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  1. #1
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    Fitting yourself

    Bear in mind I am new to road biking but it seems to me that though careful trial and error and using small changes and evaluating how these changes feel and improve or degrade your ride you can get very close to a perfect fit.

    Maybe naive on my part but that's my question
    Poker and riding two divergent past times that both make my day

  2. #2
    Senior Member elcruxio's Avatar
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    Thats pretty much my case.
    Although you need to read a lot (internet rules on this one) and be sceptical and critical of all things written.
    Some fitting philosophies start to make sense only when you really understand the topic. One example being drop or bike size for large riders.

    Of course if something hurts (lower back, knees) it may be hard to find the real cause of the pain since so many things affect it. It is an art, as much as it a science.

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    Senior Member igknighted's Avatar
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    Maybe. Depends on your body (some structural abnormalities would be incredibly difficult for a DIY home fitter to address well), the type of riding you plan to do (recreational, road race, TT, etc.), and you much time and patience you have. And a little bit of luck. A recreational road cyclist with a relatively normal body and who is willing to do some research can probably get as close as they would ever need. A prospective ironman athlete on a TT bike who wants to pick up the wrench after every ride to adjust will get hopelessly lost and probably injured. Obviously most people fall somewhere in the middle, so it's a pretty grey area.

    I assume the question being asked is really "do I need to spend money on a fitting", and the answer is of course no. People have bought and ridden road bikes many times without having a bike fitting first. Really what it comes down to is what you value most. If you have no big plans in the first 6 months with the bike and find fitting interesting, you may rather enjoy going through the process yourself. If you want to spend the better part of those 6 months out riding without having your training stop/start as you make adjustments (or if you just find the fitting literature boring), then you may just rather pay a professional to do it.
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I've had some fittings done, but I have only really trusted one of them. I've adjusted my fit hundreds of times, and maybe half the time have made an improvement, but I have learned a lot. The only time I really made it a lot better was when I was dialing in my former Woodrup for a 5-day supported tour. My training strategy was to work up to one metric day, then two metric days in a row, then three. The biggest limit in achieving those goals was saddle comfort. Finally I got it, went on the ride with reasonable success, and not long after sold the bike in favor of a 650b. I should have kept the bike. It also has turned out that the contact points for that tour do not work for me today, three years later, so I'm in "figure it out" mode, again.

    One of our LBS has a fitter with a very strong reputation, but the only person I know who's had that fitting has not been highly impressed. Sooo, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

    But if you have a good fitter (if I could find the guy who's work I liked), it's far more efficient in time and possibly money to have a GOOD expert help you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billsmetro View Post
    Bear in mind I am new to road biking but it seems to me that though careful trial and error and using small changes and evaluating how these changes feel and improve or degrade your ride you can get very close to a perfect fit.

    Maybe naive on my part but that's my question
    That basically depends on whether you have the patience, the analytical skills and the cash to take a trial and error approach.

    Early on after getting my bike, I got a free fitting done at another LBS while I was shopping for saddles. Some of the adjustments made were helpful, but others ended up not really being what I needed or wanted.

    In the end I got far more out of messing with things myself. I eventually found the saddle position that works for me, and eventually ended up with my stem inverted and slammed with one set of bar ends inside my grips (which have had the inside 3/4" cut off both of them to get the inside bar ends close to shoulder width apart) and Ergon GP 2 grips with outside bar ends. Both sets of bar ends are set very close to horizontal. My controls are also set up with my brake levers tilted very far down and my shifters rotated as far forwards as possible. This lets me brake, shift to smaller cogs on the cassette and larger chain rings without taking my hands off my inside bar ends which iI am using about 80%+ of the time.

    I've also been through 3 saddles (returned two of them), 2 sets of bar ends (with a third being delivered), 2 sets of grips (Ergon GP1's which I donated to my GF's bike, and now GP2's), 1 set of platform pedals, and a lot of time spend fiddling with settings. Hell I've got a longer stem on order in case I wanna try that at some point.

