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Stop buying random bicycles!!!

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Old 01-12-18, 08:00 PM
  #1  
Eyedrop
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Stop buying random bicycles!!!

If your a MTB/Road/Touring enthusiast that buys multi thousand dollar bicycles based off frame materials, spec sheets, brand names, aesthetics, and the generic manufacturer sizing charts, then your doing it all wrong.

***The proper way to buy an expensive bicycle is to get a professional bike fitting done BEFORE you purchase a bike, not after. 95% of people are making the mistake of buying a bike first, then worrying about the details later...

Go see a professional fitter with 3D motion capture technology and an adjustable stationary bike hooked up to a computer. Get dialed in, crunch the numbers, THEN go shopping based on your results.

Popular 3D fitting systems include Retul Muve, Trek Precision fit, Specialized BG, Guru bike fit, etc... If they dont have an adjustable stationary bike, computers, and a world class reputation, walk away.

Though many old school or small time fitters are probably trying their best, in reality they are just making assumptions by using the old plumb bob and eyeball method. They wont be able to tell you which bike to buy with any sort of accuracy.

You can think of it alot like shoes. Sure, most brands can "fit" you, and you may prefer Nike over Adidas for its flashy looks, or your brand loyalty. But in reality, the brand name, materials, and "technology" are just icing on the cake.

How the insole is shaped, how it hugs your heel, the toe box width, heel drop, pressure points, etc... are far more important to getting proper biomechanics and keeping you injury free and comfortable, which in turn gets your ass out the door more often and keeps you running fast.

Bicycles are very similar in this regard. There IS a science to it. Its 2018, buying a bike should no longer be done using assumtions, black magic or trial and error methods...

It is my personal opinion that it can be a big gamble buying a pre-built $5000 bike from a shop or private party by drooling over the spec sheet, referencing the generic manufacturer size chart, then trying to make the bike work. Using this ubiquitous and dated method is often a costly exercise in futility.

Im all for supporting the LBS. But buying something straight off the showroom floor is almost always an unwise move. Who cares if its on sale? Have them custom order all of your desired parts and let them build your dream bike instead (after you've seen the fitter).


I always see posts online, chatter on group rides, or people in the LBS asking "which bike should I buy", then the salesman gives answers based on preference and whats in stock/on sale/whats hot, rather than using science to determine what the customer actually needs. This is simply wrong and needs to stop.


I know this post comes off as aggressive and preachy, but I feel its necessary. I'm really just trying to share some knowledge and wisdom to help make the cycling world a better place!

If your thinking about getting a nice bike, do it proper from the start. If you already have a bike that doesn't feel perfect, sell it and start over. Just my opinion...

Last edited by Eyedrop; 01-13-18 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 01-12-18, 08:10 PM
  #2  
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I don't buy random bikes, I adopt bikes. Oh course I've already seen them so that's like Tinder for Bikes, isn't it?

Whatever happened to the daze of just finding a neato bike in a store catalog and specifying the color?
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Old 01-12-18, 08:11 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
I know this post comes off as aggressive and preachy, but I feel its necessary.
Wow!
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Old 01-12-18, 08:11 PM
  #4  
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But I wear a pretty standard sized shoe that can be bought just about anywhere. Same with bikes. There's really no need for a custom fitting when you're perfectly average.
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Old 01-12-18, 08:19 PM
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Sounds as if you may have recently purchased an expensive bike fitting, maybe you heard much of the above when it was being sold to you? I guess you ended up with a custom geometry frame rather than off the rack? Cool if you need it!
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Old 01-12-18, 08:25 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Sounds as if you may have recently purchased an expensive bike fitting, maybe you heard much of the above when it was being sold to you? I guess you ended up with a custom geometry frame rather than off the rack? Cool if you need it!
Nope, I ended up narrowing down hundreds of frames to just 3 or 4 off the shelf premade frames that happened to have my ideal stack and reach measurements +/- 2mm. No need to go custom nowadays, unless you have special needs. I have average proportions myself, but it still came down to the select few. Alot of bikes I was previously drooling over were wildly off.

I sold myself on the bike fitting after doing the research, then the bike sold itself to me. The shop/fitter I visited was smart enough to not try and sell me a random bike off the floor.

I can assure you that getting things dialed to a science makes a tangible difference.

Last edited by Eyedrop; 01-12-18 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 01-12-18, 08:32 PM
  #7  
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Good to hear. Hundreds of choices does sound overwhelming. Anything that can whittle that down for you seems worthwhile!
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Old 01-12-18, 08:58 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
Only a fool would buy a random pre-built $5000 bike from a shop or private party

I'm really just trying to share some knowledge and wisdom to help make the cycling world a better place!

