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Bike Fitting - whom to trust?

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Bike Fitting - whom to trust?

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Old 06-15-15, 12:05 AM
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MinnMan
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Bike Fitting - whom to trust?

I am in need of a bike fit. I definitely have my cleats in the wrong place and I am getting a range of minor discomfort issues. Also, a nagging overuse injury in my right calf has returned that I think must be related to doing too much "ankling" (ankleing?)

As far as I am aware, there are two types of bike fitting operations available in my area - fittings out of bike shops and or fitness studios and fittings done by sports medicine clinics. I've done the former some time ago - one in a fitness studio run by an ex-pro cyclist and another at a bike shop when I bought one of my bikes. I wasn't completely satisfied with either. The emphasis was on performance, but I wasn't always so comfortable with the result.

The sports medicine fittings are done by physical therapists. My experience with physio people in the past (not for bike fittings, but for injuries) has also been mixed. Also, I don't want to be fit by a PT who isn't an experienced cyclist.

I don't know anybody who has done a fitting at a sports medicine clinic. My guess is that they may get the safety/injury issues right, but perhaps not fit for maximized performance. I've seen the bike fitting setup at one local sports medicine clinic, and somewhat counterintuitively, it lacked a lot of the high tech equipment you usually see in a bike shop studio (e.g., guru bike fit technology, or even a power tap) - it was just a trainer and some mirrors.

Any experience with a bike fitting from a PT? Any comparative experience between the two types of fittings?
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Old 06-15-15, 06:19 AM
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MinnMan,
From what I have read about using a specialist to perform a fitting, using a PT, or other professional, to do the task, is the way that many prefer. Around here we have one shop that does Retul fittings, and possibly a second coming as we just got a Trek Store a few weeks back (not that it will be Retul, possibly some method that Trek has, that is proprietary.) Our area has a few trainers that do fittings, but unless Andrew's Institute has added one, no PT are doing this, yet.

As well as this post, you might want to post in the Fitting Forum, just below our slot on the portal page for BF, If you haven't already done so. Lots of knowledgeable people here about this topic, but extra input could help you get the most complete answer. Fitting is not some magical art, though some would have you believe that it is. Experience, patience, and some research will be the best tools, IMHO. I do my own, beyond what my LBS did, when I purchased my CAAD 10, as I simply could not afford to pay for a specialist, or a shop that has the equipment and a qualified person to do the correct fitting methodology. Not a whine, just the facts of my situation.

There are a lot of good videos, on You Tube, for doing a pretty good job of fitting your self, with maybe a fellow cyclist to assist you when you take some measurements. One key point that I use when I am doing a fitting is to change only one variable at a time, this was ingrained onto my thinking when I was racing motocross and XC, on motorcycles. You cannot be absolutely what caused the positive, or negative, effect if you changed several aspects of the fit. I also write each change down, in detail, so that measurements, and placement aren't getting forgotten. Having someone take digital pictures can be a big help as well.

Best of luck on your quest for fitting your bicyle, it will be worth the effort, and the time that you have to put into it, whether its a shop, specialist, or you doing the work.

Bill

Last edited by qcpmsame; 06-15-15 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 06-15-15, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
…From what I have read about using a specialist to perform a fitting, using a PT, or other professional, to do the task, is the way that many prefer… Fitting is not some magical art, though some would have you believe that it is. Experience, patience, and some research will be the best tools, IMHO…

Best of luck on your quest for fitting your bicyle, it will be worth the effort, and the time that you have to put into it, whether its a shop, specialist, or you doing the work.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…After the introduction of carbon fiber bikes, I always wondered if the premium prices of CF, which I considered to be about $2000 was worth the presumed enhanced riding experience…My trusted mechanic said here’s the bike you want, knowing my riding style. Well the MSRP was $8000, but he got it for me at half off…
Said trusted mechanic is also a racing coach and a well-respected bike fitter (also with a degree in biophysics from MIT, I think). After I had bought the bike and enjoyed the apparently perfect fit as best as I can tell, after just saddle height adjustment, it occcured to me he made no measurements, and just ordered the bike. I asked him about it later, and his vague reply was something like he knew it would fit fine, and the frame height would be compatible with my arm reach on this “off the rack” model.

I had been a long-time customer there…another vote to buy not only the bike, but also the bike shop.

BTW, a few weeks ago I stopped off with my bike at an Italian restaurant to pick up some food to go, and a group of elderly Italian men were departing. One of them said he had been a professional bike racer in the 1950's including the Giro d'Italia, and I think the Tour de France. He told me, with just a glance at me and the bike, that I needed to raise the seat about 3-4 millimeters as he indicated with his fingers. I had been thinking the same thing.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-15-15 at 06:54 AM. Reason: added BTW
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Old 06-15-15, 08:15 AM
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yourself.. listen to what your body is saying..

