Be careful who you get your fitted by
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  1. #1
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    Be careful who you get your fitted by

    Some of you have probably seen my knee pain posts but basically 2 years ago I got a fit hoping to eliminate back pain. The back pain got fixed but a long arduous journey with all types of knee pain ensued. Even going back to the original position the pain stayed so the first fit was wrong enough to injure something.

    I went to physical therapy and eventually a fit with a local medical pro fitter where 2 people with doctorates in sports medicine made tons of changes--seat height/setback, in-shoe inserts, cleat wedges, saddle angle, etc. They said "this seat is definitely 1-2mm too high but it might not cause any discomfort".

    Pain did not go away. I spent the next 1.5 years doing countless hours of research and changing seat position based on what types of pain meant what and documenting the position in extension/fore/aft. I went to PT, had x-rays to rule out arthritis, did yoga and stretching programs, and more. All the while I'm thinking that the seatpost extension they said was "definitely too high" was the ceiling to the extension I needed.

    Using the setback they gave me, I got pain behind my knees but if I went any lower I got frontal knee pain. Eventually I figured out that my setback was too far back so once I fixed that I decided go to beyond the extension ceiling everything got better.

    So here I am, 1.5 years later, and my saddle is 10mm forward of what they put me at and my saddle is TWENTY millimeters higher than what was "definitely 1-2mm too high" with none of the wedges, shims, or spacers and finally pain free. I realize that a few mm of the increase in height was needed to compensate going 10mm forward.

    Maybe my body is just more sensitive than most but that was a really annoying, long, hard journey to finally ride a bike without pain.
    Last edited by thisisthebeave; 1 Week Ago at 10:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post

    They said "this seat is definitely 1-2mm too high but it might not cause any discomfort".
    (...)
    Maybe my body is just more sensitive than most but that was a really annoying, long, hard journey to finally ride a bike without pain.
    Glad you got rid of the pain. I had a bikefit a couple of years ago, and I'm very happy with it. But I would never trust a bikefitter who told me my saddle was "definitely" 1-2 mm too high.

    The guys I worked with are very experienced. They have a lot of pros among their clients. They were very honest about the limitations of their approach, and they made it very clear that it was impossible for them to define the ideal position with millimeter-accuracy.

  3. #3
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    Glad to hear that your issue was sorted. But I do not subscribe to the notion that measurements done by a fitter is gospel. It's an iterative process and some takes much longer than another to get it right. The fitter is using statistics and experience to get one close, but it is up to the rider to provide good feedback to the fitter in order for a fitting to be a successful.

    If something doesn't feel right, start moving things around until it does. Just make sure to change only one thing at a time.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    Yeah it was a journey. I had pain behind my knee where they started me so I took their word for it that I was "definitely too high" but that was solved by moving the seat forward. Being 5 or even 10mm off is reasonable but they were off over 20mm in height.

    My seatpost has very clear marks for setback and height. They started me at 25mm setback and 45mm extension. I ended up at 15mm setback and 66mm extension. I was dropping down to 35-40mm and that's what it took to overcome being too far back so being lower than 45mm extension felt right. But really I needed to go forward and wayyy up.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nova_rider View Post
    Glad to hear that your issue was sorted. But I do not subscribe to the notion that measurements done by a fitter is gospel. It's an iterative process and some takes much longer than another to get it right. The fitter is using statistics and experience to get one close, but it is up to the rider to provide good feedback to the fitter in order for a fitting to be a successful.

    If something doesn't feel right, start moving things around until it does. Just make sure to change only one thing at a time.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
    I'm in total agreement with you. Sometimes that best fitters cannot get you to within a half inch on all measurements. Some people have a lot of play in their joints in a shop with a fit cycle and on the road under load is a totally different thing. Though I have to admit, I was originally fit by an old time frame builder by simply looking at me and except for about a half inch of saddle height he was right on.

  6. #6
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Yeah it was a journey. I had pain behind my knee where they started me so I took their word for it that I was "definitely too high" but that was solved by moving the seat forward. Being 5 or even 10mm off is reasonable but they were off over 20mm in height.