Calling people fools isn't the way to make the world a better place.

That one cannot get a good fit, or even a great fit apart from a multi-hundred dollar computerized fit session isn't a correct assumption.


-Tim-
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Old 01-12-18, 09:07 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Calling people fools isn't the way to make the world a better place.

That one cannot get a good fit, or even a great fit apart from a multi-hundred dollar computerized fit session isn't a correct assumption.


-Tim-
A very simple +1
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Old 01-12-18, 09:09 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Calling people fools isn't the way to make the world a better place.

That one cannot get a good fit, or even a great fit apart from a multi-hundred dollar computerized fit session isn't a correct assumption.


-Tim-
I have the habit of coming off this way, which Im really trying to work on. And Im not being sarcastic by saying that, Im being genuine.

The problem is I feel passionate about my opinions and feel like the aggression is sometimes necessary to get the point across. Otherwise, the audience often seems to not process the information. Obviously, I tend to make assumptions that everyone is an idiot, when nothing further could be from the truth. But when I see people act in various ways that go against my opinions that I feel have strong merits, I tend to sort of get heated

I've tried shutting up and leading by example in attempt to inspire others. But its not like many people stop and ask me about bike fitting, or what I think about X or Y. In the end, I just let it all flood out, which can spread a negative energy. It really sucks.... If anybody has advice on how to fix my personality flaw, it would be greatly appreciated.

I wish I could change the thread title to "How to buy a bicycle". Ill go ahead and edit out the "fool" line..

As far as the need for computerized bike fits, it is true that one can get lucky with a random off the shelf frame and the employee eyeballing things at the LBS, but its not common. And at the very least, a saddle, handlebar, or stem will need to be swapped out. Why buy a bike that will be torn down and rebuilt when you can buy parts individually and get it right from the get-go?

Also, why take the chance on an expensive bike when you can have peace of mind knowing that your in the optimal position, that the bike is not the cause of injuries, and the only thing holding you back from throwing down the watts is your fitness?

Last edited by Eyedrop; 01-12-18 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:16 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
If your a MTB/Road/Touring enthusiast that buys multi thousand dollar bicycles based off frame materials, spec sheets, brand names, aesthetics, and the generic manufacturer sizing charts, then your doing it all wrong.

***The proper way to buy an expensive bicycle is to get a professional bike fitting done BEFORE you purchase a bike, not after. 95% of people are making the mistake of buying a bike first, then worrying about the details later...
Huh. Guess I've done it wrong every single time. 27 years of serious/avid/enthusiastic cycling including racing, touring, commuting and heaps of long distance cycling ... and not a single professional bike fitting.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:21 PM
  #12  
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I would love to have custom built bikes for every bike in my collection without question but it isn't practical. I don't buy off the peg stuff and typically go for frame and build it up myself but going through a ton of computer fitting is not always needed. I get that Specialized Retül (no longer just Retül on their own Mikey Sin owns it now) needs to hock their shlock and moronic bike store owners will buy into it but it doesn't make it good (in fact that money could have been used to give me more f'ing hours, but I am not bitter from personal experience here ; )

I think with all this computer stuff maybe cost of fits might come down or one could do a less intensive fit for certain things and that could be good but I know plenty of excellent fitters who can do just fine without a ton of fancy computer work and more than just a plumb bob.

I will say I agree with your zeal and candor even if the message isn't wholly agreed upon.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:34 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
If anybody has advice on how to fix my personality flaw, it would be greatly appreciated.
OK, here goes, It's good to have passion, it's off-putting to emphatically offer unsolicited advice and then get heated if it is not followed. Bike fit isn't life and death.

Live and let live. If someone asks what you think, tell them, then drop it. If someone doesn't ask and you think you can help, start with "can I make a suggestion?"

I am offering this advice only because you asked for it. I wouldn't call it a personality flaw, it's just learning how to communicate and interact with others.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:43 PM
  #14  
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I would say to the OP (being somewhat opinionated myself, but having learned some) that it is best if one considers Communication.

If all you want to do is rant, well, rant away. No one will listen, and few will respect you ... because frankly, you come off as so wrapped up in yourself that you don'rt care about your audience. No respect shown .... about the same amount received.

You have some strong opinions ... but what's kind of comical is that all you needed to know was your best stack and reach measurements and you could buy the right frame without a fitting.

For people who don't need the extra two-tenths of a percent of performance lost with a .02-degree twist of the cleats ....

Let me ask you this .... can you by a pair of shoes which fits? Have you ever needed a $300 computerized, video-taped, graphically analyzed fitting to buy a pair of shoes.

