Fitting and Framebuilders?
I was wondering if when considering a framebuilder if a "fitting" to determine the needs of the rider is part of the process. I know of a local shop that does custom bike where you go for the fitting and then Waterford or Calfee builds the frame.
since most framebuilding is done long distance, people usually send their measurements and the framebuilder decides how to build a frame from those. I don't think many framebuilders trust a shop to do a fitting, but they are a good place to do the measurements.
"fitting" as usually practiced with a frame that fits fairly well generally involves adjusting things by small amounts.
Exactly, you start with getting the right size frame, then you get a fitting to precisely lock in the position or biomechanical or ortho needs. Like I can be comfortable with an off the rack bike, though it is a poor choice for my body type. But given the post smash disaster that my right side is, it needs to be dialed in very carefully, which I do myself.
So the framebuilder is pre-fitting if you like. My input is to nudge riders to ride established geometries that work for what they want to do, but have crazy ideas about; and/or to tailor the frame dimensions to their body whether they fit well off the rack or not. And within everyone`s comfort zone, I might help them deal with physical issues, but not from a medical perspective. Or if they have some fit numbers I can drop a frame onto those.
Absolutely. As a builder it doesn't matter to me where you get fit or who does it as long as you feel good about it but I also always double check it. A bike shop may fit you but they do not design the bike. They locate your foot, saddle, and bar positions. It's up to the builder to work with you and your desired handeling characteristics to design the frame. Example: a standard frame may fit you with a 90mm stem and a 25mm setback seat post. When designing the frame, a builder looks at toe overlap, desired stem length, saddle setback, desired seat post, bar drop, handeling characteristics, etc. and bases the geometry on your needs and wants. If you're new to riding, ride stock stuff if you can until you can develop a preference and achieve a certain level of fitness before going custom. Fit's 50% preference and if you don't have a preference, you're only going to get 1/2 a fit.
I personally design frames based on math, your current bike (s), and a discussion about regarding any pains, desires, likes, dislikes, goals, etc. that you may have. I've also had clients send me designs, I've had clients have me copy a stock bikes geos, and I've had clients send me the dims off their current bike wanting me to keep the exact fit but change the handeling of the bike completely.
Have fun if you're going custom and choose a builder who gives you a warm fuzzy. It should be a fun process. -Chris