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esafosfina

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Bike Fit / Positions...
« on: January 04, 2013, 23:44 »
Ok, I've been around bikes long enough to know when my position is right or wrong... or so I thought! A mate of mine (back here in the UK) has just 'graduated' from the Specialized Body-Geometry course, and asked if I'd like to be a guinea-pig... so I agreed. Went around this evening and flipmesideways my eyes were opened! He played around with my cleat position, tweaked my seat height (up 8mm), and chucked me back 5mm. A couple of small positional 'tweaks' with the bars and levers, and to be frank it's the most efficient I've felt on a bike for years! We thus decided to open a couple of bottles of red, to celebrate, which is why this post makes next to no sense whatsoever!

(Seriously though, I don't know how much the 'BG fit' costs, but if you have an opportunity give it a nudge!)
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  • "Sturgess, don't you dare get off that bike" - Sean Kelly, Nokere, 1989.

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 12:33 »
    Although my original intention was to start a new thread, maybe it's best just to add my question here.

    What is the definition of a "long" femur?

    Femur length is something that comes up quite often when discussing proper bike fit, and it's often mentioned alongside talk of various riders. Here was an interesting comment from JV on the subject not too long ago on another forum.

    Quote
    pretty much every Tour winner has extra long thigh bones and large left ventricles.... funny enough, Lance was one of the few who did not have a long femur....take a look at a photo of Hinault or LeMond sometime...the long femur thing was a much greater advantage when you're limited to a 42*23 - it also, as a function of a short tibia, gives an aerodynamic advantage as you are able to lean over further before the knee hits the chest.

    But I've never read an actual definition of what constitutes "long."

    Is it an absolute length, a relative length, or a combination of the two?

    My main road bike is a LeMond, and I've heard on more than one occasion that LeMond frames are good "if you have a long femur."

    OK, so what does mean? My height is just a touch over 6ft, or about 183cm, but I don't know the precise measurement of my femur (or even how I would determine that).

    So...

    What is the definition of a "long" femur?
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  • 42x16ss

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 13:09 »
    So you were moved back and up?? Did you need to get a shorter stem and/or raise the bars by any chance? It just sounds strange, a lot of people I see generally need to come down and back, or simply up (but that's usually newer riders).

    Curious, those are big moves and you certainly don't fall into the "inexperienced" category!  :o
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #3 on: September 25, 2014, 13:18 »
    Although my original intention was to start a new thread, maybe it's best just to add my question here.

    What is the definition of a "long" femur?

    Femur length is something that comes up quite often when discussing proper bike fit, and it's often mentioned alongside talk of various riders. Here was an interesting comment from JV on the subject not too long ago on another forum.

    But I've never read an actual definition of what constitutes "long."

    Is it an absolute length, a relative length, or a combination of the two?

    My main road bike is a LeMond, and I've heard on more than one occasion that LeMond frames are good "if you have a long femur."

    OK, so what does mean? My height is just a touch over 6ft, or about 183cm, but I don't know the precise measurement of my femur (or even how I would determine that).

    So...

    What is the definition of a "long" femur?
    DB is biomechanics and medicine measurements,  there is no such thing as normal. So to say that person is long femured is bs.

    but the physics behind a longer leaver arm makes sense.

    not sure that helps, but no one can say you are long femured or not, if they do my question would nbe relative to what?

    but sure a long femur would be an advantage
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    Anthony Moan

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #4 on: October 27, 2014, 17:50 »
    Well I beleive Esa that you are happy coz you know and have been for ages in cycling, but as my frined said "Best bike fit tool is your 5mm allen key" :D
    Thanks god that retul kit is still sitting in warehouse.

    Ok my experinece with BG Specialzed, one customer whos bike I built was in England at some guru who is like Cavendish bike fitting guy.
    Ok to make long story short, he change her stem up to 90mm from 100mm but at the same time he tilt saddle way back.

