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  1. #1
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Fitters who understand long distance riding

    I want to get a new frame, and I need some pre-purchase help with geometry targets.

    'Twas wisely suggested to me (by Homeyba) that I go forth and seek me out a fitter who understands long distance riding, and get a set of contact point locations developed for me. I could then use that info to select a new (to me, at least) bike frame within which I will most likely find comfort and nirvana. So far, I'm pretty sure seat tube angle is really important for me.

    Can anyone share the name and shop/business contact of any such fitter, with comments? Also please indicate if it is a person who sells bikes or who just will do work as a fitter.

    I don't think there are reviews of rando-oriented bike fitters on Angie's List. Consider yourselves Angie.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I know of a couple really good ones but they are all on the west coast. Hopefully someone will come up with someone a little closer for you.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  3. #3
    Randomhead
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    I am not sure how seat tube angle would be all that important unless you are really out of the norm.

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Serotta bike fitters have a very good reputation. Usually costs about $200 and takes most of the afternoon. Of course they take the cost off the price if you buy a Serotta! They are all trained by Serotta, so not just LBS employees with a fit-kit.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I am not sure how seat tube angle would be all that important unless you are really out of the norm.
    Maybe I am or maybe I'm not, but I can better position my saddle on my bikes that have a 73 or 72 degree angle than those with steeper tubes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Homey, are any of your guys Serotta-trained?

  7. #7
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Maybe I am or maybe I'm not, but I can better position my saddle on my bikes that have a 73 or 72 degree angle than those with steeper tubes.
    ok, the way you described it sounded like you thought you needed something really out of the ordinary. I wouldn't expect to see many randonneuring-appropriate bikes with a steeper seat tube angle than 73 degrees, unless you need a 48-50cm frame. Unfortunately, mid-sized stock bikes probably aren't going to come with a 72 degree seat tube angle. On the other hand, on a 58cm frame, the difference in top tube lengths between a 72 degree and a 73 degree seat tube angle is just a centimeter.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Homey, are any of your guys Serotta-trained?
    I doubt it. I'm not sure what Serotta's philosophy regarding fit.

    As far as a "randonneuring-appropriate" bike, goes, there is no such specific animal. A randonneuring-appropriate bike is the one that gets you to the finish as comfortably as possible. Doesn't matter if it's a Rivendale or a Colnago.

  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    I know of a couple really good ones but they are all on the west coast. Hopefully someone will come up with someone a little closer for you.
    These guys may be the best in the Midwest: http://www.getagripcycles.com/pressa...ml?page=string

    They have won multiple awards, including Sorotta'a Top 5 Global Leader

    I'm very happy with the fitting services they have provided me. Get a Grip has helped me with four bikes and each bike is very comfortable.

  10. #10
    commuter TimeTravel_0's Avatar
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    +1

    a few hours drive to chicago from ann arbour, but get a grip is well worth it. They are great at fitting for touring, so it only follows that they can fit for long distance rando riding. expect to pay about $325.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    I doubt it. I'm not sure what Serotta's philosophy regarding fit.

    As far as a "randonneuring-appropriate" bike, goes, there is no such specific animal. A randonneuring-appropriate bike is the one that gets you to the finish as comfortably as possible. Doesn't matter if it's a Rivendale or a Colnago.
    We have some Serotta-trained folks here locally. What are the philosophies of fit that your faves have?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeTravel_0 View Post
    +1

    a few hours drive to chicago from ann arbour, but get a grip is well worth it. They are great at fitting for touring, so it only follows that they can fit for long distance rando riding. expect to pay about $325.
    Thanks, Time Travel!

  13. #13
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    I die a little inside when these threads come up. There's no magic in bike fit, and any experienced cyclist should be capable of doing it himself. But I suspect that people are less interested in learning the technical side of bike fit and are really just looking for the emotional benefit of having a "guru" pronounce his bicycle perfect. Grump, grump.

    Oh, and for $325 we've moved beyond tea leaves and chicken bones and are into goat sacrifice territory at least.

  14. #14
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post

    Oh, and for $325 we've moved beyond tea leaves and chicken bones and are into goat sacrifice territory at least.
    Ouch $325. I can't imagine they could tell me anything that be remotely worth that price tag. I once got a fit locally and felt it wasn't worth the $100 I paid for it.

  15. #15
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I die a little inside when these threads come up. There's no magic in bike fit, and any experienced cyclist should be capable of doing it himself. But I suspect that people are less interested in learning the technical side of bike fit and are really just looking for the emotional benefit of having a "guru" pronounce his bicycle perfect. Grump, grump.

    Oh, and for $325 we've moved beyond tea leaves and chicken bones and are into goat sacrifice territory at least.
    Most of the folks paying for the service get most of it back when buying a new bike. And, believe it or not, most do not care. They want a bike that will take them to the next level of performance, and they don't tolerate fools. These are not the DIY BD type clientele.