High end pro shops have systems they bought , so will charge for the service.

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Old 06-15-15, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
yourself.. listen to what your body is saying.
That's my philosophy too. As I get older my body is changing and the handlebar height on my diamond frame bikes is gradually drifting higher.
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Old 06-15-15, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I am in need of a bike fit.
Experience counts, go to St. Paul:



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Old 06-15-15, 09:21 AM
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I have never used a fitter, an thankfully I have been able to set tweak things enough to get a comfortable ride.

But if you are getting discomfort, you need to figure out why. If you think your cleats are in the wrong place, you must have that idea from somewhere. If you are baffled on the placement, maybe that is the one area you go to get setup properly.

I think ankling is an unrelated issue from bike fitting.

John
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Old 06-15-15, 09:36 AM
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I don't see why riding a bike should be any different than any other athletic activity. In those you adjust equipment and yourself to fit the circumstance. A coach or video operator helps visualize so you can adjust as necessary. Once you know what does what you can adjust as needed.
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Old 06-15-15, 01:30 PM
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The quality of a fit is entirely determined by the knowledge, experience and professionalism of the fitter. Equipment my facilitate the process, but doesn't determine the quality of the fit. A good fitter will interview and examine you to understand your situation, your desires, and aspirations and provide a fit that is optimal to those.
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Old 06-15-15, 08:47 PM
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And a cyclist can't read, watch video, adjust the bike to be comfortable? Then do it over and over as their body, technique and, performance change.

They will also benefit from the intimate knowledge they gain.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:54 AM
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Thanks for the advice. The Fitting forum is a great place to get more insight.

Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
MinnMan,
From what I have read about using a specialist to perform a fitting, using a PT, or other professional, to do the task, is the way that many prefer. Around here we have one shop that does Retul fittings, and possibly a second coming as we just got a Trek Store a few weeks back (not that it will be Retul, possibly some method that Trek has, that is proprietary.) Our area has a few trainers that do fittings, but unless Andrew's Institute has added one, no PT are doing this, yet.

As well as this post, you might want to post in the Fitting Forum, just below our slot on the portal page for BF, If you haven't already done so. Lots of knowledgeable people here about this topic, but extra input could help you get the most complete answer. Fitting is not some magical art, though some would have you believe that it is. Experience, patience, and some research will be the best tools, IMHO. I do my own, beyond what my LBS did, when I purchased my CAAD 10, as I simply could not afford to pay for a specialist, or a shop that has the equipment and a qualified person to do the correct fitting methodology. Not a whine, just the facts of my situation.

There are a lot of good videos, on You Tube, for doing a pretty good job of fitting your self, with maybe a fellow cyclist to assist you when you take some measurements. One key point that I use when I am doing a fitting is to change only one variable at a time, this was ingrained onto my thinking when I was racing motocross and XC, on motorcycles. You cannot be absolutely what caused the positive, or negative, effect if you changed several aspects of the fit. I also write each change down, in detail, so that measurements, and placement aren't getting forgotten. Having someone take digital pictures can be a big help as well.

Best of luck on your quest for fitting your bicyle, it will be worth the effort, and the time that you have to put into it, whether its a shop, specialist, or you doing the work.

Bill
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Old 06-16-15, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Experience counts, go to St. Paul:



No affiliation w/ Grand Performance etc.
A venerable place. I don't dare go on their weekly rides - they'd leave me in the dust. Certainly they'd fit for performance. It's a thought.
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Old 06-18-15, 07:42 AM
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I can't find anyone around here to do a proper fitting. I'm kind of on my own but there isn't much I can change on my bike anyway. I can change seat height and fore/aft of the seat and seat angle and to some extent, change the angle of the bars. I did put a 3" riser on the handle bar stem which helped tremendously. I'm still a rookie with a cheap bike but I will persevere!
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Old 06-18-15, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DBrown9383 View Post
I can't find anyone around here to do a proper fitting.
Not knowing where "here" is you won't get any recommendations, if you fill in your general location on your profile a member might be able to point you in a direction.
Or go just to St.Paul, one or the other.

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Old 06-18-15, 08:50 AM
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Lower your seat... ride
Raise your bars... ride
Seat forward... ride
Then back in the other direction... Ride

Its a fact that, no one can fit your bike better than you...
Don't be afraid... You can do it and it's fun...
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Old 06-18-15, 11:00 AM
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When you get done, with your professional fitting don't expect a perfect fit..

It's such a personal thing.

