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  1. #1
    The bike plague MightyLegnano's Avatar
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    Bicycle fitting: is it that big of a deal?

    It's get mentioned every time I'm looking for bicycle touring, training, commuting and what not. Bicycle fitting. And I'm asking you, is that big of a deal? If the saddle height is alright why frame size and all that can bother you? Your knees are okay, your back can be adjusted (Don't thing the minor frame size matter will determine if your back will be or not), and everything else falls into place.

    Am I being stupid? Please enlighten me.

  2. #2
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    All I can say to that is, the more comfortable the fit, the more you will tend to enjoy the ride.

    I remember, as kids. We would grab another kids bike and ride it. It didn't even matter if the bike was even close to the proper fit. We just grabbed and rolled! Some kids would have to stand during the entire time they were cycling because they were too short or small. OTOH, some kids were so tall, that they couldn't sit down even if they wanted. Their butts just hung over the rear wheel, anyway!

    I think that what we mostly do is approximate. I don't actually believe that most people get properly fitted. That's too bad! They should! We're all adults, now!

    - Slim
    Last edited by SlimRider; 02-04-12 at 09:58 PM.

  3. #3
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    You'll find people posting here how a fitting increased their power output, make them faster by getting more aero, and eliminated pains they've had for years.

    Then you'll find people that ride without any discomfort and never had a fitting or even thought about making adjustments.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Important to new riders more so than the seasoned.

    I got help from a cycle veteran when I started riding.

    Now after 20,000+ miles I know what I need and want.

    It takes about a mile to get it right now.

    I set my new Raleigh up just like the old Trek, similar
    geometry, and have never touched it since. Same seat.
    Same pedals. I found what works for me and I ain't
    gon'a broke it.



    Last edited by BHOFM; 02-04-12 at 12:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Depends on the rider and what they plan to do. I don't ride at a level where a precise fit makes much difference. I know what is comfortable for me and if something is uncomfortable I make adjustments until I am happy. If you ride at anything approaching a competition level or you have constant pain somewhere a fitting might make a difference.

    Is it absolutely necessary? No.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Most new riders I see have the seat WAY too low.
    Just that simple adjustment can work wonders for some.

    Getting a "professional" fitting is bound to help some people.
    Other people have to adapt to what "WORKS" for them.

    I have bad knees, back & emphysema.
    I've changed crank length & gears, so I can keep the "motor" running at the most efficient cadence/effort, for both my knee and my breathing.
    I use a smaller frame with an extended seat post to cut down on the reach, to help the back. (other bike has riser bars)
    A "professional" fitter would probably roll their eyes at my bikes, but it works for me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    It also depends on what you are doing it for. As long as the bike is close and all you are doing is MUPS or neighbor hood cruising it might not be much of a big deal. Club riding and touring it will be a bit more important. Racing would be a necessity. On a MTB or a Hybrid fit has a lot more latitude. On a recumbent as long as your feet reach the pedals and bars you are good to go. But I believe one reason you see so many almost new bikes at garage sales is because they didn't fit the owner in the first place.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I think that what kind of riding you do makes a huge amount of difference.

    If you are doing real mountain biking you are constantly moving around on the bike - standing vs. sitting in the saddle and you also slide forward and back, sometimes back completely off the saddle on steep descents. On a road bike you might park yourself in the saddle and not shift positions for extended periods of time.

    Road bike fit is going to be more important.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Mtn bike...not that big of a deal. Road bike,.....big deal.

    http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt...S/exercise.png

    2012 Specialized Tarmac Elite Rival Mid Compact
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  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you are just casually riding around your neighbourhood for a brief time occasionally ... you can get away with riding just about any setup.

    But if you're riding lots, you want the bicycle set up right.

    The bicycle and you are a machine. If something is out of alignment, there is unnecessary wear and tear.

    Regarding frame size ... make sure the top tube is the right size for you. If you get the top tube right, chances are the rest of the bicycle will be close enough that you can work with it. Get the top tube wrong and you'll end up with all sorts of upper body issues.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
    Mtn bike...not that big of a deal. Road bike,.....big deal.
    +1.

