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Customer Testimonials
 
 
 From: Dan Hickey <emailaddrremovedtoprotectprivacy@anotherfreemailservice.com>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 2011 16:22:03 -0400
Subject: TT
To: Armand Pantalone <armand.pantalone@speedmerchantaero.com>
Hi Armand,
Just wanted to let you know at todays TT in Auburn I was a minute faster then last year putting out the same average watts. It's thanks to you and the wind tunnel. Now if I can bring my power up more. Saw you were preregistered, you missed a real wet and cold race. Thanks again.
Dan
 Editor's note PS: FYI - At this same above-mentioned race in the Maine Time Trial Series, the same person won the previous year but was 30 seconds slower due to the cold, wet conditions. This year SMART LSWT Client Dan Hickey was 3rd Overall and was not slower but A FULL MINUTE FASTER - but put out the same average power as the previous year!!! That is the real benefit of tunnel testing and position optimizing with the experts. You can't buy that added speed with another bike, bars, or wheelset no matter how much money you throw at it. 
 
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We all know Skip Foley. In a nutshell he's won two national criterium titles, placed 3rd in the 2007 masters national TT, set the Charlie Baker Time Trial (CBTT) Masters record in 2007, and has won scores of local races in the masters and pro fields. Skip visited the tunnel earlier this year, worked with the staff to tweak out his ROAD BIKE (not TT bike) position, then went out to the CBTT to check it out.

   

The result? He averaged 26.45 MPH and dropped 1:16 off his old non-aero time on a 9.75 mile course just 12 days after his Wind Tunnel Test Session. Not convinced? He went back a week later, went 26.49 MPH and took ANOTHER 2 seconds off. (ON A ROAD BIKE, he managed to almost equal his 26.77 MPH average speed he achieved a month before, full-aero on a full-up TT rig; a Cervelo with rear disk, deep carbon front wheel, aero bars and w/ an aero helmet - the Works.)  Incidentally, that time placed him 3rd fastest all-time non-aero on the course. Not just Masters non-aero 3rd fastest, but OVERALL non-aero 3rd fastest - at the age of 48. One could suggested that basic fitness gains might have had a significant effect, but knowing Skip, his fitness was already at such a level that only incremental gains would have been realized over that time. Furthermore, Skip credits SMART's work exclusively for the improvement. His email to the Speed Merchant Aero Owner and Operator is below:

 Armand,

Just wanted to let you know that I set a new masters ITT record at Charlie Baker last night. It was in the non-aero/Cannibal class.  I went 22:07 w/ average speed of 26.45 mph.  It is the 3rd fastest time ever (including elite) and a new 35+ record. 

My time was just 5 seconds off the Elite record of 22:02 that has stood for over 10 years.  I credit the wind tunnel analysis and testing for this.  I know it sounds ridiculous but I went almost 1:20 faster over 10 miles than my fastest cannibal prior to going in the tunnel.  I rode in a skinsuit, regular road helmet and on that same Museeuw frame; nothing else and Zipp wheels.  Make of it what you will but I am much more aero now thanks to you.

Skip Foley

 

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Marc Kermisch - 2010 Minnesota Cat 3 Rider of the Year - Test Session 12 Nov 2010
The following testimonial was taken from his personal blog at the location below:
 
Kermisch.com  :: serving sand, one pebble @ a time ::
 
