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Proper Bike Fit

Old 02-19-19, 05:29 AM
  #1  
youcoming
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Proper Bike Fit

The bike shop I deal with offers very extensive bike fit which can take hours to perform and one which I have never done as there is an expense involved with it. I have been fitted to the proper size bike and did go through a fit session years ago but not for a long time and with the recent purchase of a TT bike I thought I'd have one done and to make sure I get the most out of my body and position to do well in time trials. I had the bike for over a week and had done numerous tweaks including saddle positioning and added a longer stem but I knew I wasn't producing numbers I was capable of.

The fitting was an experience for sure and took almost three hours and we still have a few things to deal with. Here are some numbers to ponder if you are into numbers. With the bike set up as I had, which was as close as I could get to my road bike measurements as I could get. The fitter takes all the measurements and sets fitting bike to those numbers, he then placed some stickers to locate certain areas to measure on my body while pedaling in the aero position and turned on the cameras to film me. After a 10 minute warm up I selected a gear that was moderate which had me pedaling at a cadence of 95-97 with a speed of 19.8mph and a power output of 195-200 watts. after 10 minutes at that he started to make changes which I will now list. First saddle came ahead 35mm, then the bar height came up till it felt the most comfortable in the aero position. I then got back up to my cadence same as before in the same gear and my speed and power had both increased up to 205-215. After again reviewing film he made adjustments to my pedals as the was a big difference in left and right leg pedal stroke and power with the right leg being was smoother and about 54% of power. First he moved pedals on both sides out by 3mm and moved cleats on shoes to add another 3mm of outward movement and adjusted crank arm length to 172.5 from 175. This made a huge difference to power output which brought my left to right power output to near 50-50 and was now holding 235-240 watts. Most of all though was comfort on the bike, I could get lower but when I did power went down to where it would negate and aero advantage.

After all of this I have a few things to change on my bike most which are easy enough but some that will have to wait, I can't afford a new crank set this year but the power number with 172.5 was very little difference from the 175 as in under 5 watts, it was the lateral movement which surprised me in power increase.

I do really advise to get the best bike fit you cab get as it will not only make you more comfortable it could also make you more efficient!
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Old 02-23-19, 10:13 AM
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Are you semi-pro racer? If not, why do you care about "efficiency"?

On my group rides I use a heavy 90's bike with panniers so I work harder than my fellow riders, especially on hills. Why? - I want the work out. I am not trying to make it easy or efficient.

My opinion, paying any money to gain 20 watts via a bike fit or upgrades is beyond silly nonsense unless you are being paid for your race results.

Just saying..., since you posted....
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Old 02-23-19, 11:04 AM
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I would only consider a professional fit if I were have physical issues (that is, pain) while on the bike. I got my wife a fit because every ride would end for her with shoulder and elbow pain. Turned out her"self-adjusted" fit was very, very close, but the bars were too wide. Bought narrower bars on the spot, and it was an immediate improvement.

I've ridden 200 miles a week for 4 years straight. I am 99.9% sure if I plunked down the money for a fit, any changes made would be extremely minor. I've spent those years setting my bikes up for a mix of speed and endurance, and any fit changes would almost certainly favor one position or the other.
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Old 02-23-19, 12:53 PM
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When I got my last bike they threw in a bike fit. It was really awesome. Tweaked my riding measurements a bit but I was pretty close. I don't think I would have ever paid for one to begin with but after my experience I would recommend one if you can get one for a good deal. They are so spendy or can be. I learned a few things and I got all my numbers recorded and saved now.

they are a good thing......but for a recreational rider and your feeling good for riding then @DrIsotope is correct money probably not better spent. If you are anything more than an recreational rider then I think they are absolutely worth it.
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Old 02-23-19, 03:46 PM
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I had a fit done five years ago, a few months after I resumed riding. It helped address several issues I was having and well worth the money. It was not as sophisticated as yours measuring power, though. As my fitness improved since then Iíve changed my fit on my own somewhat. I might have it done again at some point just to see where things are and get another perspective. Definitely recommend if anyone is having joint pain.
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Old 02-23-19, 05:02 PM
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I had a professional fit done a few years ago. To me it was well worth it. I don't know if it increased my power numbers, but it did increase long distance comfort.

