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Do You Primarily Commuters Get A Bike Fit?

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Do You Primarily Commuters Get A Bike Fit?

Old 02-28-18, 05:55 PM
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Do You Primarily Commuters Get A Bike Fit?

I'm going to fight for miles until my daughter graduates and then I'll be able to commute way more. Should have a higher miles year on the bike and next year even higher. With all that in mind and the fact I'm still fighting a calf injury, I decided to get a bike fit for my birthday.

For those of you that have gotten one, have you felt a difference?
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Old 02-28-18, 06:45 PM
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I think it's going to depend a lot on how close you've gotten with a "self-fit" estimate. About a year after I started commuting by bike regularly I also started riding longer distances recreationally. I don't remember having any problems on my commute (~10 miles each way), but there were some very definite problems that emerged on rides over about 50 miles. The latter issues prompted me to go in for a fit. The bike fitter made some pretty significant changes in my position (bars higher and closer, saddle lower). It felt very strange for the first week or so, but it took care of the problems I wanted to address.

Since then, I've gotten pretty good at replicating that basic fit onto new bikes and I find it very comfortable. In theory I could have gotten to this point on my own just by making small changes, and if I had going in for a fitting wouldn't have made any noticeable difference at all.

If you feel really comfortable on the bike regardless of how long you ride in a day then I don't think there is much point in going in for a fitting, but if anything at all consistently starts to bother you on longer rides (beyond simple muscle fatigue) then I think it could be very beneficial.
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Old 02-28-18, 06:49 PM
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I never did, I sorted it bout on my own.
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Old 02-28-18, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
If you feel really comfortable on the bike regardless of how long you ride in a day then I don't think there is much point in going in for a fitting, but if anything at all consistently starts to bother you on longer rides (beyond simple muscle fatigue) then I think it could be very beneficial.
I don't feel terrible in reality I don't know what "Good" feels like. I could just be used to it, not sure.
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Old 02-28-18, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I never did, I sorted it bout on my own.
I've made adjustments on my own, but I have no idea how a great fit should feel. I'm hoping the place I'm going does a great job. They come highly recommended and the process started with a chat session on goals, how I feel now, etc. I get the first part done on Friday and there are followup appointments.
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Old 02-28-18, 07:45 PM
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Sure. I fit on a Medium

ok, perhaps that’s too flippant. I feel like commuters tend to make their bikes comfortable enough to ignore for pretty short trips, while a bike fit is for the roadies who are trying to extract every erg for two hours without becoming so miserable they quit.
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Old 02-28-18, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Sure. I fit on a Medium

ok, perhaps thatís too flippant. I feel like commuters tend to make their bikes comfortable enough to ignore for pretty short trips, while a bike fit is for the roadies who are trying to extract every erg for two hours without becoming so miserable they quit.
I more care about making sure my knees are doing well.

I'll use the same bike for other rides as well. No concerned with eeking out small gains though.
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Old 02-28-18, 08:24 PM
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If you are not using cleats and you have never had knee problems and you are not riding more than a couple of hours a day, then you will probably be fine with self-fitting. If you are using cleats and have had knee or leg problems in the past, then help with fitting can reduce the chance of future injuries.
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Old 02-28-18, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
If you are not using cleats and you have never had knee problems and you are not riding more than a couple of hours a day, then you will probably be fine with self-fitting. If you are using cleats and have had knee or leg problems in the past, then help with fitting can reduce the chance of future injuries.
I've had knee and leg problems, unknown if related to riding a bike. It's one of the factors which led me to spending the cash to ensure it's done right.
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Old 02-28-18, 10:36 PM
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I've not gotten a fit, but have done it by trial and error over the span of decades. Now that I know what works for my body, I can set up a new bike with a yardstick, and it will be comfortable.

With that said, getting advice on fitting might have shortened that span from decades to hours. My first "real" bike was a disaster, and a good fit would have saved me both time and money.
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Old 03-01-18, 06:11 AM
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I've been dialing in my bike fit as long as I've been riding. I still haven't figured it out. But I'm pretty skeptical a professional bike fit would get me closer than I've got by myself.
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Old 03-01-18, 08:04 AM
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I'm sure there are benefits to having a pro fit. All my bikes fit a little differently. When I rode a lot during the summer months I'd gotten used to my main summer bike and it was very comfortable. When I started using my commuter bike, which is the same size but geometry is a bit different, it took a few weeks to get used to the more aggressive geometry, but eventually that became quite comfortable as well.

I know some of you are going to say that you should replicate the same fit on all your bikes so there's no getting used to. That's a valid point. My feeling is that different is also good. It forces your body to adapt and get stronger as a result.
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Old 03-01-18, 09:02 AM
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Do some u tube videos and run by your LBS for some pointers first. Measuring tapes are a good start. Never had a pro fit. I just tweak and adjust till all is well.
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Old 03-01-18, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
I've not gotten a fit, but have done it by trial and error over the span of decades. Now that I know what works for my body, I can set up a new bike with a yardstick, and it will be comfortable.

