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Old 04-11-12, 02:55 PM   #1
GFish
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Are you satisfied with your bike fit?

How often do you tweak your bike fit?

Do you find your fit changes from year to year, or season to season?

I admit I'm cheap, never had a professional fitting. I know, I know.....read several threads discussing a professional fit. I'd have to travel at least 45 miles to get one and for the most part, I've been comfortable with the current setup.

Except, I'm feeling a little loss of power, a little more muscle fatigue and cramping. It's still early, so this is likely do to loss of fitness.

Never the less, I started adjusting bike fit.....lowering the bars, raising the saddle, saddle set back, longer stem, changing shifter/hood angle and adjusting cleats.

Any advice without getting a professional fit?

Do you constantly adjust your bike fit? Or is anyone ever truly satisfied?
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Old 04-11-12, 03:09 PM   #2
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I did have a professional fit. That being said as I lose weight some very small adjustments have to be made. I changed cranks and the saddle had to be adjusted maybe 3 MM. Then there is the different bike N+1 thing. Even with all the measurements the same different frames need just a bit of tweeking.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:11 PM   #3
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I'm truly satisfied with my bike fit on all my bikes. In the first weeks of ownership I fool around with various adjustments until everything feels right. After that, I dont readjust anything. I fit solely for riding comfort. I have no idea about maximum power or anything like that. If I'm comfortable when I ride the bike and no pains develop, I'm satisfied that the bike fits well enough.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:18 PM   #4
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I've had several professional fits, but my position now differs fairly significantly from where the pros wanted me. This is primarily because what -most- profesisonal fitters want to come out of the fitting is a customer who says "Yeah, that feels great now." To do that, they are likely to make changes which reduce weight on your hands (by having the saddle back), make it easier to be comfy (bars up high), and they will use some of the common yardsticks for such things as saddle height (e.g., a certain leg angle). What this type of fitting typically does, IMO, is get your position to a decent starting point, for someone who is looking for comfort. You need to tweak from there if that fitting results in signs that it isn't ideal, like for example knee strain. What's difficult, however, is to differentiate fit issues from fitness issues. Something may be uncomfortable only because you are working new muscles. They may be muscles you really do want to use, and building them up will eliminate the discomfort. Knowing yourself is key to deciding what to do in response to discomfort. Were I to see the typical fitter now, I bet he/she would move my saddle back and my bars up, both of which would really slow me down.

A true race fitting is different sort of thing.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:20 PM   #5
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Sorry but, I never change anything. The bike fits perfectly. Ever since it was set up by someone who was trained to do it. Had to drive 30 miles each way and spend an hour and some dough to get it that way but I think it was worth the time and money as I never, ever futz with it. I don't like to waste time or money, this (bike fit) was not a waste of either.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:35 PM   #6
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Absolutely - very, very little pain. I've done as much as 250 miles in a day this year without any significant pain.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
I've had several professional fits, but my position now differs fairly significantly from where the pros wanted me. This is primarily because what -most- profesisonal fitters want to come out of the fitting is a customer who says "Yeah, that feels great now." To do that, they are likely to make changes which reduce weight on your hands (by having the saddle back), make it easier to be comfy (bars up high), and they will use some of the common yardsticks for such things as saddle height (e.g., a certain leg angle). What this type of fitting typically does, IMO, is get your position to a decent starting point, for someone who is looking for comfort. You need to tweak from there if that fitting results in signs that it isn't ideal, like for example knee strain. What's difficult, however, is to differentiate fit issues from fitness issues. Something may be uncomfortable only because you are working new muscles. They may be muscles you really do want to use, and building them up will eliminate the discomfort. Knowing yourself is key to deciding what to do in response to discomfort. Were I to see the typical fitter now, I bet he/she would move my saddle back and my bars up, both of which would really slow me down.

A true race fitting is different sort of thing.

This is one of those times I have to agree with AZ. It is a starting point start. Most of us don't start out with more that a eyeball fitting when we get the bike. We may play with it just a bit until we fell pretty good. The as we decide what and how we like to ride we may thinking about getting a professional fit. A hour or two later we have been lasered, measured, balanced, had our feet and shoes wedged and sent out the door to see if we have more power, more speed, or can ride longer. But sometimes that works different parts of the body and it takes a while to adjust. Within a month I lowered my saddle about 4 MM and back one line on my rail. But at least for me having the measurments written down give me a place to start again when I change anything, Bikes, stems, seat posts, cranks, or stems.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:51 PM   #8
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Made a few changes about 6 years ago, and some major changes (including a new stem) a couple of yers ago. Besides that I haven't messed much. - That is on the Lemond BA.

Bought a new Spec RH mtn bike a couple of years ago. The LBS guy convinced me to go down 1 inch in size - works OK for me now.

I still have the original saddles on all of my bikes.
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Old 04-11-12, 03:58 PM   #9
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First, let me say that all day comfort is much more important to me than max speed or power. I do like riding fast, but I do not and don't intend to race. If I were going to compete, comfort would drop down the list by two or three notches.

