What is the difference between a sprint position and an aero position on the velodrome and how does it affect the set up of one’s bike?

When we, as track cyclists, talk about going from our sprint position into our aero position, it sounds like it simply means taking off our sprint bars and replacing them with a set of aero bars. However, this is not the case. The rider’s position also needs to be changed. When the sprint bars are taken off and aero bars put on, all that is changing is the way the rider looks on the bike. In order to change a rider’s position, the cockpit (saddle fore and aft as well as height) needs to be adjusted to create the proper pelvic rotation over the bottom bracket.

Through the fits we conduct at Ero-Sports, we have seen that a sprint position is one that is in between that of a road fit and an aero fit. Although in a sprint fit the back angle is typically much lower than a road fit, we see that the knee angles and fore and aft of the saddle are not as aggressive as an aero fit. Often times, we see that the saddle used for a sprint position does not allow for as much pelvic rotation needed to achieve a proper aero position.

To successfully go from a proper sprint fit to a proper aero fit, it takes more than just swapping the bars out.  To do things correctly so that the rider gets the very most out of the effort they are putting in, there are several changes that need to be made. On the front end, the rider obviously needs aero bars.  They also need the correct stem that will not only give the proper reach, but also the proper drop. The proper drop in front is crucial because it allows the rider to correctly rotate their hips, enabling them to come over the front of the bottom bracket, which allows for the hip angle to stay open. Drop in front is great for aerodynamics, but if the pelvis cannot rotate, the hips will be closed off, making the peddle stroke from 10 O’clock to 2 O’ clock very difficult and powerless.

This brings us to the cockpit. Because in an aero position the rider is more rotated and lower in front than a sprint position, the leg extension has changed and therefore the saddle height must be adjusted. Whether the adjustment of the saddle is up or down, fore or aft, pelvic rotation must be correct and choosing the right saddle plays a very large part in this. Perineal pressure and numbness should not occur in any riding position! If pressure on the front end of the saddle is making it difficult for the hips to rotate, then it is obvious that a different saddle must be considered.  

Once both sprint and aero positions are set up, one can quickly make the switch from sprint to aero or vice versa. Both the sprint bar and the aero bar will need their own stem of the correct length and angle. Simply take one bar off and add the other as well as adding or subtracting any spacers necessary. For the cockpit, the rider needs a seat post and seat for the sprint position, as well as a separate seat post and seat for the aero position. The height at which the saddle should be placed will be marked on the seat post assuring that it is the same every time.

To schedule both of these fits in one session, go onto Ero-sports.com and schedule a Time Trial fit with Nate Koch. The cost for each fit is typically $275, but for the same track bike I will complete both fits for only $350 saving you $200!!!

For any further questions feel free to email me at nate@ero-sports.com or call me on my cell at (951) 837-0375