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Summary of replies: Literature on Cycling Time-Trial

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  • Summary of replies: Literature on Cycling Time-Trial

    Dear BIOMCH-L subscribers!

    Thank you for the many replies to my query.

    There were not many articles or books mentioned twice, so I guess the
    final list is quite a representative cross section for this field.

    As the list is rather long I will just mention a few papers at the end
    of my posting, please feel free to contact me
    ( for the complete list in

    I even got some detailed hints how to position riders and will cite Todd
    Carver ( and Erik Moen (
    here (special thanks!):


    >1. knee flex/ext: 28 - 35 degrees of knee flexion with 10 - 20 degrees of
    >plantar flexion at the bottom of the stroke and 100 - 110 degrees of knee
    >flexion at the top (captured by Vicon/Peak 6 camera optical system). This
    >gives you a range of motion of about 70 degrees at the knee (with the proper
    >crank length).
    >2. Hip displacement in the vertical plane should be between 4 - 6 cm,
    >medial laterally about 1 cm, and fore / aft about 1 - 1.5 cm
    >3. Hip angle is dependent upon torso angle. The degree of aggressiveness
    >is determined more by flexibility and strength than aerodynamics. Or, I
    >should say, I lower riders (torso) as much as possible without reaching the
    >limits of their flexibility.
    >As far as the aerodynamic parameters, for logistical reasons, we base
    >velocity gains and losses on static frontal surface area formulas. We have
    >a way of measuring "drag area" on the road, but it would take WAY too long
    >for us.
    >I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me again.
    >Todd Carver


    > I have written a section on bike fit in Chris Carmichael's The
    > Ultimate Ride. I have based some of my personal research on works by
    > Hull, Burke and Broker.
    > There is not a lot of hard clinical evidence for recommended seg
    > angles. We know that suggested is 25-35deg of knee flex at DBC, but
    > that is it.
    > We recently did a research survey and found self-fit racers had saddle
    > heights lower than recommended.
    > Critical pieces TT'ers typically shoot for are knee 30-35deg (with
    > ankle/foot in position assumed at 90-100rpm, very important) depending
    > on experience and flexibility. Shoulder angle 90-100deg. The next
    > piece of importance is hip flexion relative to trunk angle. This is
    > an area that should require some research. Help yourself and let me
    > know!
    > Regards,
    > Erik Moen PT, CSCS

    And now a few Literature hints:

    Martin, J.C. and J.E. Cobb. Aerodynamics of cycling: Effects of body
    position. In Jeukendrup, A. High Performance Cycling. Human Kinetics,
    Indianapolis IN. 2002

    Cobb, J.E. and J.C. Martin. Aerodynamics of cycling: Effects of
    equipment. In Jeukendrup, A. High Performance Cycling. Human Kinetics,
    Indianapolis 2002

    di Prampero PE in 1986 in the Int J Sports Med (7), pp.55-72, its title
    is "The energy cost of human locomotion on land and in water"

    Burke ER, Ed.; High Tech Cycling , 1996, ISBN:0-87322-535-X

    Grappe F, Candau R, Busso T, Rouillon JD. Effect of cycling position on
    ventilatory and metabolic variables.
    Int J Sports Med. 1998 Jul;19(5):336-41

    Gnehm P, Reichenbach S, Altpeter E, Widmer H, Hoppeler H. Influence of
    different racing positions on metabolic cost in elite cyclists.
    Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Jun;29(6):818-23.

    Kyle CR. Energy and aerodynamics in bicycling.
    Clin Sports Med. 1994 Jan;13(1):39-73.

    Burke, Edmund R. (Ed.) (1986): Science of Cycling. (S. 123-136) Champaign,
    Ill.: Human Kinetics.

    Kyle, Chester R. (1995): Bicycle Aerodynamics. In Allan V. Abbott; David
    Gordon Wilson: Human-powered vehicles (S. 141-157). Champaign: Human
    Kinetics. S. 141-157

    McLean BD, Danaher R, Thompson L, Forges A, Coco G; Aerodynamic
    characteristics of cycle wheels and racing cyclists, Int Society of
    Biomechanics, Congress ISB , 1993, pp. 854-855

    Swanton A, Shafat A, Anderson R; Biomechanical & physiological
    characterisation of four cycling positions, paper for ISBS Conference
    2006 (contact Ross Anderson:

    Yoshihuku Y, Herzog W; Optimal design parameters of the bicycle-rider
    system for maximal muscle power output, Journal of Biomechanics. 1990
    (23), pp 1069-1079

    Belluye N ; Biomechanical analysis of cycling positioning , Thesis
    University of Bordeaux, 2001

    Capelli C, Rosa G, Butti F, Ferretti G, Veicsteinas A; Energy cost and
    efficiency of riding aerodymanic bicycles , Eur J Appl Physiol , 1993,
    67, 144-149

    Stefan Litzenberger
    Fachhochschule Technikum Wien
    University of Applied Sciences
    Sportgerätetechnik / Sports Equipment Technology
    Höchstädtplatz 5
    A-1200 Vienna
    Tel: ++43 1 3334077 - 364
    Fax: ++43 1 3334077 - 369