Saturday, April 23, 2011

Photo's of FORCE custom NXT as it happens. Who will win it?

Here are some photo's of the "Intense White" and "Animal" bikes...
Intense White Bike 2009
Animal Bike 2010

WSSC 2011 is almost here!

Here is a Q & A from the Spinning Instructor news... Just thought I would share it with you.

WSSC Corner: Q&A with Josh Taylor

Your ride at WSSC is always one of the most-anticipated parts of the weekend. What can attendees expect from this year’s ride?

Let’s just start by saying that I am truly honored to lead the kick-off ride for each year’s WSSC. It’s an amazing experience to ride with more than 300 individuals that really love Spinning®. It’s an energy like none other! It’s a night that celebrates the Spinning program and what it was truly meant to be—a journey that fuels the mind and body.

This year my ride is FORCE, a ride inspired by the forces all around and within each of us. It’s a physical journey that will encompass both audio and visuals that will ignite a true energy in motion. It will be truly extraordinary because “FORCE” is what causes change, and I believe that this ride will bring out the very best in each person who attends. They will leave that ride with something only to be explained by them!

How did you come up with the idea for FORCE?

Good question. Each year brings the big question of what ride to do next. Last year's Animal ride was a shift for me in terms of taking a ride to the next level and evolving. What’s amazing is that the Spinning program provides a vast amount of freedom and unexplored horizons. It's like a canvas that allows us to be artists and create transformation, renewal and journeys that define Spinning. Each year I challenge myself to heighten that creativity and bring out the very best of who I am. The attendees deserve it! In my mind they want to find something extra in themselves during a ride like this. They want to be able to close their eyes, be in that moment and fall in love with Spinning all over again.

So to answer the question, each year I have to really go deep and look for inspiration not only within myself but also from those around me. This year the result of that search is FORCE. I can’t wait for this ride. It's so perfect for what the Spinning program already is and what it is becoming for so many around the world: a FORCE.

What other sessions are you leading at WSSC this year?

In addition to the Thursday night kick-off ride, I will also be doing my Bike Fit sessions and will be part of a rocking group of MIs co-teaching a ride designed by my good friend and MI Scott Schlesinger called Conquer the Elements. That ride will be way too much fun!

What is your favorite ride or workshop that you’ve created for WSSC in past years?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I think each ride or workshop I have done at WSSC over the years have all been great. The one that stands out right now for me is Bike Fit. It has been very rewarding to make a real change in the indoor cycling world when it comes to the safety and overall connection each person has to the piece of equipment we use to find and enjoy fitness. I love to teach it and show off my patented Spinning Fit System tool that I designed with the Spinning instructor in mind. Proper bike fit is something we all need to take a much closer look at as instructors. I know it may not be the most exciting thing in the Spinning Program, but it is one of the most important!

Why should Spinning instructors attend WSSC 2011?

It’s so great to surround yourself with others in the fitness industry who share your passion. By attending WSSC, you are truly learning from the best of the best with cutting-edge workshops that just can’t be beat. Don’t miss out on the Spinning event of the year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Spinner® Bike- Know your ride

Spinner® NXT        #1-Track bike      #2-Road Bike       #3-TT bike
People often compare our Spinner® bikes to road bikes. I hear it all the time at fitness shows and in Spinning classes everywhere. As true as that may be in a lot of ways, lets take a closer look at the bike we all love to use to get to the finish line from a more athletic cycling point of view. The Spinner bike models are all cut from the same mold. Take a medium sized bike frame with a setback geometry and make it really sturdy and highly adjustable (seat height, saddle fore/aft, handle bar height and reach). This helps fit a very broad range of individuals of course. Make it a fixed gear with 170mm length crank arms, connected by a chain to a heavy (42lbs) externally weighted flywheel. Then add a resistance mechanism to give the load to work against and bam… You have the makings of a world-class training tool that is based off the real world of cycling. All of this is what has in some ways really made the Spinner much like another bike in the in the cycling world. With it’s fixed gear and short crank arms… The higher cadences that the fixed gear and heavy flywheel create on average… The explosive and short training sessions (40 minutes to an hour)… Oh, and NO brakes or shifters! ha ha... It all starts to add up to looking much more like one of the oldest and most exciting bikes there is today, and that’s the TRACK bike. A pure and simple machine just as the Spinner is.

As a former professional cyclist for many years I have had to take a much closer look at the Spinner bike that I am on so much. Training is training; whether it’s on a Spinner bike, road bike, track bike, TT bike, or Mtn bike… So what you do to prepare for whatever it is you are trying to accomplish with that tool is worth taking that closer look at.  For me, it was important to do this when it came to teaching the program I love so much. Over the years I started to look at Spinning (the program) and the bike we use for it, through a different set of glasses. I needed to use the Spinner to my advantage and that was training on it like I was riding my track bike on the on the *Velodrome (Track).