    All of this has been over the ~1 month I've had the bike. Its been a bit of time and money invested, but the result is not only that the bike fits me really well, but that I have learned a lot about what I like and don't like.

  6. #6
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsmetro View Post
    Bear in mind I am new to road biking but it seems to me that though careful trial and error and using small changes and evaluating how these changes feel and improve or degrade your ride you can get very close to a perfect fit.
    Why re-invent the wheel?
    The process of fitting a road rider for optimal handling, power delivery and comfort has been well trodden since the safety bicycle was invented. Take advantage of standing on the shoulders of the great and save time, $$$ and mistakes.

    Fitting proven by decades of experience at the highest professional level, such as the Classic period Guimard/Lemond system, are available to you in"Greg Lemond's complete book of Bicycling". Chapter 4 goes into full detail on "How to fit your bicycle". Start there, how can you go wrong if you have a position similar to a World Champion & three time TdF winner? Fine tune after riding a good long while to adjust to the position.

    I've never used it but this on-line tool w/ three choices of fit has been recommended in the C&V forum and will no doubt pop up here as well:

    http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

    Professional fitting by experienced coaches using the latest tools and systems is always an option but understanding and using a proven fit system will get you close to optimal and you will know how and better yet why. You don't have to be on your own making it up as you go along.

    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 07-21-13 at 07:01 AM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    Thanks to all that have responded. Great info and advice.
    Poker and riding two divergent past times that both make my day

  8. #8
    BF Avatar Zombie Hunter Jseis's Avatar
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    IMHO: Alas, I wish we all could be average dimensioned. Take me for example. 5' 10". Pretty average height. But I wear a 34-35" sleeve, XL gloves, 13 US shoes, 46R suit jacket, 34" waist, 32 3/4"stand over. Long torso, average leg length.

    Thus my road bikes reflect that. I ride 55-58 frames. On my Colnago (55) the seat is way back, the stem is long (120 mm) and low in the hoods or drops my elbows are 70-90 degrees bent. My Motobecane and Centurion are 58, with shorter stems (50mm) average seat position, but with long feet and a toe down riding position my seat height on all bikes of 35" is completely out of sync with stand over (seat height: from pedal axle C/L to seat top in-line with seat post).

    What I discovered is the greatest determinate of bike riding comfort and "fit" is flexibility. As long as I keep my calf muscles, hamstrings, hips, back muscles/tendons stretched and flexible, riding these bikes is easy but the minute I get lazy on flexibility, everything changes as with tight muscles/tendons/ligaments you essentially "get shorter" and aren't comfortable on a bike that...by the numbers, should "fit you". I would certainly engage in a lot of stretching and flexibility exercises a month before a fit and stay that way as long as you have that "perfectly fitted" bike.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by billsmetro View Post
    Bear in mind I am new to road biking but it seems to me that though careful trial and error and using small changes and evaluating how these changes feel and improve or degrade your ride you can get very close to a perfect fit.

    Maybe naive on my part but that's my question
    Hi,

    It is not true if you have bought the wrong sized bike.

    rgds, sreten.

  10. #10
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    True about the bike size but I did a lot of research/self measurements before I bought my CAAD10--52 CM--I think its good for me---I have just been trying to dial in the seat height, fore and aft positon and then dropped down 3 spacers on the stem---so far my legs feel good, hand numbness gone, working on smooth higher cadence---I ride mostly on the hoods-not comfortable in the drops yet--will probably actually get fitted when I have more time on the saddle
    Poker and riding two divergent past times that both make my day