I got fitted once, It was free with my new bike purchase. I carefully watched the guy do things, then he wrote down measurements where ever he could.
The PC churning away while I pedaled was kinda cool. It was charting this and that,,
Personally I think the PC was all show for me, he rarely looked at it,,If at all... LoL

Seat post height and Seat position Fwd/Aft was achieved with the good old Plum line over my knee cap down to the pedal axle with crank arms level,, both feet checked.

Handle bar width was simple,, He had me do a few push ups then measured the distance between my hands, center to center of my palms,,,
Told me this was best for opening up my lungs.

It all felt close, very close,,,but,,,
I raised the handle bars 3/4" and It was better.
I moved the seat back 1/4" and my knee's no longer hurt at all,, I could hammer all I wanted now

The cleats,,for me was Pedal axle 1/4" behind the ball of my foot.
I went back to the guy about this, didn't want to do damage to my feets..
He said It's fine because I ride Shimano's with a platform,,Mountain pedals ya know..

All these small adjustments I did for my perfect fit.. BUT I had The pro fitter's measurements to work from..
That was three bikes ago,,, I have not needed anyone's help fitting any bike since.

I Ride, I crash, I bleed, I heal, I ride, I crash, I bleed, I heal, I ain't no Roadie,, I do It In the woods as Nature Intended..
These days I crash much less, But Still,,, I love it so...


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Old 06-18-15, 11:27 AM
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I got a professional fit two years ago and it was interesting to say the least. Videos of me riding, laser lights on my legs, arms, feet, knees and back. Several changes made to my bike. I went home and took down all of the measurements and put them on one of the Park Tool fitting forms.

As I lost weight, developed core and legs I tweeted the bike ever so slightly picturing klaxons going off where I got the original fit.

I am down about 40 pounds from when I got that fit. I now set all my bikes up to the new measurements on my favorite bike. I have learned where my cleats should be, for and aft or inboard and outboard.

In short that pro fit gave me a great starting point and my conditioning has changed that fit for my individual needs.

Just my experience.
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Old 06-20-15, 03:00 AM
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FWIW, I've had two fits.

The first was from a professional ex-cyclist who trained as a physiotherapist, and does fits using the Ergomotion system (basically, an adjustable bike hooked up to a computer that measures power).

The second, and more recent, was a Retul fit, done by a physiotherapist - who's also a cyclist - in a sports clinic. They work with the Radioshack/Trek/Leopard team in Europe.

In both cases, I specifically wanted someone with physio (or similar) training, as I have a scoliosis and leg length discrepancies (nothing major). I also have a bit of a non-standard body, basically very short torso, long arms/legs, but there again, length is not evenly distributed.

Both fits were great, the Ergomotion one got me in the ball park, but the Retul fit has taken it to another level. Big difference, the Ergomotion fit was really focused on the leg-length discrepancy and sorting that out, moreso than the actual fit. The Retul guy wasn't so fussed about leg-length etc., but very focused on the global fit.

What I now have, especially with the Retul fit, is a fit that has nothing to do with what I get if I work through one the of "fit by measurement" systems. I'm MUCH higher and MUCH further forward than what would be recommended (almost a full-blown TT position) - but it feels fabulous, I'm getting much more power, and the bike handling has improved out of site.

My experience.

BTW, speaking of bikes, can't help but put in a plug here. I have a Pinarello Rokh, acquired about 6 months ago in the search for a better-fitting bike. If you're looking at something like a Synapse or Domane, check one out. I can't say enough about what a great ride it is, and I've had/ridden some decent bikes in my time.
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Old 06-20-15, 08:30 AM
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One thing people have not mentioned is as you ages and you hit 50+ your body doesn't move, or is in capable of moving like a teenager. So maybe you fit will not be text book becuse of OBS (Old Body Syndrome). Comfort is more inportant than text book fit when you are older. IMHO
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Old 06-20-15, 10:09 AM
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Sorry to be a cynical grouch, but short of qualified professionals like @bing181 used I don't trust any of them. I just don't see any scientific justification for the precision that is claimed with the popular systems, nor for the results. In the ballpark, sure I'd expect a fitter to get somewhere near "good enough".

Haughty claims of certification and pro experience when someone is questioned are red flags to me.

JMO.
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Old 06-20-15, 11:03 AM
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This sounds fabulous, but I might have to move to France to find the right people....

Originally Posted by bing181 View Post
FWIW, I've had two fits.

The first was from a professional ex-cyclist who trained as a physiotherapist, and does fits using the Ergomotion system (basically, an adjustable bike hooked up to a computer that measures power).

The second, and more recent, was a Retul fit, done by a physiotherapist - who's also a cyclist - in a sports clinic. They work with the Radioshack/Trek/Leopard team in Europe.

