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Why I Believe Getting a Pro-Fit > Internet Advice from this Sub

Old 03-12-24, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Things weren't much more evolved in the Lemond era. We dropped hundreds of dollars on sew-ups and the latest Oakley sunglasses, but even if we'd had pro-fitters available, we'd probably've scoffed at the idea of giving one of them a couple hundred dollars for something that would've benefited us so greattly
The LeMond era ushered in wider handlebars, longer cranks, bigger gears, longer reach, and Look and Time pedals. You had to be super-attuned to your cleat positioning, or have friends who were. Body positioning was like an exaggeration of what Merckx and some of the other tall riders had been doing in previous decades. Sean Kelly was the prominent throwback of the '80s.

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Old 03-12-24, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Things weren't much more evolved in the Lemond era. We dropped hundreds of dollars on sew-ups and the latest Oakley sunglasses, but even if we'd had pro-fitters available, we'd probably've scoffed at the idea of giving one of them a couple hundred dollars for something that would've benefited us so greattly. I should've known something was up when my knees hurt less on rides (like GMR-Baldy) where I pedaled more while standing.
The first edition of The Custom Bicycle, published in 1979, included bike-fitting advice from a coach who had trained many national team members. His advice/rule regarding cleat positioning: set them so that your toes point in, for better aerodynamics.

That advice had disappeared by the time the next edition came out.
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Old 03-12-24, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
The LeMond era ushered in wider handlebars, longer cranks, bigger gears, longer reach, and Look and Time pedals. You had to be super-attuned to your cleat positioning, or have friends who were. Body positioning was like an exaggeration of what Merckx and some of the other tall riders had been doing in previous decades. Sean Kelly was the prominent throwback of the '80s.
It also ushered in the far seat-back position, which worked great for Greg, but not so much for those of us wishing to emulate him. My Dutch and Belgian teammates commented on how far back my seat was, and I wish I'd paid more attention to them. I thought I was another California Golden Boy, but I was just ruining my knees.

I own a pre-Trek Greg Lemond bike. It's beautiful, but the saddle is distractingly forward because the frame pushes it so far back. Greg must've had cartoonishly long femurs. I DNFed a race once because that Lemond frame hurt the kcuf out of my knees.

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Old 03-12-24, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
It also ushered in the far seat-back position, which worked great for Greg, but not so much for those of us wishing to emulate him. My Dutch and Belgian teammates commented on how far back my seat was, and I wish I'd paid more attention to them. I thought I was another California Golden Boy, but I was just ruining my knees.

I own a pre-Trek Greg Lemond bike. It's beautiful, but the saddle is distractingly forward because the frame pushes it so far back. Greg must've had cartoonishly long femurs. I DNFed a race once because that Lemond frame hurt the kcuf out of my knees.
I have yet to soo a Lemond with anything other than normal geometry. What was the seat tube angle?
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Old 03-12-24, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I have yet to soo a Lemond with anything other than normal geometry. What was the seat tube angle?
Don't know the angle of the dangle, but when I mounted the saddle, I had to move it to the very forward limits of the the rails. I thought I could get away with mounting the saddle rearward, but my knees developed sharp pain about 60 miles into l'Etape du California.

When I look at the Lemond bike now, it looks awkward and a little ridiculous with that saddle pushed so far forward. But it's better to feel good than to look good, if you know what I'm saying.

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Old 03-12-24, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
The first edition of The Custom Bicycle, published in 1979, included bike-fitting advice from a coach who had trained many national team members. His advice/rule regarding cleat positioning: set them so that your toes point in, for better aerodynamics.

That advice had disappeared by the time the next edition came out.
Of course it did. Because it was vital and beneficial to every pedaling human being on the planet. Instead, we were fed dreck by idiotic Eddie B's book telling us to pedal backwards with our heels on the pedals to determine our saddle height.
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Old 03-12-24, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I have yet to soo a Lemond with anything other than normal geometry. What was the seat tube angle?
I never held a protractor up to one, but from the medium to larger sizes the seat tubes were considerably less than parallel to the head tubes. You could tell just by looking at them. Top tubes on most stock road bikes seemed to get longer in the '80s, which may have triggered the trend to smaller frames. But Greg's early frames reflected his personal preferences more than Ernesto, Faliero, or Ugo. Interestingly, although Eddy Merckx's custom bikes were short in the top tube, the stock frames coming from his factory were longer, perhaps reflecting his riding style for a more normally proportioned rider. Personally, my sweet spot is 57 cm top tubes, and I've had to downsize from 60 cm (and even a 61 cm Gios) to 58 or 57 cm frames to get that. Compact geometry with longer seat posts, longer head tubes in some models, and flat-topped handlebars made the transition easier.