I am very satisfied with one of my bikes and how it fits. I had a custom built frame made by Independent Fabrication, and haven't touched a thing from the initial set up two years ago. I've tried to duplicate the same measurements on my other bikes with less than stellar success. With these bikes, I think I have it dialed in only to be annoyed with some small aspect of fit. I think little things like a top tube that is only a wee bit shorter, or a head tube that is just a little taller or, seat stay length a bit longer, or head/seat tube angles slightly different, and/or toe overlap that's just a little too much, all matter. I know many folks are blessed in that they can ride almost anything and not have problems. I have not found that to be the case at any point in my cycling life - not at age 20 and not now. On my Indy Fab I can ride six or seven hours with no ill effects. On any of my other bikes, a ride of that length will have me paying for it later that day or the next. I do, however, think that bike fit is a moving target or somewhat fluid. Even on my Indy Fab I find there are days when I ride on the top of the bars more, or days when I ride a little more toward the back on my saddle. I guess if we all had the same type and size bodies that got used the same ways, and went through the same abuses, there would be no need for so many different handlebar shapes, reaches, or drop. There would be no need for different stems, crank arm lengths, or saddles.
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Old 04-11-12, 04:29 PM   #10
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I would not mind if the bar was just a teensy bit higher on The Black Pearl, but after 3300 miles, I can live with what I have.
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Old 04-11-12, 04:30 PM   #11
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As my weight changes and my fitness improves I find small changes need to be made. My saddle gets adjusted, my bars are lowered. Apparently fit is different for 280lbs out of shape 66 yr old then for 257lb 70 yr old riding 500 miles a month.
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Old 04-11-12, 04:33 PM   #12
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I'm very happy with the fit of my bike. For the first 400-500 miles I tweaked here and there, moving the saddle, incrementally removing spacers from the steerer. What I've settled on is a saddle height which is not quite an inch higher than the initial "fit" at the LBS. I've returned all the steering spacers and flipped the stem. I now have over 1600 miles on the bike and in the last 1000 or so have only changed the rotation of the bars, and that was very slight. Every time I get on the bike it feels good and it feels right.

I realize how well that bike fits when I get on my other roadie, a single speed. I think the frame on that bike is a bit too small, and has me bent over too far. I could probably tweak things with a different stem, but even so, I can ride that bike for 30 miles with no issues. Most of us are flexible and adaptable.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:00 PM   #13
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Fit

A few years ago my lower back and neck were hurting so much it limited my rides. My LBS recommended an independent fitter before buying a new bike. During the fitting we determined no one makes a frame that will accommodate my very long femurs. I ended up with a custom build. I have only adjusted the seat height by less than 1/2 mm, I call that a good fit.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:05 PM   #14
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I had a professional fitter specify and adjust a new bike about 5 years ago. I credit that fitting with helping me enjoy cycling to the extent that I do.

I've lowered the handlebars over the last few years, this was done during my annual adjustment while visiting with the same professional fitter. The fit is more aero now, but what I really like is the balanced position that provides good power production while remaining comfortable for longer rides.
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Old 04-11-12, 05:06 PM   #15
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I've been tweaking bike fit from the day I brought the bike home just over two years ago. Over time, especially for a new bike rider, there are physical changes that occur so that what may have been comfortable at one point early on, is no longer comfortable 5000 miles later. One example of this is a nice plush saddle I had in the early days that felt comfy for 15 miles. A bit later when I began to ride 35 or 40 miles, that same saddle made me want to slit my wrists. These days a somewhat firm saddle feels good at 50 to 70 miles.

There are other aspects of bike fit/physical fitness that evolve over time and as was said above, we are seeking a moving target so we are never quite finished.
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Old 04-12-12, 12:27 AM   #16
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Since going Road 6 years ago I have learnt how to set the bike up for me. First one was a basic OCR and as I was changing from MTB to road- I had to learn how to get that bike comfortable. Learnt a lot but it was never right. Year later and Boreas came along. Shop assembled it for me and I fitted the pedals- adjusted the saddle and other than a new saddle- that bike is still my favourite without adjusting anything on it. The TCR came along next and that was a Pig- till I changed the wheels to stop it bouncing all over the road. Good ride now but changed to a triple for hillier rides. Latest In the Pinarello and came home in a box- Assembled and checked over by me and all I will change on that is the saddle- if it doesn't wear in soon.

Once the first few adjustments have been made- Then I never have to adjust for fit. Bars at right height? saddle correct on height and Fore and Aft? Cranks within 165 to 170? and the bike will fit and that is it. Now changing components is another matter. Have several sets of wheels and I try to get the right set on the right bike for the use it is being given.
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Old 04-12-12, 12:41 AM   #17
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Well, now, I've been riding seriously for the past 40 years, most of it racing. I think I arrived at my optimal position back in the 70's, but it constantly undergoes tweaking, but by tiny, tiny increments. I am extremely comfortable on my bike, and it's an efficient position. When I look at pictures of me riding in a group, my back is usually a lot flatter than everyone else's. I don't race anymore, but I still ride in a racing position because that's what I'm used to, it's really comfortable, and it maximizes my power.

