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Thread: Can we talk about lame fitting?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by peanutgallery View Post
    I, too, have seen ill fit on many a Serotta over the years, particularly the customs. Too much head tube and too little seatpost, makes me want to crash just looking at it. The sloping top tube can put an even odder look on a bike. Not just Serotta, look at many folks on custom Sevens and a few other brands. I think they might just outsmart themselves in an attempt to please customers, build custom bikes (sized by someone at some shop - what makes all of them experts?) and do it on a large scale. Seems like a bit of a risk if you are of average height and build.

    I can see a few millimeters or a degree of angle here and there to accentuate different attributes, but I scratch my head as to where some of these configurations come from. Money talks I guess. The build quality is flawless though
    You my friend are 100% correct and if the customer is happy then everything is good. What you and I think about specific bikes issues are for this type of discussion. Bottom line is king.
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  2. #22
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    SAAB, I had a similar experience to yours about two years ago. A young cyclist caught up to me during my ride and asked if he could pedal with me. I said I was glad for the company. I glanced at his bike and saw that it was a Serotta. However, it wasn't just a Serotta, but rather a shopping cart with a Serotta decal on the down tube. This frame had a head tube that was about two miles long and the handlebars were above his ears. He was a fit, early twenty something kid. I could tell that cycling wasn't his first sport by the way he pedaled, but I knew he was an athlete. I asked him what other sports he did, and he said he was a rower. It turns out that he was a collegiate light weight rower and just won the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. The Dad Vail regatta is a very prestigious regatta. So, here is a fit kid riding a shopping cart, and naturally I asked him if the bike was his. He answered, yes. He offered that he had it custom made for him and was looking forward to begin cycle racing in the summer to complement his rowing fitness. I fell silent. This poor kid (with no back issues, he's a rower for gods sake!) got fitted for a custom bike that looks and rides like a shopping cart. How can this happen?
     

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackB View Post
    You my friend are 100% correct and if the customer is happy then everything is good. What you and I think about specific bikes issues are for this type of discussion. Bottom line is king.
    Yea...Serotta is a business. They also re walking a fine line between good fitters and not so good fitters who sell volume. Add to that strong willed buyers who think they know more than the fitter coupled with fitters that will do anything to sell a bike and it's a recipe for disaster. One thing to keep in mind though is that they move a lot of bikes.......I think the majority of them are fit pretty well....unfortunatly, we all notice the bad ones.

    I was sitting after my ride today beside the Monom in Indy for about an hour reading & enjoying the sun. After a while I started just watching the people going by..........it was amazing how many bikes weren't fit right. I'm not just talking cruisers, I'm talking pretty high end bikes with riders using the trail to get to or from rides. Seat too high...seat too low...to far forward.........It's amazing with a quick glance what your eye sees. The (long winded ....sorry) point is that there are more bad fitters than good fitters.

    Len
     

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by peanutgallery View Post
    I, too, have seen ill fit on many a Serotta over the years, particularly the customs. Too much head tube and too little seatpost, makes me want to crash just looking at it. The sloping top tube can put an even odder look on a bike. Not just Serotta, look at many folks on custom Sevens and a few other brands. I think they might just outsmart themselves in an attempt to please customers, build custom bikes (sized by someone at some shop - what makes all of them experts?) and do it on a large scale. Seems like a bit of a risk if you are of average height and build.

    I can see a few millimeters or a degree of angle here and there to accentuate different attributes, but I scratch my head as to where some of these configurations come from. Money talks I guess. The build quality is flawless though
    The irony of this thread is bizarre...everything has progressed except fit ?

    The original iconic "fit" if I'm not mistaken was based on a pool of Italian amateurs or something (someone feel free to correct me) in the 70's as I understand it. Granted the "pro" look does aesthetically please me personally, I am however one of the pleased customers who has benefited from the balls to stray from being "cool" by companies like Serotta and Seven.

    What "makes all of them" experts at the shops...well maybe that they do it for a living? Look, I am not trying to be a smarty here but anyone who has spent time in a bike shop knows a ton of folks have issues with their necks, back ,hands etc. It has been shown that being comfortable has it's rewards both in , well, comfort and in some cases wattage (I am no expert on that though).

    We ditched friction shifting, toe clips, one bottle of water for the whole ride, and leaded gas but we kept the same fit? Think of the "new" fit as progression, at least for those who benefit from it and it makes sense. If you can comfortably look euro I am jealous, but I would rather ride than go to the chiropractor personally.
     