    This does not make sense for me at all :cool
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    L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #5 on: April 23, 2016, 07:44 »
    Silly season has arrived here in Belgium. The Spring Classics awaken everyone to the ripening sportive season and the distant clarion call of summer. Suddenly the workshops of LBSs all over the country are buzzing with activity: upgrades, tune-ups, post-winter fixes. You can forget trying to do quick repairs in April and May.

    Such is the case too, it seems, for bike fittings. I'm ready to splurge but there aren't any slots until June and I'll have to travel miles to get it done.

    I've been unhappy with my position on the bike almost as long as I've been back in cycling, which is about six years now. A laundry list of issues: I can't do two hours without pain creeping into the neck and lower back. When I ride at maximum effort, my left leg gets tight at the top of the calf and demands a lot of extra attention in post-ride stretches. My feet often feel uncomfortable in my shoes. Saddle soreness particularly on one side comes on way too early to be normal.

    I tweaked the position a lot over the years, saddle position and cleats mostly, but it never feels particularly better. I've been to physios and osteopaths who are happy to take my money but don't seem to reach any firm conclusions about an off-the-bike cause of the issues.

    So I decided to spend some money and get a fitting. Not so much because I expect it to improve my riding experience but rather because I'd like to establish an optimal position that will enable me to figure out the off-the-bike physical problems and what they might be: "I know this is supposed to be the right position, so where does it still hurt?"

    There are plenty of methodologies out there. Esa above tried Specialized Body Geometry - are the results still good today, Esa? - but here in Belgium there are also Retul, (Shimano) BikeFitting, Cyfac and the very fancy new kid on the block Guru. There are also creepy old Flemish guys in their garages armed with  nothing more sophisticated than a turbo trainer and a ruler.

    I haven't yet decided which to try but I'm still a bit sceptical about the whole thing.

    Three hundred euros is the highest cost I've seen and that's for the Guru fit. A lot of cash but it seems like the most comprehensive process: three hours of laser body measurements, electronic bike positioning, saddle pressure points, foot check. And then they sort out your bike and cleats for you. The lowest is the University of Gent, which is a basic mathematical-mechanical check and you go away and make all the changes yourself.

    The hidden cost is perhaps the most worrying aspect: could mean a new saddle, seatpost, stem (plus new tape), crankset ...

    So we'll see. I'll report back. :)
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    kwikki

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #6 on: April 25, 2016, 18:38 »
    I'm very tempted by the Spesh fit, but £120 is a small price to pay if they can improve comfort.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 18:58 »
    I just confirmed my bike fitting for May 2nd. It's with one of these 'local' guys. Works off the books with lots of pros and has built himself an impressive reputation over many years.

    Needless to say, he doesn't use any of the fancy, branded systems to do the fit but he is supposed to deliver excellent results, so I'm excited. Long drive to get there but should be worth it.
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  • kwikki

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 19:38 »
    Sounds good. Obviously I don't know you personally, but one thing I found that completely cured my lower back ache when climbing was working on core strength via yoga. Helps with flexibility too.
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  • stereojet

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 20:53 »
    Ive had two over the years: Adrian Timmis did me one a while back and I had a spesh bg one more recently. Timmis corrected all of my problems and bg only added a couple of tweaks. One was pulling my cleats back to just behind the balls of my feet (AT put them in the 'classic' position; the difference was slight to me). The other was just moving the saddle a couple of millimetres forwards. The bg guy told me that the more expensive fits were largely due to electronics rather than any different results; apparently the MAMILs wanted video analysis and a DVD of their session, even though there was no difference in the results.