Some guy once said about buying a bike,
Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
You can think of it alot like shoes.
People like Machka, who does randonneuring events .... she Regularly cycles 200-400 km at a time.

For me a long ride might be three hours---I can get away with a sloppy fit (not that I do.) For her it might be 23. And yet ... she can fit herself to a bike, and fit a bike to herself well enough that she can do those events regularly.

Her experience doesn't completely invalidate your rant, and more than the points you do make, make her situation impossible. There are a lot of ways to buy bikes, to get fit to bikes, to adjust bikes ....

And "fit," as most of us know, is a moving target. Most non-professional riders who ride seasonally find that their "perfect fit" changes as their conditioning improves. Others find that when age, injury, schedule conflicts, and life's vicissitudes interrupt the cycling schedule, the body changes and "fit" changes.

There are riders who just can't find that sweet spot, who get fit and come away with three hundred percent improvement. There are riders who buy a fit and find no difference afterwards.

Maybe you run a fitting business, or maybe you got a fit from a great salesman.

Either way, based on the fit you just bought, you ought to be able to fit yourself pretty well to any bike you might want to buy from now on, right?

By the way, why Do you feel it is necessary to be aggressive and preachy? Sounds like you are telling yourself you are doing it for everyone else's benefit but are really just doing what you want ... again, the respect issue.

I used to do a lot of door-to-door fundraising for unpopular causes in unfriendly neighborhoods. I was successful because I learned in a hurry that if i was working for a cause, and to truly benefit others, and not for my own ego ... I would find the language the other people spoke, and talk to them on their terms.

If you really want to make the world a better place ... start at home. When you are better at communicating, and not so driven to tell everyone how much better you know everything and how they have nothing unless they believe what you tell them .... then you can actually help those other people and make the world a better place.

I daresay, if I responded to your post with a post using precisely the same tone and form of address, and said that getting a fitting was a useless waste of time ... you wouldn't consider Anything I said .... even if I made a few good points.

You have a lot to offer .... but you have to offer, not force it on people if you really care if people benefit from what you offer.

Last edited by Maelochs; 01-12-18 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:44 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I would love to have custom built bikes for every bike in my collection without question but it isn't practical. I don't buy off the peg stuff and typically go for frame and build it up myself but going through a ton of computer fitting is not always needed. I get that Specialized Retül (no longer just Retül on their own Mikey Sin owns it now) needs to hock their shlock and moronic bike store owners will buy into it but it doesn't make it good (in fact that money could have been used to give me more f'ing hours, but I am not bitter from personal experience here ; )

I think with all this computer stuff maybe cost of fits might come down or one could do a less intensive fit for certain things and that could be good but I know plenty of excellent fitters who can do just fine without a ton of fancy computer work and more than just a plumb bob.

I will say I agree with your zeal and candor even if the message isn't wholly agreed upon.
Steve Hogg is a perfect example of an excellent fitter who doesnt rely on computer aided technology to fit his clients.

The difference lies in the preliminary bike purchase process. If your not using the high tech equipment, you simply cannot get an objective number to go off of when purchasing. Who knows, maybe he is good at taking an educated guess on a frame that works for you. But it cant really be accurately relied upon.

I guess a good analogy might be using a power meter vs. RPE. Sure, some of the best cyclists in history were world class using nothing but perception and feel. But times move one, and technology tends to optimize the way we go about our business...
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Old 01-12-18, 09:46 PM
  #16  
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You have people out there that won't spend $200 on a bike, yet you suggest a professional fitting? Those run in the $200 range if I am not mistaken.
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Old 01-12-18, 09:58 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I would say to the OP (being somewhat opinionated myself, but having learned some) that it is best if one considers Communication.

If all you want to do is rant, well, rant away. No one will listen, and few will respect you ... because frankly, you come off as so wrapped up in yourself that you don'rt care about your audience. No respect shown .... about the same amount received.

You have some strong opinions ... but what's kind of comical is that all you needed to know was your best stack and reach measurements and you could buy the right frame without a fitting.

For people who don't need the extra two-tenths of a percent of performance lost with a .02-degree twist of the cleats ....

Let me ask you this .... can you by a pair of shoes which fits? Have you ever needed a $300 computerized, video-taped, graphically analyzed fitting to buy a pair of shoes.

Some guy once said about buying a bike,

People like Machka, who does randonneuring events .... she Regularly cycles 200-400 km at a time.

For me a long ride might be three hours---I can get away with a sloppy fit (not that I do.) For her it might be 23. And yet ... she can fit herself to a bike, and fit a bike to herself well enough that she can do those events regularly.