Greg, Bernard Henault, and I all have longer than typical femurs. Fabian Cancellara rode with considerable setback, too. I think bigger riders or taller gears require a more deliberate pedal stroke when climbing. As my cadence drops, I need to get behind the spindle to push the pedal over the top. But as calamarichris found out, too much setback can cause knee problems. For me it also robs power on the flats and makes getting out of the saddle to sprint or stand too much work. A balance is necessary.

I should mention that I've ridden hardly at all in a few months. Last spring I was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, last summer I was diagnosed with acute pulmonary embolism, and in January I found out the PEs have been chronic. I've been on blood thinners and waiting for more test results and examinations to determine the cause of the PE and damage assessment, mainly to my lungs. The arrhythmia seems to be triggered by oxygen debt. So all my opinions relate to days when I was fitter.
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Old 03-12-24, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
The first edition of The Custom Bicycle, published in 1979, included bike-fitting advice from a coach who had trained many national team members. His advice/rule regarding cleat positioning: set them so that your toes point in, for better aerodynamics.
Photos of Greg as a Junior beating the Senior I's show a pigeon-toed stance. That's one thing Eddy B. managed to fix. As for "heels on the pedal" to determine saddle height, it was more accurate with thin-soled shoes with slotted cleats. And if your form is good, a little too low is usually less damaging than a little too high.

I used to ride a little pigeon-toed, too. Blame seven years as a swimmer and perhaps trying to keep my pants leg out of the chain before I discovered tights.
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Old 03-12-24, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Don't know the angle of the dangle, but when I mounted the saddle, I had to move it to the very forward limits of the the rails. I thought I could get away with mounting the saddle rearward, but my knees developed sharp pain about 60 miles into l'Etape du California.

When I look at the Lemond bike now, it looks awkward and a little ridiculous with that saddle pushed so far forward. But it's better to feel good than to look good, if you know what I'm saying.
So, 1 degree of seat tube angle is about 1cm of setback. So if you nearly ran out of rail compared to a normal bike, the STA must have been something like 69 degrees instead the usual 73 for a medium size. Which is plenty weird.
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Old 03-12-24, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
So, 1 degree of seat tube angle is about 1cm of setback. So if you nearly ran out of rail compared to a normal bike, the STA must have been something like 69 degrees instead the usual 73 for a medium size. Which is plenty weird.
If I remember correctly, at the time the Trek Lemond bikes came out, the one thing everyone seemed to know about the bikes was that the top tubes were longer than customary for a given size, thanks to Greg's personal bikes being built that way. Supposedly he had unusually long femurs, although it doesn't make sense to build bikes for others that way. Unless he thought longer top tubes would work for everyone.

Another read-at-your-own-risk, imperfectly remembered contribution: La Vie Claire directeur sportif Paul Köchli was said to have changed his newly hired superstar's position on his bike, including raising his saddle 2 cm, according to Lemond. Wasn't long before Greg needed knee surgery.

Bernard Hinault had hush-hush knee surgery, too, but I'm not sure whether his was performed only once, after the 1980 season, or twice, with the second bout taking place after Köchli messed with his position, too.
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Old 03-12-24, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
If I remember correctly, at the time the Trek Lemond bikes came out, the one thing everyone seemed to know about the bikes was that the top tubes were longer than customary for a given size, thanks to Greg's personal bikes being built that way. Supposedly he had unusually long femurs, although it doesn't make sense to build bikes for others that way. Unless he thought longer top tubes would work for everyone.

Another read-at-your-own-risk, imperfectly remembered contribution: La Vie Claire directeur sportif Paul Köchli was said to have changed his newly hired superstar's position on his bike, including raising his saddle 2 cm, according to Lemond. Wasn't long before Greg needed knee surgery.

Bernard Hinault had hush-hush knee surgery, too, but I'm not sure whether his was performed only once, after the 1980 season, or twice, with the second bout taking place after Köchli messed with his position, too.
Trek Lemonds have incredibly typical geometry. The thing many people didn't understand was that the frame sizes were CTC, so the top tube length is for a frame size that would normally be written 1-2cm larger.

