Looking for general bike fit adjustment advice.Should a beginner get a real bike fit?
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  1. #1
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    Looking for general bike fit adjustment advice.Should a beginner get a real bike fit?

    So I just got a new 2014 Felt Z95 51cm. Im 5'6 maybe 5'5.. but ive been told twice now that I have short legs (28in inseam from self measurement). so i think that causes me to find smaller bikes more comfortable as far as leg height like the Specialized Allez/Secteur 49cm which states is for people 5'0 to 5'3.

    so the shop eyeballed the seat height real brief and raised it.. and after riding for a bit it just seemed like so much pressure was being pushed into my goodies.. so I found the 109 method and adjusted accordingly and it was MUCH lower than what the LBS set it at.. but it feels better in the crotch area as far as pressure.

    I adjusting my seat fwd as far as the indicator let me so that my kneecap would be aligned with the pedal center (using caged pedals at the moment).

    now my seat post is just really low.. maybe a few inches are showing now and even my handle bars are higher. I tried lowering the handlebars so that it was level with the seat but I felt like my arms were completely stretched out.. and I think all this is being caused because I have the whole short limbs/long torso thing..so I raised the handlebars to the highest and left it

    so my question is am I doing it right? my plan is to buy pedals and shoes so my form wont be moving around but this whole adjustment thing is stressing me out a little bit as im not sure what's supposed to feel comfortable or not cus im new to road biking..

    I was looking up pro bikr fits and theyre costing 200 to 400 dollars! I really wouldn't mind paying a hundred something just to get me on track and alleviate this whole bike fit thing I keep reading about.. but does such a thing even exist? a cheaper, nonpro bike fit? (lol).

    I just dont want to look stupid paying so much money for a bike fit when im completely new and them telling me I don't even need it.. its for seasoned riders really

    anyway just looking for some general advice here... thanks

  2. #2
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    Replied to your other thread.

    Sorry you live in Southern California.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Replied to your other thread.

    Sorry you live in Southern California.
    just responded ;D but why sorry I live in socal?

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    When you moved your seat forward did you raise it? Moving the seat forward causes the distance to the bottom bracket to decrease this you must raise it. Here is the order of adjusting I like to do:
    1) set seat height, then set fore-aft of the seat (using KOPS and Peter White method)
    2) readjust seat height if necessary
    3) adjust handlebar height by adjusting stem spacers
    4) check stem length and get new stem if necessary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc V View Post
    When you moved your seat forward did you raise it? Moving the seat forward causes the distance to the bottom bracket to decrease this you must raise it. Here is the order of adjusting I like to do:
    1) set seat height, then set fore-aft of the seat (using KOPS and Peter White method)
    2) readjust seat height if necessary
    3) adjust handlebar height by adjusting stem spacers
    4) check stem length and get new stem if necessary
    ty for this. well the measurements i got from multiplying my inseam by 109 seemed really short to the other google findings i found about having my leg almost fully extended at the very bottom of the peddle.. so i'm not sure if i'm just measuring myself wrong? gonna mess with things some more and follow your steps 1-4 in order. ty again

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by daletron3030 View Post
    I just dont want to look stupid paying so much money for a bike fit when im completely new and them telling me I don't even need it.. its for seasoned riders really
    No, I think that, particularly for new riders who don't yet know how it's supposed to feel (from an unquoted part of your post), that a fitting is a reasonable expense. You'll learn a lot, as well as getting everything sorted out. It' simportant both int erms of enjoyment and prevention of repetitive stress injuries.

    I was completely clueless when I started out. I had a fitting maybe five months and 1500 miles after I started. It made a huge difference. But more importantly, the fitter explained how it was supposed to feel and how the position was supposed to work.

    Bear in mind that your fit will change over time with experience and increased endurance, power and flexibility. Counting that first fit, I've had five in the past eight years as my fitness has improved and bikes have come and gone. I'm pretty confident now that I can make adjustments as necessary, but when I was starting out, I was completely clueless. It was a valuable experience.