Her experience doesn't completely invalidate your rant, and more than the points you do make, make her situation impossible. There are a lot of ways to buy bikes, to get fit to bikes, to adjust bikes ....

And "fit," as most of us know, is a moving target. Most non-professional riders who ride seasonally find that their "perfect fit" changes as their conditioning improves. Others find that when age, injury, schedule conflicts, and life's vicissitudes interrupt the cycling schedule, the body changes and "fit" changes.

There are riders who just can't find that sweet spot, who get fit and come away with three hundred percent improvement. There are riders who buy a fit and find no difference afterwards.

Maybe you run a fitting business, or maybe you got a fit from a great salesman.

Either way, based on the fit you just bought, you ought to be able to fit yourself pretty well to any bike you might want to buy from now on, right?

By the way, why Do you feel it is necessary to be aggressive and preachy? Sounds like you are telling yourself you are doing it for everyone else's benefit but are really just doing what you want ... again, the respect issue.

I used to do a lot of door-to-door fundraising for unpopular causes in unfriendly neighborhoods. I was successful because I learned in a hurry that if i was working for a cause, and to truly benefit others, and not for my own ego ... I would find the language the other people spoke, and talk to them on their terms.

If you really want to make the world a better place ... start at home. When you are better at communicating, and not so driven to tell everyone how much better you know everything and how they have nothing unless they believe what you tell them .... then you can actually help those other people and make the world a better place.

I daresay, if I responded to your post with a post using precisely the same tone and form of address, and said that getting a fitting was a useless waste of time ... you wouldn't consider Anything I said .... even if I made a few good points.

You have a lot to offer .... but you have to offer, not force it on people if you really care if people benefit from what you offer.
I appreciate your post. Some things you said had me literally laughing at how ridiculous I must sound to people just trying to ride their bike's.

I will think more about what you said and try to implement it in my daily life. My approach needs to be worked on for sure.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:00 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
You have people out there that won't spend $200 on a bike, yet you suggest a professional fitting? Those run in the $200 range if I am not mistaken.
This thread is geared towards the enthusiast's out there spending thousands on bikes. If your just a recreational cyclist noodling around on a department store bike on a smooth bike path once or twice a month, a 3D bike fit wouldn't be the best way to spend you money.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:07 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
If your a MTB/Road/Touring enthusiast that buys multi thousand dollar bicycles based off frame materials, spec sheets, brand names, aesthetics, and the generic manufacturer sizing charts, then your doing it all wrong.

***The proper way to buy an expensive bicycle is to get a professional bike fitting done BEFORE you purchase a bike, not after. 95% of people are making the mistake of buying a bike first, then worrying about the details later...

Go see a professional fitter with 3D motion capture technology and an adjustable stationary bike hooked up to a computer. Get dialed in, crunch the numbers, THEN go shopping based on your results.

Popular 3D fitting systems include Retul Muve, Trek Precision fit, Specialized BG, Guru bike fit, etc... If they dont have an adjustable stationary bike, computers, and rave reviews, walk away.

Though many old school or small time fitters are probably trying their best, in reality they are just making assumptions by using the old plumb bob and eyeball method. They wont be able to tell you which bike to buy with any sort of accuracy.

You can think of it alot like shoes. Sure, most brands can "fit" you, and you may prefer Nike over Adidas for its flashy looks, or your brand loyalty. But in reality, the brand name, materials, and "technology" are just icing on the cake.

How the insole is shaped, how it hugs your heel, the toe box width, heel drop, pressure points, etc... are far more important to getting proper biomechanics and keeping you injury free and comfortable, which in turn gets your ass out the door more often and keeps you running fast.

Bicycles are very similar in this regard. There IS a science to it. Its 2018, buying a bike should no longer be done using assumtions, black magic or trial and error methods...

It is my personal opinion that it can be a big gamble buying a pre-built $5000 bike from a shop or private party by drooling over the spec sheet, referencing the generic manufacturer size chart, then trying to make the bike work. Using this ubiquitous and dated method is often a costly exercise in futility.

Im all for supporting the LBS. But buying something straight off the showroom floor is almost always an unwise move. Who cares if its on sale? Have them custom order all of your desired parts and let them build your dream bike instead (after you've seen the fitter).


I always see posts online, chatter on group rides, or people in the LBS asking "which bike should I buy", then the salesman gives answers based on preference and whats in stock/on sale/whats hot, rather than using science to determine what the customer actually needs. This is simply wrong and needs to stop.


I know this post comes off as aggressive and preachy, but I feel its necessary. I'm really just trying to share some knowledge and wisdom to help make the cycling world a better place!

