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  1. #1
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    Is a professional bike fit really necessary?

    I've tweeked this and adjusteed that over a few months and I am very comfortable on my bike on long or short rides flat or hilly terrain, but the thought of being more efficient is always on the back of my mind. I'm a recreational rider and don't care that much about speed, cause I ride the streets of los Angeles CA which can be hazardous. Is it worth the big bucks for a professional fitting? can anyone recommend a bike fitter in Los angels or Orange county?

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    Since you mentioned that your bike is now adjusted so that it is comfortable on all the types of riding you do and that you consider yourself a casual rider I would say no. Trying to get the last 1% of efficiency could cost you comfort! and will cost you dollars. In the end it is doubtful you would appreciate the difference.

    mike

  3. #3
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Necessary? No. Worth it? Yes.
    www.beancotton.com
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    Yes and make sure they are fitting the crank as well, most shops pray people never ask about crank arm length.

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    Senior Member raqball's Avatar
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    I'm a recreational rider as well and in my opinion, no it's not worth it..

    If you were training for something or were a pro then yes, recreational, no..

    My .02

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
    Necessary? No. Worth it? Yes.
    How the hell can that be given what the OP said? I'd love to hear you to try justify that.

    To the OP: of course it's not necessary. People have ridden and raced for decades without having "professional fits." 99% of a fitting is about comfort and theoretical gains. Very few systems, like Shimano Dynamic Lab and Apex, actually attempt to quantify power gains, and fewer yet, like Faster, take it a step further with actual wind tunnel, respiration, and power measurements.

    If you have a half-a-wit to tackle it on your own as you've done, and had some experienced eyes verify (especially your movement on climbs), you're probably really close to ideal, and if you're comfy and don't care about speed gains, it's going to be difficult to argue that your fit is not ideal. I know people who've paid $275 just to have a millimeter of seat post height adjustment. Faster is about $650 for some wind tunnel time.

    The principles of fit are not arcane, and are readily comprehensible. Pro fits are important for those who have either no time, no sense (and I mean that not to be insulting, only that some people really can't grasp how biomechanics work), or, at the extreme end, really need to optimize their pedaling performance.

    That said, if spending $250-$700 on no benefit is a small spend to you, go ahead and get one, see what it's about, and check out the process. I'm sure some of the systems use pretty interesting techniques and I find the discussion of theory quite interesting. I've considered a Retul for those reasons, but after 25yrs of positioning myself, I'm quite satisfied with my approach and results, though I'm not so old that I'm afraid to try a new trick! Hell, I'd really love to do wind tunnel analysis just for the insight, even though I'll never recoup or take meaningful advantage of the knowledge, but the cost of travel, accommodation, and the fitting is too rich for my blood (right now, anyway).
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  7. #7
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    How the hell can that be given what the OP said? I'd love to hear you to try justify that.

    To the OP: of course it's not necessary. People have ridden and raced for decades without having "professional fits." 99% of a fitting is about comfort and theoretical gains. . . .
    No. 1.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    How the hell can that be given what the OP said? I'd love to hear you to try justify that.

    To the OP: of course it's not necessary. People have ridden and raced for decades without having "professional fits." 99% of a fitting is about comfort and theoretical gains. Very few systems, like Shimano Dynamic Lab and Apex, actually attempt to quantify power gains, and fewer yet, like Faster, take it a step further with actual wind tunnel, respiration, and power measurements.

    If you have a half-a-wit to tackle it on your own as you've done, and had some experienced eyes verify (especially your movement on climbs), you're probably really close to ideal, and if you're comfy and don't care about speed gains, it's going to be difficult to argue that your fit is not ideal. I know people who've paid $275 just to have a millimeter of seat post height adjustment. Faster is about $650 for some wind tunnel time.

    The principles of fit are not arcane, and are readily comprehensible. Pro fits are important for those who have either no time, no sense (and I mean that not to be insulting, only that some people really can't grasp how biomechanics work), or, at the extreme end, really need to optimize their pedaling performance.