 So, for all you cyclist out there that are looking at the Spinner bike like your road bike, maybe it’s time for you to do what I did and have a closer look and really get to know your ride (bike and training) when it comes to Spinning.

  Using the Spinner specifically as a training tool is the trick. Riding it as a track bike with track racing specific type workouts (speed work) is fun and very beneficial for the athletic minded cyclist. It will make you really good at the high-end “good stuff” such as…

1. Pedal Speed
2. Cadence changes
3. Anaerobic capacity
4. Power
5. Quickness
6. Lactic acid buffering
7. Attacking
8. Lead outs
9. Sprinting- Finish Speed
10. Mental focus under hard effort

Track racing requires a quicker response in everything because of the shorter type races. You need to be very reactive and really “quick” mentally and physically. To be quick requires learning to be very smooth at higher cadences under “power” or on the gas as just one example because of the fixed gearing. The Spinner gives us as performance-minded riders a chance to work on what I call the “good stuff”! Your body’s ability to work really hard without ANY interruptions! This gives your mind the chance to focus on true form and effort so completely that when the time comes to do the hard riding it’s pre-programmed to the point of it being instinctive. On the Spinner you can close your eyes and go full gas and not worry about a thing. By doing so you can really go into yourself and learn what you can’t when you’re on a real bike… World-class athletes know this all to well. You can see it in the way there is an intense focus on the job at hand when they are preparing for an event about to start and when they are in the race! You can see that the “good stuff” needs to all be working at 100% to be the best they can be. This kind of training for any cyclist is really good.

So let’s take a look into the Spinner bike and track bike connection even more… Set up should be a little different than a road set up. I run my saddle height just a small amount lower on the track bike than I do my road bike. This is what I do so of course so you might be different…  On my road bike I like to be around the 27-28 degree of knee flexion at the bottom of the pedal stroke. On my track, bike because of the shorter cranks and faster cadences, I prefer as most trackies do, to be around 30-32 degrees. This helps in dealing with moving through the pedal stroke more rapidly. Makes me feel a little more spring-loaded if you know what I mean. I also set my handlebars a bit lower and closer than my road bike because it’s only a short amount of time I’m on the track bike compared to my road bike. This also aids in incorporating the glutes just a bit more for more BIG power. You can also do this with the Spinner bike. Remember to always listen to your body and how it feels with lowering the bars or changing the seat position.

At the end of the day as a true cyclist, you need to know the piece of equipment you are training on. I hope you now have a better understanding of the Spinner® bike models and how they are much more like a track bike than a road bike. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

All NEW Spinner® Bikes are AMAZING!

The all NEW Spinner® Blade

The Iconic Spinner® bike lineup has been taken to a new level in terms of style, authenticity, performance, and quality that will put us way ahead of the pack! The all new Spinner® bikes will change the indoor cycling world as we know it forever!

Just a few of the major changes I am absolutely excited about are for the person who gets on the Spinner® to better themselves through the Spinning® Program. Star Trac has Increase the authenticity of the ride by improving bike fit and overall biomechanics on many levels when it comes to this.

Spinner® Blade
One such MAJOR change is the Q factor. This is the distance between your feet when you are sitting on the bike pedaling. The Q factor (Crank to crank) on all the new models of Spinner® bikes will be 158-160mm. This is well within the real cycling world specifications and is by far the best in the industry. Some indoor cycling bikes on the market are crazy wide... The new Spinner® bike models will help provide most (general population) users the ability to have much better alignment and biomechanics when riding through the hips, knees, ankles, and feet when compared to most other indoor cycling bikes. The payback is more safety, comfort, efficiency, and "power application" in each and every pedal stroke. Got to love that! The bike just feels better to me because it's closer to my road and track bikes.  This is an industry first when it comes to the group indoor cycling category!

Spinner® Blade Ion with power measurement coming soon!
The Spinner® bikes will now not only have a new computer with a wattage/power measurement (Coming soon, and will be measured through a strain gauge), but are designed to actually "help" the general rider population produce more power through the ability to get better body to bike alignment that is much more inline with the outdoor cycling worlds specifications. Think about how much adjustment you have in your cycling shoes/cleats to adjust your feet in or out from the crank arms to try get good alignment. It's not much so- The 160mm width is a good middle point for the masses if you know what I mean. Then if needed, you can take more steps in getting the best fit possible because your not starting with a really wide machine.