If your thinking about getting a nice bike, do it proper from the start. If you already have a bike that doesn't feel perfect, sell it and start over. Just my opinion...

*you're
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Old 01-12-18, 10:08 PM
  #20  
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Some people enjoy shopping at item to death. The right color is 90% of my decision.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:21 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
This thread is geared towards the enthusiast's out there spending thousands on bikes. If your just a recreational cyclist noodling around on a department store bike on a smooth bike path once or twice a month, a 3D bike fit wouldn't be the best way to spend you money.
Machka, as noted, does Randonneuring events of several hundred km at a time. Not sure what "noodling" is, but she is spending a lot of her conscious hours on bikes.

Saying the thread is geared to a certain class .... works, if it actually is.

I think the consensus reached in threads discussing Exactly this topic on forums where, shall we say, hyperbole is a bit less utilized, is that if people feel like they want to pay for a fit, they should ... and it might help.

There is exactly this discussion on another board, and the range of responses include people who got tremendous improvements from a fitting to folks who noticed no difference ... apparently they were already that close to "perfect."

Also, it is worth asking the fitter how often one can return for tune-ups. As noted by myself and Many others (many others who have paid for fittings and recommend them, by the way,) "Fit" is a moving target. What fits at the start of a season might hurt by the end. Or, what would cause way too much pain at the start of a season might bring max efficiency later on.

If you want to present a "My Way of the highway" sort of screed, at least cover All the important points ... otherwise that highway looks more and more inviting with each sentence you type.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:25 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
The difference lies in the preliminary bike purchase process. If your not using the high tech equipment, you simply cannot get an objective number to go off of when purchasing.
That's practically irrelevant. Even if you have to move something by a centimeter or two, it usually won't affect the character of the bike all that much. It also won't make the character of the bike any more or less "correct," just different; there are lots of designers with lots of opinions about how a bicycle should be designed and how it should ride, and there are many more riders who have even more opinions about the latter. As long as you're not crazy far off in any major way, it can be adjusted to fit well.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:29 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Eyedrop View Post
Though many old school or small time fitters are probably trying their best, in reality they are just making assumptions by using the old plumb bob and eyeball method. They wont be able to tell you which bike to buy with any sort of accuracy.
With all respect, you have no clue what you are talking about.

I worked for several years with one of the best fitters in the US - one of the people that invented the practice. A human being can observe power fluctuations and the rider's motions with a deeper understanding of the biomechanics involved than a computer program and a guy with weekend seminar training certificate.

You can get a good fit from computerized or manual fitter, if they fitter knows what they are doing. And you can get a bad fit from either if the dude is not experienced. Don't shop for name brands like Retul, shop for experience and customer satisfaction.


It is not a bad idea to get a fit - especially if you aren't comfortable on your current bike. A few hundred dollars to get your $3000 right is money well spent - especially if the fitter gives you a credit on the purchase of a bike. But plenty of people know how to select a bike that is closest to their fit that it can be sized correctly. Of course, those people probably didn't finish the second paragraph of your rant.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:31 PM
  #24  
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I don't mind this thread at all, as one who is testing different bikes (purchased used) to help me determine what would work best for me, with the intention of buying a new bike in the spring.

At 5'6", I theoretically fit a 52/53/54cm frame. In general. Last fall I purchased (used) a 54cm Davidson (steel), and a 52cm Allez (AL w/CF forks) to test out and see which I like better. I like them both, for different reasons, and if I had to choose one that fit me better, or rode better, or was more/less comfortable, I can't. I've put a few miles on each (30 mile trips) over the fall/winter, trading off as my mood strikes. I also have a mountain bike, purchased new in 1990, and ride less often.

On all three bikes, and my old Bridgestone RB-2, my hands fall asleep in about 20 minutes, and my left knee hurts like hell after 4 miles of rough road. (I can ride smooth roads for a long time with zero knee pain.) My rides are usually 20-40 miles, 5 days a week, year around.

I wish one of the magical fittings and a new bike would sort out my hands falling asleep, and knee pain, but I fear I'll shell out hundreds for a fitting, thousands for a new bike, and end up with something that doesn't provide a better experience than what I already have.

Since joining the forum six(ish) months ago, I spend at least one hour every night reading, and reading, and reading. I've learned a heck of a lot about bicycles (thanks forum!), but not much about choosing the "right bike".


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Old 01-12-18, 10:35 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by TakingMyTime View Post
Some people enjoy shopping at item to death. The right color is 90% of my decision.
Heh. I usually shop until my wife gets sick and tired of hearing me waffle, and drags my indecisive ass to the store to make a purchase and get it over with.


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