    That said, if spending $250-$700 on no benefit is a small spend to you, go ahead and get one, see what it's about, and check out the process. I'm sure some of the systems use pretty interesting techniques and I find the discussion of theory quite interesting. I've considered a Retul for those reasons, but after 25yrs of positioning myself, I'm quite satisfied with my approach and results, though I'm not so old that I'm afraid to try a new trick! Hell, I'd really love to do wind tunnel analysis just for the insight, even though I'll never recoup or take meaningful advantage of the knowledge, but the cost of travel, accommodation, and the fitting is too rich for my blood (right now, anyway).
    Sorry to hear your fitting didn't work out. Mine was worth every penny and then some ($75).

    Out of curiosity, what did the shop say when you told them you weren't happy with the fitting?

    BB
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
    Sorry to hear your fitting didn't work out. Mine was worth every penny and then some ($75).

    Out of curiosity, what did the shop say when you told them you weren't happy with the fitting?

    BB
    I guess you missed my entire point, because I've never had a "pro fitting".
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  10. #10
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    I guess you missed my entire point, because I've never had a "pro fitting".
    You certainly are opinionated about something you've never tried. That was MY point.

    Interestingly, I see lots of vehemnt arguments against fittings from people who haven't had them. I don't see lots of posts from people who have had a fitting and felt it was a waste of money.

    BB
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
    You certainly are opinionated about something you've never tried. That was MY point.

    Interestingly, I see lots of vehemnt arguments against fittings from people who haven't had them. I don't see lots of posts from people who have had a fitting and felt it was a waste of money.

    BB
    What would you expect? I don't think there are many ways to mess up a "pro fit," so no shocker to hear complaints on that front, but that's not the thrust of my position anyway. Certainly those who don't know doo-doo about how to set up a bike would have nothing to complain about, either. Again, though, not a feature of my position.

    Why don't you go ahead and address what I asked you earlier, namely how, given what the OP has said, you can assert that a so-called "pro fit" would be worth it, and better yet, one of your low budget $75 jobbies.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  12. #12
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aprieto28 View Post
    I am very comfortable on my bike on long or short rides flat or hilly terrain
    I'm a recreational rider and don't care that much about speed
    You are good to go.

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

  13. #13
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    What would you expect?
    I would expect people to speak to what they know.


    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Why don't you go ahead and address what I asked you earlier, namely how, given what the OP has said, you can assert that a so-called "pro fit" would be worth it, and better yet, one of your low budget $75 jobbies.
    After a fitting (and while it was very affordable, it certainly wasn't low budget), my comfort, power, and speed improved (as measured by my performance on several routes pre- and post-fitting), and I had the opportunity to try several saddles to address a numbness issue I'd been addressing by simply standing regularly. I had access to several fitters and techs to make adjustments, offer pointers on technique, and could have tried alternate handlebar and pedal setups had I been interested. I left with a 2 week trial on a test sddle that resolved my numbness issue, and an assurance that I could come in anytime for minor tweaks if I had problems.

    So what's to defend? For $75, I got 3+ hours of fitting and coaching and left more comfortable and faster. The same shiop offers more advanced fittings for someone looking to buy a new bike, as opposed to simply fitting an existing bike, but even at $150-250, the price was well worth it.

    Of course, if you are convinced that you have acheived omniscience and don't need anybody's help or perspective, then you wouldn't be geting a fitting in teh first place. That's why I answered no, it isn't necessary. But I have yet to encournter anyone who had a fitting who didn't feel like they got their money's worth.

