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Thread: Can we talk about lame fitting?

  1. #41
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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).
    Then somebody put them on the wrong stock size.
    But in fairness, a lot of what I call stock sizes have disappeared.
    It used to be sizes were offered in cm increments.
    Usually a square geo (seat tube / top tube the same).
    Cinelli offfered quill stems from 100 to 140 in .5 cm increments. The height was easy to adjust etc. They were cheap so could easily be swapped out.
    So you could get dialed in pretty well on stock.
    People went to custom when they wanted some minor changes in geo, better
    craftsmanship and artistry.



    I actually wonder how many "fitters" actually fit on their rides.
     

  2. #42
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    I think that the biggest problem in the cases of the Grand Rapids guy and the rower, are that they both jumped into cycling (wallet first) and didn't spend the time rising up the ranks. It seems to happen a lot with people who are athletic and successful in other sports. They feel that because they are far more fit than the average schmoe, that they will skip the apprenticeship, get a pro (custom) frame and become a top racer.
    Since these guys haven't put in long hours in the saddle, they don't know what proper fit is, so they assume that being super comfortable at first is the way to go.
    I strongly agree that these kind of guys would be much better suited on stock, out of the box, race bikes for the first couple of years.
    I think that a lot of the smaller, custom builders would even tell you that, but as you move to the bigger custom builders, there doesn't seem to be an accountable person in between the shop (fitter) and manufacturer to intervene and tell the novice rider what they really need.
    That is a bummer.
     

  3. #43
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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.
    Agreed. That's why I wrote this: "the only real task is finding a framebuilder that truly understands geometry, and then getting out of the way." That could be Giant or Colnago or Zanconato or...

    But I didn't give proper credence to the importance of being a knowledgeable rider. Riding thousands of miles is the path to self-knowledge, huh?
    GO!

  4. #44
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    rico,
    im with you.. too many bikes come in five sizes when they used to come in fifteen.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by stormyClouds View Post
    I think that the biggest problem in the cases of the Grand Rapids guy and the rower, are that they both jumped into cycling (wallet first) and didn't spend the time rising up the ranks. It seems to happen a lot with people who are athletic and successful in other sports. They feel that because they are far more fit than the average schmoe, that they will skip the apprenticeship, get a pro (custom) frame and become a top racer.
    Since these guys haven't put in long hours in the saddle, they don't know what proper fit is, so they assume that being super comfortable at first is the way to go.
    I strongly agree that these kind of guys would be much better suited on stock, out of the box, race bikes for the first couple of years.
    I think that a lot of the smaller, custom builders would even tell you that, but as you move to the bigger custom builders, there doesn't seem to be an accountable person in between the shop (fitter) and manufacturer to intervene and tell the novice rider what they really need.
    That is a bummer.
    I disagree that the rower should not have jumped in with his wallet first. This kid didn't have any money. He mentioned how long it took him to save for his custom Serotta. The shop that fit him must assume most of the responsibility for the atrocious fit. A professional fitter/builder like Sachs, Zank, Merckx, Pegoretti et al, would not make, or recommend a shopping cart for this kid. As a matter of fact, shopping carts in the guise of road racing machines is a pretty recent phenomenon. I don't think that it is an influx of money that is at the root of this problem. It is a bunch of folks (fitters) that don't have a clue about the sport, no?
     

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by WFSTEKL View Post
    I disagree that the rower should not have jumped in with his wallet first. This kid didn't have any money. He mentioned how long it took him to save for his custom Serotta. The shop that fit him must assume most of the responsibility for the atrocious fit. A professional fitter/builder like Sachs, Zank, Merckx, Pegoretti et al, would not make, or recommend a shopping cart for this kid. As a matter of fact, shopping carts in the guise of road racing machines is a pretty recent phenomenon. I don't think that it is an influx of money that is at the root of this problem. It is a bunch of folks (fitters) that don't have a clue about the sport, no?
    My point about the money was that it isn't necessary to drop money on a custom when he probably would have been better suited on a used $1k Caad9, etc that he could race for a couple of seasons before deciding if he needed/wanted a custom. Seems like many new guys don't know what they want with custom geometry anyway.
    I agree that the shop should assume some responsibility, but there are many factors at work there. Maybe he was fit by the crusty touring guy at the shop instead of one of the racer guys. Or perhaps he wasn't super clear when describing what he would be using the bike for (or didn't know at the time).
    If he went into a shop and said he wanted a race frame and they gave him what you described, then I agree, and that is definitely a shame and a problem.
    On the other hand, if you can't look at your drawing and know that a size 54 frame with a 30 cm headtube doesn't look like a race bike, then you haven't spent enough time riding/racing to know what a race bike looks like and probably shouldn't be buying an expensive frame yet.
     

