Author Topic: Bike fitting is recommended or not?  (Read 3623 times)

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Offline fkrist11

Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« on: July 26, 2017, 02:32:54 am »
Hey guys,
I am looking for information about bike fitting. I am looking to get a mountain bike  I am 6’ tall and I have heard that for people with my height, a bike frame size of around 20” is the right one. What else should be considered to get a perfect fit mountain bike?
I have heard about bike fitting to get the right sized bike. Do you think spending ~$200 on bike fitting is worth it? I don’t want to spend that kind of money and get a bike that’s not comfortable making me think that I have wasted some money.
Is there any alternative to bike fitting to get a perfect bike? Any advice would be really helpful.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 09:39:11 am »
If this is your first bike, and you're going to start on rides of, say, 5-10 miles, go to your local bike shop (LBS) to buy a good bike and let them fit you to the bike you buy.  20" frame is about right for your height, assuming you're not disproportionally long or short in the torso.  It'll help if the LBS will show you how to adjust the saddle height and make sure you've got an appropriate (size and angle) stem.  It's more important to get you on a bike and get you used to riding it than to get a perfectly fitting bike in this case.

If, on the other hand, you've got a bike or three already, and if you're planning to use this new bike for something like the Great Divide route next summer, then you can benefit from fitting the bike to you.  Expect a lot of attention to the details: not just saddle height, but saddle fore-aft position and tilt.  Not just getting the bars in the neighborhood, but getting them dialed in.  By now you've probably gotten used to clipless pedals vs. the platform pedals that came with your first bike, so make sure the cleat position and alignment is perfect.  You should expect to go back once or twice to tweak the fit before it's perfect.  And, to be honest, you need some saddle time to get used to the bike before the fit, so the fitter has something to work with, and after the fit, as the tweaks the fitter made settle in.

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2017, 11:05:52 am »
If this is your first bike, and you're going to start on rides of, say, 5-10 miles, go to your local bike shop (LBS) to buy a good bike and let them fit you to the bike you buy.  20" frame is about right for your height, assuming you're not disproportionally long or short in the torso.  It'll help if the LBS will show you how to adjust the saddle height and make sure you've got an appropriate (size and angle) stem.  It's more important to get you on a bike and get you used to riding it than to get a perfectly fitting bike in this case.

If, on the other hand, you've got a bike or three already, and if you're planning to use this new bike for something like the Great Divide route next summer, then you can benefit from fitting the bike to you.  Expect a lot of attention to the details: not just saddle height, but saddle fore-aft position and tilt.  Not just getting the bars in the neighborhood, but getting them dialed in.  By now you've probably gotten used to clipless pedals vs. the platform pedals that came with your first bike, so make sure the cleat position and alignment is perfect.  You should expect to go back once or twice to tweak the fit before it's perfect.  And, to be honest, you need some saddle time to get used to the bike before the fit, so the fitter has something to work with, and after the fit, as the tweaks the fitter made settle in.
Yeah that↑↑↑   Oooooor you can fit yourself, after learning what to fit and why...
For instance, getting the proper amount of knee bend: if during the pedal stroke, you bend your knee to too sharp an angle, you're putting unnecessary stress on your joints, and depriving your leg of mechanical advantage at the top of the stroke. If you experience any soreness after a ride, it could be due to poor fit. You can get some idea through research, and by doing a run through of the bike fit calculator to see what it recommends. I've been going through GCN's YouTube videos as well, though they're primarily aimed at racers, they cover a lot of topics that are useful to any cyclist, including fit and adjustment related topics, and they're actually useful, rather than being a click baity title with a few vague commentaries that in the end don't really say anything.

The bike fit calculator works surprisingly well for me. I gave it a run-through prior to buying my current bike, using only approximate measurements, with no helper. The bike I was looking at came in limited geometries, so I used the results to choose one I thought I could tweak to fit. All the same, after clicking that submit button I was really worried that I'd fudged some guessed measurements and when it arrived the frame was shorter than I was used to, and the bar height turned out to not be adjustable, but in the end, it's a better fit than I'd ever had previously.

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Offline fkrist11

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 12:56:24 am »
Thank you guys!

I have a hybrid - a Cannondale, which works well for daily work - home rides and occasional casual off road trips. But I just know it won't help when going for trails with rough terrain and steep hills. Which is why I am looking to get my first mountain bike.