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFSTEKL View Post
    This poor kid (with no back issues, he's a rower for gods sake!) got fitted for a custom bike that looks and rides like a shopping cart. How can this happen?
    I think this has been said, so pardon if I'm repeating sentiments already stated.

    Since fitting often relies a lot on rider feedback, new riders that go for a full-on fit session and a custom bike often don't know what a well-fitting bike feels like. They may not even be used to riding a (road) bike! So, when they go through the fit session, they end up with what I call the "lounge chair" fit, since that's what feels best over the 30 minutes to a few hours.

    The reference point isn't cycling for long distances (or however it is they intend to cycle), it's something else, like a car seat or a chair.

    I reckon most brand new road cyclist won't know what will feel good/allow them to pedal well. Even physically fit people will need a period to adjust to a road cycling position, on top of learning how to handle the bike (turning, braking, shifting).
     

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post
    ...But he then tells how during his fitting process he tried different positions on the bike and in this position he produces substantially more watts for a given heart rate than in other positions.
    This seems like a horrible way to determine your position. Sure, you might produce 10 more whats for a given heart rate, or whatever, but how much will that matter when you've dramatically increased frontal area?
    Last edited by cody.wms; 03-22-2009 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Can't spell.
     

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len J View Post
    Yea...Serotta is a business. They also re walking a fine line between good fitters and not so good fitters who sell volume. Add to that strong willed buyers who think they know more than the fitter coupled with fitters that will do anything to sell a bike and it's a recipe for disaster. One thing to keep in mind though is that they move a lot of bikes.......I think the majority of them are fit pretty well....unfortunatly, we all notice the bad ones.

    I was sitting after my ride today beside the Monom in Indy for about an hour reading & enjoying the sun. After a while I started just watching the people going by..........it was amazing how many bikes weren't fit right. I'm not just talking cruisers, I'm talking pretty high end bikes with riders using the trail to get to or from rides. Seat too high...seat too low...to far forward.........It's amazing with a quick glance what your eye sees. The (long winded ....sorry) point is that there are more bad fitters than good fitters.

    Len
    Len,

    I agree with you 100 percent. They do walk a fine line.
    Ultraendure.com

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbl View Post
    I think this has been said, so pardon if I'm repeating sentiments already stated.

    Since fitting often relies a lot on rider feedback, new riders that go for a full-on fit session and a custom bike often don't know what a well-fitting bike feels like. They may not even be used to riding a (road) bike! So, when they go through the fit session, they end up with what I call the "lounge chair" fit, since that's what feels best over the 30 minutes to a few hours.

    The reference point isn't cycling for long distances (or however it is they intend to cycle), it's something else, like a car seat or a chair.

    I reckon most brand new road cyclist won't know what will feel good/allow them to pedal well. Even physically fit people will need a period to adjust to a road cycling position, on top of learning how to handle the bike (turning, braking, shifting).
    Do you think that Eddy Merckx would have fit this kid this way?
     

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFSTEKL View Post
    Do you think that Eddy Merckx would have fit this kid this way?
    Doubtful. But then, Merckx would probably have just given the kid a bike and a few months of coaching. Or not. I don't know the guy (personally). :-P

    I'm not defending the system. Setting aside how I feel about them, I don't even think it's a good idea for new riders to go through such fit sessions. Better to have a knowledgeable someone put you in a good position to begin with.

    OTOH, as a new rider, how can you spot such a person or verify that this person knows what they're doing?
     

  10. #30
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    its really on you the rider.
    think about your bike and why and how it works.
    you are your fit expert.

    bad advice and bad set ups are everywhere.

    its a skill.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  11. #31
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    It is not just frames that are ill fitting.
    It looks like people actually forgot how to allign cleats.
    I'm amazed at how many knees are sticking out with heels rubbing crank arms.
    WTF is going on thses days.
    I think a lot of the problem is people taking short cuts.
    I know it took a while and miles and miles to get the position right for me.
    Someone hit on it earlier. A young or less experienced rider has no reference
    point. What may feel good for a nice 10 mile jaunt may feel awful at mile 80.
    But who am I to judge? I just keep my mouth shut and worry about my roll.
     

  12. #32
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    Watts per heart rate on a non-experienced rider appears to be the problem. Yes wind resistance is left out, but also pedaling technique, muscle firing sequence (bet the guys being fit are quad pushing only), flexibility...and do you think the fitter is asking if they are comfortable? Maybe it's watts per heart rate per comfort?

