What is a bike fit going to bring me ?
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  1. #1
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    What is a bike fit going to bring me ?

    Framework: I have a Merlin x-light 57cm that I've ridden happily for about 2500 miles since the beginning of the year. I've just put my hands on an older (3 years older), same model, 58cm. Now that I've tried it, I feel when switching to the 57cm that it's a bit small. I'm 5'9 with 31-31.5" inseam. On the 58 cm the frame is slightly larger, also the stem is longer (130 instead of 110, same model) and the stem is lower (less spacers). Oh, and the bar is different too, TTT something on the 57cm, Easton EC90 on the 58cm. OK, both bikes are at home, so I can try stuff like switching stems, but switching handlebars is of a pain.

    So, am I a good candidate to a bike fit ? What is this going to tell me, appropriate frame size, or also recommended stem length, seat post height and stuff like that ? I don't care about racing, this is for everyday / long distance / very long distance riding comfort. Which bike shops do it, and how much does it cost ?

    Thanks,

    Pierre
    Last edited by Pierre; 06-02-2004 at 10:55 AM. Reason: corrections

  2. #2

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    A heck of a lot

    Pierre,

    I just got fitted for the first time about six weeks ago. Until then, I had just gone by feel and a couple of rules of thumb (heel on pedal at bottom of stroke, etc.)

    I bought a new frame and figured that with the investment, I might as well get fitted properly.

    I checked out some shops but was never impressed with the people there and never felt like they were paying attention. In the end, I went to a guy named Andy Schwartz in Sherman Oaks. (You're in Pasadena right?) Andy has his own little "bike consulting" business called Grayband. His web site is www.Grayband.com. Andy does fittings, coaching, and sells Softride, Parelee, Roarke, and other bikes. He runs it all out of his garage.

    I paid Andy $200 to do the fitting on my old bike, adjust my old bike, and build up my new bike with new parts. He charged me an additional $45 for a new stem and some spacers. The fitting on the old bike took about four hours. He took many, many, measurements, used a fit cycle, talked about how I like to ride, etc.

    In the end, he adjusted my old bike and the change was incredible. Previously, I had almost everything wrong. Once he raised my seat, lowered my bars, shortened my stem, and adjusted my pedals, I felt much stronger on the bike. I could stand longer on hills, sprint better, and had much more control. And no more aching shoulders.

    I was so happy, I ended up buying the parts for the new frame from Andy. He built it up and fit me on it (about a five-hour process) and I did my first ride this past Sunday. We did an easy loop of Griffith Park including a detour to the observatory. What a feeling! I beat my training buddies to the top of the hill for the very first time. Monday, we rode up PCH to Pepperdine and the experience was similar.

    (By the way, pics of the new ride are coming as soon as I get a chance to download them.)

    In short, while I previously thought it overrated, I'm now a big believer in fittings. I'm also a big fan of Andy at Grayband. Give him a call, and tell him Benjamin sent you. (Let me know if you want his phone number. I don't know if he'd want it posted on the web.)

    Benjamin
    Everytime I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. -- H.G. Wells

  3. #3
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    Hard to say, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre
    Framework: I have a Merlin x-light 57cm that I've ridden happily for about 2500 miles since the beginning of the year. I've just put my hands on an older (3 years older), same model, 58cm. Now that I've tried it, I feel when switching to the 57cm that it's a bit small. I'm 5'9 with 31-31.5" inseam. On the 58 cm the frame is slightly larger, also the stem is longer (130 instead of 110, same model) and the stem is lower (less spacers). Oh, and the bar is different too, TTT something on the 57cm, Easton EC90 on the 58cm. OK, both bikes are at home, so I can try stuff like switching stems, but switching handlebars is of a pain.

    So, am I a good candidate to a bike fit ? What is this going to tell me, appropriate frame size, or also recommended stem length, seat post height and stuff like that ? I don't care about racing, this is for everyday / long distance / very long distance riding comfort. Which bike shops do it, and how much does it cost ?