With that said, getting advice on fitting might have shortened that span from decades to hours. My first "real" bike was a disaster, and a good fit would have saved me both time and money.
It may not. I don't feel as confident in my abilities. Maybe after this first one I'll feel better about being able to do a good job on my other bike.
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Old 03-01-18, 09:52 AM
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The questions are: does the 'pro' really know his/her stuff; and will his/her fit philosophy work for you?

I have absolutely no doubt that there is an ideal fit that can be achieved for every potential rider, that will take into account the rider's proportions, condition, needs, &c, and that a really top notch fitter will find that ideal fit. That said, I can't put a whole lot of confidence in some hypothetical person who calls him/herself a 'pro.'

For example, there's a well known bike theoretician named Leonard Zinn who has some very strong opinions about bike fit. Among his ideas is that crank arm length should be proportional to some bodily proportion (such as leg length; I'm not sure of the details). So far so good, right? But he invariably comes up with crank arm lengths that I consider to be outrageously long. Far too long, in my opinion. He may be right, of course, but I think he's wrong. The problem is that crank arm length is pretty fundamental, and it will have a profound effect on a lot of other dimensions down the line. If you get it 'wrong,' then all those other dimensions will be wrong.
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Old 03-01-18, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The questions are: does the 'pro' really know his/her stuff; and will his/her fit philosophy work for you?
Exactly. This person came highly recommended so that's as much as I can do before going there. When I showed up to discuss getting a fit (no commitment) I really liked the amount and direction of the questions. He asked enough so that I feel he understands the kind of riding that I do and how much of each, goals that I have, and any physical limitations. We went beyond the bike itself and spoke about body positioning and how I may need to change things like keeping a straighter back instead of rounding, this and that, etc. I told him I'm excited about all of that and I enjoy modifying things for the better. I think the meeting went very well and I made an appointment for the actual initial fit. He said we would have some followups to ensure things were going well and tweaks could happen.

Originally Posted by rhm View Post
I have absolutely no doubt that there is an ideal fit that can be achieved for every potential rider, that will take into account the rider's proportions, condition, needs, &c, and that a really top notch fitter will find that ideal fit. That said, I can't put a whole lot of confidence in some hypothetical person who calls him/herself a 'pro.'
I don't think he does call himself a pro, except he does make his living turning a wrench, doing fits, and works with the higher level riders in the area on their game. I generally called it a "professional fit" to distinguish between having a knowledgeable person do it versus me tinkering around and knowing when I got it wrong, but maybe not what to do in order to make it right.

Originally Posted by rhm View Post
For example, there's a well known bike theoretician named Leonard Zinn who has some very strong opinions about bike fit. Among his ideas is that crank arm length should be proportional to some bodily proportion (such as leg length; I'm not sure of the details). So far so good, right? But he invariably comes up with crank arm lengths that I consider to be outrageously long. Far too long, in my opinion. He may be right, of course, but I think he's wrong. The problem is that crank arm length is pretty fundamental, and it will have a profound effect on a lot of other dimensions down the line. If you get it 'wrong,' then all those other dimensions will be wrong.
I'll go read up on him and his works. I'm sure he used physics to arrive at his thoughts, but as you mentioned did he consider the downstream effects? Maybe his work was so revolutionary that it feels odd to us? Maybe or maybe not.
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Old 03-01-18, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
Exactly. This person came highly recommended so that's as much as I can do before going there. When I showed up to discuss getting a fit (no commitment) I really liked the amount and direction of the questions. He asked enough so that I feel he understands the kind of riding that I do and how much of each, goals that I have, and any physical limitations. We went beyond the bike itself and spoke about body positioning and how I may need to change things like keeping a straighter back instead of rounding, this and that, etc. I told him I'm excited about all of that and I enjoy modifying things for the better. I think the meeting went very well and I made an appointment for the actual initial fit. He said we would have some followups to ensure things were going well and tweaks could happen.



I don't think he does call himself a pro, except he does make his living turning a wrench, doing fits, and works with the higher level riders in the area on their game. I generally called it a "professional fit" to distinguish between having a knowledgeable person do it versus me tinkering around and knowing when I got it wrong, but maybe not what to do in order to make it right.



I'll go read up on him and his works. I'm sure he used physics to arrive at his thoughts, but as you mentioned did he consider the downstream effects? Maybe his work was so revolutionary that it feels odd to us? Maybe or maybe not.
Well, then, that all sounds pretty good. Go for it!

My mention of Zinn is probably just noise and you should ignore it. If you want to follow up on it, be sure to look for research or test results from people who have approached the question of crank arm length with a more open mind. Mike Burrows, I think, is worth a look. I don't have a specific reference to give you, but Burrows' conclusion, if I recall correctly, was that most riders are better off with shorter crank arms than what they're currently using. This isn't really a helpful observation, since 170 mm crank arms are pretty much standard and shorter ones are comparatively harder to find.
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Old 03-01-18, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
For those of you that have gotten one, have you felt a difference?
Yes. Significant.
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Old 03-01-18, 01:36 PM
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yes, significant - it made a big difference.