When I started, I was good until 60 miles, then my hands hurt. So I adjusted that myself.
Then I was good until rides over 80 miles. Then my back started to hurt. So I adjusted that. Then my knees at 120 miles. Fixed that my self after lots of reading. Hips started getting angry at 150 miles, and I was out of ideas. Every change I did messed something else up. The fitter was able to adjust everything all at once, so one adjustment didn't mess with another adjustment. It included stuff I didn't know I should be adjusting. It worked so well that my only pain after my 600k (375 mi) was my legs (duh) and my stomach (nausea). It may have upped my power, which is always good because it makes the rides shorter.
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Old 02-23-19, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Are you semi-pro racer? If not, why do you care about "efficiency"?

On my group rides I use a heavy 90's bike with panniers so I work harder than my fellow riders, especially on hills. Why? - I want the work out. I am not trying to make it easy or efficient.

My opinion, paying any money to gain 20 watts via a bike fit or upgrades is beyond silly nonsense unless you are being paid for your race results.

Just saying..., since you posted....
I too get a work out on group rides and it's mainly by being out front the whole ride. We all get enjoyment from different aspects of riding. I prefer to work as hard as I can, efficiency isn't all about saving energy it's also about using everything you have to the best of your ability, if that is what you want and this is what I want. I can afford the cost and cycling is my passion, I like to ride with any group from the slowest to the fastest and to ride with the faster groups I need to get everything I can get out of myself and equipment. It's not silly to me, silly to me would be riding a bike with panniers on a group ride but that's just me. It's all about what you want as an individual and what you enjoy.
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Old 02-23-19, 10:42 PM
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Glad you got a good fit, Youcoming! I must respectfully (but strenuously) disagree with everyone in this thread who recommends against it.

Assume you go for a 2-hour bike ride: 120 minutes x 80 rpm = 9,600 repetitions. If you are off only a few mm, you are not only less efficient and less comfortable, you are also risking injury. Even if it doesn't hurt on a 2 hour ride, you could still be doing latent damage that will eventually appear as the miles pile up.

A little over 10 years ago, I made an appointment with a knee surgeon, because I had chronic knee pain. Fortunately knee-surgeons are in high demand (perhaps because so many of us take things like saddle & cleat placement a grain of salt), and I had to wait over two months to speak to him. When I whined to about my knee pain, not being able to ride, and the long wait for the surgeon, someone in here asked if I'd had a bike fit. I reacted as many in this thread have, (I'm not a newbie. I've got a general idea. It's not like I'm a pro or anything...)
Then I drove 130 miles up to get a "pro-fit" with Nate Loyal in Santa Monica. Two hours and $180 later, I felt like an utter tool! Had I really just paid some dude that much to shift my saddle forward and up about half a cm, and shift my cleats back on my shoes even less than that?
End result:
~I cancelled the appointment with the knee specialist about a week later.
~I realized that $180 was probably 1/100th what knee surgery would have cost.
~I felt so much better on the bike AND was able to ride many centuries in less than 5 hours, including a very windy Solvang Century in which I'd spent the entire time pulling about 15-20 riders in the crosswind (sucks being a big guy) until they eventually all dropped off my wheel.
~Trying something new encouraged me to try other new things that were immensely beneficial not only to my riding, but to my health and life in general: saddle experimentation, yoga, deep breathing, body awareness, and my enjoyment of cycling. I'm even getting back into running again, and I haven't run a 10k in nearly 10 years.

Don't waste money on deep-dish wheels, aero helmets, or the latest sunglasses. That money is much, much better spent on honing the man-bike interface.
I went back a few years later and splurged on a spin-analysis, and Nate recommended a few exercises (specifically the hip-flexors, which help you apply force at the top of the pedal stroke) and I only got faster and more comfortable from that simple recommendation--and it made riding even more enjoyable.