    Two reasons: first, you're less likely to go for a long (time) ride on a mountain bike than a road bike -- or at least I am. The longer the ride, the higher the probability a poor fit will start to cause problems.

    Second, the saddle interface is more critical on a road bike. You've got to make sure you're not at a bad angle (guys especially), got good extension to the pedals, and your torso's at a comfortable angle when you reach the bars.

    Honestly, I've ended up doing most of my own. Some people are harder to fit, some can tolerate seemingly anything. If you're getting your first "road" (drop-bar) bike, at least have the most experienced mechanic in the shop look you over. If you have problems, get a professional fit. If you're getting an expensive custom bike, the cost of a fitter is a small delta, and probably worth it.

    OTOH, if you're getting a casual MTB, hybrid, or cruiser, plunk down your credit card and go have fun!

  12. #12
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Riding a properly fitted bicycle will add greatly to the how much you enjoy the ride and becomes more critical when you ride competitively or at high levels and for those who like to ride epic distances fit is extremely important.

    A proper fit is the sum of many small factors that come together to make the bike feel like it is an extension of the person riding it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbadwullf View Post
    Mtn bike...not that big of a deal. Road bike,.....big deal.
    nope.

    both are a big deal. both matter. fit is one of the most important parts of buying a new bicycle, mountain or road.

  14. #14
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    +1.
    you obviously don't ride a mountain bike. i say this as respectfully as possible: you are wrong.

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Riding a properly fitted bicycle will add greatly to the how much you enjoy the ride and becomes more critical when you ride competitively or at high levels and for those who like to ride epic distances fit is extremely important.

    A proper fit is the sum of many small factors that come together to make the bike feel like it is an extension of the person riding it.
    +1

    People often ask me how I am able to ride the distances I ride. They tell me that they can hardly ride around the neighbourhood without being in pain, and couldn't imagine the amount of pain they'd be in if they tried to ride one of the rides I do.


    Well, for one thing ... my bicycle fits me.

  16. #16
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyLegnano View Post
    It's get mentioned every time I'm looking for bicycle touring, training, commuting and what not. Bicycle fitting. And I'm asking you, is that big of a deal? If the saddle height is alright why frame size and all that can bother you? Your knees are okay, your back can be adjusted (Don't thing the minor frame size matter will determine if your back will be or not), and everything else falls into place.

    Am I being stupid? Please enlighten me.
    I agree with you. People can ride comfortably on frames plus or minus a size. If the seat height is right, "fit" is far you lean over and where your hands are, and that's all there is. We adjust that to individual preference and that depends entirely on our individual physical attributes and preferred style of riding, so the formula or any calculated perfect fit is a myth.

    In my opinion.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Ask a pro fitter about who comes into their lab.

    A good percentage come in because of pain. Road bike riding puts a rider in a position that's not all comfortable. Then, there's that repetitive motion. And there's those nagging injuries from other sports in the past that now seem to rear it's ugly head.

    A pro fitter sometimes becomes a type of a coach. They sometimes tell you what a rider is doing wrong and right, depending on the type of riding. They even suggest different kinds of exercises to build up strength.

  18. #18
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    I don't even ride road bikes, MTB only, and 3-5 hour rides are regular events; when the weather agrees with ME, 2-3 hours is a 2x/week thing. So fitting for road rides mattering more than MTB is just crapola.

    I don't feel the need for a pro, millimeter-perfect fit; as was mentioned, after so many miles, you just know what works and stick with it, that's where I am.

    Too many people believe they're SUPPOSED to sit upright on a bike, with both feet able to hit the ground at a stop. Nothing could be worse, except maybe riding a kid's trike. Most riders are well served by approximate fitting -- heel-on-pedal leg extension, not so far forward to the bars that you have to push off to sit up, kneecap over the pedal at 3&9, those will do it for most.

    The concept of fitting is this: the human body can only produce 'so much' power, so conditions must be maximized in order to get the most OUT of it. THAT requires some degree of fitting. It's the same as putting a Marzocchi 888 DH fork on a Specialized Epic; just doesn't work to potential.