  7. #47
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    here is a good place to start with a prospective fitter. Ask him if he can touch his toes.....
     

  8. #48
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    allot of consumers just don't know, and sadly, allot of fitters just can't "fit." a guy send me a batch of #'s off of his fit cycle that had sadly, forgot to include the fact that a fork was going to be used with the bicycle.......then there's just riding the trends to deal with too. someone asked the other day if i could build his wife a 29er & then said she rode a 700c x 48cm road bike and had bad toe overlap with anything other then 23c......one could see where in less then ideal financial climes a hungry bike shop could "fit" this person, send the #'s to a frame shop that needs to make the bottom line and *poof* wierd bike on the way. Steve.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

  9. #49
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    Default Lame Fits

    You can't blame Serotta so much as you can blame the fitter, shop, and/or consumer.
    Fitters just want to sell bikes- they may fit someone who is too inexperienced to know how they should sit. Or in some cases, the rider has some pain that they are looking for a quick fix for. They don't really want to spend a winter in a core training or yoga class.
    Shops- same. They just want to move metal. They will sell a long and low racing bike to the upright customer, or a shopping cart to a fit kid- don't really care in many cases.
    The real fix is to buy a "regular" off the road racing bike, ride it a couple thousand miles, then decide where you need to go from there.
    What is worse? A fit kid on a "shopping cart" or a tight upright guy on full daddy racer with 4cm of spacers, an upturned stem, and his bars and hoods rotated all "ghetto" to get them as high as possible?
    They are both bad if they spent a whole bunch of money to get there.
     

  10. #50
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    Default Equipment, Riding, Fitness, Fit

    Here's how to get a proper fit:

    1) Buy a stock roadbike - let the 16 year old at the shop pick the size.
    2) Ride, Ride, Ride
    3) Tweak stock road bike - saddle position, stem, Bars, maybe cleats
    4) Ride, Ride, Ride
    5) Start to understand training and power and heart rate
    6) Ride, Ride, Ride
    7) Understand equipment limitations and trade-offs (weight vs durability)
    8) Determine what kind of riding style fits you (racing, commuting, day ride)
    9) Then sign up for fit session and custom bike.


    Lot's of folks skip steps 1-8. Escpecally folks with money.
     

  11. #51
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    i think everyone is entitled to come to it how ever they will, and end up wherever they will.
    its an expensive buy-in even at the low end and all one can hope is that you have a craig or a grant at your local shop willing to get you on the right bike that fits good enough that you're on your way.

    even if your buy in is a serotta fabulon/4thousand that only costs 9k and was originally ridden by hampsten in the giro even if it was a bespoke landshark, it doesn't matter.
    spend what makes you happy.. but, know that ... discovering your body and fit is a process no different than refining your pedaling.

    just try and not start with some grotesque position with the bars higher than the saddle because the thing isn't designed to function well that way. know that most folks are drawn to horse saddles because they are sitting too upright, know that a back injury doesn't mean you have to sit on the bike wrong, and stop comparing yourselves to guys that train 20 hours a week and wondering why you don't sit on the bike the same way.

    like all things, you get out of it what you put in, and none of that has to do with the cost or name on the frame.

    and also know that fit is a dynamic thing. its a conversation between you, the bike, and a reliable witness that's supposed to know how to ride, rather than know how to sell bikes.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  12. #52
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    ps, half the time its not your back anyway, its your ridiculously tight hamstrings.
    go stretch.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  13. #53
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    Default Lame fits

    Add getting your shoes and pedals dialed to the neccessary list. I see so many people riding with their feet jacked-up. This inhibits their abilty to ever pedal a bike correctly. Lots set up with too tight a stance for their build and cleats too far forward. Makes 'em pedal like Yosemite Sam with knees flailing out. Often the Sidi/Speedplay combo is the worst.
     

  14. #54
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    Other than elitism, does it matter if the headtube was medium-height with 2" of spacers or if the headtube was very tall without any spacers? Does it matter if one takes a Cervelo R3 and turns it into an RS with liberal use of spacers?

    Level saddle-to-bar drop does not seem like a far fetched place to start your journal into cycling, as was described to be the case with the Serotta riding rower from the OP. Besides, some bars with a steep transition to the hoods actually sets the hoods an inch or inch-and-half lower than the tops of the bar.
     