    .

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    Any chance you can provide pictures or a youtube video so we can see what everything looks like with you on the bike?

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    I've had the best luck following Steve Hogg's advice. What's most helpful is he does go through how it should feel.

    I ended up lowering my seat from the LBS 'standard' height they arrived at by measuring my knee angle at various points. The LBS also had the seat as far forward as possible. I ended up pushing it back quite a bit, but that was after a bit of cycling so fit could have affected that move back (which was completely counter intuitive for me).

    I can speak only for me, but I've had good luck with his advice - never have any pain on the bike, which is what I was shooting for. I've adjusted my wife's fit as well with good results. Anyway, here are the links...

    SEAT HEIGHT ? HOW HARD CAN IT BE? Bike Fit Featured Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website

    SEAT SET BACK: for road bikes Bike Fit Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website

    There's more at the site. If you're interested don't skip the comments because Hogg often responds to reader questions. Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucew View Post
    No, I think that, particularly for new riders who don't yet know how it's supposed to feel (from an unquoted part of your post), that a fitting is a reasonable expense. You'll learn a lot, as well as getting everything sorted out. It' simportant both int erms of enjoyment and prevention of repetitive stress injuries.

    I was completely clueless when I started out. I had a fitting maybe five months and 1500 miles after I started. It made a huge difference. But more importantly, the fitter explained how it was supposed to feel and how the position was supposed to work.

    Bear in mind that your fit will change over time with experience and increased endurance, power and flexibility. Counting that first fit, I've had five in the past eight years as my fitness has improved and bikes have come and gone. I'm pretty confident now that I can make adjustments as necessary, but when I was starting out, I was completely clueless. It was a valuable experience.

    .
    This.

    It's wise to know ones limits, so (OP) please stop winging it, seek out a reputable fitter and opt for a standard fitting. That's all you need at this point. Bruce tells you why.

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    love you guys, thanks all for the advice. bookmarked the steve hoggs links too.

    the plan is this weekend i'm going to buy shoes and pedals at hopefully a place that can give me a nice fit. thanks guys for everything, will come back to let you guys know how it goes

  11. #11
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    Don't disagree at all with advice to have someone fit you. Make sure the person has some qualifications and credibility. A lot of shops will just throw a bike shop guy at you and he/she will just fit based on old wive's tales and / or no better than the general rules of thumb that I will give you below.

    Just to get started riding the bike fairly comfortably, and to also give you some experience to make your interaction with the fitter more productive:

    Use the "KOPS" system to get your saddle roughly set fore-aft. Just to anticipate critiques of this - I'm not saying KOPS is "the" way to set your saddle, just that it's not a bad starting point, will be reasonable starting point to get you riding.

    Another starting point to get you riding is to set the saddle height this way:
    sit on the saddle leaning against a wall so you can be stable. Spin the pedals backward a few revolutions to get yourself situated on the saddle.
    put the heel of a foot on the pedal and adjust the saddle height so that when you put the heel on the pedal, your leg is straight - but make sure your butt isn't rocking while you do it.

    Adjust the above two - one will affect the other and you might have to fiddle once or twice.

    Then, start with the bar height within an inch or so below your saddle height. Basically, put the bars up as high as you can - to start. I wouldn't put them above the saddle height though.

    You won't have any options for stem length at this point, but as you ride your new bike just make yourself an opinion on how it all feels, saddle, knees, angle of the lever hoods, angle of the drops, balance on the saddle, bar height, bar reach, etc. Don't be afraid to tweak a little, borrow or buy a new stem, etc., but don't hesitate to get yourself a real fitting either.

    By the way, it's very common (universal among experienced roadies) to replace the saddle. Don't assume the saddle that came with the bike is your only option.