    BB

    FWIW, the shop that did the fitting is Big Shark in St. Louis (Bicycle Fitting Services - Big Shark Bicycle Company - St. Louis, MO). I originaly called about a Serotta or Retul fitting, but when I told them I was basically happy with my bike, they suggested the basic fitting.
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  14. #14
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    001.jpg

    I got this new bike about 4 months ago ( Rodriguez Rainier ). It's considered an all-rounder, more of a relaxed geometry verses racing geometry. Reynoldl 725 tubing. Triple crank, 50-39-30. 10 speed 11-30 cassete. Tires are 700X23 When I say I adjusted this and that, it was only the stem height and seat position. I want to experiment with the handle bar height. I feel alittle to upright when i'm on the hoods. however, i feel like i'm in an agressive yet comfortable position when i'm on the drops. I can stay on the drops for a long time w/o neck of back pain. The problem with the stem height is that I can't get the handlebars off of the stem without cutting it first ( too high ) or loosening all brake and derailer cables. I'm not experienced enough to cut the fork stem ans reinstall the cables my self. When I say i'm a RECREATIONAL rider, I don't mean I'm a slug. I've been riding for 25 yrs. I'm 60 yrs old 190 lbs and loosing weight. I average about 150-200 miles per week in rolling terrain. I try and push myself on each ride. just rode about 80 miles today, no pain and felt pretty good afterwards. I do want to be the best I can be on this type of bike, ( fast centuries and better climbing ability )

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
    I would expect people to speak to what they know.




    After a fitting (and while it was very affordable, it certainly wasn't low budget), my comfort, power, and speed improved (as measured by my performance on several routes pre- and post-fitting), and I had the opportunity to try several saddles to address a numbness issue I'd been addressing by simply standing regularly. I had access to several fitters and techs to make adjustments, offer pointers on technique, and could have tried alternate handlebar and pedal setups had I been interested. I left with a 2 week trial on a test sddle that resolved my numbness issue, and an assurance that I could come in anytime for minor tweaks if I had problems.

    So what's to defend? For $75, I got 3+ hours of fitting and coaching and left more comfortable and faster. The same shiop offers more advanced fittings for someone looking to buy a new bike, as opposed to simply fitting an existing bike, but even at $150-250, the price was well worth it.

    Of course, if you are convinced that you have acheived omniscience and don't need anybody's help or perspective, then you wouldn't be geting a fitting in teh first place. That's why I answered no, it isn't necessary. But I have yet to encournter anyone who had a fitting who didn't feel like they got their money's worth.

    BB

    FWIW, the shop that did the fitting is Big Shark in St. Louis (Bicycle Fitting Services - Big Shark Bicycle Company - St. Louis, MO). I originaly called about a Serotta or Retul fitting, but when I told them I was basically happy with my bike, they suggested the basic fitting.
    That's a cool story, but it doesn't at all answer the question of why one would be "worth it" for the OP, does it?

    I see now the OP has added additional info, but working off the original info, there was nothing to suggest there was anything to be gained but the experience of the process. But again, the question posed is the thread title is whether a pro fit is "really necessary," and there is still no other than "No." I disagree with you about why that's the answer; you think it's to do with omniscience, I think it's to do with the fact that, as I stated before, that with some time, attention, and some experienced eyes, it's entirely possible to dial in one's fit themselves. It's not about not needing help, it's about being smart enough to use it.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    Quote Originally Posted by aprieto28 View Post
    001.jpg

    I got this new bike about 4 months ago ( Rodriguez Rainier ). It's considered an all-rounder, more of a relaxed geometry verses racing geometry. Reynoldl 725 tubing. Triple crank, 50-39-30. 10 speed 11-30 cassete. Tires are 700X23 When I say I adjusted this and that, it was only the stem height and seat position. I want to experiment with the handle bar height. I feel alittle to upright when i'm on the hoods. however, i feel like i'm in an agressive yet comfortable position when i'm on the drops. I can stay on the drops for a long time w/o neck of back pain. The problem with the stem height is that I can't get the handlebars off of the stem without cutting it first ( too high ) or loosening all brake and derailer cables. I'm not experienced enough to cut the fork stem ans reinstall the cables my self. When I say i'm a RECREATIONAL rider, I don't mean I'm a slug. I've been riding for 25 yrs. I'm 60 yrs old 190 lbs and loosing weight. I average about 150-200 miles per week in rolling terrain. I try and push myself on each ride. just rode about 80 miles today, no pain and felt pretty good afterwards. I do want to be the best I can be on this type of bike, ( fast centuries and better climbing ability )
    If I understand your issue right, you mean to say you can't get your stem off the steerer tube while the handlebars are still attached (to the stem).