    Seems to me that fits are much of a muchness. You might get a couple of mm difference here or there, but that's about it. The one thing I did learn is that my stem-slamming days are well over!
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #10 on: April 26, 2016, 09:21 »
    Ive had two over the years: Adrian Timmis did me one a while back and I had a spesh bg one more recently. Timmis corrected all of my problems and bg only added a couple of tweaks. One was pulling my cleats back to just behind the balls of my feet (AT put them in the 'classic' position; the difference was slight to me). The other was just moving the saddle a couple of millimetres forwards. The bg guy told me that the more expensive fits were largely due to electronics rather than any different results; apparently the MAMILs wanted video analysis and a DVD of their session, even though there was no difference in the results.

    Seems to me that fits are much of a muchness. You might get a couple of mm difference here or there, but that's about it. The one thing I did learn is that my stem-slamming days are well over!

    Can I ask what sorts of problems you had? I'm interested.

    Different strokes and all that but I did read that the classic, ball-of-the-foot cleat position didn't reflect the true situation when riding and that most riders should go back a bit on their cleats, at least 5mm. Mine are too far forward, I know that already, but no point changing now when the guy will doubtless address the issue in a few days' time.

    I smiled when I read your post on the electronic sciencey thing that's all the rage with folks nowadays. Apparently, my guy is very traditional and some prospective customers expecting bells and whistles do tend to wonder about the validity of his work. But if it's good enough for Flecha and Lars Boom, I guess it's good enough for me.

    On one forum, a guy who could be described as a 'bikefit junkie' reckoned my guy was the best out of five or six different experiences, especially after he visited a very famous sports physio (Roger Swerts), whose own laser techniques came out with exactly the same numbers.

    I cannot deny the appeal of the electronic systems though, because they seem to promise precision accuracy. I made enquiries with several Guru fitters - the machine changes position as you ride - and also the Bakala Academy in Leuven, which was set up by the #etixx sponsor guy as the name suggests.

    I was particularly attracted by the sit bone analysis and the way these systems evaluate each leg separately. At the same time, it seems daft that a super advanced setup like Guru still depends so heavily or proprioceptive feedback, which is to say that they still have to keep asking, "how does that feel now?" in order to generate a result. That's decidedly unscientific, if you ask me.

    In the end, I thought maybe I wasn't a serious enough rider to warrant spending silly money on the fitting, especially since I'm not about to buy a new bike with the data output. There's something, I dunno, proportional about a hobbyist visiting a guy in his garage. :P
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  • kwikki

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #11 on: April 26, 2016, 10:22 »
    An accumulation of really long distances will find out position errors, imbalances and poor style, which probably explains why so many cyclists never bother with a bike fit. They don't do this kind of riding.

    Looking back, my position was terrible up until 10 years ago. But because I never did over 50 miles it never stressed and parts of my body.  I found out when I did LeJoG (the length of Uk) which was more or less ten consecutive 200k rides.

    All sorts of problems sprang up, and after a bike fit they disappeared. Not only that but My position was really efficient.  I just wish I'd realised earlier.
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  • stereojet

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #12 on: April 26, 2016, 11:09 »
    Can I ask what sorts of problems you had? I'm interested.

    Sure. My saddle was too low and I'd developed hamstring problems (a bit of fasciitis IIRC and frequent strains) because I wasn't able to engage my core properly and was using my hamstrings to help stabilize me on the bike. I'd also got a bit of tendonitis in the knee, related to the same issue.

    Different strokes and all that but I did read that the classic, ball-of-the-foot cleat position didn't reflect the true situation when riding and that most riders should go back a bit on their cleats, at least 5mm. Mine are too far forward, I know that already, but no point changing now when the guy will doubtless address the issue in a few days' time.

    That's what I was told. Apparently, you can get more power down with the cleats further back, but the main thing I noticed was having to engage my calves more.

    I smiled when I read your post on the electronic sciencey thing that's all the rage with folks nowadays. Apparently, my guy is very traditional and some prospective customers expecting bells and whistles do tend to wonder about the validity of his work. But if it's good enough for Flecha and Lars Boom, I guess it's good enough for me.

    Timmis was the same. He's said in interviews that he goes by sound and sight. He used lasers to note fine adjustments to my position but that was about it. I'm with you on the traditional thing.

