"Everything you know about bike fit is wrong"

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    May 21, 2012 9:55 PM GMT
    http://www.wired.com/playbook/2012/05/bike-fit/

    In short: The claim is that traditionally adjusting your bike to fit you is inferior to having yourself measured on a bicycle-simulating jig for $200 to $400. Then select a bike that fits their model of what you need.

    Has anybody done this? Did they tell you to get a different bike? It seems like a lot of samolians. I suppose I might do it if I were treating myself to a ludicrously expensive new bike.
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    May 22, 2012 4:33 AM GMT
    There are a few places here in SD that do that (the article was written here). I contemplated it when I was having some issues, but paid for a $50 traditional fitting instead and it helped quite a bit. Now, whenever I make adjustments on my bike, I put it on my trainer next to a mirrored closet door and I can see my position and eyeball it.

    I definitely fell victim of this when I bought my first road bike:
    WiredToo often, experienced fitters said, bike shops sell you the bike they have, not the bike you need. Even shops that take time to fit you often sell you a bike that’s too big, with a seat that’s too far back.


    I'm 6'2 and ride a 58cm bike. The first bike I bought was a 54. It was such a step up from what I had, I thought it was a great bike, now it feels like a child's bike and I only keep it around for when my shorter friends want to go for a ride with me.

    Also, I learned in the fitting that I need my saddle way more forward to get my knees in the correct position than had been set up for me when I bought my current road bike.
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    May 22, 2012 5:15 AM GMT
    Any decent bike shop will encourage you to ride lots of their models and find one that you are comfortable on. What can beat that? I would definitly try out something like that though just for curiousity's sake.
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    May 23, 2012 9:00 PM GMT
    Racers, have been getting custom fit for many years. My first custom fit was back in the late 70s, and back then it cost a 100+

    Not sure what has changed for pro-fits since then. Have had a couple done over the years, but if I am not on a machine that is dialed into my settings I can tell you almost immediately. I still setup my bikes to my most recent road fitting (which IIRC are almost the same as my very first fitting). The measurements are written in sharpie on the inside lid of my tool box, and I have several jigs to make sure all the angles and measurements are spot on.

    Pretty much any modern road bike can be setup with stems, seat posts or masts with different setbacks or angles to match the exact touch points of any other road bike. There might be some subtle handling differences due to frame and fork rake, but those shouldn't impact your proficiency on the machine at all.

    Hell, it took me a couple of months to get used to the extended hoods on DA 7900 over 7800. That wasn't an easy issue to adjust for and it extended my reach by 10mm on the bar tops. I was going to put in a shorter stem but that would have had a negative impact on me when I was in the drops, so I just got used to it. Likewise, I have ridden the same saddle (same model) now for I don't know how many years (a lot). Shoes are another issue. Luckily Sidi hasn't changed their basic fit design, even from shoe to shoe in a long time. But I don't like it, when I ride with a non-Sidi shoe. When those touch points change, even slightly, it takes a while to get used to the change, if ever.

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    May 23, 2012 9:13 PM GMT
    I think expensive fittings on specialized jigs can be helpful for some riders, especially novices. From what I see, many people are indeed wrong about their bike fit.

    I wouldn't do it, because I've been riding drop-handlebar, derailleur bikes for 50 years. My own body is the best jig, and I know my bike dimensions as well as I know my clothing sizes. But until you have that confidence, a professional fitting could be a good idea for serious biking.
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    May 24, 2012 5:02 AM GMT
    I'd do it just for kicks, if the price wasn't too far away from a standard bike fit. In my area, we have several pro mountain bikers that do some pretty comprehensive bike fits. Sessions typically last a while, and follow ups are very common. I haven't had one of those, but have had several standar fits on both my mountain and road bikes. But I ride often enough to know when my seat post moves, or some something gets out of alignment. I generally reevaluate myself when I get new cleats or shoes and have grown to be sensitive when something is not quite right. Hell, I even have particular measurements on the spin bikes at the gym.

    For an elite level racer (pro/Cat1) the fancy laser equipment can help a lot. For us mere mortals, it can help, but probably not much better than a standard bike fitting with a person who knows what they're doing.
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    Jun 05, 2012 5:34 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidI think expensive fittings on specialized jigs can be helpful for some riders, especially novices. From what I see, many people are indeed wrong about their bike fit.

    I wouldn't do it, because I've been riding drop-handlebar, derailleur bikes for 50 years. My own body is the best jig, and I know my bike dimensions as well as I know my clothing sizes. But until you have that confidence, a professional fitting could be a good idea for serious biking.


    pretty much my opinion too.


    and i adhere to the adage of : if it ain't broken, don't fix it.
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    Jun 05, 2012 7:39 PM GMT
    xassantex said
    Art_Deco saidI think expensive fittings on specialized jigs can be helpful for some riders, especially novices. From what I see, many people are indeed wrong about their bike fit.