I have seen some bike fitting videos on the Internet, but wasn't sure if use them and try it my own. I was worried if I won't do it as it is meant to be. May be I will go to the shop and ask if they offer bike fitting. If they do, I can have much better chance of getting a bike that fits well.
 :)


Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2017, 12:23:07 pm »
Yes, it can't hurt, if anything you can try a bunch of setups at a bike shop, even if you end up not buying a bike from them, you get a feel for the different setups. The shop that's near me is next to a local park that has winding hilly paths, with varying conditions, paved and unpaved and that helps immensely. They kept my licence as collateral while I tested their bikes in the park. Keep in mind that MTB has different needs and feel than roadies do. GCN has videos that compare these as well, as I'm sure does their sister MTB specific E-zine... Which I know exists but haven't visited, the best defense is a good offense, so read up on how to fit yourself, even if you decide to pay them to. That way, at the least you can make adjustments afterward if issues crop up on the trail.

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Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2017, 01:41:09 pm »
Keep in mind too, if you plan on pulling a trailer, or adding racks, or both, that disc brakes can add complexity to how the connect...especially if you plan on adding both.

For mine, I knew it had rack bolt-holes when I bought it online, because I wanted to put the racks on, but hadn't considered the extra clearance required by the disc brakes. I was able to rig the racks by using longer bolts with a bunch of nuts as spacers to make the legs of the rack stand out further from the frame to stay clear of the brake arm. At that time, I didn't expect to ever get a trailer.

THEN I bought the trailer, and found out that I didn't have room to hook it up with the rack in this configuration. It took me a bit of thinking, but finally was able to connect the racks in a very non-standard way, using different bolts, faucet washers, regular washers, through some cut-outs in the frame just in front of the brake caliper mounts, and far enough away from the Bob's QR Hitch skewers that I can hitch and unhitch it without having to unbolt the rack first.

I was nervous about it at first because the bolts are only supported by the holes through the faucet washers, but it's really cranked-down, so the faucet washers which are flexible and slightly larger than the space they're in, are compressed between the two regular metal washers this all keeps them centered and hopefully keeps the steel bolt away from the aluminum structural-fins that they pass through the center of, because they would saw through them eventually from vibrating against them. In fact, I'll be changing the shifter cable soon, so I'll inspect it then to be sure it's working the way I hope it is. For now though, I don't feel any movement to it at all and in fact, it feels so good that I forgot that I wanted to be careful with it, and I've bunny-hopped some curbs at high speed with loaded bags (though I don't by any means intend to present an image of some extreme cyclist, effortlessly doing aerial cycling acrobatics. No, this was more like a stampeding elephant hurdling a stick on the ground LOL)

Also keep in mind that you shouldn't mix steel with aluminum if you can help it... One will give up electrons to the other (I don't recall which direction it goes). The end result is that one will weld to the other in the short term, and in the long-term one will actually weaken the other. In construction they make special coated steel nails to use. I had forgotten about this issue of mixing aluminum with steel, but was reminded when I took the bolts off to rearrange the rack for the hitch, and had to break the slight beginnings of a weld to get the bolts off.

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indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 04:10:47 pm »
Also keep in mind that you shouldn't mix steel with aluminum if you can help it... One will give up electrons to the other (I don't recall which direction it goes). The end result is that one will weld to the other in the short term
I can attest to what can happen by combing that mix with poor maintenance. My Colnago road bike had a carbon fork with a steel steering tube. I rode it a lot of wet weather and didn't do any preventative maintenance. The spacers of my Chris King headset basically became welded to the steerer. A shop tried everything to free them but eventually had to cut through each spacer with a Dremel tool and pry them off.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2017, 04:42:29 pm »
Also keep in mind that you shouldn't mix steel with aluminum if you can help it... One will give up electrons to the other (I don't recall which direction it goes). The end result is that one will weld to the other in the short term, and in the long-term one will actually weaken the other.

Do you know that aluminum seatposts have been used in steel frames for the past 50+ years?  If what you are claiming has any validity, then about 90% of the bicycling world will never be able to adjust their saddle height.  And everyone selling a used bike will have to make sure its sold to someone who has the exact same saddle height.  And aluminum bottom bracket shells have been used for several decades now.  So apparently they are all welded to their steel frames and can never ever be replaced.  So don't ever think about replacing a bottom bracket on a steel frame.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bike fitting is recommended or not?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2017, 08:45:58 pm »
Also keep in mind that you shouldn't mix steel with aluminum if you can help it... One will give up electrons to the other (I don't recall which direction it goes). The end result is that one will weld to the other in the short term, and in the long-term one will actually weaken the other. In construction they make special coated steel nails to use. I had forgotten about this issue of mixing aluminum with steel, but was reminded when I took the bolts off to rearrange the rack for the hitch, and had to break the slight beginnings of a weld to get the bolts off.
Ever hear of anti-seize or just plain grease?  Either will prevent the conditions you are describing? 

Also, even unprotected that aluminum corrosion will not happen very fast unless the bike is wet a great deal of the time.  When you hear of badly stuck seat posts or stems they have usually been neglected for years.