  19. #19
    The bike plague MightyLegnano's Avatar
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    -- heel-on-pedal leg extension, not so far forward to the bars that you have to push off to sit up, kneecap over the pedal at 3&9, those will do it for most.
    Is it possible to expand a bit on this? What exactly is kneecap over the pedal?

  20. #20
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MightyLegnano View Post
    -- heel-on-pedal leg extension, not so far forward to the bars that you have to push off to sit up, kneecap over the pedal at 3&9, those will do it for most.
    Is it possible to expand a bit on this? What exactly is kneecap over the pedal?
    For basic saddle height you put your heel on the pedal at full extension the leg should be perfectly straight, then when you move the ball of your foot back over the pedal axle you have the correct amount of bend in your leg for riding. The knee over the pedal axle is a bit more controversial, however if you have the your pedals at 3 and 9 oclock you drop a line from your knee cap to the forward pedal axle and it is supposed to be in a straight line, this is for fore and aft adjustment of the saddle. FWIW depending on the bike frame size, saddle position and crank arm length this may or may not hold true.

    When it comes to fit I am more old school and sit a bit more upright and further back on the bike, comes from years of being a climber and racing back in the 70's. Current bikes are much more aggressive and the rider sits further forward. Different strokes for different folks. For me as long as I am comfortable and reasonable efficient I am not going to worry about a pro fit. I ride multiple bikes and it would be cost prohibitive to have a pro set up on all of them. I was at my LBS a few weeks back and they have a new fit system using lasers, as a joke and to show one of the new employees how the system worked, they had me set up on it with my city bike....

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 02-05-12 at 06:57 AM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  21. #21
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    I think fitting becomes more important the further your body size/shape diverges from normal/medium.

  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    I think fitting becomes more important the further your body size/shape diverges from normal/medium.
    Agreed...then you have guys like Graeme Obree....
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  23. #23
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    I rode a few years, and was having a problem with pain here and there. Finally forked out close to $200 to have my bike fit. Found out a lot of interesting things. One leg slight longer than the other, saddle not adjusted right. Was also allowed to try a lot of different saddles (I love my Adamo Typhoon).

    Had my cleat shimmed in one shoe, had to get slightly wider bars, and the best money I have ever spent in my life. I went from being able to only do about 10 miles before groin and leg pain set in, to riding for hours with no pain or numbness.

    I was provided with all the geometry of the setup printed out and transferred that to my Spin Bike, and now I can enjoy that more also.

    Of course this was just my experience. I used Sport-Fit Labs in Herndon, VA.
    Gary F.


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  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gforeman View Post
    I rode a few years, and was having a problem with pain here and there. Finally forked out close to $200 to have my bike fit. Found out a lot of interesting things. One leg slight longer than the other, saddle not adjusted right. Was also allowed to try a lot of different saddles (I love my Adamo Typhoon).

    Had my cleat shimmed in one shoe, had to get slightly wider bars, and the best money I have ever spent in my life. I went from being able to only do about 10 miles before groin and leg pain set in, to riding for hours with no pain or numbness.

    I was provided with all the geometry of the setup printed out and transferred that to my Spin Bike, and now I can enjoy that more also.

    Of course this was just my experience. I used Sport-Fit Labs in Herndon, VA.
    This is a good example of where a proper fitting paid off.

    However if gforeman had only been riding a city bike between coffee shops/brew pubs and home? The money probably would have been better spent elsewhere.

    FWIW I wear 2-4 different pairs of shoes depending on where I am riding to and the weather. None of them have the same thickness of soles, so my saddle height is probably "wrong" most of the time, I also ride with half clips so that adjustment will vary too. However that bike is seldom ridden more than about 12 miles at a time and at relative slow speeds.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    OP is asking about touring on a cheap bike, in that section,
    not shopping for a CF Madone, so likely is not needing an
    Orthopedist with a sports, bicycle racer, specialty.

    putting the bike on the trainer stand, and being observed riding,
    maybe more the reasonable approach.

    Where, in Greece to find a bike shop is maybe a google thing..
    minute detail fitting , may need a trip to Italy.

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