2011 Solvang Century. finishing time: 5:00:47 (the last light coming into the finish line changed, and there was a smiling CHP officer in mirrored sunglasses, just waiting for me to run it.) 5 hours @ 90rpm = 27,000 repetitions.
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Old 02-24-19, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
Are you semi-pro racer? If not, why do you care about "efficiency"?

On my group rides I use a heavy 90's bike with panniers so I work harder than my fellow riders, especially on hills. Why? - I want the work out. I am not trying to make it easy or efficient.

My opinion, paying any money to gain 20 watts via a bike fit or upgrades is beyond silly nonsense unless you are being paid for your race results.

Just saying..., since you posted....
A little harsh imo but I do believe that obsessing over bike fit is pretty silly. And it has nothing to do with economics.
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Old 02-26-19, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post

A little harsh imo but I do believe that obsessing over bike fit is pretty silly. And it has nothing to do with economics.
Yeah, probably right. But I suspect he's the guy that his ride group hopes doesn't show up....there is always one.

Afterall, if you are posting is this sub-forum you are no Chris Froome...
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Old 04-12-19, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
But I suspect he's the guy that his ride group hopes doesn't show up....there is always one.

Afterall, if you are posting is this sub-forum you are no Chris Froome...
Seriously? Based on what? That the OP decided to get a bike fit?

Wow. Just wow.

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Old 04-12-19, 06:20 PM
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Assuming the bike is the right size, you can start here. It may be good to buy an adjustable or cheap stems to try out a few lengths.
Keep in mind the cost of fitting doesn't include the different stems, cranks, saddles etc.

the problem with obsession over 2.5mm etc. is, that may be targeted for performance riders, or not. and i bet you can go to 3 good fitters and they have different or even contradicting recommendations. And some may be quacks.

If you are new to cycling, you are not in the best shape, are not as flexible etc. so you pay money for a bike fit and after one lost the belly and can flex more you would need to re-fit anyway.

The fitter also relies heavily on your feedback. I imagine you fit and adjust, then ride a few hundred miles, and you report back to the fitter and he re-adjusts. So this all depends on the rider's input anyway.
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Old 04-17-19, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
But I suspect he's the guy that his ride group hopes doesn't show up....there is always one.
I hope I am not that guy on my group rides. How would I know :/

Like someone else said unless there is some physical reason giving me pain, I would never pay for one of these. I am a fat guy that rides old bikes. And too cheap anyway.
.
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Old 04-17-19, 02:03 PM
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You can't argue with those results, 35-40 watt gain is huge. As far as efficiency, you can work just as hard as anyone else. The difference is you go faster, longer, and cover greater distance.

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Old 04-20-19, 09:31 AM
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I just wrote this in another thread earlier this morning:

Addiction LXXIV
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Old 04-24-19, 04:40 AM
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I was not a believer in professional bike fits. I'm 62, so for 39 years of adult bicycling I bought bikes, got the cheapie/quickie (stand next to the seat, sit on the seat) saddle height adjustment and then tinkered on my own from there. When I went to clipless pedals, set up the cleats on my own.

When I hit 60 I bought a mid-life crisis bike, a Trek Domane SL6 disc, that came with a discounted fancy Retul fitting. After a few weeks of getting used to the new bike, I went in and had it done.

Bottom line was he raised my seat almost 3/4 of an inch, and moved my SPD-SL cleats all the way back in my shoes. Did several long rides immediately after the fitting (against the recommendation not to do so...) and saw immediate improvements in how I felt on long hilly rides.

I replicated the bottom bracket to seat, and seat to hand position measurements on my other bikes, and the cleat position on my touring SPD shoes.

I'm not a racer or a gram shaver, but it only makes sense to set your bike up in the most effective and efficient position to make rides as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. I thought I had done that over the years on my own, but but I never hit upon those two simple adjustments.

I had been anticipating "you need a different seat, different pedals, buy this" kind of pressure but there was none of that. The one thing I did spend on as an experiment was custom fit shoe liners or foot beds, whatever the term is. They were discounted, as well - for my other shoes I tried cheaper ones you can buy online, can't tell the difference between the two types - but I do like each better than the ones that came with the shoes that I had always just used before.

Put me down on Team Professional Bike Fit.
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