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DIY Bike Fit

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DIY Bike Fit

Old 07-17-19, 04:29 PM
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DIY Bike Fit

Well, called a guy who does bike fitting and he wanted $ 300 and it would take about 4 hours. So I'm wondering if I can do it myself. Saw a couple of books on Amazon one for $ 20 and another for $99.
What are the experiences and outcomes of others with a DIY fitting? Are there other resources, and books available? Do you think it's worth it?

Thanks
Lloyd
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Old 07-17-19, 09:16 PM
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IMO, fit is not a one time thing but changes with fitness, experience, objectives, compensation for injuries, etc.,

so being able to DIY is good. Rollers have been good for me- ride for a bit, make adjustment, ride for a bit, then try it out on the road.

Steve Hogg website gives lots to consider- arch support, cleat position, saddle issues, and more.

Lots of YouTube videos to sift through- some more useful than others.
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Old 07-18-19, 10:54 AM
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Thanks Woodcraft! I looked at the one book on Amazon but a lot of the reviews said it was just too basic, I'll checkout You Tube and the site you mentioned.

Thank you
Lloyd
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Old 07-18-19, 10:58 AM
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My suggestion is try it yourself. If you find after getting used to your settings that you are having problems, THEN consider paying for a bike fit. Worst case is you will be more informed and more able to communicate your needs during the fit. I don't recommend "suffering" through as you can cause yourself all kinds of temporary or permanent issues, but there's nothing wrong with tweaking the settings as much as you can to find your sweet spots. Sometimes things will change after you've been fine for a while, if you can't figure out what to adjust, then it's time for a fitting. Just make sure any fitting you get includes a follow up after a couple months.
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Old 07-19-19, 12:48 PM
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There is a place near me and they do a bike fit for $300 and takes a couple of hours. This is a fit that will give you the right position on "a bike". From this you can get a bike list. Basically a list of bikes who's geometries can be mapped into the fit you just received. So in other words you get your fit and a list of bikes, you pick a bike and would know essentially that this bike will "fit" you. You'll of course have to maybe change the stem, handlebars etc. change the seat height and fore/aft position. This would sound great to me except that it's $300. I'm not saying that a 3 hour bike fit that cost's $300 is not "worth" it but it's too much for me.

I have been riding since 1976 and have never had a proper bike fit. I'm 6' 3" and have long legs so I'm typically going to buy the largest frame a bike company makes. It seems that bike manufacturers produce approximately 2 bikes in the largest size per year and you can't buy it. But this is beside the point. I think you are well served going onto the university of YouTube and getting your information and trying it yourself. Go ride a few times, short rides, long rides and see. Move somethings around and ride again. It took me a while to find the proper saddle height and fore / aft position and it's one of those things where it may not feel bad and then you move it and go "yea this is it. The bike fit that a LBS will offer for "free" if you buy the bike is worth having done to get a starting point from which you can modify.
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Old 08-15-19, 01:15 AM
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I'm curious as to how a fitter can give you a list of bikes that you 'fit' in considering that my last 2 bikes' posted measurements are dead wrong. Both were Trek, but I would think other manufacturers may not do as great either in terms of making sure their measurements are correctly posted.
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Old 08-15-19, 05:05 AM
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My personal experience is that the optimum bike fit is a moving target as cycling fitness changes. For the person starting out in cycling, that fitness will change fairly rapidly so that getting a comprehensive fitting would be wasted money. Cycling fitness would also change after a lengthy layoff from riding due to any number of reasons such as injury or illness. For example, I've recently had a modest weight loss and suddenly my saddle was causing some discomfort with a saddle that previously had been totally comfortable.
My solution was a bit of saddle tweaking 'till bliss was achieved.

On the other hand, for an experienced cyclist with many miles, a comprehensive professional fitting may well be worth the expense if racing performance or long multi-day rides are a consideration.
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Old 08-15-19, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by neverquit
Well, called a guy who does bike fitting and he wanted $ 300 and it would take about 4 hours. So I'm wondering if I can do it myself. Saw a couple of books on Amazon one for $ 20 and another for $99.
What are the experiences and outcomes of others with a DIY fitting? Are there other resources, and books available? Do you think it's worth it?

