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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Bike fit or… new bike?

Old 03-26-14, 06:11 PM
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Bike fit or… new bike?

I bough a Tarmac about a year ago. I'm not a serious rider… I just enjoy spending time outdoors and a bike is the easiest way to get out of the city. I commute 60 or so miles a week on a Langster and do another 60 or so on my Tarmac. I only bought such a nice bike because I got a promotion at work and had some extra room in the monthly budget. I got 25% off and 18 months 0% financing from a shop that I really like, so it seemed a no brainer. I test rode a bunch of bikes (including a Secteur because they didnt have a Roubaix) and the Tarmac was just the most fun. It felt comfortable, but obviously I only went for a few short test rides before I bought it. The Secteur felt boring.

I never got a bike fit. Just didn't want to spend the £200. But I've had a hard time getting comfortable on the bike, which is why I haven't increase my mileage. Some days are amazing, but others I have lower back pain and/or pain/cramping in my hands and elbows. I have had a previous lower back injury from soccer, but I'm not sure that has anything to do with the bike.

I'm thinking of finally spending the money on a bike fit, but I'm afraid that I'll either come out of it with nothing, or just a suggestion to buy a new stem, saddle, etc. I've had a pretty good play around with my bike. Can a bike fit make that much of a difference? Or should I be considering saving that £200 and adding it to the £800 I'd get from selling my Tarmac and putting it all toward a less aggressive bike?

THanks!
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Old 03-26-14, 06:20 PM
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Several on the forum have recommended the following website to find out proper bike fit:

Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist

I haven't used it myself but it's virtue is that it's free at the very least.

Perhaps look around for a shop that will charge a bit less for a fitting. 200 pounds sounds pretty outrageous to have them take a few measurements. You can have a friend do the same at no cost.

If the shop will allow a credit of that 200 pounds towards the purchase of a bike either in full or for most of the amount, it might be different.

I had a fitting done years ago but it cost me nothing. They took a few basic measurements and gave me a sizing recommendation. Good shop. I did buy two bikes from them and recommended them to friends as a result.
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Old 03-26-14, 06:30 PM
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£200 does seem an awful lot. Shop local to me will do it on a trainer and help you apply the measurements to your bike for about £80. Theres a place back home that uses a fancy motion sensor and computer program to map your movements and will do it for around £120 IIRC.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:33 PM
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The competitive cyclist calculator is an ok place to start, but it's not going to help you fit your bike. It's more about identifying the size bike you need.

In your shoes, I'd probably start with a more basic fit. Here they are $50 - $100 dollars and last about an hour. I got one and I was amazed that a few very small adjustments made a big difference. Before my next bike purchase I will get a full on fit (Specialized BG, Retul, or Guru) as part of the buying process.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:48 PM
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cyling in an effecient position will often create some residual discomfort, IME. i would give it some time.

even today, as one that rides 140-250 miles per week, i can experience what you describe if i exceed the time and distances i have become accustomed to.

that, of course, doesn't mean that things can't be improved upon, but i think you are right in not shelling out 200 pounds for some stranger to tell you what they think will work for you.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain
Several on the forum have recommended the following website to find out proper bike fit:

Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist

I haven't used it myself but it's virtue is that it's free at the very least.

Perhaps look around for a shop that will charge a bit less for a fitting. 200 pounds sounds pretty outrageous to have them take a few measurements. You can have a friend do the same at no cost.

If the shop will allow a credit of that 200 pounds towards the purchase of a bike either in full or for most of the amount, it might be different.

I had a fitting done years ago but it cost me nothing. They took a few basic measurements and gave me a sizing recommendation. Good shop. I did buy two bikes from them and recommended them to friends as a result.
Getting a bike fit is not the same thing as choosing a size at all. A proper fit is all about adjusting the bike to put you in the correct position to optimize comfort and performance. It can be really involved and takes into account your specific body measurements and flexibility. It may, or may not involve swapping out some of the stock parts.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:02 PM
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I didn't say that getting recommended numbers for a bike fit was the same as having a bike fitted.

Some forum members love to put words in people's mouths to try to make themselves look 'real smart.'

Apparently a far more gratifying endeavor than reading people's posts and offering an informed, intelligent reply.

Originally Posted by dmcdam
Getting a bike fit is not the same thing as choosing a size at all. A proper fit is all about adjusting the bike to put you in the correct position to optimize comfort and performance. It can be really involved and takes into account your specific body measurements and flexibility. It may, or may not involve swapping out some of the stock parts.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:13 PM
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There are some nice youtube video guides on doing a self fitting. I don't believe in bike shop fits either.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain
I didn't say that getting recommended numbers for a bike fit was the same as having a bike fitted.