    The service is also a one time cost. They will adjust any bike purchased from any source for a lifetime. I have yet to buy a bike from Get A Grip, yet they have fitted me to four bikes. The first fitting was a three hour session. The additional fittings needed about one to two hours. These sessions are included with the initial fee. Also, if I ever buy a custom bike, they will consult with the frame-builder to optimize geometry and tube-set.

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-12-10 at 08:05 AM.

  16. #16
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    Is that you on the bike in the picture, Michael? It's a perfect opportunity to illustrate a glaring deficiency with "bike fitting" and the whole attitude about "buying performance". The trouble, with the rider above, is that the bike is essentially fine. I mean you can argue and fiddle, raising the seat a couple of mm or bringing the bars back a hair, but it all amounts to rearranging the deck chairs. The rider isn't sitting on the bike correctly and no amount of twiddling with the bike is going to fix that.

    Whoever that rider is, he needs to rotate his pelvis around so that his lumbar spine exits the pelvis in a straighter line, flattening his back all the way up to the shoulders. The way he sits right now is squishing his gut, preventing proper digestion on longer rides and promoting gas and nausea. It also forces his diaphragm into his thoracic cavity, preventing good full-lung breathing. And it tends to make the shoulders hunch and tense, leading to neck and shoulder pain. Additionally, his wrists are cocked inward, which forces his elbows out. This isn't good for comfort, aerodynamics, or bike handling.

    None of that can be addressed by adjusting the bicycle, but too many people are convinced that if they just spend enough money and find the right guru, they can pedal off into the sunset looking just like their favorite Tour rider. Twenty or thirty years ago, an experienced bike shop employee would have pointed these things out for free. Now we pay hundreds of dollars to self-anointed "experts" who will pointlessly fool with our bicycles and then pronounce everything fine, while ignoring the rider's glaring deficiencies entirely.

    Arg.

    </rant>
    Last edited by Six jours; 12-12-10 at 12:02 PM.

  17. #17
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post

    Arg.

    </rant>


    Your version, or as you say: "rant" has no merit.

    Why?

    A) That is not me
    B) That is not a bicycle

    Yet you have no hesitation providing fitting advice over the web to someone you have never met or seen. Anyone who really understood bike fit would never make that mistake.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-12-10 at 04:09 PM.

  18. #18
    Randomhead
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    I suspect that most people would be better off following Peter White's fitting procedure before they spend a lot of money on a pro fitter.

  19. #19
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Or accept fitting advise on the web, from a person who could be anyone or, more accurately, is probably no-one. That will really improve your cycling (rolling eyes).
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-12-10 at 03:57 PM.

  20. #20
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Good rant. When I went to buy a new bike, the LBS had a guy who put me on a trainer, changed stems and adjusted heights. He then adjusted something about my back and voila, the weight was off my hands. 15 minutes, free, and I still don't completely understand it. That was 12 years ago and that's still my position. Now when I change something on my bike, I fiddle until I get the right feeling again. Just measuring doesn't quite do it. It's also about the position of your body, how your hands interact with what you touch, and how your butt interacts with the saddle and your feet with your shoes and pedals.

    It can be subtle, and then someone who knows has to help you. I have a number of very experienced friends who were having troubles. Their problems were completely solved by our famous local physiologist/bike fitter. All different problems, different solutions.

    On the third hand, I've been to a couple other bike shops who measured me and attempted to prescribe the three points. Not even close. Centimeters off.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I have been told I am a really decent bike fitter and this just stems from a lot of experience in the shop and as a rider and I have a good understanding of physiology and bio-mechanics.

    I could take all your measurements and put those into a calculator and I'd probably be way off but can use some of that to determine a base, use your feedback, and really make close observations when you are riding to determine what needs to be changed to improve your riding experience.

    I prefer to watch people ride real bikes as I can then see how they adjust to different inputs rather than use a static bicycle / trainer as riding is not a static activity... and sometimes the smallest change will yield amazing improvements.

    My friend was having a lot of issues with his new touring bike fit and he is planning on riding around the world... since we ride together a lot I have had lots of opportunity to make observations and suggest changes to his set up and now his bike is dialed in so well he could live on it.

    For some reason the bike shop set things up far too aggressively (he has lower back issues), had his saddle position wrong, and did not give him any help when it came to setting up his cleat position on his shoes (which are new to him)... when you spend $2500.00 on a bike you expect that it should be comfortable and not a torture device.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Your version, or as you say: "rant" has no merit.

    Why?

    A) That is not me
    B) That is not a bicycle

    Yet you have no hesitation providing fitting advice over the web to someone you have never met or seen. Anyone who really understood bike fit would never make that mistake.
    Doesn't matter who it is, and I'm not going to split hairs about bicycle-like objects. Nor does it matter that I've never met him. Frankly, I think you've been sold a pile of BS, to believe that someone who "really" understands bike fit needs hundreds of dollars and several hours to diagnose patently obvious faults in a rider's form.