    Thanks,

    Pierre
    Try dupicating the setup with the 57 if you can. Might not be possible as they have different top tube lengths. Some bikes just feel better than others. During the Giro I heard Phil Liggett mention that the pro's have favorite bikes and even though they have backup bikes the same size and equipped the same way they favor one bike over another.

    On fit- I was all set to buy a custom bike 2 years ago (a Steelman) and when I started to add everything up it got expensive. I called the owner of my LBS and asked what he could do for me and he had me come in his shop before hours and he did a fitting (reluctantly as he usually doesn't do them) and we talked about the type of riding I did and what I liked and disliked about my current bike. We also had an agreement that I could swap out stems if I wanted. We disagreed on the crank lengths. I wanted 175, he said 172.5 would be fine, he installed the 175's and I'm happy with them. I have two bikes, the other bike is two sizes large for me. My "new" (now over two years old) bike is down because I cracked a rim and I'm waiting to have a wheel built. I'm stuck riding the old bike, which is fine once and awhile, but after 3 days straight, I thought today that if I had to ride it all the time I would probably quit cycling. Having a bike that fits makes a big difference on the long rides. It's a difference of finishing a ride all nice and fresh, or coming home all beat up and sore. It makes cycling just more enjoyable.

    Don't know who to advise about a fitting. Where do you live?

  4. #4
    Old, slow, and fat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre
    Framework: I have a Merlin x-light 57cm that I've ridden happily for about 2500 miles since the beginning of the year. I've just put my hands on an older (3 years older), same model, 58cm. Now that I've tried it, I feel when switching to the 57cm that it's a bit small. I'm 5'9 with 31-31.5" inseam. On the 58 cm the frame is slightly larger, also the stem is longer (130 instead of 110, same model) and the stem is lower (less spacers). Oh, and the bar is different too, TTT something on the 57cm, Easton EC90 on the 58cm. OK, both bikes are at home, so I can try stuff like switching stems, but switching handlebars is of a pain.

    So, am I a good candidate to a bike fit ? What is this going to tell me, appropriate frame size, or also recommended stem length, seat post height and stuff like that ? I don't care about racing, this is for everyday / long distance / very long distance riding comfort. Which bike shops do it, and how much does it cost ?

    Thanks,

    Pierre
    You're riding a 57/58cm bike and you're 5'9"? I'd say you're a candidate all right!

    Have you gone to any of the custom builder's websites? http://www.tiemeyercycles.com/ has a good page dedicated to helping you get some of the basic sizes and angles.

    M
    I've moved back to NoVA. PLEASE change the weather!

  5. #5
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    thx

    alright, I guess I'll have to check this one out
    Thanks for the address - I am also interested in the phone number, my email is moreelsp at hotmail dot com.

    Thanks,

    Pierre

  6. #6
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    Both TOO LARGE??

    Your figures don't make sense. You state that you have only an 80cm inseam, but even the 57cm frame has a standover height of 81.2cm. Are you quoting a pants inseam and not a cycling inseam? A properly sized fame should have no less than 2cm of standover clearance and as much as 5cm.

    The bottom line is that a 1cm difference in frame size is so small that a change in stem length and angle can make the 57cm fit exactly like the 58cm. There is only a 6mm difference in the top tube length. The 58cm should have fewer spacers under the stem (assuming the same stem angle), since the head tube would normally be 1cm taller.

    You need to carefully check the reach of both types of handlebars to see if there's a major difference. Unless you have the same type of seatpost and saddle on both bikes, you may also have differences in your position relative to the BB. If possible, transfer the saddle and post from one bike to another to eliminate that source of error and take a diagonal measurement from the tip of the saddle to a repeatable point on the brake hoods. This will tell you if there's a significant difference in reach from the bars. Obviously, the longer stem on one of the bike's must also be considered.
    Last edited by C-40; 06-03-2004 at 04:00 AM.

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