Some forum members love to put words in people's mouths to try to make themselves look 'real smart.'

Apparently a far more gratifying endeavor than reading people's posts and offering an informed, intelligent reply.
Reread your post there Tiger. A proper fitting is not the same thing as taking a few basic measurements. At all.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dmcdam
Reread your post there Tiger. A proper fitting is not the same thing as taking a few basic measurements. At all.
Keep trollin, man. Very mature. I admire your persistence, however.

....and don't call me tiger, weirdo. Only proper nouns are capitalized--future reference for your incoherent yet highly persistent trolling.

Last edited by roadandmountain; 03-27-14 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 03-27-14, 06:09 PM
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OP, I'm going to go against the grain here...£200 isn't a lot of money for a good, comprehensive fit. What exactly does their fitting consist of?

I spent $400 on mine, it went well over two hours and was extraordinarily comprehensive. It began with a flexibility assessment followed by a static fit. Then I was hooked up to a cycling computer that tracked my power output per leg as well as filming my overall motion for analysis. Throughout the process many adjustments were made on the fly. I spent a good hour and a half riding my bike on the trainer during this process. I've been extremely happy with my results. I now have in my possession a fit profile that I can apply as a starting template to any bike.

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Old 03-27-14, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by UnfilteredDregs
OP, I'm going to go against the grain here...£200 isn't a lot of money for a good, comprehensive fit. What exactly does their fitting consist of?

I spent $400 on mine, it went well over two hours and was extraordinarily comprehensive. It began with a flexibility assessment followed by a static fit. Then I was hooked up to a cycling computer that tracked my power output per leg as well as filming my overall motion for analysis. Throughout the process many adjustments were made on the fly. I spent a good hour and a half riding my bike on the trainer during this process. I've been extremely happy with my results. I now have in my possession a fit profile that I can apply as a starting template to any bike.

It sounds like you got your money's worth. Excellent!
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Old 03-27-14, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain

Perhaps look around for a shop that will charge a bit less for a fitting. 200 pounds sounds pretty outrageous to have them take a few measurements. You can have a friend do the same at no cost.

If the shop will allow a credit of that 200 pounds towards the purchase of a bike either in full or for most of the amount, it might be different.

I had a fitting done years ago but it cost me nothing. They took a few basic measurements and gave me a sizing recommendation. Good shop. I did buy two bikes from them and recommended them to friends as a result.
Nice - aced the grammar portion of the exam but clearly should have hired a tutor for the comprehension.

Getting a few basic measurements and giving a sizing recommendation is not a fitting. It's okay to say you haven't had one done.

Why so angry?
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Old 03-27-14, 06:44 PM
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I know, I know. Puberty is tough.

Originally Posted by dmcdam
Nice - aced the grammar portion of the exam but clearly should have hired a tutor for the comprehension.

Getting a few basic measurements and giving a sizing recommendation is not a fitting. It's okay to say you haven't had one done.

Why so angry?
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Old 03-27-14, 06:52 PM
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btw, sorry about the trolling by dam in your thread. I've reported his baiting, so you shouldn't have to deal with it any further.

For the posters who have contributed positively, thanks all!

Originally Posted by rtwilli4
I bough a Tarmac about a year ago. I'm not a serious rider… I just enjoy spending time outdoors and a bike is the easiest way to get out of the city. I commute 60 or so miles a week on a Langster and do another 60 or so on my Tarmac. I only bought such a nice bike because I got a promotion at work and had some extra room in the monthly budget. I got 25% off and 18 months 0% financing from a shop that I really like, so it seemed a no brainer. I test rode a bunch of bikes (including a Secteur because they didnt have a Roubaix) and the Tarmac was just the most fun. It felt comfortable, but obviously I only went for a few short test rides before I bought it. The Secteur felt boring.

I never got a bike fit. Just didn't want to spend the £200. But I've had a hard time getting comfortable on the bike, which is why I haven't increase my mileage. Some days are amazing, but others I have lower back pain and/or pain/cramping in my hands and elbows. I have had a previous lower back injury from soccer, but I'm not sure that has anything to do with the bike.

I'm thinking of finally spending the money on a bike fit, but I'm afraid that I'll either come out of it with nothing, or just a suggestion to buy a new stem, saddle, etc. I've had a pretty good play around with my bike. Can a bike fit make that much of a difference? Or should I be considering saving that £200 and adding it to the £800 I'd get from selling my Tarmac and putting it all toward a less aggressive bike?

