Q&A

It looks like this tool measures length and angle. Others measure the horizontal and vertical distance between two points. Why be different?

Taking a different approach to anything must provide a tangible benefit to overcome natural resistance and the fear of a long learning curve. The benefit of VeloAngle’s approach is that measurement is made directly between the two points in one step. Traditional X-Y measurement (over and up/down) requires two separate measurements during which the position of the measuring devise must be kept stationary. Our development testing showed that the Polar measurement (length and angle) approach provided better accuracy and repeatability. Also, as an alternative zero plane can be set on the inclinometer, bikes can be measured on a stand or are otherwise not level. This isn’t possible with bubble levels and some inclinometers. We realize that a fitter or someone in a bike shop that sets up bikes regularly has a feel for X-Y measurements, so the VeloAngle App was developed in part to provide Polar/X-Y conversions for all measurements. Ultimately, thinking of bike setup in terms of length and angles makes sense. The “feel” of a 100 mm handlebar drop from the saddle would change significantl depending on the on the size of the bike. On the other hand, a 5 degree drop is more universally informative. After all, we define how a bike feels and handles based on frame tube and fork angles. The same is true of fitting the rider to the bike, where flexure angles are used as starting points for optimizing efficiency. It should also be pointed out that X-Y measurement is the standard measurement in many fields simply because bubble levels can tell us something is plumb or level, but until recently accurate angle measurement has been unavailable or expensive.

The setup for measuring saddle tilt looks unnecessarily complex. Why did you do it that way?

The fastest and more accurate measurements are made with a minimum of steps and equipment between the measuring tool and what’s being measured.  The industry standard of placing a simple plate over the entire saddle surface and reading the inclinometer set on it certainly fits that description better that what is portrayed on this site. The design is this way because the objective of where and why the measurement is made is not the same. Regarding the measurement location, the convention of basing the tilt angle on the entire length of the saddle only makes sense if the saddle top is flat.  When the saddle’s rear edge is raised, the resulting downward angle results in tilt measurements that have little connection with the actual sense of sitting on that saddle.  A primary object of VeloAngle’s design was to provide the ability to accurately measure saddle location and tilt from the point on the saddle that best represents the rider’s sense of its performance.  Not only does that location vary from saddle to saddle, discussion of its definition can be as charged as those on politics and religion.  The saddle adapter allows a common quantitative reference point for both location and tilt anywhere the rider contacts it, and anywhere the best place to measure it is believed to be. The other design consideration was the capability to maintain the measurement position while the saddle was being adjusted, both for location and tilt.  In fact with the available fixed pin adapters, the desired saddle height, setback and tilt can be set in a single setup without having to remove, replace or adjust the measuring tool.  This capability is unique to VeloAngle.

Do “crank axis”, “bottom bracket” and “BB” mean the same thing? Why be not be consistent?

BB is short for bottom bracket. While the bottom bracket is not the same as the crank axis, for the purpose of this site and use of VeloAngle, they can be used interchangeably. Bottom brackets are assemblies of widely varying design which contian the crank bearings, while the crank axis is the center-line through which the cranks rotate. Most in the cycling industry use “BB” for both the assembly and the axis of rotation, depending on context.

Why measure between the crank axis and handlebar? Isn’t measuring the handlebar from the saddle more common and preferable?

Determining the location of the handlebars from the saddle is more common and does seem to make more sense, as the rider is not directly connected between the cranks and handlebars. In its standard configuration VeloAngle measures both the handlebars and the saddle from the crank axis because it provides the best combination of speed and accuracy at the lowest cost. The fixed pin adapters provide the ultimate in both accuracy and convenience. The avialabe Saddle-Handlebar Adapter does allow measurement from the saddle to handlebars. It was developed primarily for handlebar tops that are not round near the stem, as the standard adapter locates the center of the bar in a Vee for accuracy. Whichever spot the handlebars are located from, the VeloAngle App will calculate the third side of the BB/saddle/handlebar triangle to provide a complete description. Following common convention, the handlebar is defined to its center from the BB and to its top from the saddle.

Is there a particular mobile app you recommend for VeloAngle Enthusiast or saddle leveling?

The app we use most frequently is Multi Clinometer by Climatics Multi Clinometer at Google Play.  (Android only).

Do you have questions we haven’t covered? Please ask us!