    My seatpost has very clear marks for setback and height. They started me at 25mm setback and 45mm extension. I ended up at 15mm setback and 66mm extension. I was dropping down to 35-40mm and that's what it took to overcome being too far back so being lower than 45mm extension felt right. But really I needed to go forward and wayyy up.
    What's the 'extension' you're talking about?

    My take on fitters has always been: Go to 5 different fitters and you'll end up w/ 5 different set ups. You have to find one that works w/ your body and how you ride. Some will position the majority of their clients 'high', some 'low'. It's gotten to the point now that I can almost pick out who (locally) fit someone by what they look like on the bike.
    #promechaniclife

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    Some of you have probably seen my knee pain posts but basically 2 years ago I got a fit hoping to eliminate back pain. The back pain got fixed but a long arduous journey with all types of knee pain ensued. Even going back to the original position the pain stayed so the first fit was wrong enough to injure something.

    I went to physical therapy and eventually a fit with a local medical pro fitter where 2 people with doctorates in sports medicine made tons of changes--seat height/setback, in-shoe inserts, cleat wedges, saddle angle, etc. They said "this seat is definitely 1-2mm too high but it might not cause any discomfort".

    Pain did not go away. I spent the next 1.5 years doing countless hours of research and changing seat position based on what types of pain meant what and documenting the position in extension/fore/aft. I went to PT, had x-rays to rule out arthritis, did yoga and stretching programs, and more. All the while I'm thinking that the seatpost extension they said was "definitely too high" was the ceiling to the extension I needed.

    Using the setback they gave me, I got pain behind my knees but if I went any lower I got frontal knee pain. Eventually I figured out that my setback was too far back so once I fixed that I decided go to beyond the extension ceiling everything got better.

    So here I am, 1.5 years later, and my saddle is 10mm forward of what they put me at and my saddle is TWENTY millimeters higher than what was "definitely 1-2mm too high" with none of the wedges, shims, or spacers and finally pain free. I realize that a few mm of the increase in height was needed to compensate going 10mm forward.

    Maybe my body is just more sensitive than most but that was a really annoying, long, hard journey to finally ride a bike without pain.
    After all, its your lower back, and your knees, not some guy who thinks he knows it all. You got comfortable and made the bike disappear beneath you, mission accomplished. Congratulations! That's how its done!

  8. #8
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    All this battle with set back etc. In the end how does your knee over pedal look?

  9. #9
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    Somehow I forgot my saddle hieght and have been setting all of my bikes an inch low. I don't know for how long that has been going on. But my knee has been hurting which normally means you're quite a way off on your saddle height.

    Yesterday I raised the saddle on all of my bikes and went for a ride. Not only was my knee not bothering me beyond being sore from the previous ride but I had a hell of a lot more power. Last night my knee stopped hurting and hopefully will continue so.

    At 75 the kids blow by me like wind out of a leaf blower up hills. But they don't have the downhill skills yet for the most part. But the increase in power I got surprises me and I have to wonder how long I've been riding with my saddle so much lower than it should be.

  10. #10
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    the #1 problem with fitters is that you won't know which one works until you try them out. But by then you have already invested in time and money into a fitter that you're now not compelled to change to a new one.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HFroller View Post
    But I would never trust a bikefitter who told me my saddle was "definitely" 1-2 mm too high.
    Agree. The differences in the pad thickness between cycling shorts brands/models is bigger than 2 mm.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    the #1 problem with fitters is that you won't know which one works until you try them out. But by then you have already invested in time and money into a fitter that you're now not compelled to change to a new one.
    I think that you're putting a whole lot of faith in a fitter. These people can put you very close to the correct position but they cannot put you spot on and if you expect that you're making a mistake.