    I can't see the pic clearly enough to be certain, but I'm pretty sure you simply need to unbolt the stem faceplate and let loose the handlebars first, and then you'll he able to remove and lower and/or flip-over the stem.

    Clearly your steerer needs to be cut in any case (only for cosmetics, though it could become an unwelcome point of impact), as you've got more room to raise the stem above its current position than you're ever likely to need.

    Without seeing you on the bike and understanding what the limitations are, it's impossible to say this with any certainty, but with your bars basically at saddle height, you've probably got opportunity to lower the bars and pick up some aero advantage. If you feel upright on the hoods, you most certainly are, so you could start removing spacers to the top of the stem, lower it bit by bit, and see where the sweet spot is for you.

    My feeling is that riding the drops should not be the primary hand position, and that having the drops be a bit of, well, a drop below a really comfy hoods n' tops height gives best versatility in terms of available positions. That's a philosophical call, though, and I know some will think the drops should be primary; whichever you find most compelling will be a matter determined by your needs and style.

    As you may know, stems are available in various lengths of extension and degrees of rise (i.e. angles), so there is a wide range for tuning bar position.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  17. #17
    Senior Member elcruxio's Avatar
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    Depends on your goals. If you are a rec rider then no. If something is wrong and you can't get to the bottom of it then maybe yes. However if the ride is comfortable currently then no, don't do it.

    It's much easier to take the long road and learn basics of fitting and what works what in a fit. Then you can tweak your fit yourself and actually understand what is happening. The only things I can see as useful in a pro fit is the power measurement as in how different positions affect your power output. The aero aspect is also useful but you would need a wind tunnel for that. And of course if you have challenging body geometry as in you need cleat wedges etc. But mind you, this is for those who race amateur/pro and need the difference. For a normal rider comfort is paramount and all other things come after.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    That's a cool story, but it doesn't at all answer the question of why one would be "worth it" for the OP, does it?
    What would you consider an answer? If "I've had one and it was worth it, therefore I believe it will be worth it to you" isn't an answer, why on earth would "I never had one and don't believe it would be worth it" be an answer?

    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    I see now the OP has added additional info, but working off the original info, there was nothing to suggest there was anything to be gained but the experience of the process.
    No? I interpreted "the thought of being more efficient is always on the back of my mind" to mean the OP was interested in anything that might increase his efficiency. Given that one of the primary purposes of a professional fitting is t increase efficiency, I'd say there's a high liklihood he'd find the experience "worth it."


    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    But again, the question posed is the thread title is whether a pro fit is "really necessary," and there is still no other than "No."
    Fascinating. Lets examine my original response again: "Necessary? No. Worth it? Yes." A lot of people might read that and think that you and I agree that a professional fit is not necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    I disagree with you about why that's the answer; you think it's to do with omniscience, I think it's to do with the fact that, as I stated before, that with some time, attention, and some experienced eyes, it's entirely possible to dial in one's fit themselves. It's not about not needing help, it's about being smart enough to use it.
    "Experienced eyes"? Like maybe the experienced eyes of a fitter?

    An analogy: Lets assume the original question was "I like meat, and have been considering a steak dinner at a local restaurant. Is it necessary to pay a restaurant to get a nice steak dinner? Is a steak dinner at a restaurant worth it?"

    I might have answered "No, it isn't NECESSARY to pay a restaurant for a steak dinner. You can certainly cook one yourself. However, if you do decide to go to a restaurant for a steak dinner, I believe you'll find it enjoyable and worth the price."

    Would you have objected to that answer as wel?
    Last edited by bbbean; 04-28-14 at 06:42 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
    What would you consider an answer? If "I've had one and it was worth it, therefore I believe it will be worth it to you" isn't an answer, why on earth would "I never had one and don't believe it would be worth it" be an answer?



