closest intersection is Winter Park Road and Corrine. At the end of February I will be moving down the road a couple street lights. I'll be in that same general area.

Jim Dodson: Okay, alright. So let me pause for a minute and just give you a little program note. Hope you're enjoying the program with Adam. I think it's been really eye opening for me. The purpose of our livestream is to educate, inform, and hopefully to motivate people in the world of cycling. One of the most frequent questions that I get after a crash of course, every cyclist wants to know how's my bike. And then the question is how do I get it repaired or replaced. And one of the things I do in my practice when I represent someone. I don't charge money for getting your bike replaced or repaired. We run interference with the adjuster, we try to do what is necessary to get that done. We want to get you back on the road as quickly as you can and we're happy to do that as a service. But on the injury side, if you've been injured or you know somebody throughout Florida that's been injured in a bike crash, I'm only a phone call away. I'll give you a straight answer. I'll tell you what we can do to help. And if we can't help, I'll tell you that as well. If I can ever help you, don't hesitate to call. So let's talk about, I know that you talked about the average person comes to you takes two hours to do a fitting. And you get it done in one session, do you have people that require more than one session to do that?

Adam Baskin: I would say the vast majority of my fits are single session. One of the things that I encounter a lot with triathletes is a lot of the new bikes are what are called super bikes. And with super bikes the front ends are integrated and a lot of the wiring cables are hidden. So when someone requires a different stem or a spacer, or something to be changed out, sometimes that's a little bit beyond the scope of what I can do within a two hour appointment. So usually what I do is I get them as close as I can with what's on the bike and I make the appropriate equipment change recommendation. And when they've got that new piece of equipment whether it's stem, spacer, installed then we schedule a follow up time to conclude with everything dialed in 100 percent. There's so many great bikes that are super cool with everything hidden and aero but I think that's just one unfortunate consequence. Sometimes it requires a little more time to

Jim Dodson: It gets more complicated when you try to change things.

Adam Baskin: In terms of what I do and what I'm looking for, it's exactly the same. You lose a little bit of adjustability with those kind of bikes.

Jim Dodson: I'm sure people come to you with multiple bikes. I know that you've indicated that you charge $275 for a fitting that usually takes 2 hours. What if a person has two or three bikes. How does that work?

Adam Baskin: Usually I charge $125 for each additional. But if it ends up being two bikes of the same style with similar points of contact. Usually I can just set the bike up using the infrared wand that I described earlier. In that case, it's the same saddle, the same shoes, the same crank plank, the same brake hoods, the same style of bike. I usually do that for $75. I call that a Zin, Retul Zin.

Jim Dodson: What would you say to the average person who rides, they're not really having a physical issue, they're not having numbness in their hands, they don't have pain somewhere. What would you say to them, in terms of what's the likelihood that they're really set up for their optimal performance. And what benefit they would get from coming to you.

Adam Baskin: I think there's a small chance that they're set up optimally. That they sort of lucked into it. I would say that the range of positions where you can ride and be relatively pain free is much larger than the range or the window of optimal position and optimal performance. Maybe there's a 5 degree window of torso angles, maybe there's 5-10 degree in terms of reach to the bars, but I think to optimize force production, aerodynamics, and with reduced risk of injury. I think there's a very small window of that. We're talking we go from degrees to maybe millimeters.

Jim Dodson: Wow, pretty amazing. I think the average person can't imagine that millimeters would make a difference in terms of their setup. Because I think normally we're used to fiddling around in the garage by moving your set around a little bit, maybe that feels better, maybe trying your handlebar up or down. I think it's sometimes hard to grasp the degree that you can dial this in to increase your comfort and performance.

Adam Baskin: Well when I first started out in fitting, I was working with, like I said earlier, triathletes from the highest levels of the sport. So people that were riding 5-7 times a week, putting in a lot of hours and they've been doing it for years. And they have a lot of muscle memory. So they're very, very sensitive to changes in their equipment and changes in their position so some of those riders would ride the same cycling shoe their entire career just to avoid having to go through adaptation periods. They didn't want to have to reduce their training volume to accommodate a new piece of equipment. Some of them went as far as having new shoe uppers grafted to their old shoe lowers. So say one year they rode with cycling shoe A, sponsor A And then the next year they were sponsor B. They would take sponsor B's upper and put it on sponsor A's lower. Just so that they wouldn't have to go through adaptation. Not necessarily the same with saddles, but it was interesting to see how very sensitive people that ride a lot are to change. And you have to fight for every millimeter. And then you have the opposite side of the spectrum, where someone that's brand new to the sport or someone that only rides maybe once or twice a week for 90 minutes. They're not sensitive at all. They can have six different pairs of shoes, three different bikes, and they can mix and match them in any combination and be fine. I think ignorance is bliss. They have no idea what the opposite end of the spectrum is.

