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Advice for Bike Fit
Last Post 06/24/2013 06:39 PM by duriel krugaire. 22 Replies.
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06/20/2013 11:22 AM

There is no doubt in my mind what so ever that getting fitted for your bike is one the best things you can do for your body and muscles. I had it done on all of my previous bikes and since I got my new bike I thought I could dial it in myself and try and save couple of hundred bucks, A year and half of screwing around I’m almost there but no cigars. Every time I make a minor adjustment I fix something and throw something else out of whack. I’ve hit a wall with adjustments. I have accepted the fact that I can’t do it and I definitely will need to get fitted one way or another. Apparently there is new software technology that is fool proof. My LBS has created a fitting room and uses this technology that takes picture of you on your bike and calculates all the correct measurements and I know very little about it.

Here is my dilemma - The place I use to get it done, they use old school technology with measuring tape and formulas, take about two and a half hours and charge $250. My LBS uses the new software technology takes them an hour and a half and charges $100. So do I trust my LBS or stick with the old.


Big DanT


06/20/2013 11:26 AM
Either way it's done, the final product is only as good as the operator of the software/measuring tape.



06/20/2013 12:24 PM
can't you just transfer dimensions from your old bikes? maybe easier said than done. does anyone still use those old stationary bikes that have all the adjustable bits?
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.


06/20/2013 12:34 PM
I'd suggest trying the new software option. If it works, you've saved $150 plus you've supported your LBS.
Cosmic Kid


06/20/2013 12:45 PM
The best fitting option is the new fit bike from Guru. It electronically adjusts saddle height, reach, HB height, everything. They can micro adjust, save settings and switch back and forth. Very, very cool process.

Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!


06/20/2013 12:56 PM
I've been measuring up my bikes and drawing them out for years. I do it in AutoCAD, always locating the bike BB at the drawing origin. That way, it is easy to see where the seats and handlebars land.

To do this, I take all measurements from the BB, height to the middle of the seat, setback of the seat nose to a perpendicular to the BB and the same measurements to the center of the handlebar tops.

I also consider the road to be the ultimate test. For the early rides, I bring the wrenches to adlust seat height and tip as well as handlebar height and tip. I tape the bars with black cloth tape until I know where the brake levers want to be. It is obvious to me that the designers of new bikes and parts don't share this view. Stems where you have to adjust the headset for every height adjust and seatposts where you can lose all reference after you loosen the bolt are to my mind, a huge step backwards. To me, fit is directly related to both horsepower and comfort. Weight savings at the expense of fit (or ease in achieving that fit) isn't worth the money saved. (Especially since it is usually spent, not saved.)

Rant, rant!



06/20/2013 03:22 PM
CK - I checked out Guru and yes very cool. The nearest one to me is an hour and half a way plus 2 1/2 hr fitting.....I would have to pack an overnight bag.


06/21/2013 11:11 AM
Really hard to say where you should go. I had no trouble with my position for 20-some yrs, then started having a helluva time getting comfortable on the bike which I attribute to aging, inflexibility, insufficient core strength, and muscle imbalances.
Anyway, paid money to 4 different fitters over the next few years. IMO, the local fit "guru" (not Guru!) is a freakin joke. Does the basic setup that anyone with good experience can, then shoots from the hip. When I told him of shoulder and upper back pain he put me in a 60 y/o cyclo-tourist position. I felt like a complete putz, and might as well have mounted a sail on my stem. Another husband/wife team with a "whole" approach was no better. She, the physio did all this flexibility testing, etc and it started out impressively. He, the wrench, just ignored all that, took a few steps back and eyeballed me. $250 and they were just shooting from the hip. Ridiculous. I was better off with tweaking what I already knew.
Actually I think the method on the Competitive Cyclist site is not a bad start.


06/21/2013 12:06 PM
laurentja, my experience too. You have to get a position that is reasonable for your riding style and goals that works with your strength and flexibility. Then tweak it from there. It's an iterative process for everybody. I don't believe anyone can or should say that one fitting is the end. It's a process. The pro-fit is a good idea for novices so they can figure out what bike to get and get a solid start in the sport. But how can a novice trust that they got good advice?

