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Old 08-23-12, 04:31 PM   #1
lungimsam
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What did you all do for bike fits in the 60's and 70's?

Before all this pro fit, computerised, stuff started?

How'd you fit yerself, and how'd it turn out?
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Old 08-23-12, 04:58 PM   #2
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I guarantee you that there were gurus out there who could help with fit issues back in the day. I myself can fit anything in the area of a 56 without much effort, so I don't concern myself much with that. I like riding crit/roadrace bikes, and have a surgically repaired ACL. I am probably a little on the insensitive side of fit issues. You are riding a 48 lb upright bike. My guess is you will be just fine getting the fit set up yourself. Unless you are on the very sensitive side of fit issues.
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Old 08-23-12, 06:29 PM   #3
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I rode a bike that was too big for me, but I managed to ride it for 30+ years and have fun. I know now that my current smaller bike is much more comfortable, and even more fun.
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Old 08-23-12, 07:02 PM   #4
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I've never been fitted for a bike, since I've been riding only used and salvaged bikes. I just go by initial stand-over height, then play around with the seat, stem, and bars until I like the ride. Takes a bit of trial and fuss, but it all works out.

Isn't that likely what they did in the old days? Anyway, I'm not convinced that the tech stuff is much more than a gimmick, since it all comes down to how the bike feels to the person being fitted, and there's no real science for that.

I'd still like to get fitted the fancy way, though, just out of curiosity.
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Old 08-23-12, 07:37 PM   #5
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We put people on bikes, and talked to them about how they felt on one size frame or another .

swapping stems took longer, because you had to remove the bar tape and such.

once you were in the USCF, dues paying aspiring racer, at sanctioned races ,
coaches with 'some expertise' were available.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-12 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:05 PM   #6
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In the Old days? well bikes tended to have straight flat top tubes. The standard fit was standover height. If you could straddle the top tube with one or two inches to spare then you were good to go. You could move the saddle forward a bit and I understand they could put on a shorter quill stem if necessary but normally that wasn't necessary.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:07 PM   #7
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Trial and error. If something was uncomfortable, you made changes and saw how it worked out. I've still got a bike from that era, and it's still comfortable.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:25 PM   #8
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The standard fit was standover height. If you could straddle the top tube with one or two inches to spare then you were good to go.
That's the wisdom, but in my experience you can make do when a bike is a little bigger and it's free and/or you love it. You just need to be able to get on it, and not sing soprano at stop lights.
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Old 08-23-12, 09:34 PM   #9
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In the Old days? well bikes tended to have straight flat top tubes. The standard fit was standover height. If you could straddle the top tube with one or two inches to spare then you were good to go. You could move the saddle forward a bit and I understand they could put on a shorter quill stem if necessary but normally that wasn't necessary.
This, pretty much. Another test was to adjust the seat so your legs were right, then close your fist around the seatpost. If your hand didn't cover the exposed portion of the post, you went up a size.
By those standards, everybody in America is riding a bike that's too small. But it still works for me.
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Old 08-23-12, 10:37 PM   #10
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This, pretty much. Another test was to adjust the seat so your legs were right, then close your fist around the seatpost. If your hand didn't cover the exposed portion of the post, you went up a size.
By those standards, everybody in America is riding a bike that's too small. But it still works for me.
Yes, I could ride a bigger frame in the old days but that was because of the frame design I believe. Today I can ride an agressive bike Like a Tarmac in a 52 or a relaxed Roubiax in a 54. But the top tube on both bikes turnes out to be close to 54 + or -. I bought a 91 Klein a few months ago and wasn't sure it would fit. Kleins didn't come in 52 or 54 but rather 53 and 55. I thought a 55 would be too big but the top tube is???? 54 so I feel pretty good on it. I am learning to love that bike. But I do agree trial and error was the most common method as long as Standover worked. Unless you were a kid and then no bike was too big, you just let it fall to one side when you came to a stop. I remember when western Auto used to sell pedal blocks so kids could ride bigger bikes.
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Old 08-23-12, 10:47 PM   #11
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You are riding a 48 lb upright bike. My guess is you will be just fine getting the fit set up yourself. Unless you are on the very sensitive side of fit issues.
No, it is a 22lb drop bar bike. I want to set it up for comfort.

Last edited by lungimsam; 08-23-12 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 08-23-12, 10:56 PM   #12
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Another test was to adjust the seat so your legs were right, then close your fist around the seatpost.
How did you define "legs were right" back then?
Right now, I am showing a fistfull of seatpost with about 1 inch of crotch clearance. I am fine at stops straddling the bike.
My main thing is figuring our saddle fore/aft and then reach. Having a hard time figuring out what is "right". Confused by all the methods there are these days.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:14 PM   #13
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No, it is a 22lb drop bar bike. I want to set it up for comfort.
Tell us more about the bike? Year,make, what kind of bar stem? Comfort depends on how you ride or what kind of riding you want to do. Touring bikes can be drop bar but their saddle and bar stem are closer to level. If you have a quil stem there isn't a lot you can do to raise it but you can rotate the bars or brake levers up so the ramps are pretty flat to give you a more upright position. We are not talking upright like a hybrid but at least like a flat bar but with hoods to ride on.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:25 PM   #14
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Tell us more about the bike? .
It is a ~ 2008, 55cm Rivendell Bleriot.
Nitto Noodle drop bar. Technomic quill stem with 9cm extension.
Traditional diamond looking frame.
I have the bars a little higher than the saddle now, with flat ramps. I like being more upright after the years of race geometry bike I had.