So for those of us who actually care about the transition from our road bikes to the indoor group cycling bike... This is a good thing! The older bikes aren't bad in terms of Q factor numbers, but if it can be changed and made more like a real bike, I'm all for it.  The New bikes QF is still wider than a high end road bike but it is much closer to what is out there and what people are dealing with on outdoor bikes. It wasn't until now that people even thought about Q factor on group stationary bikes.  

-So if your trying to over think this and trying to say this isn't a good thing... Do remember one thing... Indoor cycling bikes are NOT designed to fit EVERYONE perfectly and they won't for many reasons.  I  personally think this is a huge step in the right direction in terms of design. Engineers are looking to make the Spinner® bikes "closer" to a real bike than a piece of fitness equipment without adding things that wouldn't be safe or just a waste of time. A little change in Q factor for the masses that have been for the most part, on really wide bikes compared to outdoor bikes, is not a bad idea at all for many many reasons. A Q factor of 160mm is narrow in the INDOOR cycling world but NOT in the OUTDOOR cycling world. 

From Chris Balser:  I was recently asked my opinion on optimal tread or "Q-Factor" (by another indoor cycling site), and I believe that my response was slightly misleading.  I do not endorse 175mm distance over 160mm for cycling. 
My findings suggest pedal-to-pedal distance is optimal when equal to greater-trochnanter and tibial-tuberosity (with movement).  This means that your foot is under your knee, which is under your hip -- like walking.  Variation inside or outside these parameters will reduce effective force, and increases probability for injury.  It also just feels better.
Chris Balser
Bicycle Fit Guru

What's real funny is some so called "performance" indoor cycling bikes are more than 175mm wide! They are even as high as 190mm or more!  Kinda makes you wonder who is building these bikes. Not cyclists! 

Another big change is in the connection a rider will have to the handlebars. We have added a full 3" an adjustable fore/aft to the handlebars on the Blade and NXT, to give the rider an even more custom fit. We have also made a change to the angle of the bars in the area between HP 2 and 3. This area is now at a 5 degree rise, and combined with the fore/aft bar adjustment will allow our wonderful Spinning® program to actually move forward and change in terms of the hand positions. More to come on this later... What I can say, is this is another huge step forward in terms of comfort, efficiency, and feel. The bottom line here is, the bikes will feel even more like a real bike!

Without a doubt group indoor cycles have gone through an evolution in the past decades and the geniuses of most of the components are still grounded in traditional bike parts. We continue to learn that road and mountain bike components do not stand up to the stationary fixed gear systems that are found in group indoor cycles. Star Trac has reacted to this reality through designing components that are actually engineered specifically to meet the demands of this category. One such component Star Trac has designed on the new Spinner® Blade, NXT, and Pro is the patent pending drive train, that will far surpass anything on the market today in regards to strength. The all new bottom bracket in each of these bikes has been increased in size from the current Spinner® bikes and uses a bombproof Morris taper at the connection points to the crank arms. Star Trac has done their homework on this and I'm happy to know that the engineering is going into this kind stuff!

Other changes to the drive-train include a much higher quality track bike chain, that will last longer and stretch less. This combined with a all new stabilizing bar on the inside of the chain guard to stiffen the bike's frame will provide a ride that is sharp, crisp and strong! We have also taken the connection point of the pedals to the crank-arms to a place that will provide a level of safety not seen in the industry until now through use of the Morris tapering and much stronger pedal spindles. A double sided pedal is also coming to accommodate those who want both the Look® and SPD® style cleat connection. End of the day... Buyers and users, will have the piece of mind knowing that pedals will not succumb to an indoor cycling industry weak point.

Corrosion resistance has also been taken to a whole new level through much higher quality paint preparation and powder coating processes. We will be Zinc platting our steel frames on the new NXT and Pro vs the industry standard Zinc rich primer that will give us rust protection that exceeds current industry competitive standards.

New plastic leveling feet.
A few other notable examples of corrosion resistance that are industry firsts, are the all new oversized full plastic leveling feet that will not rust and/or seize. A full flywheel cover that prevents sweat from building up on the inner rim and or flywheel stickers coming off. Bikes that can take anything the fitness industry can throw at them all day long and will out perform them all!

Bottom line... Star Trac has improved almost everything on the bikes, and Spinning® will continue to maintaining our position as the number one group indoor cycling company. We have really listened to the Spinning® community and are trying to react with the designs that will make their experience better for the right reasons!

A bike that is engineered to last.
From my point of view as a former professional cyclist and Spinning International Master Instructor for many years, these are the best bikes ever made for the indoor cycling world to date. They look absolutely AMAZING and will ride even better! I am truly impressed and can't wait to see the Spinning program grow even more because of the bikes!


What an event!