We're here to help you find the bike that fits you
Element offers a boutique shopping experience. We don't have a big warehouse in the back and we don't have rows and rows of bikes on the floor. What we do have is a small variety of top quality bikes carefully selected to showcase the brands that we carry. And the brands that we carry are carefully selected to meet our standards. These are brands that have something special and something different to offer. And they are brands that are continuing to improve on their already great bikes.
Here is one example of what we mean: QR invented triathlon bike geometry over 20 years ago and in 2012, they released the Illicito. The Ilicitto is a truly dedicated triathlon bike. It is not UCI legal so it is able to take full advantage of every possible aerodynamic advantage. Note the elimination of the seat stay on the non-drive train side. There is a reason for everything on this bike.
After 6 years with Felt, Element is the premier dealer of Felt bikes in Edmonton. We know the brand and we ride Felt ourselves. Elise even has her mom and dad riding Felt. But our specialty as a bike shop is triathlon, of course, so here is an example, of what Felt brings to the table in tri bikes. Felt revealed the DA frame approximately 6 years ago. At the time, it was said to put Felt 3 or 4 years ahead of its competition. But Felt's R&D didn't rest for those 3 or 4 years. This year, they released an updated DA frameset with sleeker lines and other updates including full DI2 and UI2 integration.
Those are just a few examples. All of the brands we support offer the same attention to detail and ongoing product development. And, like us here at Element, the brands we work with started with a few key individuals with a dream and a desire to offer something something different in the business. We offer a level of personalized service that a big box store can't. Like Felt, Argon 18, Quintana Roo ("QR") and Litespeed, we are all about personalized service and working with you to meet your goals. At Element, we take the time to find the bike that fits you and where you are at with your riding goals. We will work with you through the process and make sure you have the tools and the knowledge to make an informed and confident decision about the bike that is right for you. So, while your bike fit is as critical to us as it is to you, we also work with you to make sure that the bike fits your riding style your riding and racing goals and it fits your budget. The fact that we might not have the perfect bike in stock for you right now we see as a positive thing: a bike purchase is a big decision for a lot of us and it's something that you should take the time to do right. When you understand that we are working with you to find or build your dream bike, it takes that impulse buy out of the equation.
Bike Fit: It's all about you!
Yes, you are probably quite aware that your bike needs to fit you physically but what does that fit mean? If you are buying your first triathlon or road bike, you might not know what a correctly fitted bike is supposed to feel like. There are a lot of bike fit tools out there and a lot of experienced and inexperienced bike fitters around and it's difficult to tell where you should place your trust. We are a FIST certified shop we are confident that FIST certification by itself differentiates Element from other shops. And Cam, our prime bike fitter, has the experience of over 500 bike fits under his belt over the 5 years Element has been around and he has another 5 years of hands-on bike fitting before Element came to be. You do the math and you'll figure that's a lot of hand-on bike fitting and that experience goes a long way. That level of experience is something that can't be duplicated by anything but a lot of time, effort and working with our customers.
FIST Certification definitely sets us up with a high level of credibility and it is very important to us as a shop with triathlon expertise. And we don't want to in anyway downplay the value of the FIST bike fit protocol in its application to the fit for road bikes as well as triathlon bikes: we strongly believe that FIST is a critical foundation to our philosophy. Unlike traditional bike fit which commonly references the rider's body position relative to the the bike (so it essentially positions the rider on the bike), FIST is based on rider ergonomics: first find the position the rider wants to be in and then find the bike that fits that position. FIST, like Element, puts the rider first. We do use a dynamic fit bike to work with the customer in the bike fit process but we know that the fit is mostly about the rider, the customer, about you. We use the fit bike to change the size and shape of the bike based on feedback from you. You tell us based on what you are feeling, where you want to sit on the bike. The most important tool we use in the fit assessment is feedback from the customer, from you. The cost and the time required for a bike fit will vary depending on the purpose of the bike fit. In addition to the fit bike and our strong background in FIST bike fits, we also use some photo capture techniques to record your fit "before" and "after" positions or to assess which bike ideally suits your position. There are definitely other tools on the market to measure your fit, tools like "Retul" and "motion capture" but the tools are just that. We are confident that the combination of the tools currently in our shop plus the years of hands-on experience give us an edge in bike fit expertise you won't find anywhere else. Did I mention that we don't just fit bikes? We also ride them so we know what it's like to be in your position. We are just like you: we want to ride the best bike we can get and we know we'll only ride it if it fits and is comfortable to ride. We are here to help you find that bike.
Check out our "Bike Fit" page to learn more and even to book your appointment to get started have a more comfortable, more powerful ride.
Road Bike or Tri Bike: Which one is right for you?
We don't advocate any on answer as being correct. It depends on the riders ergonomics, racing and training goals and riding alternatives. If you don't know the right answer, we'll help you work through the pros and cons of each scenario to find the solution that works best for you right now. Here are some things to consider:
1. Is this your first bike or do you have a road or tri bike already? If you have another bike, are you replacing it or buying a second bike?
2. If this is your first bike, are you buying it primarily for fun and fitness or are you buying it to race triathlon and try to get the best performance you can get?
3. What are your triathlon race goals in terms of distance? Are you planning on racing shorter or longer races?
4. What kind of conditions will you be doing most of your training? In a large group or in small groups or by yourself?
5. Where do you think you'll be doing most of your training or, at least, your key training? In the city of out of the city on quiet roads with little traffic?
These are some questions to start with. Give them some thought and see what kind of bike you think fits best with your answers.