    No? I interpreted "the thought of being more efficient is always on the back of my mind" to mean the OP was interested in anything that might increase his efficiency. Given that one of the primary purposes of a professional fitting is t increase efficiency, I'd say there's a high liklihood he'd find the experience "worth it."




    Fascinating. Lets examine my original response again: "Necessary? No. Worth it? Yes." A lot of people might read that and think that you and I agree that a professional fit is not necessary.



    "Experienced eyes"? Like maybe the experienced eyes of a fitter?

    An analogy: Lets assume the original question was "I like meat, and have been considering a steak dinner at a local restaurant. Is it necessary to pay a restaurant to get a nice steak dinner? Is a steak dinner at a restaurant worth it?"

    I might have answered "No, it isn't NECESSARY to pay a restaurant for a steak dinner. You can certainly cook one yourself. However, if you do decide to go to a restaurant for a steak dinner, I believe you'll find it enjoyable and worth the price."

    Would you have objected to that answer as wel?
    1) It wouldn't be be an answer to the question which I proposed to you and that you keep dodging.

    2) I disagree that's the primary purpose of a fitting, and said as much earlier. Most fittings are about comfort, and offer no objective measure of efficiency.

    3) We do agree in that regard, but for different reasons, as I stated earlier.

    4) Yes, I would have objected to that answer, because there is no way to know whether the steak dinner would be worth it. And really, a better analogy would include that the diner is already full, and would spending "big bucks" on a steak dinner be worth it given that fact.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  20. #20
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    I'm a recreational rider
    was the Rodriquez Rainier made for you? that sort of thing should have been sorted out when that bike was assembled..

    if it feels right and you are not totally into maximizing your race performance it should be good enough ..

  21. #21
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    1) It wouldn't be be an answer to the question which I proposed to you and that you keep dodging.

    2) I disagree that's the primary purpose of a fitting, and said as much earlier. Most fittings are about comfort, and offer no objective measure of efficiency.

    3) We do agree in that regard, but for different reasons, as I stated earlier.

    4) Yes, I would have objected to that answer, because there is no way to know whether the steak dinner would be worth it. And really, a better analogy would include that the diner is already full, and would spending "big bucks" on a steak dinner be worth it given that fact.
    Sorry you don't like my answer. Have a great day.
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    Senior Member pavemen's Avatar
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    Its not always about getting that extra 1% performance gain. Its can often be about making sure you are not screwing up your body by riding what feels comfortable now versus being the proper form to not create injuries over time. You can get used to the proper fit and be able to ride longer, not just per ride but over the years.

  23. #23
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    I've weighed the pros and cons of a professional fitting for some time - especially after experiencing knee pain. Where I am - a fitting will range from $150 for just a spot check to $300 for where they measure you and help find equipment changes necessary (like getting a new stem). Both were not worth it to me. There were a lot of information on the web about fitting and I used an app on my iPad to video myself on the trainer and measure angles. From this bio-feedback - I was able to see that my saddle was, in fact, too low - and too far forward. Also, remember that fitting is more art then science - and unless you go to a very experienced fitter - you could probably do as good yourself with some trial and error or using pictures and videos of yourself like I did. So, I think that a fitting will be good for someone new to riding or for riders focused on performance (assuming the fitter is very experienced), or if a rider is experiencing pain. Also, remember that your optimal bike fit will change as you age, get more or less flexible, and how long you ride for. FWIW - if I could have had a professional fit for, lets say $50-$60, I would have went for it - but where I live, they charge too much for what you get, IMO.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Fittings is about bicycling and that its repetitive motion. Body not really designed to ride bikes. That's why it needs to be fitted, to avoid injuries which are practically inevitable.

    Now, for the pro fitter. Someone who is a pro fitter is usually a coach as well. So you get more insight and better discussion and advice. Its not that the rider is the pro, its the fitter that's the pro.

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Seems there is a product and a users manual for most everything ,, seen any shops with a Size cycle ?

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