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Old 04-12-12, 12:54 AM   #18
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My current bike is 99% perfect. The last one was too small, but since I got a nice new mtb its so much better. The seat height and fork height match perfectly, my wrists are at the right angle to ride all day, my legs get just the right amount of extension. I don't see how I could make it any more comfortable. The only thing is it puts my back at a slightly different angle to what I was used to. I think this may just be a get used to it thing.
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Old 04-12-12, 08:31 AM   #19
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Never had a formal bike fitting. Now that I ride recumbents, it's pointless. Nobody here does a recumbent fit session. Best I could do would be to shoot some pics or video from the side and email Bacchetta. However I am comfortable on the bent so all is good!
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Old 04-12-12, 09:01 AM   #20
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Yup bike "fit" on a recumbent is not a big deal. The comfort is already there. It is just a matter of adjusting the boom or seat to desired leg length and the handle bars to arm length.

My RANS Stratus also allows for seat back angle, The highly adjustable "chopper" handle bars allow for rake and width. None of the adjustments have been changed since 4 years ago when I bought the bike.
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Old 04-12-12, 09:03 AM   #21
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Satisfied from day one. I don't mess with it.
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Old 04-12-12, 09:31 AM   #22
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It's a learn as you go.
I had the cf motobecane set up to the 92 Paramount
Then learned that the new style road bars reduced the 'reach' and made life on the shoulders a lot easier as did the wider hood brifters.
So; the Paramount got 42cm bars, a re-do (with one of those quill to 31.2 adapters which allowed using a set of new school bars and stem.
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Old 04-12-12, 09:47 AM   #23
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The most important aspect of fit is comfort which is very important in racing bicycles. I cannot imagine doing a 3 week grand tour if I was in pain due to the bike not fitting. I cannot imagine doing a 2 hour road race and sacrificing comfort and being in pain for the sake of speed. It is just not done. I can say that tooling around riding slow results in my ass getting sore but it is never a problem racing.

What performance cyclists do is adapt their riding position to optimize power production and lower aero drag. Typically, this is a work in process and occurs by making incremental changes over time. My road bike fit is the same as the last Retul Fit I had in 2010 and my track and TT bikes have been modified for aero performance and power production.

IMO, most bike shop and even pro fits are static. The cyclist is fresh and strong and can sit on the bike with great posture and do whatever the fitter requests. Also, this is the fit and posture that is used when tooling around with friends or riding in a relaxed state. Most, if not all, of the weight will be on the hands and sit bones. As time goes on, the hands, neck, shoulders and ass start to get sore from supporting the weight and one starts thinking that maybe I need a better or at least a different saddle.

Typically, what is not taken into account is the fit when you are tired and generating more power. In this case, there is a lot of pressure on the bottom of your feet and you feel the stress in your knees. However, the hands and ass feel good because the feet are now dynamically supporting more weight.

If you are not climbing, you have slid forward on the nose of the saddle with your arms bent on the hoods or in the drops with your quads doing a lot of work. The wind is tormenting your face due to the speed. Knee over the pedal axel is long gone since your knee is now in front of the pedal axel and your entire body has rotated toward the handlebars and the effective seat height is less. If you have an old Brooks saddle you are riding on the rivets an expression coined for racers when they were at full power. Life is good and all focus is on power production in a comfortable, powerful position.

If you are hill climbing the body position shifts again as you slide to the rear of the saddle to engage the glutes as the effective seat height increases as the body rotates the other direction. Cadence is slower and you are grabbing the tops of the handle bar as the torque in your knees is of epic proportion and the soles of your feet are glued to the pedals by the force generated by the glutes virtually lifting your ass off the seat. Once again the feet support more body weight yielding a comfortable ride.

The body seeks a position on the bike to make the most power for the terrain and cadence being driven by the mind.

When I trained with the Russians they changed my fit a couple of times based upon observation on a long rides when I was tiring and what they observed as I rode in different postures at different cadence.

The bottom line is that comfortable fit with a great aero position is elusive and not easy. Comfort, in many cases, is a function of power production and ones ability to change body position. Fit changes dynamically on the bike as road situations change and the cyclist adjusts.
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Old 04-12-12, 10:41 AM   #24
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I'm not a competing rider but I do enjoy a racing geometry and racing position, it's how I ride. Last year I did some minor adjusting to saddle front/back and steering stem height but it was very minor.

Never have had a "professional" fit.
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Old 04-12-12, 10:46 AM   #25
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I have had several professional fits. Problem is over time what was comfortable then may not be comfortable now or in the future. At points in my life I have ridden harder or less; each required adjustments.

I am now riding a custom built bicycle and have to say the fit is perfect; I have no complaints. But that basically was a very expensive fitting!

If you continually fiddle with your bike I am not surprised you keep having issues. With the right fit, you shouldn't have to touch anything. Go get a professional fitting. Make sure the fitter is willing to spend alot of time with you. You should be sitting on and riding the bike at least 30 minutes to see how it feels.

Good luck!
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