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Are bike fitting services done by shops "accurate?"

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Are bike fitting services done by shops "accurate?"

Old 06-02-15, 11:39 PM
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Lightbulb Are bike fitting services done by shops "accurate?"

I have been experiencing some knee pains since switching my cleats and I want to get a fit done again before my next century in a couple weeks. The one time I had a fit done, I simply scheduled an appointment with the store and the owner/mechanic simply put me on a trainer, measured a few things, and had me try different sizes for stuff. While I didn't end up with any injuries from it, I know for a fact that the owner isn't exactly a physical therapist or have any kinesiology background/education.

I'm worried that all these computer-aided and laser-guided bike fit programs don't really take into account each specific rider, instead just basing it off a few numbers and measurements. Is there a better place to get a bike fit done besides a shop? Are shops really "qualified" to provide expertise on the biomechanics of our bodies; how they move and work? If it makes a difference, the shops in my area offer either a "Retul certified" and "Body Geometry fit," is one necessarily better -- or even accurate?
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Old 06-06-15, 07:44 AM
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Which "fit system" a fitter uses means nothing. Its the skill of the fitter. Since everyone is different, I think fit is much more an "art" than a "science." Systems are starting point, but good fitters know when typical fits don't quite work for an individual. I've had 4 fittings done . . . with 4 different results. (I'm talking differences in seat and bar positions of 4 - 5 CM!!! (Yes, cm, NOT mm!) I didn't find any of the fittings particularly comfortable or efficient. Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing if a certain fitter or the system he uses will jive with your body, riding style, etc. You should get a fitting, but if after "getting use to" the fit you still have comfort issues, then you'll know the fits not quite right.
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Old 06-06-15, 10:03 AM
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IME the Retul fit is more likely to be accurate. That fit system captures one's body position during pedaling, rather than statically. The fitter is the most important ingredient, however. I only had one fit done ever, and that was when I was buying a bike. The fitter wasn't even a fitter, just a bike shop guy who knew what he was doing. He changed how I ride a bike permanently by putting me in the correct position. I was instantly comfortable and now I can do all my own fitting because I know what it's supposed to look and feel like.

If I'm ever uncomfortable or develop "issues", I know that my position is correct and that what's wrong is me. So I correct my physical problems so that I can ride my correct fit comfortably. So there's two sides to it: There's a correct fit and a body that can develop power in that position for long periods. IMO the fit comes first, then figure out how to get your body to ride strong in that position.
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Old 06-06-15, 10:29 AM
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It depends. I had two done by shops which (based on what I know now) were roughly ballpark. If you have an average, no unique physical quirks, they can be fine. My right leg angles outward at the hip; it caused pain in my inside right knee. I tried everything from angling the clip to pedal spacers. I finally located a gent in the DC area who fits triathletes. Our first session he identified the knee out circular motion from a video he made on his tablet and put in a wedge in my right shoe, charged nothing and said we wouldn't go any farther until I was pain free. He also loaned me a stem to make sure it worked and gave a free 6 month follow up after the fitting. You don't normally get that treatment from a LBS.

..life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. ― Andy Rooney ...enjoy what's left!
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Old 06-06-15, 11:59 AM
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FWIW, I recently had a Retul fit - this after having had an Ergomotion fit a few years earlier. Ergomotion is a Swiss system, that puts you on a kind of test bike, connected to a computer which measures - amongst other things - power output, also, power output across the stroke etc. etc.

The Ergomotion fit was fabulous, because it identified a leg length discrepancy - that I kind of knew about - and with shimming etc., sorted out a comfortable, efficient position. But the Retul fit took it a stage further, by giving me a much better fit fore/aft (based on their criteria). Where I'm sitting kind of breaks all the rules if I follow the online guides, but is very comfortable and works well.

FWIW, both fit systems/fitters gave me EXACTLY the same seat height - though it's a height nearly 2 cm above what the common and garden fits based on body measurement give.

I'd go with Retul myself - but as above, the fitter makes all the difference. Perhaps though, less of a difference with Retul because of the way it works.

My 2c.
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