    I rode for many, many years using the above rough rules of thumb and they served me very well. I've never had a pro fitting, but have had a couple of decent bike shop fittings, but mostly just ride a lot and think about adjustments a lot.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Don't disagree at all with advice to have someone fit you. Make sure the person has some qualifications and credibility. A lot of shops will just throw a bike shop guy at you and he/she will just fit based on old wive's tales and / or no better than the general rules of thumb that I will give you below.

    Just to get started riding the bike fairly comfortably, and to also give you some experience to make your interaction with the fitter more productive:

    Use the "KOPS" system to get your saddle roughly set fore-aft. Just to anticipate critiques of this - I'm not saying KOPS is "the" way to set your saddle, just that it's not a bad starting point, will be reasonable starting point to get you riding.

    Another starting point to get you riding is to set the saddle height this way:
    sit on the saddle leaning against a wall so you can be stable. Spin the pedals backward a few revolutions to get yourself situated on the saddle.
    put the heel of a foot on the pedal and adjust the saddle height so that when you put the heel on the pedal, your leg is straight - but make sure your butt isn't rocking while you do it.

    Adjust the above two - one will affect the other and you might have to fiddle once or twice.

    Then, start with the bar height within an inch or so below your saddle height. Basically, put the bars up as high as you can - to start. I wouldn't put them above the saddle height though.

    You won't have any options for stem length at this point, but as you ride your new bike just make yourself an opinion on how it all feels, saddle, knees, angle of the lever hoods, angle of the drops, balance on the saddle, bar height, bar reach, etc. Don't be afraid to tweak a little, borrow or buy a new stem, etc., but don't hesitate to get yourself a real fitting either.

    By the way, it's very common (universal among experienced roadies) to replace the saddle. Don't assume the saddle that came with the bike is your only option.

    I rode for many, many years using the above rough rules of thumb and they served me very well. I've never had a pro fitting, but have had a couple of decent bike shop fittings, but mostly just ride a lot and think about adjustments a lot.
    thanks for this! what's starting to become overwhelming is the manyyyyy different techniques there are to adjust something and i'm wondering which one to follow.. i only get to ride half an hour to an hour every other day until the weekend hits.. but i find myself changing the height and saddle fwd/bwd every single time lol... at this moment my pedal stroke seems very smooth but there's so much pressure on my crotch .. i think it's too high at the moment

    just waiting for the weekend to hit and hopefully find someone to give me a good fit

    will take a look at your adjustment suggestions before i ride tonite, thanks!

  13. #13
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    this is kinda a dumb question.. but so i'm prepared for the weekend.. i'd like to call in advance for this "standard fitting" i'm looking for..

    but what should i ask for? "hi do you guys do standard road bike fittings?"

    of course they'll say yes.. but how will i know if they're any good or not?

    not looking to spend a ridiculous amount of money.. just something very standard.. willing to pay around $100 if necessary. i want to buy my pedals and shoes at the same time to make sure the fit is great

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    When you say pressure to your crotch... does that mean your just getting sore. Are your priviates getting numb, like losing blood?

    The first week that I started riding, my crotch hurt like an SOB... but that's just cause my muscles weren't used to it. I started researching different seats and stuff... but after riding for 2 weeks, there isn't any pain or soreness. It takes a bit of time for your butt to get used to it.

    If after the second week, your still sore, then it may be the seat type, size or adjustment.

    If your losing blood flow to your privates, that's also different. You may need adjust the seat angle or get another seat to resolve that problem. That's what I'm currently dealing with as I started on a trainer and the constant sitting time made my willie numb... it's quite disturbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
    When you say pressure to your crotch... does that mean your just getting sore. Are your priviates getting numb, like losing blood?

    The first week that I started riding, my crotch hurt like an SOB... but that's just cause my muscles weren't used to it. I started researching different seats and stuff... but after riding for 2 weeks, there isn't any pain or soreness. It takes a bit of time for your butt to get used to it.

    If after the second week, your still sore, then it may be the seat type, size or adjustment.

