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When to Bike Fit?

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Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

When to Bike Fit?

Old 02-07-22, 07:38 AM
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BTinNYC
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When to Bike Fit?

Backstory: 62 y.o., new rider, starting back in November '21 with all the passion of a convert. My comfort position and cockpit have been in constant flux. Along with losing weight and waking up my heart/lungs, my flexibility is improving. So, I started very upright, pulling the drop bars off my 40 yr bike, and now planning to put them back on.

I think my riding position has stabilized, and it's time for a pro fit. What does the BF crew think? Cycle for another couple of months or ready now?
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Old 02-07-22, 10:10 AM
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Do you need to have a position that will make best use you the power you are able to put into the bike? Do you have some nagging comfort issues that are keeping you from enjoying riding and you haven't been able to solve them yourself.

If yes to either, then yes you ought to get some kind of professional fit. Though realize there are all kinds of fit methods. Some more just fad and some not. Some with all kinds of measuring and motion study of you and some not much more than a person that is able to see how you fit on your bike and intuitive and experienced enough to know what to adjust. I'd actually trust the latter more. Though I'm there are some that can and do use both judgement, intuition and sophisticated motion study.

If you have money you won't miss, then that is perfectly acceptable reason too. At 63 y.o. and after 55 plus years of doing my own thing, I'm sort of curious what a professional fitter might have to say about my current position. So I might go to one just to see.

As you've found out, your desired position changed as you got fitter for cycling and your cycling goals changed. Though some people talk like there is only one fit and you are done with the pro-fitter, I'd hope to pick one that will discuss things at later dates after my first fit for a reasonable fee.
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Old 02-07-22, 10:12 AM
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

OTOH, if you have some aspirations of some sort of race or event, get fit, get a new bike, and join the MAMIL club.
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Old 02-07-22, 10:42 AM
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given where you are, and the recent/current/expected weather, I wouldn't screw with the general position at this time.
get out, riding, when you can. Stay focused on the general fitness objectives. If you haven't already, scout out cycling groups in your area which might be compatible with your riding and fitness objectives (they usually have winter activities to keep the mojo flowing...).
Try for alternative avenues for maintaining fitness - ice skating and XC skiing are hugely compatible.
IF you currently aren't having any 'issues' while riding your bike - especially on Hr+ rides, then focus on good riding posture, 'souplesse' (fluid, efficient pedaling), and not gear mashing too much. When you do make changes, small incremental changes, one at a time; evaluate and then move on.
Patience makes strong improvements possible, over-reaction is usually a step backward.
this is all targeted to general good riding habits which will apply in whatever future desires you have for your cycling. Even at 62, cycling will alter your lifestyle in a positive way... greatly,
Have fun, learn about riding and you'll learn so much more about yourself. It will infect everyone close to you, positively!
Ride On
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Old 02-07-22, 11:18 AM
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First ask yourself what a "pro fit" is gong to add to your enjoyment of riding? Are you looking to resolve a particular comfort/performance issue? If you are already comfortable on the bike then I would just continue riding and keeping tweaking your position as you go along. I would only go to a fitter if there was a problem I couldn't resolve on my own.
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Old 02-07-22, 11:56 AM
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Thanks all, for the common sense answers. I'll keep riding.
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Old 02-07-22, 11:59 AM
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I'm 70, been cycling 35 years continuously - not counting the kid & teen years.
Comfort at the touch points is important. I think there are issues at the touch points to address before a bike fit. Specifically, 1) saddle & shorts, 2) shoes/pedals, 3) gloves & handlebar/wrap.

If you are riding 'comfortably' now (meaning these 3 points are not causing pain early in the ride), then I would wait on a bike fit until your fitness improves some. Say, put the drop bars back on and ride for a month or so to adjust to them. The reasoning being that your 'proper fit' often changes as your body changes.