I do like the Guru idea, another in a line of things I say to myself, why didn't I invent that? That and the ipod. Combine the Guru with some sort of 3d printer that can make a custom mold for your bike and you are good to go.


06/21/2013 01:26 PM
Another possibility: the eyes of a veteran rider, perhaps an ex-racer. If you can have group rides nearby, perhaps you can glean in advance (say from a shop owner or current racer) who in that ride might have a good eye. Then ask that person to watch you ride, perhaps telling him of issues you have been having.

Sometimes the place you need to be cannot be achieved incrementally. I spent years riding bikes with too short a reach. One day I thought, "What if I have a stem made that places my commuter bike's handlebars to get the same reach my old racing bike had." Drew up my racing bike from memory. measured up my commuter and drew it up. Well, that would take a 180 mm stem to get the reach. I had it made. The huge breakthrough! Suddenly my back didn't hurt any more. I doubt all the fits in the world would ever have come back saying my 130 stem was 5 cm too short!



06/21/2013 02:04 PM
Ben – I hear you, but I don’t think the adjustment can be detected by the naked eye. Right now I am at the point where the only thing that bothers me is the tingling of feet, and that’s after about forty five miles or so, at around eighty it’s unbearable and it tends to transfer from the ball to the side of the feet. I’m pinching a nerve somewhere so my long rides have become limited. I always buy shoes about ½ size bigger because feet swell during exercise, so it’s not a matter of tightness and I have ratchet straps and that’s not issue either as I keep them loose nor is it the cleat position as I have moved them independently cm by cm back and forth. It has to be a combination of two or more adjustment and I know its matter of centimeters, but where??. I am actually going to get fitted tonight and planning a long ride tomorrow which I am actually excited about hoping to put this issue to bed once and for all and I hope I don’t experience what laurentja has, that would be such a downer.
Keith Richards


06/21/2013 03:19 PM
Fit is SUCH a personal thing. While I agree that having someone to bounce ideas off of/give suggestions is important at the end of the day you have to figure out what works for YOU.

When I used to work at a shop I would occasionally go out on rides with people to really get an ideas of what they needed in terms of fit.

I am a big fan of cleat shims myself. I think it is overlooked.
----- It is his word versus ours. We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility."--Lance Armstrong.


06/21/2013 03:49 PM
My first thought reading your last post is seat/hip position issues. Perhaps something in your position is impacting the nerve to your foot just slightly. Perhaps later in rides you move to a seat position you do not use when you are fresh.

I am not suggesting that the advice of other riders is to be swallowed whole. I am suggesting that an experienced fellow rider might pick up something that would never be seen in a controlled test setting. Or maybe that rider will suggest something like "oh, there was a guy who complained about that for years. He started going this and it went away."

Sometimes the answers come from thinking out of the box.



06/21/2013 04:16 PM
Pin, have you tried orthotics/custom insoles? After my broken foot healed (six months out) a few years ago I could only ride for about an hour before I couldn't take the pain anymore. I went back to the ortho who treated me and after lots of poking and bending and some more films he said "try some custom footbeds because the other option starts with an "S" and I don't want to do that if we can avoid it." I got some cycling specific insoles from Foot Dynamics here in Boise and after a few adjustments it made a big difference (even for my good foot). I also switched to Sidi Meg, the extra width gives a little more space for the messed up 5th metatarsal.

My only other thought without knowing more and seeing you on the bike is to be sure that you are not rocking on the saddle.


06/22/2013 07:20 PM
I keep the golden triangle dimensions and use it as the base setup on all my bikes, good enough to get me on the road. Add the crank CL to rear of seat and you can almost hit everything on the nail. Pretty much use the same dim on road / mt within reason.
But if your base setup is wrong, that will not help. If your having problems with your feet, that is very difficult to analyze, could be foot problem or like you said pinching a nerve somewhere. I agree with the footbed or shoe wedge idea is the place to start, but I don't think a 2 hour fit is going to address that issue.
For feet, hang your feet off of a table while your sitting on it. Have someone take a picture of them from the side, top, front & rear. IMO, your feet on the pedals should match the general position of your foot hanging. re: toe in/out, heal in/out, bottom angle of your feet sloped in/out.
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