For winning the MN Rider of the Year award for Cat 3’s my wife gave me the most incredible gift you could imagine. It started with a new time trial bike of my choice, but that was not all. It included a trip to Boston to get a professional fitting at Fitwerx in Peabody, MA and, yes I just said and… a session at a Wind Tunnel
through
Speed Merchant Aero
in Plaistow, NH.
We went out for my birthday weekend and I spent all day between Fitwerx and Speed Merchant Aero getting fit and fast on the new TT bike.
This all started in September when I went to my local shop, Gear West to talk to Kevin about a new TT bike. I looked at Trek, Felt, and Cervelo. I also considered Fuji, Scott, and Giant. After spending a lot of time online, talking with my friends, and Kevin at Gear West, I decided on the Felt B12 with Zipp 1080/808 wheels. The B12 has the same frame as last year’s DA, minus the bayonet fork. It’s set-up with SRAM Red and Felt’s aero cock-pit. It’s a reasonably priced ride that let me invest in a great set of wheels to go along with it.
I shipped the B12 out to FitWerx and upon arrival at the shop, I met Dean the owner and local pro triathlete. Dean is a mechanical engineer who rowed at the Naval Academy and has been a strong athlete his whole life. Holding several course records in and around Mass. We started out with Dean and I just talking. We discussed how my TT’s went this year, how my road bike is set-up, what my goal races were and what I wanted to get out of the fitting. He took measurements of my body, tested my flexibility and took a look at my gait to get a sense of my body type.
He then went about measuring my the current set-up on my B12. FitWerx uses the Dartfish fitting system, but also uses the Retul as well. With Dartfish, they set up a fit bike, which allows the fitter to fine tune the bike fit and easily take all the measurements that are then transferred to your personal bike. The fit bike looks like a funny trainer, something you would see in an old gym or something. What is cool about the bike is you can quickly change crank lengths, tube lengths, seat post height, etc.
After Dean got the fit bike set-up like my B12, I hopped on the fit bike and we took some video me riding. The video immediately went into the Dartfish system, where Dean could draw and set lines on my legs, hips, back shoulders, elbow, and forearms. He could fix those lines on my body and they would tell him the angles of my joints on the bike. It was pretty apparent just from looking at the first video how upright I was on the bike. You could see that I looked like a wall try to speed through the wind. I was blocking more of the wind than cutting through it.
We started to get me lower on the bike. We tweaked the seat position, stretched me out more on the TT bars, and changed the seat height as well. I would spin for 5 minutes at a time as we changed the position and would give feedback to Dean. He would then take more video and put the measurements on my body to get the angles. Based off of industry data and Dean’s experience he knew when the angles on my body were getting to aggressive. I could quickly tell as well as the position was hard to keep or I would feel tightness in my hip flexors.
As we got the position dialed in we realized that I would have a more effecient pedal stroke if we went with a 170 crank vs. a 172.5 crank, which what I had on the bike. We took another video of the new position and you could see immediately how much lower I was. The top of my head was now in line with the top of my back. You could see how the wind could flow over and around the body vs. my body sticking up like a brick wall. The position felt good and Dean and were pretty satisfied. We then started to talk about what I could get done in the Wind Tunnel.
We talked about what the experience would be like. Dean felt pretty good that he got me into a really good position on the bike. He said that I might be able to get a bit lower and will be able to determine a few different positions on the current fit that will allow me get the most aero. We also talked about helmets and that each helmet fits differently on each person and that I should test several of them in the tunnel to determine which gives me the least amount of drag.
 
From there I was off to Speed Merchant Aero to meet Armand, the owner of the tunnel. Armand is an electrical engineer by trade and has built this wind tunnel in New Hampshire. He is a passionate cyclist and has been playing with aero positions for years. The wind tunnel lets him validate his experience and help other riders get more slippery in the wind. I was not sure what to expect when I got to Armand’s place. The wind tunnel he build is met for cyclists. Unlike many of the research tunnels at universities are built for broader research than just bikes. The tunnel itself is on the second floor of a warehouse space in a very unassuming building. There are two large industrial fans on either side of the tunnel that pulls air in from the front and across the rider vs. blowing it directly at the rider. The tunnel is made out of wood and drywall, just as your house is. The shape of the tunnel forces the wind directly down to the rider. The tunnel is a narrow space that really just fits the rider. The bike is placed on a platform that enables part of the measurements that are taken to calculate aero drag and coefficeint. Armand has build proprietary software that allows him to capture in real time your drag coefficeint, speed, power and cadence. He projects this software on the floor of the tunnel just in front of the rider so you can see the numbers you are outputting in real time. This allows you to see the impact of your position or slight body movements immediately. Our goal was to get my drag coefficeint between .26 and .23, which would be pretty damn good.
Immediately, Armand stated how good a job Dean did by getting me into a relatively aero position down at FitWerx. We did minor adjustments on the bike, mainly we took a few spacers out on the stem, dropping the TT bars down a bit and we brough the bar extensions in, making my arms a bit more narrow. We also testing different positions by having me stretch out over my shifters, keeping my head up, pushing the tip of the helment onto my back, and adjusting my shoulders. All of these adjustments got my position directly between .25 and .234 depending on how aggressive I was getting. I would then try pedaling in the position to see how it felt. It will take some time on the trainer this winter to adjust to the new positions, but I feel really good about the work we did.
Once we got the position dialed in we tested several aero helmets. These included the Giro, Catlike, Spuik, and Lazer helments. They all felt good, but the most comfortable and the helmet that did not impact my drag coefficeint was the Giro. The great news about that, is that it was also the least amount of money.
After about 2 1/2 hours in the wind tunnel, I was all done and set to go. The time with Armand was a dream come true. You really felt like a pro as you tested out your position and took a look at different equipement. Armand and Dean believe that I will shave minutes off of my TT times assuming the same fitness and similar conditions. As I have upgraded to a Cat 2 racer, hopefully this will let me be in the mix on the TT’s instead of dead last. The final touches on the fit will be to get a snug fitting aero skin suit, shoe covers and to pick up that Giro aero helmet.
Working with Armand at Speed Merchant Aero was definitely worth it. If you ever want to really dial in your position and verify it with some science, check Armand out. His prices are a fraction of what you would spend at a research based wind tunnel like San Diego or MIT.
FitWerx is an awesome bike shop. Dean is an amazing fitter, but Marty his partner is an enthusiastic and personable guy who really made this experience come together. Fitwerx has some unique bikes, they carry Felt and Cervelo, but also the following:
Serotta Cycles – Saratoga, NY
Guru Bicycles – LaValle, QC, Canada
Parlee Cycles – Peabody, MA. Some Manufacturing: Asia
Ellsworth Bicycles – Ramona, CA. Some Manufacturing: Asia
Independent Fabrication – Offices, Design & Manufacturing: Somerville, MA
Gunnar Bicycles – Waterford, WI
The Guru bikes were pretty cool and can be customized to any color you could imagine.
A huge thank you to Dean, Marty, and Armand for making my experience simply amazing and big, huge, awesome thank you to my wife Pam for letting me indulge in my passion.
 