    I wouldn't do it, because I've been riding drop-handlebar, derailleur bikes for 50 years. My own body is the best jig, and I know my bike dimensions as well as I know my clothing sizes. But until you have that confidence, a professional fitting could be a good idea for serious biking.

    pretty much my opinion too.

    and i adhere to the adage of : if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

    I walk into a bike shop, having studied a bike model's dimension options (today done online). And I tell them what to order for me. Downtube size, stand over height, wheelbase, steering head angle, top bar length, etc, etc. And if the bike needs a little tweaking from the factory model, I order the stem I want, or other components. I'm not a professional rider, so I see no need for a custom-made frame. I can find my fit within the factory range with minor mods.

    But for the new rider sizing a road bike above $2000, using a fitting jig is a good way to get started.
  • calibro

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    Jun 05, 2012 7:47 PM GMT
    in terms of fitting, the most important aspects are the for and aft of the saddle and angle your foot makes at 3 and 9 o'clock... you don't really need to spend money on how to figure that out, but it might take you while testing bikes to match you up.
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    Jun 06, 2012 2:30 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    xassantex said
    Art_Deco saidI think expensive fittings on specialized jigs can be helpful for some riders, especially novices. From what I see, many people are indeed wrong about their bike fit.

    I wouldn't do it, because I've been riding drop-handlebar, derailleur bikes for 50 years. My own body is the best jig, and I know my bike dimensions as well as I know my clothing sizes. But until you have that confidence, a professional fitting could be a good idea for serious biking.

    pretty much my opinion too.

    and i adhere to the adage of : if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

    I walk into a bike shop, having studied a bike model's dimension options (today done online). And I tell them what to order for me. Downtube size, stand over height, wheelbase, steering head angle, top bar length, etc, etc. And if the bike needs a little tweaking from the factory model, I order the stem I want, or other components. I'm not a professional rider, so I see no need for a custom-made frame. I can find my fit within the factory range with minor mods.

    But for the new rider sizing a road bike above $2000, using a fitting jig is a good way to get started.


    Though it may get the job done (at a higher cost), I think it's a little overkill. A standard bike fit by a good fitter who has been trained (and is a rider him/herself) will suffice. A $50 standard bike fit (and a free follow-up session) pretty much dialed in my fit on my road bike for the Hotter 'N Hell 100 mile Endurance ride. I had zero issues and killed it in about 6 hours in 105 degree average heat.

    Elite racers may find it very beneficial using the fancy machines, but a beginner who does not know how to handle his/her bike or does not know about good pedaling technique won't find it as useful as a Cat3/2/1 racer would. But if they have the $$$ to spend on it, rather than a standard $50 (or free if you buy a new bike from some shops), then by all means, stimulate the economy.
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    Jul 26, 2012 12:05 PM GMT
    I had my first fitting 8 years ago at a shop in Philly area. It's a $275.00 item if you don't purchase your bike at their shop, but included when you do purchase from them. It is THE reputation this shop is know for and people come from far and away for fittings. It definitely slows the process of purchasing a bike because they build your bike after they have your measurements so you need to go back in a couple weeks for final adjustments, but that's the day you take your new hardware home with you.

    For me the difference was unexpected. The fit was perfect, and every aspect noticeable. I just couldn't believe a bike could feel so good under me, but then again so many components were selected and dialed in exactly to my body dimensions, e.g. handle bar width, height, a pitch, crank length, saddle position and rake, shoe to pedal position, etc. Of course frame selection was part of the fit. And then there were other, smaller details like personal preferences for brake settings, saddle selection, handlebar tape preferences, etc. It all added up to that new bike feeling so perfect.

    Like bikethere did, I have all my dimensions written down so I can transfer them to new bikes or components as needed. That just saves me money on refits.
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    Jul 26, 2012 12:41 PM GMT
    I think it depends on how much biking you do and how much you intend to spend on a bike. I'd have scoffed at the whole idea if I hadn't done it when I bought my last road bike. The difference before and after the bike fit was extreme. Like one of the earlier posters, the feel of the bike was COMPLETELY different after the fit, and it felt much more like an extension of my body.

    And contrary to what some of the other posters have said, it's much more than just the positioning of the saddle. It's also the angle of the handlebars (and/or aerobars if you have those installed) and the placement of the cleat in your biking shoes. It can determine if you need a longer crank arm if the size of your bike isn't 100% correct. A good fitter can also take a look at how you ride a bike and change the way you ride.

    Totally worth it if you have the budget.
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    Jul 26, 2012 2:34 PM GMT
    BornJuly4th saidI think it depends on how much biking you do and how much you intend to spend on a bike. I'd have scoffed at the whole idea if I hadn't done it when I bought my last road bike. The difference before and after the bike fit was extreme. Like one of the earlier posters, the feel of the bike was COMPLETELY different after the fit, and it felt much more like an extension of my body.

    And contrary to what some of the other posters have said, it's much more than just the positioning of the saddle. It's also the angle of the handlebars (and/or aerobars if you have those installed) and the placement of the cleat in your biking shoes. It can determine if you need a longer crank arm if the size of your bike isn't 100% correct. A good fitter can also take a look at how you ride a bike and change the way you ride.

    Totally worth it if you have the budget.


    Yeah, it is a budget thing. This was the first time I went to a specialty bike shop. Most of my other bikes, although nice, were off the rack rides from the local dealers. I didn't do a fitting for my new mtn bike last year, but I learned enough to apply that knowledge to the mtb and the results are the same...awesome.