  11. #11
    Member Autopilot's Avatar
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    I was shopping for CAAD10 at my trusty LBS in Toronto. They only had a 52cm in stock even though I thought I needed a either a 50 or 52cm. Even with a 52cm test ride on the road it's still hard to tell after 10 mins. Afterwards I arranged some time with their master fitter and after 1 min on the 52cm bike on the trainer he told me it doesn't suit. Most stores only want to take your money by selling you what they have in stock and try to make adjustments later. My fitter was very honest and went out of his way to order me a 50cm and come back for another fitting. 4 days later I picked up the 50 cm bike and rode about 45km, even though a 50cm bike is the perfect size for me, there still had to be some major adjustments to be made to feel comfortable. My arms & legs are a bit on the short end so the reach even on the hoods, worst on the drops was a bit stretched. I went back for another dynamic fit with the master fitter and he changed the stem and headset ring height, adjusted the seat height and adjusted my cleats at no charge. Now the CAAD10 feels as if it was custom fitted for me. Rode another 20 km's afterwards and my body just felt awesome with no pain from stretched muscles like before, fully balanced and not wasting any energy peddling with my weight properly distributed. A great fitter is definitely worth it, though unfortunately most bike shops charge $100-$200 for this service, mine came free with the bike purchase and any adjustments can be made free of charge for 3 yrs. Some things are just not DIY.

  12. #12
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    Makes sense. Will most likely treat myself to a fitting soon
    Poker and riding two divergent past times that both make my day

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    Start there, how can you go wrong if you have a position similar to a World Champion
    & three time TdF winner? Fine tune after riding a good long while to adjust to the position.

    -Bandera
    Hi,

    Because at 50+ I don't have a hope in hell of becoming a world
    champion or a TdF winner, and what suited him is thus irrelevant.

    For anyone sensible position is about comfort as well as speed.


    rgds, sreten.

    You can fit yourself to your bike with some common sense,
    and a bit of knowledge about fitting principles over the years.
    Last edited by sreten; 09-02-13 at 05:15 PM.

  14. #14
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    Hi,

    Because at 50+ I don't have a hope in hell of becoming a world
    champion or a TdF winner, and what suited him is irrelevant.

    For anyone sensible position is about comfort as well as speed.


    rgds, sreten.

    You can fit yourself to your bike with some common sense,
    and a bit of knowledge about fitting principles over the years.
    "I don't have a hope in hell of becoming a world
    champion or a TdF winner"
    Yep, not a hope.
    If you were curious about how well you compare to your peers in actual amateur competition join a local cycling club, pin on a number and find out. Here's a good choice: http://www.brightonmitre.co.uk/
    Club racing can be great fun or a soul crushing humiliation, your choice.

    "For anyone sensible position is about comfort as well as speed."
    A profound revelation, although one that usually occurs after a few weeks cycling to everyone.

    Here's GL on being fit by Guimard:
    "I realized how much the difference the right position makes. Not only did I ride better but all the muscles in my body loosened up.
    I never had lower back pain anymore....I was using the muscular force in my legs more efficiently."

    "You can fit yourself to your bike with some common sense,
    and a bit of knowledge about fitting principles over the years."

    Since you have been riding a bicycle "seriously" for less than a year, as mentioned in your previous posts, you certainly didn't intend to imply that you had actually spent "years" on bike fitting? Perhaps you meant "weeks" instead.
    One could save those unproductive intervening years to come common-sensing along bit by bit by researching and understanding any one of several well documented fitting systems, applying their proven methods and proceeding to adapt. Or make it up yourself in blinding flashes of dubious inspiration as you have previously posted in your "rules of thumb". Your choice yet again.

    "what suited him is thus irrelevant"
    Perhaps when he wrote "Greg LeMond's Complete Book of Bicycling" for the general cycling public that isn't what GL thought, silly fellow.
    The book goes into considerable detail on how anyone can apply the Guimard/LeMond fitting system themselves should they care to read, understand and apply it. Once again, how far wrong could that be?


    -Bandera
    Last edited by Bandera; 09-03-13 at 10:38 AM.
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
    "I don't have a hope in hell of becoming a world
    champion or a TdF winner"
    Yep, not a hope.
    If you were curious about how well you compare to your peers in actual amateur competition join a local cycling club, pin on a number and find out. Here's a good choice: http://www.brightonmitre.co.uk/
    Club racing can be great fun or a soul crushing humiliation, your choice.

