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  1. #1
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    Bike Fitting, am I getting ripped off?

    Hi,

    A few years back, I bought a 58cm version of the following bike:

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ve...o-race/p/65271

    The retailer recommended the 58cm size saying that it would be easier to adjust over the 56cm. Since then, my lower back started hurting (a lot!). I tried to mitigate the pain by adjusting the reach using a 100mm/17degree stem, without success.

    My back still hurts so I went to another bike fitter today. After spending $300+ for the fitting, they said that the current frame is just too big, and they cannot adjust it to fit me. They also thought that my back pain was due to the large bike frame.

    They recommended me buying this frame as a large:

    https://www.storckworld.com/bike-fin...erfast-pro-g2/

    This is another $4k, so I don't want to buy it. However, I would love to start biking again. They said my body shape is different so I need a frame that is both tall and has a short top tube length. Otherwise I would need to buy a custom frame. They also said it would be difficult to find a frame that will fit me.

    Is this a sales scam? How can I tell if they are correct?

    Thanks,

    Mike

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Most likely not by posting on an internet forum where no one has ever seen you on your bike. I would think a reputable fitter would be able to determine whether the frame is the correct size for you before getting to the point where they feel they need to charge you over $300.00.
    I work for some bike racers
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  3. #3
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    Too little information to make anywhere near a reasonable guess.

    How tall are you? What's your inseam? How much do you weigh? Photos of the bike, and you on the bike, are a must. Where, when, and under what conditions does your back hurt?

    Yeah; having fitters tell you that bike "X" will cure your ill is an expensive test, to say the least. You should be able to as a minimum set up your current bike to alleviate that back pain even if it results in an unusual setup of the bike i.e., changing a setback seatpost for a zero setback, or using an unusually short stem for a large bike. Then, once you nail down the position and are sure the pain is gone, THEN you buy a bike that may be more accommodating.

    So are you getting ripped off? Tell them to give you a WRITTEN guarantee the new bike will cure your back pain or your money back. If they balk that should tell you something about the confidence level of their fit services. I wouldn't call it a ripoff as much as ignorance. Caveat Emptor.

  4. #4
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    does your fitter use one of those completely adjustable bike to fit you?
    If he does, then he should be able to tell if your current frame is too large or not.
    If he doesn't have this adjustable bike, then I'd say for the fee of $300, he's overcharging you.

  5. #5
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    it's beyond my ability to understand how people will post something as vague and devoid of pertinent information as the OP did and expect a reasonable response.
    Ancient Astronaut theorists say, 'YES!'

  6. #6
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    OK, I guess I left out the key information .

    Here is a picture of me on the bike:
    https://imgur.com/a/xXPUmTG

    Here was my measurements that I did myself in the past:

    Measurements
    -------------------------------------------
    Inseam: 84.4
    Trunk: 66
    Forearm: 36.8
    Arm: 71.1
    Thigh: 58.4
    Lower Leg: 57.2
    Sternal Notch: 147.3
    Total Body Height: 182.9

    I am extremely unflexible. I will do 20 miles with some hills. When cranking, I will go around 20 to 21 mph average (faster on the flats). I weigh around 190 lbs.

    The fitter used an adjustable bike to dial in the fit.

    Thank you all for the advice!

    Mike

  7. #7
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    does your fitter use one of those completely adjustable bike to fit you?
    If he does, then he should be able to tell if your current frame is too large or not.
    If he doesn't have this adjustable bike, then I'd say for the fee of $300, he's overcharging you.
    Why would he need one? He's got the OP and his bike...if he can't tell from looking at him on his current bike he should find another job.
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  8. #8
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    How often do you ride, and do you take long breaks off (like entire seasons)?

    Also, how's your core strength?
    Last edited by jetdog9; 06-29-2018 at 06:23 PM.