Jim Dodson: How good it could be. You're saying that there's this big window where you can get by but a narrow window where you can really do well and really dial in the enjoyment and productivity of what you're able to do.

Adam Baskin: That's true, that's true. And again, I certainly don't put myself in the same class as those athletes I was describing but after, and you've probably been riding just as long as me but sometimes it's challenging to change things. You raise your saddle a millimeter and it takes you four, five rides before it feels normal.

Jim Dodson: Right, yeah. And I want to make sure that everybody understood what you said earlier because you and I were talking earlier this week. And just address this, the number one thing that the average rider would notice after a bike fitting with you, would be the sense that they're working less hard or better production with less effort. Maybe you can describe it better than that.

Adam Baskin: Yeah, I think that's probably the most common feedback that I get and that would be that there's a lower perceived effort for the same output and or speed. So they'll go out and they'll ride their normal route that they rode two weeks ago, and they'll come back home and they went 30 seconds faster, and it didn't seem any harder. Or they get home and they average the same watts but they weren't nearly as fatigued as the last time.

Jim Dodson: I think that's exciting. I mean I'm probably one of the people that you're talking about. I don't have issues with pain, but I know I'm not set up properly because I just don't feel right on the bike. And yet I've been riding on it for a long time that way and sort of like putting up with it. I guarantee you I'll be in your shop when I have the first opportunity to get there. The other thing that you mentioned, and you were talking about those pro riders and the fact that they don't want to change the point of contact. So when a person gets set up with you, what are the things that they should come back if they start making changes to the bike. What should prompt them to come back in for a tune-up?

Adam Baskin: Certainly if they changed any of those points of contact. So if they got different shoes, they got different pedals. A lot of times I have clients come in for a fit and they have a normal pedal and the next time they come in they have a power meter pedal and they don't think that that's going to change anything and that's not the case. If you change your cleat style or if the stack height of the pedal and cleat combination is different it definitely is going to change your extension at the knee and so forth, so it definitely changes your position. Back to that question. Any point of contact, if they have a major change in flexibility, or if they change how they're using the bike. So if they were doing sprint triathlons and now they're going to do an Ironman that's not the same position. What you can tolerate for an hour, an hour ten minutes on the bike, is a lot different than what you can tolerate for five to six hours on the bike. And the way the bike needs to be set up is completely different you know. If you're going to be on the bike for six hours, it's more important to be comfortable and prevent injury. Whereas if you're gonna be on the bike for five minutes, then the most important thing is being aerodynamic and powerful. So you have to make sure that the fit meets the needs or requirements of the event and how the rider is going to be using the bike. So if that changes, that certainly would require some adjustment.

Jim Dodson: Chris just chimed in with the comment of absolutely. So another thing that just occurred to me. A lot of the clients, well every client I represent has got an injury, and a lot of injuries include the lower body, hips and what have you. Address the issue of what should someone do who has been injured, whether a bike crash or not, but they've been injured. They've been riding, now they have an injury, how that might affect their ability to ride and their relationship with the bike in terms of being properly fit up.

Adam Baskin: I certainly think that they should go through the normal, they should seek out medical professionals and get them back to a point where they are able to return to normal daily activity and riding before they would come in for a fit.

Jim Dodson: Well I'm just saying but you have somebody that has a fractured pelvis or a fractured femur or hip replacement surgery. They've gone through all the treatment, they've been released, they've gotten back on their bike but are they really sitting and operating as they did before Do they have slight limitations in their range of motion or slight limitations in their reach and what have you.

Adam Baskin: Yes, they certainly can. That again is one of those situations where fitting is a dynamic process. So even when they return to riding, they may be sitting a certain way, they maybe have certain limitations with regards to flexibility related to the injury. And that would be another situation that would require periodic follow up to adjust for those improvements down the road.

Jim Dodson: I have some folks in mind actually that I maybe make that suggestion to honestly. So Chris, remind us again your address and how people can find you online.

Adam Baskin: Again, the name of my business is Cat One Fitness and I'm located at, I do most of my work at Fit Lab in Orlando. It's 3018 Corrine Drive, Orlando 32803. My websites are Probikefitter.com and Catonefitness.com

Jim Dodson: So Kati's running a stream across there saying we have a bitly link to Bike Fitter and you'll get all of Adam's information. Adam, this has been a great interview. I've gotten a lot out of it myself. And I really appreciate you taking the time to educate us about why bike fitting is much more than just for the pro athlete.

Adam Baskin: Well, no pleasure, I mean no problem. It was my pleasure. Thanks again for having me.

Jim Dodson: Okay everybody have a great day. Adam thank you so much, we'll see you soon.

Adam Baskin: Okay no problem.

Jim Dodson: Take care, alright, bye bye.

Jim Dodson
Connect with me
A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.