    "For anyone sensible position is about comfort as well as speed."
    A profound revelation, although one that usually occurs after a few weeks cycling to everyone.

    Here's GL on being fit by Guimard:
    "I realized how much the difference the right position makes. Not only did I ride better but all the muscles in my body loosened up.
    I never had lower back pain anymore....I was using the muscular force in my legs more efficiently."

    "You can fit yourself to your bike with some common sense,
    and a bit of knowledge about fitting principles over the years."

    Since you have been riding a bicycle "seriously" for less than a year, as mentioned in your previous posts, you certainly didn't intend to imply that you had actually spent "years" on bike fitting? Perhaps you meant "weeks" instead.
    One could save those unproductive intervening years to come common-sensing along bit by bit by researching and understanding any one of several well documented fitting systems, applying their proven methods and proceeding to adapt. Or make it up yourself in blinding flashes of dubious inspiration as you have previously posted in your "rules of thumb". Your choice yet again.

    "what suited him is thus irrelevant"
    Perhaps when he wrote "Greg LeMond's Complete Book of Bicycling" for the general cycling public that isn't what GL thought, silly fellow.
    The book goes into considerable detail on how anyone can apply the Guimard/LeMond fitting system themselves should they care to read, understand and apply it. Once again, how far wrong could that be?


    -Bandera

    Hi,

    God your tedious and I'm not going to comment on
    your self-justifying inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

    Would be a complete waste of time.

    And drop the ongoing personal comments, its just ignorant.

    I don't give crap about your nasty misinterpretations of what I say.

    rgds, sreten.
    Last edited by sreten; 09-03-13 at 04:51 PM.

  16. #16
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Wading into the flames... OP, doing your own fitting is not just an idea, but it eventually will be the outcome. Really, we all have to 'accept' or 'reject' the ideas and processes we come across or are pushed to.
    To make the decisions which help you best, it's important to gain a strong self-awareness and attempt to be be unbiased in our application.
    Yes, we are the only ones who can truly know ourselves, but that outside, very knowledgeable opinion and view is very important.
    Depending.
    If your goal is to reach the highest level possible, then the expert direction and opinion seems essential and proven time and again by world level athletes.
    But there's real value in getting to know yourself. In the long view, over years and decades, the honest sel-evaluation builds on itself and just makes you more self-aware.
    Fitting is a changeable thing. As you continue to dial in your fit, things are changing.
    Self- fitting is the most interesting way to go. I'm all for it. Review everything, try a lot of different ideas, know yourself. And if you get the chance or desire to get some outside pro advise; if it makes the window, thru which you see your possibilities, wider, bigger; then that's all good.
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  17. #17
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Bike fits can work, they can also be a disaster, it all depends on the fitter.
    I bought a touring bike from a bike shop that had a fitter that is highly respected in the roadie world. Part of the deal was a complete fit - the bloke took over an hour and was dead serious about what he did. Most impressive.
    It didn't work.
    Why?
    He set me up as a flexible, fit young man who wanted to go road racing.
    Sadly, I was in my early fifties, flexible but lacking core strength, not overly fit and with no interest in playing boy racer at any level.
    Okay, that's extreme but it's common among fitters - they assume too flamin' much. My hyper-fit, hyper-flexible teen-age son also had a fit by this bloke and it was darned near perfect (note the difference in physical descriptions?)
    A good bike fit takes into account your body, your strength, your fitness, your attitude to riding and what it is you're trying to achieve. NOTHING on the internet does that. NO fitter that measures things and drops plumb-bobs is doing that. Fitting can only be done by observation and dynamically and a true fitter understands that. The various mechanical methods can give a good starting point but nearly everyone will move from that ... unless they believe roadie lore which is why you see so many uncomfortable riders on the road.
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

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