Thanks
Lloyd
If you want to take a stab at it yourself, read on this site before you do. It can give you a lot of good information regarding self fit. I liked it enough to pay to join the site, which gives you access to more information. https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com
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Old 08-15-19, 06:59 PM
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I've done it myself all my life. Though I recently had a pro fit by a big name local fitter. He moved my hands back 3cm, no other change. I'm still not sure if his move made a difference or not. As far as I can tell, no difference in feel or performance. Both positions work fine.

One does a series of operations.
1) Determine saddle height. I use the heel on pedal method, then modify a hair by feel.
2) Determine saddle fore and aft position. I mess with it until my hands feel light on the bars.
3) Bar height. Whatever feels good, generally between level with saddle and 6" below saddle. Mine are ~10cm below saddle.
4) Set reach. Your upper arms should make a 90į angle with your straight torso, hands on hoods, forearms horizontal. Use a mirror.
5) Go back to #1 and try it all again. Usually something has changed. Keep messing with it until your pedaling feels strong. Keep stretching and working your back until your position feels good. Keep your back straight between your shorts top and shoulder blades. Get fit rather than degrade fit.
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Old 08-15-19, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I've done it myself all my life. ...

One does a series of operations.
1) Determine saddle height. I use the heel on pedal method, then modify a hair by feel.
2) Determine saddle fore and aft position. I mess with it until my hands feel light on the bars.
3) Bar height. Whatever feels good, generally between level with saddle and 6" below saddle. Mine are ~10cm below saddle.
4) Set reach. Your upper arms should make a 90į angle with your straight torso, hands on hoods, forearms horizontal. Use a mirror.
5) Go back to #1 and try it all again. Usually something has changed. Keep messing with it until your pedaling feels strong. Keep stretching and working your back until your position feels good. Keep your back straight between your shorts top and shoulder blades. Get fit rather than degrade fit.
Sounds about right. Bike fit for more serious cycling needs to be individually designed, but you can most certainly fit yourself. I would add that during step #2 you should focus on getting the position you want over the cranks set. So saddle height and angle, position over cranks, bar height, reach (to bar top, hoods and drops). Also donít forget bar width, bar angle, bar profile, bar end flare or not, pedal float and Q factor, and brake lever position and reach. Test and readjust one thing at a time till you get it all right or you need to change your fit for your evolving life.

It it will be considerably more time consuming and involve a good deal or trial and error, especially if you are learning as you go like me, but itís a rewarding and enjoyable part of cycling to figure it all out, too.

Good luck!
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Old 08-15-19, 11:16 PM
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Speaking of which, here's a primer on what bars and brifters should look like: Drop Bar Hand Positions: an Introduction
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Old 08-16-19, 03:22 AM
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Holy moly - $300 is half the price of the new bike I want!

I learned to ride at age 4 or 5, and aside from "does if feel comfortable" was blissfully ignorant of the nuances of fit until sometime in my mid-20's. Even then, a stand-over check and comfortable reach seemed adequate for me. So I sometimes read these fitment discussions and wonder how I (and countless others of my baby-boomer generation) survived to adulthood without a high-dollar fitting session.

For a pro, or perhaps a high-level amateur who spends hours upon hours in the saddle while locked into an optimized position, $300 for a four-hour session might be a value.

But for the rest of us, an informed DIY approach just makes sense.

In fact, I'm heading out in a few minutes to hop on my 2cm too large, but a blast to ride salvage PD bike and take an early morning spin around the neighborhood. A shorter stem took care of the reach adjustment so I'm not worried about the 2cm, but the 100 degree Fahrenheit afternoon temps we are having right now in the deep south are kicking my butt.
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Old 08-16-19, 05:45 AM
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My bike only cost $300, and I could have gotten one for a lot less if I'd have checked Craigslist first. No way I'm paying that much money for someone to tell me the optimal riding position/setup.
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Old 08-16-19, 06:14 AM
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Ditto. Proper bike fit is a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly changing fit on my fleet of 6 currently-running bikes.

What I do first is get it close, visually. I can tell by looking at a bike whether it fits me or not. Once over that hurdle, I get on it, and go into the drops, and look straight down. I wanna see my handle bar drops blocking out my front axle, or very close to that.

Then I just ride it and see what starts hurting. Here's a partial list of how to fix some common problems.

Knee sore in front = saddle too low.

Hamstrings sore = saddle too high.