    If your losing blood flow to your privates, that's also different. You may need adjust the seat angle or get another seat to resolve that problem. That's what I'm currently dealing with as I started on a trainer and the constant sitting time made my willie numb... it's quite disturbing.
    i feel like there's a lot of pressure on my goodies and that general area. only way i can imagine explaining it is as if i were sitting on the saddle and my feet were hanging.. all that pressure is just being pushed in there by my body weight.. i don't think that's normal? it felt alot better when seat height was shorter.. i think i'll lower it little by little everyday

    ya everyone keeps telling me i gotta get used to it.. i completely understand that. i guess that's why i need this friggin fit thing because i really dont know what's supposed to be normal or not... not sure if the pressure i'm feeling is something im supposed to get used to or the bike adjustment is off

    and that brings up a whole other topic that i'll have to research later.. keep reading about biking and impotence and that's something that's worrying me and i keep thinking about everytime my crotch hurts o_O



    can anyone help with my earlier post? i'll quote again here:

    "this is kinda a dumb question.. but so i'm prepared for the weekend.. i'd like to call in advance for this "standard fitting" i'm looking for..

    but what should i ask for? "hi do you guys do standard road bike fittings?"

    of course they'll say yes.. but how will i know if they're any good or not?

    not looking to spend a ridiculous amount of money.. just something very standard.. willing to pay around $100 if necessary. i want to buy my pedals and shoes at the same time to make sure the fit is great"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by daletron3030 View Post
    this is kinda a dumb question.. but so i'm prepared for the weekend.. i'd like to call in advance for this "standard fitting" i'm looking for..

    but what should i ask for? "hi do you guys do standard road bike fittings?"

    of course they'll say yes.. but how will i know if they're any good or not?

    not looking to spend a ridiculous amount of money.. just something very standard.. willing to pay around $100 if necessary. i want to buy my pedals and shoes at the same time to make sure the fit is great
    Not a dumb question at all. Call around to shops and ask how long a standard bike fit takes and what it entails - in some detail. If the person answering the phone doesn't know, ask that you speak to someone who does. It may help to take some notes on each shop and their responses.

    Once done, update this thread and we'll advise from there.

    On the saddle soreness issue, mention that during your standard fitting. From your description, it seems to me that your saddle may not be sized correctly for you, and your sit bones aren't bearing your weight. You'll know better after your fitting if that's the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    Not a dumb question at all. Call around to shops and ask how long a standard bike fit takes and what it entails - in some detail. If the person answering the phone doesn't know, ask that you speak to someone who does. It may help to take some notes on each shop and their responses.

    Once done, update this thread and we'll advise from there.

    On the saddle soreness issue, mention that during your standard fitting. From your description, it seems to me that your saddle may not be sized correctly for you, and your sit bones aren't bearing your weight. You'll know better after your fitting if that's the case.
    exactly what i was looking for! thank you!!!

  18. #18
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    Do you know anyone who rides?

    I paid for a fit years ago. Some of the better money I've spent on cycling, but I've also seen the horror stories on the forum. When I was thinking about it, I asked a guy I know who rides pretty seriously. He asked some of his friends, and I ended up with a recommendation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Do you know anyone who rides?

    I paid for a fit years ago. Some of the better money I've spent on cycling, but I've also seen the horror stories on the forum. When I was thinking about it, I asked a guy I know who rides pretty seriously. He asked some of his friends, and I ended up with a recommendation.
    I'm the lone ranger amongst my friends and peers unfortunately... so i'm resorting to this forum and all you guys!! lol

  20. #20
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    At least try your regional forum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daletron3030 View Post
    i feel like there's a lot of pressure on my goodies and that general area. only way i can imagine explaining it is as if i were sitting on the saddle and my feet were hanging.. all that pressure is just being pushed in there by my body weight.. i don't think that's normal? it felt alot better when seat height was shorter.. i think i'll lower it little by little everyday

    ya everyone keeps telling me i gotta get used to it.. i completely understand that. i guess that's why i need this friggin fit thing because i really dont know what's supposed to be normal or not... not sure if the pressure i'm feeling is something im supposed to get used to or the bike adjustment is off

    and that brings up a whole other topic that i'll have to research later.. keep reading about biking and impotence and that's something that's worrying me and i keep thinking about everytime my crotch hurts o_O



    can anyone help with my earlier post? i'll quote again here:

    "this is kinda a dumb question.. but so i'm prepared for the weekend.. i'd like to call in advance for this "standard fitting" i'm looking for..

    but what should i ask for? "hi do you guys do standard road bike fittings?"

    of course they'll say yes.. but how will i know if they're any good or not?

    not looking to spend a ridiculous amount of money.. just something very standard.. willing to pay around $100 if necessary. i want to buy my pedals and shoes at the same time to make sure the fit is great"
    Here is a question for you, do you ride with padded riding shorts? If not that could explain a lot. I am a new rider also and found that they are essential to comfort. I am also trying to figure out exactly how to level my saddle. It is a curved profile so it could be up to some interpretation. Recently I found that a slightly higher nose took some pressure off my arms and gave me a more balanced feeling. Haven't got to try this on the road yet due to the winter we are having. Just wondering if more experienced riders can chime in on how to set the saddle in this regard.

  22. #22
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    I just want to reiterate what the others have said: get a fit. If you don't, you risk injury. You will want your peddles and shoes at the time. And like someone else said, try to make sure you get someone who knows what they are doing.

    As far as your soreness. Someone mentioned your shorts and the angle of the saddle. Also the type of saddle can make difference also. If it is a cheap, flat saddle, it would be worth while to invest in a good one. A search on Craig's List or EBay may get you a nice one cheap since many people try many. If you ride with a group, ask around. I promise some people have some they would let you try. I just gave a couple away myself. You can also see of your LBS has an exchange or trial program for saddles. Mine does.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tewks View Post
    Here is a question for you, do you ride with padded riding shorts? If not that could explain a lot. I am a new rider also and found that they are essential to comfort. I am also trying to figure out exactly how to level my saddle. It is a curved profile so it could be up to some interpretation. Recently I found that a slightly higher nose took some pressure off my arms and gave me a more balanced feeling. Haven't got to try this on the road yet due to the winter we are having. Just wondering if more experienced riders can chime in on how to set the saddle in this regard.
    I agree that contours can make leveling a saddle difficult. Some use a level, but I prefer a straightedge, measuring (to the ground) at different points - saddle to stem. That way, I see measured changes versus a bubble off center.

    I also point the saddle tip up slightly, and the effects are similar (on the roads) that you describe.

    All of this point up that while 'best practices' are great for setting an initial fit, there's still a need for tweaks from there.

  24. #24
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    OP, something to consider is this: Just about all the major "systems" for fitting one to a bike are based on some longstanding and common anthropometric assumptions (e.g, KOPS), and they're going to converge on close to the same position, if not the same, and that's really just a jumping-off point. And as others have noted, your "fit" will change over time, even over a season a little bit, as your body responds to riding. Just about all these differences will be subtle, a couple of centimeters at best (more casual riders may not notice the need for any changes) so don't get too caught up in the worry. The greatest rider ever was notorious for changing his saddle height during stage races, so that should tell you something.

    The advantage in having a "fit session" isn't so much any special proprietary knowledge that the fitter is going to wield about how to sit on a bike, but that there are a bunch of interconnected little adjustments one can make during fitting, and having someone who's doing it with you on the bike is ever so much more convenient. Having an experienced person doing this is also good, because they know how things are supposed to look and feel. As a metaphor, it's rather like having off-the-rack clothing further tailored: It's not a difficult sewing task, but having someone taking your measurements with you in the clothing sure makes everything go more smoothly.

    IMHO, you can certainly "fit" yourself to a bike (I did*), but a helper/fitter makes it go easier.

    *after some time riding, I went and had myself "fitted" by a well-respected shop in the area, and I don't think I had to change my riding position a millimeter--I guess my initial stab at it was good enough.

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