    On one forum, a guy who could be described as a 'bikefit junkie' reckoned my guy was the best out of five or six different experiences, especially after he visited a very famous sports physio (Roger Swerts), whose own laser techniques came out with exactly the same numbers.

    I cannot deny the appeal of the electronic systems though, because they seem to promise precision accuracy. I made enquiries with several Guru fitters - the machine changes position as you ride - and also the Bakala Academy in Leuven, which was set up by the #etixx sponsor guy as the name suggests.

    I was particularly attracted by the sit bone analysis and the way these systems evaluate each leg separately. At the same time, it seems daft that a super advanced setup like Guru still depends so heavily or proprioceptive feedback, which is to say that they still have to keep asking, "how does that feel now?" in order to generate a result. That's decidedly unscientific, if you ask me.

    In the end, I thought maybe I wasn't a serious enough rider to warrant spending silly money on the fitting, especially since I'm not about to buy a new bike with the data output. There's something, I dunno, proportional about a hobbyist visiting a guy in his garage. :P

    True dat. The thing I felt with Timmis was that he clearly knew what he was doing and I had 100% trust in him. It was worth every penny and I certainly don't feel I missed out on a DVD or a computer simulation of me!
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #13 on: April 26, 2016, 11:48 »
    Sure. My saddle was too low and I'd developed hamstring problems (a bit of fasciitis IIRC and frequent strains) because I wasn't able to engage my core properly and was using my hamstrings to help stabilize me on the bike. I'd also got a bit of tendonitis in the knee, related to the same issue.

    Wow, that sounds like me, actually. I know something is way off but after a lot of self-induced messing around, nothing seems to work. On this kind of thing, I also prefer to be advised by someone with experience. I'm the last one to know what's good for me, which is precisely why proprioceptive feedback would be a bad strategy for me.
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  • stereojet

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #14 on: April 26, 2016, 12:14 »
    If you're anything like me, it'll be the best money you've spent on cycling then! Since I had it done I've had no problems at all (apart from the usual wear-and-tear).
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #15 on: April 26, 2016, 13:15 »
    An accumulation of really long distances will find out position errors, imbalances and poor style, which probably explains why so many cyclists never bother with a bike fit. They don't do this kind of riding.

    I actually get lower back pain and a supertight left hamstring and upper calf muscle after just a couple of hours' riding. Sometimes I end up with headaches too. I think there's actually a non-cycling issue behind some of that but at the moment it's all a bit of a treasure hunt.
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  • kwikki

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #16 on: April 26, 2016, 15:18 »
    As I mentioned up thread, I have found Ashtanga Yoga really good for core strength and flexibility.  I had piriformis syndrome after too much brutal fixed gear riding and the only thing that shifted it was a few months of yoga. Physio, chiropt did nothing.
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  • « Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 16:38 by kwikki »

    stereojet

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #17 on: April 26, 2016, 16:04 »
    As I mentioned up thread, I have found Ashtanga Yoga really good for core strength and flexibility.  I had piriformis syndrome after too much brutal fixed gear riding and the only thing that shifted it was a few months of yoga. Physio, chiropodist did nothing.

    Yup, yoga is the way forward for me too, especially after the onset of middle age.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #18 on: May 03, 2016, 12:07 »
    Drove to Limburg yesterday and got my bikefit. For (my) convenience, I will copy-paste the relevant extract from a personal website rather than write it all again:

    ---------------

    I warm up unscientifically on a regular exercise bike. Even now, he’s watching me and his early observations about my body behaviour are spot on.

    I stand against the wall, I hold up my arms, I walk the line. He notes a discrepancy of six millimetres in the length of my legs.

    Most of Meneer Bullen’s measuring tools look homemade and he employs each of them with seamless efficiency. Meanwhile he describes how inefficiently I ride, how arched my back and how stiff my neck and how the cleat angles on my shoes are slowly buggering my knees.