In both cases, I specifically wanted someone with physio (or similar) training, as I have a scoliosis and leg length discrepancies (nothing major). I also have a bit of a non-standard body, basically very short torso, long arms/legs, but there again, length is not evenly distributed.

Both fits were great, the Ergomotion one got me in the ball park, but the Retul fit has taken it to another level. Big difference, the Ergomotion fit was really focused on the leg-length discrepancy and sorting that out, moreso than the actual fit. The Retul guy wasn't so fussed about leg-length etc., but very focused on the global fit.

What I now have, especially with the Retul fit, is a fit that has nothing to do with what I get if I work through one the of "fit by measurement" systems. I'm MUCH higher and MUCH further forward than what would be recommended (almost a full-blown TT position) - but it feels fabulous, I'm getting much more power, and the bike handling has improved out of site.

My experience.

BTW, speaking of bikes, can't help but put in a plug here. I have a Pinarello Rokh, acquired about 6 months ago in the search for a better-fitting bike. If you're looking at something like a Synapse or Domane, check one out. I can't say enough about what a great ride it is, and I've had/ridden some decent bikes in my time.
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Old 06-20-15, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
This sounds fabulous, but I might have to move to France to find the right people....
Switzerland. I live just across the border, and there aren't that many fitters I'd trust locally. FWIW, I often look at discussions like this, and wish I lived in the US, there seems to be a depth of knowledge and respect for the craft that are less common in Europe. There's a place nearby that invested in a Guru bike and system, but for the life of me, I can't see what qualifications the two guys there have to be doing bike fitting.

On other fronts, I think it's a bit like bike shorts and bike saddles ... all very personal. I have no doubt that some people are more than capable of sorting out what they need. But there are others that aren't. I'm definitely in the latter category. Whatever I've done in the past never quite felt right, without feeling wrong either. I do feel that the better systems like Retul really offer something, for the simple reason that they're based on existing "best practice". It's still down to the fitter to deal with the data, but because Retul is both dynamic and 3D, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Last edited by bing181; 06-20-15 at 12:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-20-15, 12:40 PM
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There was a good thread in the 41 a few weeks ago on this subject. It started with a video link on how onto teams fo fitting. With all their coaches, trainers, and experiened staff and they resort to specialized fitters with equipment, that says something.

To do a fitting right, it takes a lot of time like 2-3 hours. Many use special cycles like Guru that allows motors to make minute adjustments while you pedal. Combined with systems like Retul, the fitter can see and measure very small details like lack of smoothness not apparent with the naked eye. M

Sure lots of posters say anyone can do self fittings. The comeback is a good fitter dies this all day long, several days a week for years. They can spot things you never can think of.
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Old 06-24-15, 02:31 AM
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I've only had one professional fit so I've little to compare to, however my brother is a strong rider and has had multiple professional fits. He recommends Gear West Bike & Triathlon in Long Lake, MN in the SW metro:

Bike Fitting - GearWestBike

It looks like the owner, Kevin O'Conner, is one of two that do bike fits, his bio shows a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, Iowa State University. The link to their bios is near the bottom of the page.

Neither I or my brother is affiliated with Gear West in any fashion, in fact I've yet to set foot in their store.

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Old 07-10-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
I am in need of a bike fit. I definitely have my cleats in the wrong place and I am getting a range of minor discomfort issues. Also, a nagging overuse injury in my right calf has returned that I think must be related to doing too much "ankling" (ankleing?)

As far as I am aware, there are two types of bike fitting operations available in my area - fittings out of bike shops and or fitness studios and fittings done by sports medicine clinics. I've done the former some time ago - one in a fitness studio run by an ex-pro cyclist and another at a bike shop when I bought one of my bikes. I wasn't completely satisfied with either. The emphasis was on performance, but I wasn't always so comfortable with the result.

The sports medicine fittings are done by physical therapists. My experience with physio people in the past (not for bike fittings, but for injuries) has also been mixed. Also, I don't want to be fit by a PT who isn't an experienced cyclist.

I don't know anybody who has done a fitting at a sports medicine clinic. My guess is that they may get the safety/injury issues right, but perhaps not fit for maximized performance. I've seen the bike fitting setup at one local sports medicine clinic, and somewhat counterintuitively, it lacked a lot of the high tech equipment you usually see in a bike shop studio (e.g., guru bike fit technology, or even a power tap) - it was just a trainer and some mirrors.

Any experience with a bike fitting from a PT? Any comparative experience between the two types of fittings?
Hey Minnman - came across your post about fitting in the Twin Cities - any luck? Any suggestions?
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