Back feels compressed / rounded / can't breathe properly = longer stem

Lower back sore = stem is too low, raise it a cm or so

I like my seat perfectly level, and drops parallel to the ground. It's not that hard to dial in a bike that's within my range (54-58 cm) just takes a few days and some patience. The final test is a day in the mountains. If I can spend a half day or more on the bike, and nothing hurts afterwards (and I don't crash) that's when I stop tweaking on the poor thing.
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Old 08-20-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985
Ditto. Proper bike fit is a journey, not a destination.

Here's a partial list of how to fix some common problems.

Knee sore in front = saddle too low.

Hamstrings sore = saddle too high.

Back feels compressed / rounded / can't breathe properly = longer stem

Lower back sore = stem is too low, raise it a cm or so

I like my seat perfectly level, and drops parallel to the ground. It's not that hard to dial in a bike that's within my range (54-58 cm) just takes a few days and some patience. The final test is a day in the mountains. If I can spend a half day or more on the bike, and nothing hurts afterwards (and I don't crash) that's when I stop tweaking on the poor thing.
what would you recommend for hands going numb? Bike feels great when I start riding. Very relaxed and natural position (I have an Emonda) but after about 6 miles my hands begin tingling. I am working on changing hand position and improving my core strength but didnít know if there is a common fit tweak that needs to be made as well. Thanks
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Old 11-01-19, 07:29 PM
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Get to reading! There's a lot of great information out there. You'll figure out the best position by what your body is telling you in most cases.
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Old 11-01-19, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Txbluelacy
what would you recommend for hands going numb? Bike feels great when I start riding. Very relaxed and natural position (I have an Emonda) but after about 6 miles my hands begin tingling. I am working on changing hand position and improving my core strength but didnít know if there is a common fit tweak that needs to be made as well. Thanks
The usual suggestion is to move the saddle back. Moving it back as far as possible is worth trying, readjusting saddle height after the move. If you don't have a setback seat post, think about getting one. Also read the Numb Hands post.

I had quite an excess of descending muscle the winter of '11 but these position illustrations are still worth looking at. Yeah, that much elbow bend, honest. Pushups if necessary.
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Old 11-02-19, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Txbluelacy
what would you recommend for hands going numb? Bike feels great when I start riding. Very relaxed and natural position (I have an Emonda) but after about 6 miles my hands begin tingling. I am working on changing hand position and improving my core strength but didnít know if there is a common fit tweak that needs to be made as well. Thanks
As cfboy said, move your saddle back. Some people will say that you need to raise your bars and shorten your stem. This isnít going to help much beyond a certain point. Your torso angle reflects how much weight you need to put on the pedals. People who put down more power (relative to their torso weight) will be in lower positions than people who put out less power. If you raise/shorten your bar position too much, it will get to the point where youíre effectively sitting in a chair. Bad for the spine, and bad for power. Some symptoms of a too-low position are: abandonment of the drops, locked elbows, a lower cadence to keep more pressure on the pedals, and lower back pain.

Your ideal saddle position will change based on your average power. If youíre smashing out 200W averages over a 4 hour ride, you can afford to slide all the way forward and your hands will feel nothing because your pedals are bearing all the weight. If youíre averaging 80-100W, you need to slide back and sit more upright. Do not attempt to emulate a pro position.
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Old 11-02-19, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by neverquit
Well, called a guy who does bike fitting and he wanted $ 300 and it would take about 4 hours. So I'm wondering if I can do it myself. Saw a couple of books on Amazon one for $ 20 and another for $99.
What are the experiences and outcomes of others with a DIY fitting? Are there other resources, and books available? Do you think it's worth it?

Thanks
Lloyd
I had a professional bike fit done and the fitter told me the size of frame I needed. however that frame size was 2 to 4 cms smaller than what I ride long distances comfortably on. A bike fit is only as good as the person doing the fitting. I use an Old School Bicycling Book that talks about bike fitting and sets up a decent NEUTRAL position that I then tweak for the individual or fitness/wants needs.

BTW, it's a LOT easier to set up a bike fit if you have a second person to watch your position on the bike from the side. An example is the KNOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle) position that some people still use as the STARTING POINT for their bike fit. That second person can also look at your angle of lean towards the handlebar and/or take images for you to post on the web when you ask about fit..

Cheers
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