    I spend a nervous half hour wondering about the final verdict on my bikes. As I have read, for those who don’t already know their ideal position, it’s better to invest in a fitting before investing in a new bike since not all off-the-peg bikes can be made to fit the rider properly. Before turning his attention to the numbers he’s just generated, Meneer Bullen recalls how he recently had to tell a mountain biker that his brand new seven grand ride wouldn’t really fit him. Such is the case, he adds, for about sixty percent of the bikes he sees.

    Hence my fretting. I love my bikes and I’d hate to have to replace them.

    However when at last he emerges, Meneer Bullen brings good tidings. Although “dangerously unhealthy” for me in its current setup, my Look can be adjusted, while the Wilier needs no more than a few tweaks.

    In the longer term, I should replace both saddles and the Look’s handlebars but otherwise I’m all good and he compliments the quality of my bikes. The Wilier is, he says, more of a climber’s machine with its sloping geometry and shorter crankset, while the Look is perfect for the flatter stuff.

    The cleats on my shoes are now about a centimetre further back on the sole and point slightly outwards to match my walk. Meneer Bullen tells me to insert a one millimetre-thick sole in my left cycling shoe only and then to do the same with all my other regular shoes.

    To summarise changes made to the bikes, the saddles are pitched forward to different degrees and both are now set significantly higher. The stem on my Wilier remains about the same while on the Look it has dropped by about three centimetres. On both bikes the brake levers now sit much higher on the handlebars.

    First impressions

    I’m not surprised that the Wilier needed less adjustment. Riding it more often than the Look, I have had more cause to fiddle around with the position. Indeed it’s nice to know that I wasn’t too far off the mark. Given time and patience, I might have done similar with the Look too.

    As for my other expectations, I was quite aware that my seated position was overextended but I underestimated just how much. I was told that, given the existing lack of flexibility and efficiency, I should find myself almost immediately capable of riding a kilometre or two an hour faster on average.

    I thought Meneer Bullen might suggest replacement of the Look’s stem and crankset for shorter ones in each case but both remain fine.

    Finally, my impression had been that my saddles were both too narrow or too flat while his opinion was that they were both too wide!

    Now I hope to kiss goodbye to the two-hour onset of neck pain, one-sided leg fatigue, tendon overstretching in the left leg and so-called ‘acidification’ (premature build-up of lactic acid) of the thighs.

    I also look forward to spending a lot more time on the drops and cornering with more confidence, neither of which were very satisfying before.

    So far, I’ve only had the opportunity to climb on both bikes and check out the difference from there. It felt more comfortable already but I’ll need a few proper rides to draw some firm conclusions.



    ---------------
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #19 on: May 03, 2016, 13:31 »
    I stand against the wall, I hold up my arms, I walk the line. He notes a discrepancy of six millimetres in the length of my legs.
    He could see six millimetres just from watching you walk?
    Holy cow, that man must have laser eyes! :o
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    Capt_Cavman

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #20 on: May 03, 2016, 14:35 »
    He could see six millimetres just from watching you walk?
    Holy cow, that man must have laser eyes! :o
    BeeGees have already covered this subject...

    Well, he can tell by the way L'arri use his walk,
    He's a woman's man: no time to talk.
    Music loud and women warm, he's been cycling around
    Since he was born.
    And now it's all right. It's OK.
    And you may look the other way.
    We can try to understand
    The Meneer Bullen effect on man.

    Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother,
    You're stayin' alive, stayin' alive.
    etc
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  • stereojet

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #21 on: May 03, 2016, 14:57 »
    Meneer Bullen sounds like a wizard! What a great experience. Glad you don't have to replace that rather lovely Look.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #22 on: May 03, 2016, 18:44 »
    I spend a nervous half hour wondering about the final verdict on my bikes. As I have read, for those who don’t already know their ideal position, it’s better to invest in a fitting before investing in a new bike since not all off-the-peg bikes can be made to fit the rider properly.
    So how would that normally work? You go for a fitting on a Serotta-type adjustable fit-bike, and then a particular brand and/or model of manufactured bike would be suggested to you?