  23. #23
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Doesn't matter who it is, and I'm not going to split hairs about bicycle-like objects. Nor does it matter that I've never met him. Frankly, I think you've been sold a pile of BS, to believe that someone who "really" understands bike fit needs hundreds of dollars and several hours to diagnose patently obvious faults in a rider's form.
    Are you enjoying these personal attacks!

    Easy to do when hiding behind a computer screen.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    Is that you on the bike in the picture, Michael? It's a perfect opportunity to illustrate a glaring deficiency with "bike fitting" and the whole attitude about "buying performance". The trouble, with the rider above, is that the bike is essentially fine. I mean you can argue and fiddle, raising the seat a couple of mm or bringing the bars back a hair, but it all amounts to rearranging the deck chairs. The rider isn't sitting on the bike correctly and no amount of twiddling with the bike is going to fix that.

    Whoever that rider is, he needs to rotate his pelvis around so that his lumbar spine exits the pelvis in a straighter line, flattening his back all the way up to the shoulders. The way he sits right now is squishing his gut, preventing proper digestion on longer rides and promoting gas and nausea. It also forces his diaphragm into his thoracic cavity, preventing good full-lung breathing. And it tends to make the shoulders hunch and tense, leading to neck and shoulder pain. Additionally, his wrists are cocked inward, which forces his elbows out. This isn't good for comfort, aerodynamics, or bike handling.

    None of that can be addressed by adjusting the bicycle, but too many people are convinced that if they just spend enough money and find the right guru, they can pedal off into the sunset looking just like their favorite Tour rider. Twenty or thirty years ago, an experienced bike shop employee would have pointed these things out for free. Now we pay hundreds of dollars to self-anointed "experts" who will pointlessly fool with our bicycles and then pronounce everything fine, while ignoring the rider's glaring deficiencies entirely.

    Arg.

    </rant>

    As the OP, I can say I am not looking for any self-annointed experts. As many may have noticed, I already am one. I'm interested in finding who some experienced distance riders think are experts, and see if any are in a convenient radius. I could then evaluate what they offer.

    I've generally done pretty well in self-fitting (IMO), but if I can get an excellent fit early in teh season and use it as a base of development, more power to me. I'm hoping to pleasurably complete some difficult rides this year.

    I'm expecting to have a new bike by April or so, to train on, do some long day rides, and to do a 6-day supported tour. It would be great to waste a minimum amount of time letting perineal chafing heal before continuing on my development schedule, starting with the beginning of the season. If I'm gonna self-fit an off the peg frame, fine, but it needs to have dimensions that are fittable: adequate seatpost angle, and a TT length within which I can set cockpit. Some other nice things, like toe overlap, fenders, blah blah blah. I have a pretty decent idea of what those bounds should be, but it's not a cheap purchase, I don't want to redo it three times this year, and I think for these rides it needs to be right.

    I rarely have pains due to body positioning. My back/pelvis, arms, wrists, and hands usually take on a pretty good position, and maintain natural angles. I've experienced how better core strength and flexibility can lead to better saddle-sitting and pedaling. I still can end up in perineal trouble, which is literally a big PITA.

    So I am seriously looking for experts to talk to or visit to evaluate, not to be told how to fit a bike. I've read and applied a lot of the more sensible on-line and published stuff (like Andy Pruitt, Arnie Baker, Peter White, and Lennard Zinn), but I can still get into trouble. I was fit very well once by a USCF-trained tri expert who could go beyond tri fits, but I've changed since then. Sadly, he's no longer in the trade.

    We have a lot of local shops and fitters with various gadgets and computer programs, and complete notebooks of "how to select the right Brand T or G frame for your eager Brand T or G road customer," but what they say doesn't feel like the complete approach. So I'm asking for new experts.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    So Barrett and Six Jours, please chill. Threads take on a life of their own, and can diverge from the topic. I still want to learn more of what I asked originally, and have always had respect for both of your viewpoints, insights and opinions.

    Barrett, thanks for the reference to Adam at Gaspipe. It's good to know about him, but I'm not sure driving to Chicago (250 mi one way) is the best solution. I will speak to him and see what I can learn. Six Jours, it's good to have your reinforcement that body positioning is essential whatever set of contact point locations is determined and how they're implemented.

    As someone said, engaging a fitter for more than one session can be a really good thing, since contact location needs can evolve as the rider rides more. Plus, who really only needs one bike to remain set up in proper position?

    Homeyba indicated there are some fitting philosophies he prefers, and have presumably been successful for him in his history of long riding. As an aspiring long distance rider, I want to know what the good riders know. Last year I went from a few 20 to 40 milers to a handful of metrics and part of a long tour. This year I plan to do much more, with some metrics and centuries as part of training for a 6-day tour, essentially 6 metrics on 6 consecutive days. Maybe the autumn will bring a 200k first brevet. I got a lot of saddle time coming up.
    Last edited by Road Fan; 12-12-10 at 05:20 PM.

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