  13. #13
    dcb
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    I had a great fit done several years ago and I still use the same measurements for setting my bike up. I recently referred a friend to the same fitter which resulted in some significant movement in saddle height and set-back. After several rides he had some knee pain so I suggested he split the difference between his old saddle height and set-back and the what the fitter suggested. So far, so good and his plan is to move the saddle by smaller increments to what the fitter suggested. the point being that sometimes if the adjustment is substantial, it may be too much to do all at once, especially if you're riding hard.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Kunich View Post
    Somehow I forgot my saddle hieght and have been setting all of my bikes an inch low. I don't know for how long that has been going on. But my knee has been hurting which normally means you're quite a way off on your saddle height.

    Yesterday I raised the saddle on all of my bikes and went for a ride. Not only was my knee not bothering me beyond being sore from the previous ride but I had a hell of a lot more power. Last night my knee stopped hurting and hopefully will continue so.

    At 75 the kids blow by me like wind out of a leaf blower up hills. But they don't have the downhill skills yet for the most part. But the increase in power I got surprises me and I have to wonder how long I've been riding with my saddle so much lower than it should be.
    Yep. Seat posts often slip down, too, so slowly over time you don't even notice it. I check saddle height once a year, just in case. I've found it lowered itself several times, up to a quarter inch once. Its nice your 75 year old knees came back quickly. Kudos.

  15. #15
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    Differences in geometries and wheelbases, and the different purposes you plan to put a particular bicycle to, all figure into the grand equation as to what the fit of an individual bicycle ought to be. Back when I had a veritable stable of road bikes at my beck and call (OK, just three of them), all of them put me in a different position and, because of this, a different mental state. Was I riding to work? Was I headed off on an all day ride? Did I just want to go as fast as I possibly could and then turn around and head home before it got too painful? Even the saddle height varied depending on the footwear and whether I was wearing bicycling or civilian clothes.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcb View Post
    I had a great fit done several years ago and I still use the same measurements for setting my bike up. I recently referred a friend to the same fitter which resulted in some significant movement in saddle height and set-back. After several rides he had some knee pain so I suggested he split the difference between his old saddle height and set-back and the what the fitter suggested. So far, so good and his plan is to move the saddle by smaller increments to what the fitter suggested. the point being that sometimes if the adjustment is substantial, it may be too much to do all at once, especially if you're riding hard.
    Very true. It takes some miles for the leg muscles to adjust to the new geometry. If the hurts don't go away in a few hundred miles, there's a fit problem. IF the legs get comfortable and the riding gets faster, its done.

    Setback, huh? There's an old rule from trackie culture, when the saddle is forward, the legs are over the crank and can spin fast and furious very efficiently, upper body assisting in the process. Trackies are on 74-75 degree seat posts on top of the crank. Sitting further back, the quads can do some nice work, but unassisted by upper body weight, and the crank being out front is harder on the knees. Sitting back also increases the reach to the bars, requiring a slightly increased angle of upper body, and too much weight on the bars.

    Some fit gurus recommend moving shoe cleats back, which places the knee in front of the pedal spindle, not directly over it. Together with saddle forward, the rear leg muscles come into major play, balancing out the movement and taking stress off the knees, as Beaver found out. Sprinters move forward "on the rivet" when going for it.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 1 Week Ago at 05:17 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by D&MsDad View Post
    Agree. The differences in the pad thickness between cycling shorts brands/models is bigger than 2 mm.
    Heck, bike shoes can make an even larger difference. There is about a 1 cm difference between my summer and winter shoes. I have my seat posts marked for both.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    What's the 'extension' you're talking about?

    My take on fitters has always been: Go to 5 different fitters and you'll end up w/ 5 different set ups. You have to find one that works w/ your body and how you ride. Some will position the majority of their clients 'high', some 'low'. It's gotten to the point now that I can almost pick out who (locally) fit someone by what they look like on the bike.
    By extension I just mean BB to seat measurement or how extended the seatpost is.
    Quote Originally Posted by mackgoo View Post
    All this battle with set back etc. In the end how does your knee over pedal look?
    I'm not sure but last summer I got a new mountain bike with a 77 degree HTA. I've never seen a dropper post with setback so I was a little nervous of not being able to get enough setback. Sure enough, it was fine so I took that as a sign to move my road bike seats forward and up and gradually the pain got better and better.

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