I do commuting and recreational road rides. Not racing, just friendly metric century rides, 40 milers, etc. For fun, not speed.
I know my seat height, but need to know how to do fore/aft of saddle. I will work out the reach for comfort after.
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Old 08-23-12, 11:45 PM   #15
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It is a ~ 2008, 55cm Rivendell Bleriot.
Nitto Noodle drop bar. Technomic quill stem with 9cm extension.
Traditional diamond looking frame.
I have the bars a little higher than the saddle now, with flat ramps. I like being more upright after the years of race geometry bike I had.

I do commuting and recreational road rides. Not racing, just friendly metric century rides, 40 milers, etc. For fun, not speed.
I know my seat height, but need to know how to do fore/aft of saddle. I will work out the reach for comfort after.
OK, the best I can do is point you in the general direction. If you are comfortable with the saddle and bar height then the general rule of thumb t start adjusting for fore and aft are you knee should be close to right over the pedal spindle when the pedals are horizontal. They used to drop a plumb bob from your knee to see if that was the case. But this is only a starting point. Here is some more information. http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

http://sheldonbrown.com/kops.html
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Old 08-23-12, 11:53 PM   #16
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good fit , lengthways, seems that if I look straight down the steering axis,
while riding, and its all good.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:34 AM   #17
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good fit , lengthways, seems that if I look straight down the steering axis,
while riding, and its all good.
Depends on who you ask. I was told that you shouldn't be able to see your front Skewer when on the hoods, the bar should block it. But after I got a fitting on my old Lapierre the fitter shortened my stem, a 65, and while it was more comfortable I could see my front axle. When I switch to my Tarmac the top tube was a smidge shorter so my stem went to a 90 and guess what, I can't see the axle from the hoods again, and it too is comfortable. Go figure.
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Old 08-24-12, 04:32 AM   #18
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That's the wisdom, but in my experience you can make do when a bike is a little bigger and it's free and/or you love it. You just need to be able to get on it, and not sing soprano at stop lights.
Curbs were so handy for that.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:34 AM   #19
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Curbs were so handy for that.
LOL Actually I use curbs all the time on any bike, because I'm an old man with the flexibility of an older man.
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Old 08-24-12, 09:11 AM   #20
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Fits? Screaming and crying seldom worked. Making sure your parents knew you'd talked to Santa about a bike worked best.
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Old 08-24-12, 04:49 PM   #21
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Dad brings the bike home. Puts you on it and with the seat all the way down your feet barely reach the pedals. "Don't worry. You'll grow into it."
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Old 08-24-12, 06:17 PM   #22
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I was lucky to escape the '70s before I tuned 7. My grandparents bought me a 20" wheel bike, then my other grandpa got me a cool banana bike he had painted metallic green, and theese bikes fit as well as I could hope.

But when I started riding road bike sin the mid/late 80s, the geometry was pretty simple, as mentioned above, and the LBS employees helped me select a size that was a reasonable fit.

The oft repeated advice to 'get fitted' on this forum is usually given to people who don't already know what they want, or are buying used (and thus cannot rely on the help of a LBS, most of who, believe it or not, get it right more often than they get it wrong). Or have already purchased a bike and have begun (or someone else has begun) making random changes to it to improve the fit.
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Old 08-25-12, 03:37 AM   #23
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When I started taking cycling more seriously in 1990, I went to this place ... maybe you've heard of them, many towns have them ... called a "library". Libraries contain shelves and shelves of books. Sometimes a few of those books contain information about bicycles and cycling.

In my case, my local library had 5 books on bicycles and cycling. I took all of them out, and read them from cover to cover.

One of them had some advice about how to set up a bicycle. So I stood my bicycle (which I discovered was way too big for me) in the kitchen, and referring to the book, with measuring tape and plumb bobs in hand, I measured everything, and adjusted this, and adjusted that ... and set the bicycle up as comfortably as possible for me.
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Old 08-25-12, 06:28 AM   #24
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Before all this pro fit, computerised, stuff started?

How'd you fit yerself, and how'd it turn out?
Just like I and 99+% of other cyclists do now. Turns out fine for those who measure their fit by how it feels, rather than how it reads on a computer.
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Old 08-25-12, 06:44 AM   #25
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How'd you fit yourself, and how'd it turn out?
Whadaya think?

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