All of those charts are online.
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Old 03-12-24, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Bernard Hinault had hush-hush knee surgery, too, but I'm not sure whether his was performed only once, after the 1980 season, or twice, with the second bout taking place after Köchli messed with his position, too.
Hinault rode for Renault-Elf in 1980, when he got tendonitis. Cyrille Guimarde was the DS.
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Old 03-12-24, 09:24 PM
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Very interesting. 36 posts, more or less, illustrating why one should NOT have a pro-fitter fiddle about with their positioning on the bike. I can do as much harm as they can and for far less an hour.
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Old 03-12-24, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Very interesting. 36 posts, more or less, illustrating why one should NOT have a pro-fitter fiddle about with their positioning on the bike. I can do as much harm as they can and for far less an hour.
Are you reading the thread going on in a parallel universe?
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Old 03-18-24, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Oh, I almost forgot. Some months (maybe it was a year) ago I outlined (for free) fitting advice worth $300 to any BF'er that cared to listen. I won't repeat it here, suffice it to say that (IMO) the o.p. title is false. My fit advice stacks up to anything a pro-fitter can offer and doesn't require you to leave home or spend money. As such, it is better than a pro-fit. FWIW.
... this is a joke, yes?
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Old 03-19-24, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
You don't think there were fitters BITD? If your BITD was before the internet as mine is, they were there. But harder to find since we didn't have Google.

I find that a lot of the stuff I use to do was pennywise and pound-foolish. But that's the way it is when one is young and not as wealthy with both cash and wisdom as when they get up in age.

I think I fit myself to my bikes pretty well. I've experimented with changing things up on all of them. And I've been on all sizes of bike, many way too large for me. Only now I'm toying with the idea of going to a fitter just to see what they come up with that might be better. Not because I really need better.

But I don't disagree with you that a good fitter seeing someone in person can more likely solve a persons issues better than we can here.
I've always been my own fitter, relying on web advice including BF. It's stupid simple: KOPS, heel on pedal then have someone watch for hip rocking underway, adjust as necessary, upper arm at 90° to torso, hip angle somewhat greater than when thighs hit belly. That's pretty simple. I much prefer float and adjust it so that my comfortable toe angles never hit the stops.

After going with my self-fit for 25 years, I had a pro fit done by the best fitter in Seattle. He said it was perfect except my hip angle was too small. He raised me up a bit and pulled my hands back a bit. After a few years of riding with that fit, I went back to my previous hip angle, -17° slammed stem, but stayed with the compact bars which replaced my trad bars, so my reach is a little less. That's more comfortable, feels better, and I'm a tiny bit faster.

Knee pain should be addressed in the gym, or if it's chrondo by adjusting foot angle so that the toe points away from the side of the knee with pain. In the gym ATG squats or as low as possible, 30-40 reps, whatever but to exhaustion, twice a week. Also glucosamine sulfate AM, MSM PM for the rest of life.

I've done many, many very long rides and never been uncomfortable on the bike. I've helped others with their bike fits - usually just decreasing hip angle and increasing reach fixes the problem for athletic riders.
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Old 03-19-24, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
My main point is: hire a professional to observe you pedaling, rather than trust the generalized advice of well-meaning internet strangers.
Both cleats were shifted back about 2-2.5mms, but there's no question my seat was too far back. The first time I went out riding after the visit with Nate, I noticed my knee-pain side felt a little off. He did rotate it maybe 1-3 degrees. But how can a well-meaning internet advisor catch something so tiny like this without watching you closely, personally with lasers pointed at your kneecaps while you pedal? No human body is completely symmetrical.

Didn't want to make my original post too long, but he also had an interesting device that measured my leg-strength imbalance, and if I was pedaling in circles, or like a Parkinson's-afflicted newbie triathlete. He recommended some strengthening exercises in both cases that made my wattage climb and climb the more I worked at it (having strong hip-flexor muscles can really reduce the weakest point of our pedal stroke [the top 10 degrees] and smoothify your pedal stroke). Minor muscle groups FTW.

At the finish line of the next two l'Etape du Californias (at the Mount Baldy summit), I looked like a bulldog at a greyhound convention. Seriously, I was the most line-backer guy up there, and the skinnies kept pouring in. AND the only steel frame both times.
You mean having someone actually observe you while pedaling, and making adjustments from that is better than asking random strangers who have never seen you or your bike setup, let alone watched you in action? You don't say... I will say however, that there are also a lot of bad fitters out there, ones who go by numbers and formulae instead of actually watching how the person interfaces witht he bike dynamically, and don't pay attention to subtle clues when the customer is pedaling, but it sounds like you got one who actually worked for you.