    Sounds like people going for custom before they're ready and the dealer is letting them without guidance, perhaps selfishly thinking they'll get another sale out of them down the road when they've learned and seen more, but if not, bird in the hand.

    jerk was my original fitter...thank goodness.
     

  13. #33
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    despite extreme examples given .
    i thk position is something you zero in on over time.
    not always easy to get it right the first time.
    everyone has had a bike that wasnt right for some reason.

    but, for sure, mistakes are made by "fitters".
    these are usually the use of a formula where common sense is required..
    like wstekls rower... he was fit like a 50 yr old novice.. and he wasnt one.
     

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveP View Post
    despite extreme examples given .
    i thk position is something you zero in on over time.
    not always easy to get it right the first time.
    everyone has had a bike that wasnt right for some reason.

    but, for sure, mistakes are made by "fitters".
    these are usually the use of a formula where common sense is required..
    like wstekls rower... he was fit like a 50 yr old novice.. and he wasnt one.
    bingo.

    that's why my first road bike cost $299

    -g
     

  15. #35
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    I think that if you can't find a way to fit on a stock bike geo or a race bike from the many companies out there, you have to rethink things. An Ottrott, Meivici and the like were initially designed to be race bikes and are very capable when built up as such. The rider should ask themselves the following:

    1) you are asking a race bike to be something it isn't
    2) you aren't giving yourself enough time to acclimate to a race bike position

    A custom bike done right won't have to stray from the same parameters stock race bikes are made from.

    There are other bikes out there like touring and randonneur that have different fit expectations and would better suit some of the riders that try to squeeze themselves on race bikes.

    -Eric
     

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantM View Post
    bingo.

    that's why my first road bike cost $299

    -g
    Same here - started on a box-stock, low-to-mid Bianchi when I was a teenage punk. No more than $350 back in 1984. Road that for three years, had my ass kicked at local rides, had tons of fun riding, slowly learned the craft, eventually got a race license...

    I didn't get my first fitting until three years later, so I was no longer a rank beginner, from Mike Barry Sr. Couldn't have gotten a more expert eye than that. To this day, all the custom frames that I order retains his influence, along with Hampco.
     

  17. #37
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    During the past several years, some builders/companies seem to have specialized in the new categories of uber-expensive and fasterbackwards.
    Fit is directly proportional to fitness.

  18. #38
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    Saab,

    That is an excellent rant, and sums up the problem with many custom fittings.

    Atmo, the problem started when companies like Seven and Serotta started selling "custom" as a feature - custom ride, custom paint, custom fit, etc. - Once you surrender your expertise to your customers (or your salespeople), you start down a slippery slope. At the bottom of that slope sit the fitters who treat athletic 20-somethings as if they're overweight 50-somethings.

    I disagree with what gbdave says about these fasterbackwards designs being some kind of advancement. The safety bicycle is a mature technology when it comes to the fundamentals. And the human body hasn't changed in the last 100 years, except that Americans are fatter. If he considers geo changes to accommodate fat riders to be an innovation, well, I will politely disagree.

    Yes, some of us have unusually long arms, or fused vertebra. But the vast majority of us will fit just fine on a stock geo bike: The Bell Curve is us! So for all but the body-size outliers or the physically challenged, the only real task is finding a framebuilder that truly understands geometry, and then getting out of the way.

    As far as the business question: Serotta made their bed and now they've got to sleep in it. They never learned to say "no" to the bad fitters and ignorant customers. I can't say whether that was a conscious strategic choice or design ignorance, but the result is the same either way - lots of fasterbackwards bikes that never should have left the drawing board.
    GO!

  19. #39
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    david, i see as many bad fits on stock bikes as i do on custom bikes. it just takes time and relentlessness and a process of discovery to settle in and find what works.

    stock sizes are as arbitrary as many custom sizes.

    it also seems we are in a world of people with back problems that do nothing to work on
    their cores and lose weight.

    it doesn't have to be a mystical process (fit).
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by swoop View Post
    david, i see as many bad fits on stock bikes as i do on custom bikes. it just takes time and relentlessness and a process of discovery to settle in and find what works.

    stock sizes are as arbitrary as many custom sizes.

    it also seems we are in a world of people with back problems that do nothing to work on
    their cores and lose weight.

    it doesn't have to be a mystical process (fit).
    Right on. My wife sees this all the time as a yoga instructor: people with various "injuries" because a) they are not curious enough to seek out qualified information, and b) are not willing to work for their fitness.
     

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