Personally, I have found with age that many things can change. Slightly lowered saddle height, short & shallow handlebars, narrower handlebars, shoe inserts, cut-outs in my saddles, etc. the right tires at the right pressure are more important to me than before. I am also of the opinion that there is not 'One Perfect Fit', and that the cockpit components need to be right for you.
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Old 02-08-22, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I'm 70, been cycling 35 years continuously - not counting the kid & teen years.
Comfort at the touch points is important. I think there are issues at the touch points to address before a bike fit. Specifically, 1) saddle & shorts, 2) shoes/pedals, 3) gloves & handlebar/wrap.

If you are riding 'comfortably' now (meaning these 3 points are not causing pain early in the ride), then I would wait on a bike fit until your fitness improves some. Say, put the drop bars back on and ride for a month or so to adjust to them. The reasoning being that your 'proper fit' often changes as your body changes.

Personally, I have found with age that many things can change. Slightly lowered saddle height, short & shallow handlebars, narrower handlebars, shoe inserts, cut-outs in my saddles, etc. the right tires at the right pressure are more important to me than before. I am also of the opinion that there is not 'One Perfect Fit', and that the cockpit components need to be right for you.
Agreed. I've been waiting around 40 years for a professional "bike fit". I long since came to the conclusion that I don't actually need one, but I sometimes get curious and do read up a fair bit on the subject of fitting. Self-awareness is a key factor in bike fit, along with some technical knowledge of what various changes are likely to achieve. Some people really benefit from going to a fitter, others not so much. One thing to bear in mind, if you go to 10 different pro-fitters, you will end up with 10 different fits. There is no single, unified approach to bike fitting.
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Old 02-08-22, 08:12 AM
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A lot of solid common sense and no silver bullets or magical brownies. Dammit.

It's warming up to 39 degrees so I'll ponder the perfect cockpit while pedaling.

Thanks Gents!
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Old 02-17-22, 11:44 AM
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BTinNYC - I have never done a pro fit session. I find that the more I ride, the tweaking of fit continues. Does it ever end or seattle down? Probably when you get to doing 3-4K miles per year.
Early in the process I found that as I adjusted to the saddle, for example, I became more aware of the small nuances of positioning. Same with the other two contact points.
Swap the bars and continue to ride and don't let aesthetics get in the way of finding a comfortable position for the bar you use. Bar selection and stem length should be considered as a total system relative to saddle.
BTW, I have found the recommendations for brake lever position on a given bar is really close to what you should have or at least starting positioning.
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Old 02-19-22, 06:36 PM
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I would bike fit immediately and see no reason to wait. Ideally while there is still time to swap out the bike if the shop/brand has a grace period.


Any expert observation of your position on the bike will show issues you are not aware of and I would not wait for injuries to amount over time or bad movement habits to form. It's not like you need to settle into a position for a bike physio to observe issues.


When I bought my first road bike I was sold a frame size based on my height, however, with shorter legs and a longer torso with very good hip flexibility, the bike fit resulted in me swapping the bike for a size smaller frame (for a more appropriate seat height, the larger frame seat would not go low enough for perfection), and then we put on a longer stem with aggressive angle and no spacers.


Left to my own devices and some 'general' fit tips, I would be stuck with

- the wrong size frame based on a table / sales person judgment purely based on height

- a seat that is too high and not positioned ideally, based on common seat height finding techniques

- handelbars that are too high because I would not have slammed it thinking that was too extreme because I was not aware of my above average flexibility


That initial setup felt 'fine' to me, but the smaller frame with the longer slammed stem and a seat position that enables my knees to move in a much more fluid way was a step up in comfort that I could immediately appreciate. Now the bike fits like a glove in a setup that is very different from what I would have arrived at myself through trial and error. As a bonus, you will also have precise laser measurements to transfer to any future bike.

Also, bike fit is very fluid with variables influencing each other...change your cleat position and you gotta change your seat height, impacting your ideal handlebar height, and so on. Constant tweaking trying to sort out one thing will throw off another thing. Best to get outside observation.

Last edited by yaw; 02-19-22 at 06:39 PM.
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