  15. #55
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    all kidding aside, you have to look at the whole person on the whole bike.
    everybody grows up with custom length arms and torso.
    shrink, terrorist, poet, president of concerned cyclists for the abolishment of bovine source bicycle parts and head of the disaffected commie dishwashers union.

  16. #56
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    i'm looking forward to throwing up pics of my new bike and seeing what you guys have to say =)
     

  17. #57
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    I love these posts where we all get to rant and still be in agreement because the collective wisdom is unassailable, right, and shared by everyone, the very definition of orthodox. jeez. so for fun, why don't I throw some dissent /devil's advocate into the pot.

    your job is to design a custom frame for someone (a doofus, we all agree, because s/he has not paid their proper dues yet, so not in our club) relatively new to the sport. you either 1) put them in a proper euro position, they complain of back pain, inability to generate much power, because they ride a bike like a runner, etc., and are never really comfortable with the handling because they can't master holding a straight line because of a depth grip, and they quit the sport--and we get a new thread going about yet another meivici some idiot bought that is now in the classifieds...

    or 2. you recognize the need for growth into the position and sport, so you put them more upright (saab noted 2 inches of spacers) to begin, because they still don't know how to pedal with glutes and lack conditioning for getting the bars lower, but they have the option of either keeping current set up or losing the spacers and dropping the bars a good 5cm without buying a new frame and maybe even slapping on a jerk-approved stem when they really get it, cause yeah, maybe the top tube is a little short, but it was his first good bike, and he really still loves it...

    I'm not saying there are not "less-qualified" fitters out there or mistakes made, but there are many more "less qualified" clients, who, yes, want to buy a big bucks frame. so what's better, option 1 or 2 above?

    the "right" fit for a beginner will not coincide with that of a conditioned athlete, just like the "right" wine for the first-time drinker will taste awful to a connaisseur and vice versa. and you can't call the sommelier an idiot for serving white zinfandel to the former

    I just wanted to break up the retro grouch love fest, cheers
     

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by giordana93 View Post

    your job is to design a custom frame for someone (a doofus, we all agree, because s/he has not paid their proper dues yet, so not in our club) relatively new to the sport. you either 1) put them in a proper euro position, they complain of back pain, inability to generate much power, because they ride a bike like a runner, etc., and are never really comfortable with the handling because they can't master holding a straight line because of a depth grip, and they quit the sport--and we get a new thread going about yet another meivici some idiot bought that is now in the classifieds...
    them's fightin words
     

  19. #59
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    i can't hold a straight line because of depth of grip?


    hey, folks... lets keep this sensible, there is a broad range of fit, and the needs and position of a 25 year old that has to pull back breaks or get pummeled by his ds are vastly different than a punter with a love of lycra, wool blends, and a soft sentimental gaze back to his glory days.

    i suppose the op is referencing the fits we often castigate as fasterbackwards, rather than the inherent beauty of a well fitted bike on a relatively fit rider. you absolutely can be new and have a good fit, just like being ever experienced and having a lousy one.

    i think saab is referencing incredible expensive bikes that seem be designed in a way that the rider can never hope to assume anything that resembles a decent position. and i know that you've seen this.

    there is a different word for that guy in every language. even the Basque have their own word for it.


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

  20. #60
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    OK, I'm a 55 square kind of guy (unless it's a Colnago in which case I'm a 57 - crazy Italians huh?) - always have been and always will be. So my relationship with fitting has maybe not been all that extraordinary.

    But I've always thought of fitting as a game of two halfs - one is truly vital and the other you can take or leave.

    The vital half of the game is the pedal/cleat interface, saddle height and setback. And on that, although I've tweaked loads over the years, I have to say I'm pretty much where I would be put by a fitter (and a Serotta one at that) cos that's where they have put me. And I think there is a lot for a new rider to benefit from with having a fitting in these areas. In fact I'd tell any new cyclists to do it.

    The take or leave half of the game is toptube/stem length and saddle/bar drop. Here I've changed loads over the years and still do, although mainly in saddle/bar drop, hopping off one bike onto another. In this half of the game I've never taken much notice of what a fitter has had to say - which is always "shorter" and "higher". Go with what you feel, longer and lower in summer (less gut, more hamstring stretching) but higher on a city fixed gear (head up for the crazies). It's all good and it all has to be learned, felt.
     

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