Originally Posted by Machka
I had one bicycle shop tell me, "We don't believe in fitting people on bicycles. We think it's best to just let them figure it out on their own".
That's a "not good bike store".
Ironically, in my case that probably would have been really good advice!
I bought my bike a around 3 weeks ago and got it with the LBS i bought it from mainly adjusting saddle height and letting me switch the stock saddle for a Serfas E-gel saddle (which I ended up hating).
In the process of trying to find a saddle that was comfortable for me I got a free bike fitting at another LBS while I was trying saddles there and, frankly, the fitting was worth what I paid for it. The saddle they gave me to try was a horrible Selle Royal Lookin Moderate saddle that put way to much pressure on my soft tissues.
My first problem was that, as a newbie, I had no idea how to differentiate a good fitting from a bad one, so I no frame of reference to judge whether their adjustments were good or not.
While they did help by inverting my stem and dropping it a spacer (I like a more leaned over position that most newbie hybrid riders), their saddle recommendation and adjustment proved to be useless.
After that, I figured I'd be better off just trying things and seeing what worked for me on my own.
1) I got my sit bones measured and changed the saddle for a Specialized Milano. This was the first big leap in comfort. I find this saddle massively more comfortable than any other I've tried.
2) I added Giant bar ends and Ergon GP1 grips and fiddled with their angles repeatedly. This helped, but I still felt I was putting too much pressure on my hands (and I didn't want to fix that by raising the stem because I found the leaned forward position more comfortable overall).
3) I added Giant platform pedals because I needed a bigger, grippier pedal surface.
4) I dropped the stem a second spacer, and ultimately slammed it. This helped me rotate my pelvis forward and "tripod" better on the bike with a better weight distribution between saddle, pedals and hands. But it still wasn't perfect, my hands were still starting to hurt sooner than I'd have liked.
5) I tried moving my bar ends *inside* the grips. Another small improvement.
6) I donated my silver bar ends and Ergon GP1's to my GF's bike and got myself the same bar ends in black, mounted inside the grips at only ~15* above level, rotated my brake levers and shifters forward, and added Ergon GP2 grips to give me bar ends outside the grips as well.
7) I moved my saddle back 5mm and made sure it was absolutely as high as it should be (knee locked at bottom of stroke with heel on pedal) and made sure the nose tilted up a tiny fraction. Finally, I had my first ride yesterday with no neck, shoulder, hand, or wrist pain. Where I naturally stayed in the right spot on the saddle. Where I could ride my inboard bar ends like hoods on a road bike (helped by having my bar height slammed).
Before that last 5mm adjustment with the saddle, I thought I was going to need a longer stem, but right now it appears that I'm golden for the time being.
This is all over the course of 3 weeks.
Here's where my bike started:
Here's how it was after the "fitting":
And here is where it has ended up:
So for me, it turns out that figuring out myself was actually the right answer.