Posted 20 November 2010
 
AND TO FOLLOW THRU - REAL WORLD RESULTS in HIS OWN WORDS:
(email from Marc Kermisch to SMART LSWT Owner/Operator Armand Pantalone)
 
Armand -
 
I thought I would check in with you regarding the wind tunnel testing we did last November. This season on the TT bike is proving to be much better than last year. I just completed a 40K TT where I ran a 58:51 LY and did a 55:55 this year. Almost a 3 minute improvement. Pretty damn cool if you ask me. This also takes into consideration that I am not at the same fitness level as last year, as I dealt with some knee injuries for the first part of the winter and did not start gaining any real intensity until early April. The weather has also been shit out here in MN so the training has been touch and go for those great base miles. 
 
Anyway, the position feels awesome and I look pretty darn aggressive on the bike. I have done 3 TT efforts so far. The first one was only ok as I had a mechanical that was slowing me down. The second was an 11 mile TT and I out performed my best time by almost 4 minutes in that event. It was a rolling hills kinda course. 
 
Here is a picture from the first TT I did of the year:
 
 
 
Not a great photo, but you can see the position pretty well.
 
Thanks again for all the advice last fall. It is paying dividends this year.
 
Regards,
Marc
 

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Trifury at the SMART Open House: Jan 8, Trifury at the SMART Open House: Jan 8, 2011

Ten team members with one serving as wind-tunnel guinea pig attended the SMART-Trifury Open House to learn about SMART services and how they can help athletes dial in their aero position on the bike.  Here is a recap of the evening from TriFury Member- Caroline Kavanagh:

"As the demo cyclist I experienced first-hand the effects of the Speed Merchant Aero Research and Testing (SMART) Low Speed Wind Tunnel (LSWT). Prior to the test I spoke with Armand Pantalone (owner of SMART) and he briefed me on what to wear and what to bring to the demo. Armand wanted me in "race gear" from head to toe which meant bringing my aero helmet, wearing my race suit and putting my Zipp 404 wheels on my bike. Prior to me in the tunnel, Armand gave a presentation which covered the basics of aerodynamics on the bike. He gave us real examples of cyclists and showed us the benefits of an optimal aero bike fit. The briefing was informative and helped to shed some light on what the wind tunnel could do to increase a cyclists overall speed."
"After the initial presentation my bike was setup in the tunnel and I hopped on and began pedaling in my aero tuck position. Inside the tunnel on the floor in front of me was a projection of the real-time data being generated which gave instantaneous feedback of the cause and effect of my aero drag. At the bottom of the screen was a line of text which was how the wind tunnel operator was communicating to me. I found this form of communication very streamlined, as while in the tunnel it is very hard to hear with the wind noise. I was instructed to change my positions in various ways while pedaling in order to see the effects of my body as registered in drag numbers."
"One of the biggest improvements I saw was the change in my aero helmet. On hand Armand had a handful of different brand and size helmets. I swapped out my helmet with one of Armands to find that this one change decreased my drag. This new helmet fit my body position and riding style better. What a great bit of information for me to learn in this limited time in a test run!"
"I can see the benefits of having the full aero test assessment. I really appreciated the free demo and would recommend the SMART service to anyone looking to get faster on the bike with the help of "real" wind tunnel numbers. This is a sophisticated system comprised of specific software and hardware which was awesome to experience in motion."
"For those who would be interested in more information and additional photos of the test demo you can follow this link as well you can go to SMART's web site at www.speedmerchantaero.com for further detail and contact information."
Happy Riding!
 
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18 Feb 2011 Facebook Postings from a then-recent Test Session in the SMART LSWT:
    •  
      Speed Merchant Aero Local Roadie, Triathlete and Coach Jay Francis of FxD Coaching turns the pedals in the Speed Merchant Aero Wind Tunnel.
      February 18 at 2:01pm ·
    •  
      Jay Francis My position wasn't too bad to start. Testing in the tunnel allowed us to experiment and find valuable optimizations. Armand certainly knows his stuff. I couldn't have "bought" the CdA reduction with equipment alone - money well spent!
      February 18 at 3:59pm ·
    •  
      Kerry Litka jay did you finally break down and get a real TT bike?
      February 18 at 4:15pm ·
    •  
      Jay Francis Shhh... (yes). We did a baseline CdA measurement on the Ghetto TT bike too ;-) Relatively speaking, adjusting position bought more of an improvement than switching bikes. Adding both together is sweet though.
       
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