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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Question on custom fittings

    Most of my LBS's offer a custom fitting and they're not cheap. Been a while since I asked, but I think they seem to run about $150 around here -- maybe more, I can't remember.

    My quesion is: if one has a custom fitting done, is the information that is produced something that one can then apply to any/all bikes, or is the fitting typically done for a specific bike or frame? Seems like if the outcome is a generic report, I could then do research on the internet for the frames that would best fit me, and then test ride only those bikes.

    Then when I settle on a particular bike it should be easy to complete the dialing in process, no?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I had a fitting done on one bike. Then I had a chance to get another frameset. The fitter looked at the specifications of the frameset and concluded that it would fit. Then I ordered the build-up according to the fitter's specifications.

    After the build-up, I went for the fitting and it worked. That is, there was very little to fine tune.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Interesting question. I think the answer is yes and no.

    I know that Serotta has a size-cycle which is the ultimate adjustable frame that they put you on when they start out a fitting. Essentially it yields the three touchpoints in space: hands, feet, and butt that make a difference. Once they complete that, they have an "XY tool" that lets them (allegedly) transpose this measurement to other stock frames. I do not know how well this works.

    More likely a fitting is relative to an existing bike and deals with dynamic assessments (like how do your legs move when pedaling) and fine-tuning points. In these cases, you can salvage your saddle height and a few measurements or insights, but I'm not sure that the fine-tuning stuff transfers as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    It would depend on the fitting and what written report you get. Why not ask the fitters what they give you as a take-home document?
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  5. #5
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    A couple of years ago, I had a custom frame built, a part of which was a fitting session. We started on my old bike (which still gets a lot of use ), and the builder had me ride on a trainer. Every so often he would adjust something, but more importantly tell me what he was doing and why - we got to a point where my existing bike was as close as it was going to get, he made a bunch of measurements and transferred it over to a Serotta fitting machine, where the process continued. The resulting custom frame does exactly what I had asked for (comfortable on long rides) and is a joy to ride. At the same time I came away with a better understanding of some of the tradeoffs in bike fit. Don't think of the fitting session as being expensive, think of it as an inexpensive way to get a custom ride.....

  6. #6
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    My fitting was done by some excellent fitters on the east coast and cost $70. So, for the cost difference why not just fly out east and have it done here? They would also apply the fitting cost to the cost of a new bike if ordered from them. They gave me a document with all the measurements and I actually ordered a bike from a different LBS but used their recommendations on frame size, stem length, bar width, etc.

    I have continued to use those measurements for all my bikes so it was great money spent for me. I have tweaked their numbers to adjust a little for comfort but we're talking millimeters. It really helped me to get me in the "range" of where I needed to be and then I listened to my aches and pains and made adjustments until I was as comfortable as I could get. I've also been able to use different frame sizes by making adjustments to stem lengths to keep the reach from the saddle the same as my range.

    The one area I have diverged the most from my recommended numbers is bar width. While not quite as aerodynamic, I like the wider bars so I ride the 46's or wider bars. I think I was sized for 44's or maybe even 42's. Maybe that's an area I can reconsider for my lightweight bike........just think of the grams I can shave there!!!!

    Something to think about before doing a fitting-tell the person who is doing the fitting how you want the bike setup or your riding style before the fitting. In other words, how upright do you want to be-or how high you want the bars to be (neutral with the saddle or lower). It will help them get you better dialed in knowing your riding preferences. Otherwise they might try and size you for a race fit where your bars are 4" below the saddle and designed for riding in the drops all day!!!

    I played golf for 30 years before I got my first lesson. After the first 30 minute lesson I only wish I had done it 30 years sooner. The same can be said for my bike fitting..........If you're serious about riding I think it is money well spent unless you have the skills to do all that stuff yourself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee

    My quesion is: if one has a custom fitting done, is the information that is produced something that one can then apply to any/all bikes, or is the fitting typically done for a specific bike or frame? Seems like if the outcome is a generic report, I could then do research on the internet for the frames that would best fit me, and then test ride only those bikes.

    Then when I settle on a particular bike it should be easy to complete the dialing in process, no?
    First off, hopefully for $150 you will NOT be getting a generic report. A good bike fit takes into account many things including such bigs ones as saddle height and small ones as how and where the brifters are placed on the handlebars.

    Second, as to whether it will work on another bike IMO it really depends on how similar the frame geometry is. If the new bike does have very similar frame geometry (not just size) and you get the same saddle height; reach; stem and steerer length; same length of cranks ( ); same pedal stack height and same shoe sole thickness) then you should be okay. If it does not, the fitting you got MAY not work well. For example, if the angle of the seat tube is different on the new bike from the old one and you simply adjust the stem, bars and seat to keep the reach the same, you will wind up with your body in a different location compared to the bottom bracket and thus the angle of bend in your knees will not be the same through a rotation as they were with the other frame. That MAY or may not work for you.

    Which leads me to my last point.

    Some people can tolerate a wider range of variation on bike fit than others. Flexibility, previous injury etc all play a role in whether you can apply a good bike fit to a different bike.

    FWIW, Boulder Center for Sports Medicine recommends a fit on each bike you have if they have different frames (they give a discount for subsequent fits). As an alternative they will assist you in transfering your fit to another bike. Their director, Andy Pruitt is the guru of bike fits and most of his small staff have years of experience. Plus they take many insurance plans if a physician refers you there for phsical therapy.

    Now all you have to do is get to Boulder CO.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockyMtnMerlin
    ...
    Second, as to whether it will work on another bike IMO it really depends on how similar the frame geometry is. .... For example, if the angle of the seat tube is different on the new bike from the old one and you simply adjust the stem, bars and seat to keep the reach the same, you will wind up with your body in a different location compared to the bottom bracket and thus the angle of bend in your knees will not be the same through a rotation as they were with the other frame. That MAY or may not work for you. ....
    I'm wondering about differences in seat tube angle and head tube angle and how they could possibly be translated from one bike (call it the old bike) to another (call it the new one). . Say the two frames have a different ST angle. Could you theoretically use a plumb line to measure the distance fore or aft of the spindle from a given spot on your seat on the old bike - and just translate that number to the new bike? Your seat would be positioned differently on the rails, but in the same place relative to the spindle, both horizontally (using the plumb line) and vertically (using a tape measure).

    Then, after you get your handlebars the same height (relative to saddle) on the new bike, could you tnen just set the reach (say, using the nose of the saddle to the handlebar) on the new bike the same as the old?

    I guess I wonder if in spite of differences in these two angles, you could still shoot for the same position over the crank spindles and from there get the reach.

    I know there's other dimensions such as seat and chain stay length, fork rake, etc, but I wonder if the "cockpit" could be translated between bikes w/ different ST and HT angles and lengths.
    Last edited by Camilo; 04-30-07 at 02:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
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    I suppose you could -- but wouldn't that essentially be a new (and different) bike fit?

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