  9. #9
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    I ride 3-4 times a week (when my back is not hurting) and take the winters off.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetdog9 View Post
    Also, how's your core strength?
    Quote Originally Posted by skibud2 View Post
    I ride 3-4 times a week (when my back is not hurting) and take the winters off.
    skibud2, depending on your age, it could be the back muscle weakness issue. If you are over 35, it's likely the culprit. As we age, all sorts of muscle pain start to appear if no strength exercise is done.

  11. #11
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    Recommending you buy a $4000 Stork seems like complete bullshit to me. Proceed with caution. These fit issues are near impossible to solve here but, GD to me the Specialized looks fine.

    But anyways, buying a $4000 anything and not knowing the cause of the back pain is throwing money away. With zero offset posts and the myriad of stem lengths and angles you think they'd be able to get it close enough. There are so many things that can cause back pain from the shoes/insoles to fit to morphology to saddles I feel for you man. Good luck...most of us have been there.

  12. #12
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    BTW a little yoga can be an unbelievable game changer. You don't need to go to some weird studio where there are baby goats standing on you, just find the P90X Yoga DVD and do it once or twice a week. The first time will seem impossible, but a couple months down the line it will all be doable and you will be amazed at how it affects you athletically.

  13. #13
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    If you plug your numbers into one of the many fit calculators out there, I could see it recommending EITHER a 56 or 58 cm bike. From the photo, I'd have no problem concluding the bike is the right size; oftentimes a rider can fit 2 different size bikes with nary a problem.

    The only clue that the reach to the bars MIGHT be too long is where your hands are resting on the brake hoods. I see they fall short of resting fully on the hoods. That could be an indicator the reach is too long, and could be a cause of your back pain. However, since for the most part your position isn't bad, I'm inclined to look elsewhere.

    Your handlebars don't look too low and your seat height looks ballpark fine, further confirming to me the frame size is good. I think your fitter is all caught up in that "miles of seatpost" look which is in vogue now.

    Your self-admitted lack of flexibility raises a flag.

    Where's the back pain located and what brings it on?

  14. #14
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    So the guy charged you $300 to try and fit you and then told you he couldn't get you to a good fit? Do you like bologna? I think this guy is selling you some at $4.95/lb.

    Looking at your body measurements, my first guess would be that a 58 frame would be correct, but it's possible a 56 might be better for you.

    I agree with others here that so far, your suggestions have been nothing more than trying to fix this problem with an elephant gun.

    The first thing I would do is assess why you have a sore back. Your lack of flexibility is a large factor. Believe me, I know. I was having back issues and that was corrected with flexibility exercises and weight loss.

    The second thing I would do is find a different bike shop. A good bike shop (ask friends and look up ratings) will put you and your bike on their trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to dial in your fit just right. Most shops will do that for free with a bike purchase and will charge you around $100-200 if bringing in a bike from outside. $300 is excessive.

    Third, you say that it was recommended you find a more upright bike - one with a higher stack and shorter reach. If you decide that a new bike is the way to go, look up geometry numbers. STACK and REACH are your most important measurements. You want to look for larger STACK numbers and smaller REACH numbers. Look at bikes that are marketed as endurance rather than performance or race as they are more upright.

    Good luck!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibud2 View Post
    Is this a sales scam? How can I tell if they are correct?
    While I do agree with previous posters about your post being vague, how would we know your fit, depends on the fitter and all that jazz........

    I can objectively say that recommending and Aero all out race bike in response to someone talking of back pain is indeed a scam.

    I put about 50K miles on a Storck (not aero but very similar geo) so know them will. They are very aggressive race frames.

    Now less aggressive isn't necessarily better than more aggressive for some back issues. Although I seriously doubt this bike shop has gone in depth enough to determine more aggressive is better for you, for argument sake let's say that's true. There would be no need to spend $4000 on an Aero race frame to get that. Not to mention the handling and tires clearance. I don't get the impression you'd like a super quick handling bike and not benefit from bigger tires.

    Was this at ATA in Concord MA? If so I'm sure you can put 2 and 2 together and determine why I'd guess that.