THanks!
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Old 03-27-14, 06:54 PM
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Okay enough bantering here. So please stop it.

Measuring yourself for a fit on a bike is a lot different from get fitted on a fit bike. Not only do they take the basic measurements, but they also measure bone length, position of feet while pedaling (toe in, toe out), they check your gait when walking, they have you pedal for 20 mins to see if you start to change positions on the bars, etc. A lot of people who get custom bikes have this done, hence the reason it is "custom".

Please take it as you will, there is no arguing over what is right for an individual. What may be proper for one person may not meet the needs of another. We are all individuals, which is why we need to make out bikes FIT.

Now stop the debating.

By the way, name calling and accusations are not cool either.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind
Okay enough bantering here. So please stop it.

Measuring yourself for a fit on a bike is a lot different from get fitted on a fit bike. Not only do they take the basic measurements, but they also measure bone length, position of feet while pedaling (toe in, toe out), they check your gait when walking, they have you pedal for 20 mins to see if you start to change positions on the bars, etc. A lot of people who get custom bikes have this done, hence the reason it is "custom".

Please take it as you will, there is no arguing over what is right for an individual. What may be proper for one person may not meet the needs of another. We are all individuals, which is why we need to make out bikes FIT.

Now stop the debating.

By the way, name calling and accusations are not cool either.
Thank you.
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Old 03-27-14, 07:24 PM
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OP - £200 is a fair price for a comprehensive bike fitting. Assuming it's done correctly, it's one of the more cost-effective ways to improve your cycling. I'd do that before I'd trade bikes.
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Old 03-27-14, 08:43 PM
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Does your langster fit? Match the langster fit to the Tarmac fit.

Duh.
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Old 03-28-14, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rtwilli4
I'm thinking of finally spending the money on a bike fit, but I'm afraid that I'll either come out of it with nothing, or just a suggestion to buy a new stem, saddle, etc. I've had a pretty good play around with my bike. Can a bike fit make that much of a difference? Or should I be considering saving that £200 and adding it to the £800 I'd get from selling my Tarmac and putting it all toward a less aggressive bike?
OP, you may consider these options:
1) read lots online about bike fit, and then (with a small set of allen wrenches) play around with your fit. give each adjustment at least one good ride before you determine something is off. do you have a trainer?
2) post videos here so the seasoned bf'ers can start pointing you in the right direction re stem length, handlebar tilt, and seat height. hopefully your frame size is close enough (i suspect it is).
3) pay for a bike fitting, but 200 GBP seems like a lot for a bike fit. you should be able to find a cheaper place. many people leave a bike fitting still feeling ill-fitted. after you pay for a fitting, be sure to appraise the fit critically and make adjustments as necessary. some fitters will follow up on you for free.
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Old 03-28-14, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain
200 pounds sounds pretty outrageous to have them take a few measurements. You can have a friend do the same at no cost.

...

I had a fitting done years ago but it cost me nothing. They took a few basic measurements and gave me a sizing recommendation.
That really sounds outrageous! Fortunately, more often than not a 200 pound fit will be far more than "them taking a few measurements", and will be very different from the free fitting you had done years ago.


OP, I would recommend against buying a new bicycle before you have identified what exactly the problems are with the current one. If you think 200 is too steep, look around for a cheaper option, but also make sure you are informed exactly what each fitting will consist of - i.e. what is their methodology, are any follow ups included in the price, how much would it cost to be fitted on a new bike, or new pedals/cleat/shoes once your optimal fit has been found, etc.
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Old 03-28-14, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by roadandmountain
Thank you.
I wasn't singling anyone out.
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Old 03-28-14, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind
I wasn't singling anyone out.
I know you weren't. A simple thank you for posting without name calling and for staying on topic. Best.
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Old 03-28-14, 04:57 AM
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Spending the money on a comprehensive FIT is always good money IMO. I did this before buying my Tarmac. The Tarmac fits me like a glove and I have no problems with my back, hands, neck or other. I can ride the Tarmac for hours with nothing bugging me. I have similar bikes, but the FIT Tarmac always feels silky smooth to me vs. other bikes which I "somewhat" put into FIT range.

I also think the carbon frame helps vs. the others which are aluminum.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:33 AM
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I would get a fit before buying a new bike. A proper fit is the best upgrade i have made to any of my bikes. My first fit helped identify and trouble shoot issues I would have had trouble doing on my own. I usually can get my fit fairly close on my own, but after my fitter makes a few final adjustments I feel noticeably more efficient.

If you are set on a new bike some fitters offer pre purchase fittings and will help you figure out what bikes would fit you well, and dial in your fit after you purchase one.
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