    Or are you referring to a custom-made bike that would be made to your personal specs?

    If the fit takes place before the purchase, what is the rider being fit to?
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #23 on: May 03, 2016, 20:34 »
    He could see six millimetres just from watching you walk?
    Holy cow, that man must have laser eyes! :o

    Hehehe, no. :D He was able to tell from my walk that my cleats should point outwards. To arrive at the length discrepancy conclusion, he had to measure my legs and draw all over them with a marker pen.

    Meneer Bullen sounds like a wizard! What a great experience. Glad you don't have to replace that rather lovely Look.

    Me too! Meneer Bullen is old school but people keep going to him. He's a runner himself - he still does 250km a month at 70 years old - but the bike fitting started when he tried to help his son improve as a junior in the mid 90s. The son's teammates included Nick Nuyens, current Belgian national champion Preben Van Hecke and Johan Van Summeren.

    His son quit cycling in disgust when it was suggested that he join in doping. Meanwhile Meneer Bullen moved on to working with pro cyclists, starting with Peter Van Petegem, and chuckles when he observes that pros are among the worst of all cyclists for riding in crap positions. Meanwhile, having also been a distinguished swimmer, his son is now on the international triathlon circuit and helps out with the fittings in the off-season.

    So how would that normally work? You go for a fitting on a Serotta-type adjustable fit-bike, and then a particular brand and/or model of manufactured bike would be suggested to you?

    Or are you referring to a custom-made bike that would be made to your personal specs?

    If the fit takes place before the purchase, what is the rider being fit to?

    Every fit system, electronic or manual, aims to deliver a full set of ideal values for your build and characteristics, to which you can refer when looking for a prospective new bike.

    You can think about that new bike needing to come within a particular range rather than needing to precisely match the numbers in a matrix. So the idea is that, even if you can't find the exact geometry and you're not looking for a custom build, you can still buy something ballpark and then adjust the movable parts to hit the sweetspot of the numbers.

    Here's the thing though: some off-the-peg bikes - and this affects MTB riders in particular - they aren't even in the ballpark. The differences between MTBs tend to be radical while, when roadies hit problems, it's usually because they've bought the wrong size frame or the "flavour" of it doesn't work for their build.

    I get away with a climber's setup, for example, because I'm a small guy (who is nevertheless an appalling climber - I bought it as a counterpoint and a curiosity), but a considerably taller rider with a longer femur might be warned off any size for that particular model because they might not be able to get their arse far enough back without prejudicing the ride quality. Equally, Look frames feature taller-than-average head tubes, so some riders might not be able to get their bars low enough depending on their flexibility and the frame size.

    Meneer Bullen will check out the spec of whatever you fancy and offer feedback while the modern, electronic bike fitting machines (e.g. Guru) will even go so far as to recommend you a particular bike from the 2016 ranges of hundreds of manufacturers. I am a bit suspicious of that though because, for example, Guru apparently "partners" with certain brands. Draw your own conclusions about impartiality.

    Most of all though, I wanted to deal with a truckload of physical niggles that only occur on the bike so my fitting was mainly of interest for that purpose. Anything that is going to help me ride long and healthy while also giving me bonus stability has got to be worth the time and money.

    I'll let y'all know how it goes. I haven't been out yet but I should get a short one in tomorrow evening, so we'll see.
  • ReplyReply

  • stereojet

    • 2nd Year Pro
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    Re: Bike Fit / Positions...
    « Reply #24 on: May 03, 2016, 20:54 »
    and chuckles when he observes that pros are among the worst of all cyclists for riding in crap positions.

    Timmis said exactly the same thing! Ludicrously small frames, bars and levers too low, etc.
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