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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Fitting for a Custom Frame

    A question to all you pro (and semi-pro) framebuilders out there. I've decided I'm finally going to replace my old Trek (circa 1980)with a custom frame that actually fits me. I'm pretty sure I'm a good candidate for a custom frame (being at the left end of the height bell curve, i.e., "compact geometry").

    There is a well-regarded custom frame builder here in town, and I'm kind of leaning towards going to him. He also does bike fittings, separately from the frame-building operation (though he does apply the cost of the fitting to the frame if you decide to go that route).

    My question is whether it makes any sense to go to anyone else for a bike fitting (I've heard of some good- to excellent- bike fitters within driving distance) prior to seeing him. It's not that I don't trust the frame builder, I'm just curious about what I could glean from having a bike fitting done before seeing the frame builder, and discussing any observations/conclusions made by the fitter with the builder. Or would it be better to just put myself in the hands of the builder and trust he will be able to design/build the frame and combine it with parts that will get me the fit I want/need. I realize (I think) that a lot of it will depend on the information I provide to each person - I can't tell the fitter I'm planning on racing crits while I have the builder fit me for a long-distance touring bike.

    So what would you frame-builders do if a customer came in with notes/specs (having never had a professional bike fitting before, I don't even know what the end-product would be) from someone else. Would it serve as a good starting point? Would you ignore it and start from scratch? Would you compare your conclusions with the other fitter's?

    Thanks for the feedback,


  2. #2
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    My Bikes
    21 Post(s)
    1 Thread(s)
    95% of my builds in the past forty years have been to customer specifications. Though I do fitting and people have liked the result, I would rather just get the numbers.

    A few months ago I got numbers from a customer that were provided by a new computerized fit system. The angles and dimensions were very odd and I contacted the fitter who added that he thought the numbers were odd also and after a brief conversation with all parties, we came up with something of a compromise.

    The customer liked it so I guess it worked out.
    1886 Surrey machinists Invincible, 1900 Nashua, 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow, 1938 Raleigh Silver Record, 1951 Armstrong tourmalet, 1970 Motobecane Grand Record, 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1971 Gitane TDF, 1972 Legnano Gran Primio, 1973, Peugeot PX-10, 1975 Roberts, 1984 Battaglin Giro, 1985 Grandis Speciale, 2012 FTW

    le prix s'oublie,la qualité reste ,(michel audiard)

  3. #3
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Rochester, NY
    My Bikes
    Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder
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    Fitting is a matter of trust, communication and experience. Trust that the fitter is not intent on selling you a bike they have (this is not to say that retail shops don't do good fitting, just that there can be a conflict of interest). Communication between you and the fitter is essential. Do they listen yo you, invite your feedback? The fitter's experience in the range of riding and body type you have is also important. A fitter that only does triathletes could be insensitive of the needs of the tourist.

    Getting fitted is somewhat like going to the Dr. Your back pain will have one solution to an Orthopedic and another solution to a "shrink".

    Having said all that if you question the bike builder's fitting numbers (and comparing them to your current ride filtered with the explanation given by the builder/fitter) then do get a second opinion. Andy.

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