    If I'm right and you are in the area. Ditch ATA and go see Roy at Grace cycles in Holliston.
    Depending what he determines he may suggest custom........but I can say with 100% certainty that if he does it's his honest and accurate assessment and not an upsell. And he works with Gunnar (and several others) so by his suggesting custom that doesn't necessarily correlate with him suggesting you spend a ton of money.
    You can also trust that he won't try to sell you any frame at all if it's to do what a $50 stem change could do.
    Last edited by Jay Strongbow; 06-30-2018 at 03:41 AM.

  16. #16
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    You don't have a bike fit issue, you have a back issue.
    Why are you so inflexible?
    You should try stretching / chiropractice / yoga for 3 months and then come back to biking. I started stretching every day for over a year, now not so much, but my back is way better and I just dropped my bars 1.5 mm.
    If you are serious about the bike riding, I would rotate the bars in the stem to where you are on the hoods and can bend your elbows slightly until your back loosens up. I think your bike size is ok if you could get your flexiblity issues resolved.
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  17. #17
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    Wow. Charging $300 for a fitting so that they can try to sell you a $4000 bike? Boy, they must've seen you coming!

    Hey, while you're here, I've got a bridge in New York for sale that you might be interested in......
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibud2 View Post
    A few years back, I bought a 58cm version of the following bike:

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ve...o-race/p/65271

    The retailer recommended the 58cm size saying that it would be easier to adjust over the 56cm. Since then, my lower back started hurting (a lot!). I tried to mitigate the pain by adjusting the reach using a 100mm/17degree stem, without success.
    My assessment on this is that it didn't hurt at the beginning but it started to after some time and it's gotten worse. If I'm right, it seems more and more like the issue with your physique changing over time, be it flexibility and/or strength. After about age 28, our body changes for the worse (never for better unfortunately).

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    Wow. Charging $300 for a fitting so that they can try to sell you a $4000 bike? Boy, they must've seen you coming!
    Most bike shops around me would give free fitting session if a customer buys a bike over $2000.

  20. #20
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    Yes that shop is trying to make a sale off a sore back...probably shouldn’t go there anymore
    Try strengthening your core...I would bet if you could work your way up to 5 min planks your back would not bother you while riding

  21. #21
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    Some, a small minority, due to unusual body proportions, (such as super long legs and short upper torso), need to have a custom frame. Generally speaking though if one falls within ordinary or normal on that issue and their human frame seems to fall within the fit of two sizes of bikes, buying the smaller size is usually best. Normally it is usually easier to fit the smaller frame to the rider than the larger frame.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibud2 View Post
    OK, I guess I left out the key information .

    Here is a picture of me on the bike:
    https://imgur.com/a/xXPUmTG

    Here was my measurements that I did myself in the past:

    Measurements
    -------------------------------------------
    Inseam: 84.4
    Trunk: 66
    Forearm: 36.8
    Arm: 71.1
    Thigh: 58.4
    Lower Leg: 57.2
    Sternal Notch: 147.3
    Total Body Height: 182.9

    I am extremely unflexible. I will do 20 miles with some hills. When cranking, I will go around 20 to 21 mph average (faster on the flats). I weigh around 190 lbs.

    The fitter used an adjustable bike to dial in the fit.

    Thank you all for the advice!

    Mike
    I wouldn't say your overly stretched out. Do some situps.

  23. #23
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackgoo View Post
    I wouldn't say your overly stretched out. Do some situps.
    He doesn't look to be. Planks instead of situps, they'll be easier on the back while working on the core.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    He doesn't look to be. Planks instead of situps, they'll be easier on the back while working on the core.
    Planks are excellent for core strength. That's one of the exercises I did for my back and it helped tremendously.

    Situps or crunches are not recommended if you have a back problem. They can aggravate it.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Situps or crunches are not recommended if you have a back problem. They can aggravate it.
    It's all about the balance. Weak abs can cause back problems since it's an important part of midsection stability but strengthening it without taking care of back strength would be futile effort.

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