You should be careful though when a fitter stresses exercises to help correct a problem that can be corrected with fit. Not everyone has the same flexibility, and to fit a bike in such a way that requires a person to stretch to increase flexibility in order to pedal efficiently, instead of correcting the fit to fit that person's individual fitness level and flexibility can be problematic, and cause more problems. It doesn't sound like that is what your fitter did though. There is nothing wrong with suggesting exercises to help a cyclist to improve, but I have seen many fitters tell a customer that their problem isn't fit, but rather lack of core strength or lack of flexibility in some area. Though the rider may be deficient in those areas, the answer is not necessarily to disregard changing the fit to help the issue and tell them to fix their body mechanics. Sometimes there are underlying physical issues that make that difficult, or impossible. Adjusting the fit to help overcome those issues is more likely to keep the rider actually riding, instead of giving up, and more likely to prevent injury, at the same time increasing efficiency for the rider at their current fitness level. Changes can be made down the road if the rider becomes more flaxible, or increases their core strength.

These are just observations made over the past 50 years. Glad you can now ride without knee pain. I too think it was probably the cleat position. A rider can adapt easily to various seat heights and setback, lower seat heights are actually easier to adapt to than a too high seat height. Cleat position though can seriously screw up your knees though, especially if it is rotated too far one way or the other. This is actually one reason I ride flat pedals with pins now. I do not have to have my feet locked in one position. Of course if I were riding competitively I would be using clipless.
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Old 03-19-24, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
After a few years of riding with that fit, I went back to my previous hip angle, -17° slammed stem, but stayed with the compact bars which replaced my trad bars, so my reach is a little less. That's more comfortable, feels better, and I'm a tiny bit faster..
Trad = traditional?

My Tarmac came with shallower reach and shallow drop than any drop bars I ever had before. I like them a lot too and would be reluctant to ever go back to the more traditional type drops we rode BITD that had more bar reach and more drop from the tops. Compact drop bars make more sense to me as they get you in a more aero position whether you are on the hoods or in the drops. And being more aero saves watts for the long haul.
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Old 03-19-24, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
You mean having someone actually observe you while pedaling, ............................... be using clipless.
OP isn't around any more. At least not under that moniker.
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Old 03-19-24, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
OP isn't around any more. At least not under that moniker.
Ah, thanks, I missed that.
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Old 04-09-24, 03:15 PM
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I cured my cycling knee pain by strengthening my hip rotators (piriformis, gemelli, glutes). I think that if you can't control femoral rotation at the hip, your spiral muscles shown in the diagram - thank you - and ligaments (ALC?) can't hold the knee straight.

Golf, hula-hoop, Bulgarian one-legged squats (because as you go down and up you need to rotate your pelvis), ATG squats (similarly), tennis and other racket/bat swings, martial arts particularly roundhouse kicks, scything, The Twist, clamshells, reverse clamshells are all good for femoral rotational strength but I also do reverse Twists, "Jesus suits," I call them, and they feel like switch exercise between old and frail and young and fit. I am trying to write a book about it.

I think that as ones femoral rotation strength decreases, less cleat float can help.

I also strongly suspect that pedal (spindal) extenders and perhaps cleat wedges can be effective due to their connection with femoral rotation. A pedal extender on my bad leg side worked for for a while. I think it forced external rotation of my femur, and that helped.

All I know is rotational strength cured my slowly aching knees. I can even run up and down mountains now, as I am about to do.

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Old 04-21-24, 12:11 PM
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I should probably get a fitter. I have leg-length discrepancy. Where do folks go to research good fitters in their area?
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Old 04-21-24, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by canuto
I should probably get a fitter. I have leg-length discrepancy. Where do folks go to research good fitters in their area?
I would go on everything you can find. Ask the local cycling club, ask shops that don't offer it, read the Google reviews, look for online discussion based on your city. The best you are going to do is keep hearing the same things often enough that they appear to be true.

I don't think name brand fit systems like Retul have anything to do with the quality of the fit.
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Old 04-22-24, 10:10 AM
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You may have to travel. I think one of the bike shops here offers fitting, but I don't trust them.
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Old 04-23-24, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Everyone has their opinions on getting a proper fit. Which is another reason I believe it's important to get a certified-professional's (or at least a very reputable, like your guy Colin's) perspective. Nate Loyal mentioned that he either studied or had a degree in Exercise Physiology or some related field. There were times I could tell he was dumbing-down his explanations and advice. He wasn't trying to impress; he was being patient with me.



But my life-changing session with Nate only cost $280. We're willing to spend a thousand (or ten-thousand) dollars on a bicycle, but skimp on the fit? My saddle and cleats were within a few millimeters, but I was still having chronic knee pain riding around on basic fit principles, correctly applied.

I'm not paid by anyone, nor have any friends in the industry, but I believe a few hundred dollars spent on a pro-fit are a better investment than the latest carbon wheels or a derailleur upgrade.
@calamarichris

Can you share Nate's contact information?
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