I was in the ďI donít need no stinkin fitĒ I can do fine myself camp.

But bluntly Ė I didnít know what I didnít know. I was doing all kinds of things wrong, and had just adapted to it because I didnít know any better (for decades).

On the other hand, I donít believe that more than a basic fit is required (unless you are training for a specific discipline). But basics of cockpit length, seat height, handle bar drop Ė are things everyone should know. Itís not something most can really figure out for themselves Ė we just try to adapt to what we are used to.
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Old 03-01-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
yes, significant - it made a big difference.

I was in the ďI donít need no stinkin fitĒ I can do fine myself camp.

But bluntly Ė I didnít know what I didnít know. I was doing all kinds of things wrong, and had just adapted to it because I didnít know any better (for decades).

On the other hand, I donít believe that more than a basic fit is required (unless you are training for a specific discipline). But basics of cockpit length, seat height, handle bar drop Ė are things everyone should know. Itís not something most can really figure out for themselves Ė we just try to adapt to what we are used to.
Usually on things if I'm asked "What do you know about ...." I say "I'll just go with 'nothing' as I want to make sure I'm learning something" and that's the same way with this. My bike is setup now according to things I've read, videos, etc. And some of it is contradictory with each other and as you said, I'm not aware of what I don't know. I'll use the "Appeal to Authority" argument on this and figure this person knows more that I do, so I should listen. If he tells me something that sounds nuts, then I'll deal with that.
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Old 03-01-18, 02:59 PM
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In the last few years when I acquired my old road bike and my new semi-touring commuter I had the bike shop tech adjust things to what they thought best. I ended up tweaking things slightly, but all in all very comfortable for up to 6 hours (which is my upper limit for weekend rides).

But back when I bought my MTB-based commuter back in 1997 I spent a crazy amount of time adjusting the position until I was happy. Many bike shop mechanics have mentioned that it can't possibly be comfortable...but it is.

Since developing "crampy" hand issues in my 40s I have made more use of alternate hand positions,switching them constantly while riding, which leads to slight, constant modifications in riding position, which I think helps a lot.

Now in my late 50s I have found that the original straight bar hand positions on my MTB-commuter are even less tolerable, but I have inboard bar-ends that approximate "the hoods". and I have an aero bar that gives me more options.

As far as crank length my old road bike has the shortest, my MTB-commuter the longesrt and the new commuter is in between. I've noticed in the last two years the longer cranks seem to cause me to notice my knees and hips more. Not yet pain or discomfort, but I'm sure that's where it's headed.


For me the absolute most comfortable position is stretched forward out on the MTB aero bars on the extended nose of my seat with the pedals feeling as if they are slightly behind me. It sure seems like a prone position, but it's not. However, head way down is not a great position for riding in traffic.
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Old 03-02-18, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
I'm going to fight for miles until my daughter graduates and then I'll be able to commute way more. Should have a higher miles year on the bike and next year even higher. With all that in mind and the fact I'm still fighting a calf injury, I decided to get a bike fit for my birthday.

For those of you that have gotten one, have you felt a difference?
I have watched videos on Youtube, read on the forums here, and talked with other bicyclist but never paid for one. I would love to have one so I can know what measurements I need when looking at a new bicycle (s)
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Old 03-02-18, 12:59 PM
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Part 1 of the bike fit is complete. Part 2 and maybe part 3 happens after I've put in enough riding that I can give good feedback. The exception is if I feel very uncomfortable or if I experience pain.

I thought the whole process was great. Spoke body as must as bike. Adjusted the seat forward and up. New stem. Each thing was adjusted then back on the bike and more body talk with spinning then adjusting something else.

The results are that I feel much more natural on the bike. I'll be able to ride a bit this weekend then shortened commutes start Monday.
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Old 03-02-18, 03:44 PM
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Glad to hear that your bike fit went well. I sadly havenít had a fit since I bought my Ridley almost 10 years ago. I should get another at some point. Just giving part replacement the priority for now. I have adjusted my bar a little higher which helped with some lower back pain.
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Old 03-02-18, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
Part 1 of the bike fit is complete. Part 2 and maybe part 3 happens after I've put in enough riding that I can give good feedback. The exception is if I feel very uncomfortable or if I experience pain.

I thought the whole process was great. Spoke body as must as bike. Adjusted the seat forward and up. New stem. Each thing was adjusted then back on the bike and more body talk with spinning then adjusting something else.

The results are that I feel much more natural on the bike. I'll be able to ride a bit this weekend then shortened commutes start Monday.
I have a sneaking suspicion I should be a bit forward and up as well

I don't have any real pain issues though, so I'm hesitant to change anything.
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