BIKE FIT BEWARE

DB100
DB100 Posts: 258
edited September 2013 in Road general
Hi All,
I have had several bike fits in my time usually with the same person. However, I decided to get a second opinion with Dartfish technology. I booked in and paid £90, this is not a personal attack on the individual concerned but it was obvious the person had very limited experience in bike fitting and believe it or not, didn't even ride a bike.
How on earth can someone who doesn't ride understand the needs of a cyclist and the importance of correct position?
This was a fit on an existing bike, that had been fitted previously, I was looking for cleat and saddle assessment, cleat position was covered and according to Dartfish my alignment was better by the end, but I expected so much more. It just seemed like the shop had taken my money then passed me on to the YTS kid. Really poor. I have learned a salient lesson ASK MORE QUESTIONS before paying for your fitting.
Cheers

Comments

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,005
    Been mulling over a fit for a while. I had a assumed that the fit would give me the relative positions for all (similarish) bikes. So my question is, why do you go back for more fits?
    Second related question - what happens if you get more (or less) flexible because the fit's better - do you go back again?
  • DB100
    DB100 Posts: 258
    Mad_Malx wrote:
    Been mulling over a fit for a while. I had a assumed that the fit would give me the relative positions for all (similarish) bikes. So my question is, why do you go back for more fits?
    Second related question - what happens if you get more (or less) flexible because the fit's better - do you go back again?

    All bikes are different, even mm matter,
    A good fit is an ongoing process, and yes things change, flexibility core strength, I am talking about a period of 5 years and at least five bikes here. One I had a particular problem with lateral foot pain that I am trying to resolve.
    A good fit is one of the best investments, I guess I am just saying, research who will be doing the fit :)
  • diamonddog
    diamonddog Posts: 3,426
    Never bothered with a bike fit and never had problems. :)
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    diamonddog wrote:
    Never bothered with a bike fit and never had problems. :)

    Good for you.
  • So, do you need a bike fit for every bike you have?.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    DB100 wrote:
    Hi All,
    I have had several bike fits in my time usually with the same person.

    One should have been enough, surely?
  • The dillema I have is this..

    I tend to, or have in the past tended to suffer from back problems.
    Since using my current bike for the last 2 years, I have never had a backache again, and I've ridden more and more, harder and faster. 30-50 miles is no issue at all, and 100 didn't have any ill effects other than feeling totally knackered.

    Everyone tells me to have a bike fit, but to be honest, I'm concerned that I may just have chanced upon the perfect position for me and I've never heard of anyone having a bike fit being told not to change anything.

    I think I'd be inclined to leave it until I buy a new bike with a different geometry.
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    The dillema I have is this..

    I tend to, or have in the past tended to suffer from back problems.
    Since using my current bike for the last 2 years, I have never had a backache again, and I've ridden more and more, harder and faster. 30-50 miles is no issue at all, and 100 didn't have any ill effects other than feeling totally knackered.

    Everyone tells me to have a bike fit, but to be honest, I'm concerned that I may just have chanced upon the perfect position for me and I've never heard of anyone having a bike fit being told not to change anything.

    I think I'd be inclined to leave it until I buy a new bike with a different geometry.

    Absolutely right - why do you need a bike fit if it already fits?

    One day we'll look back and laugh at his fad for paying someone to tinker with our saddle height.
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  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    edited September 2013
    After a while of tinkering without much success, I had a road bike fit a few years ago and it certainly helped improve my position to alleviate pains I was getting during a ride. If I wasn't getting pain I doubt I would have had the bike fit. I cycle for recreation and don't need the optimum power output which the ideal position would give and a professional would require. I didn't bother with a fit for the mtb fit because my feet aren't locked into the pedals with this setup and I use it for shorter commuting rides hence never saw or felt any problem.

    I now have another road bike which has geometry significantly different from the previous bike and I'm deliberating whether to have another bike fit. On balance I think its worthwhile especially as I don't have anyone who could assist. If you get lucky setting it up on your own great but on the other hand, tinkering on your own may only get you so far and cause a longer period of pain and discomfort than is necessary.

    You need to make your own call on the value of a bike fit dependent upon your situation. It's not something to jump into though. The secret is to find someone who does know what they are doing and can actually make a difference.
  • themekon wrote:
    So, do you need a bike fit for every bike you have?.

    Yes, all bikes are not made the same. I have 3 bikes and believe it they are quite different.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    themekon wrote:
    So, do you need a bike fit for every bike you have?.

    Depends.

    If you have multiple bikes that are similar and serve the same purpose, then no - you should be able to transfer the setup from, let's say, your summer bike to your winter bike (assuming they have similar geometry etc.).

    But you might have radically different bikes, a TT bike or whatever, so yes. This wold also require a pair of shoes per bike if you were trying to get the most from each setup.

    You might have a bike that you commute on or pootle to the shops on - I wouldn't pay for a fit on that (my own commuter only does less than 4000km a year, so really isn't worth spending money on for short, sub 30 minute commutes).
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Not knocking bike fits but it can't be that difficult ... After all their are only three points of contact. Seems a bit like a waste of money to me
  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    Mikey23 wrote:
    Not knocking bike fits but it can't be that difficult ... After all their are only three points of contact. Seems a bit like a waste of money to me
    Everything is easy when you know what you are doing :P and how adjusting one parameter affects another. Then you realise that setting up entails verification and changing (where necessary) of the following parameters:

    bar width;
    stem length;
    saddle position;
    saddle height;
    crank length;
    foot position and setting of cleats on the shoe

    Try doing all of that on your own :)

    There is a lot going on and the positioning has to consider the bike geometry with respect to the headset and the bottom bracket. There is an inter-relationship between all of these parameters and while it is something that can be done at home, to do it at home also needs assistance and the knowledge.

    I'm not advocating everyone gets a bike fit done but nor should bike fits be dismissed as a fad. It has its place dependent upon what you are wanting to achieve.
  • robbo2011
    robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    The dillema I have is this..

    I tend to, or have in the past tended to suffer from back problems.
    Since using my current bike for the last 2 years, I have never had a backache again, and I've ridden more and more, harder and faster. 30-50 miles is no issue at all, and 100 didn't have any ill effects other than feeling totally knackered.

    Everyone tells me to have a bike fit, but to be honest, I'm concerned that I may just have chanced upon the perfect position for me and I've never heard of anyone having a bike fit being told not to change anything.

    I think I'd be inclined to leave it until I buy a new bike with a different geometry.

    If it aint broke, don't fix it.
  • macroadie wrote:
    themekon wrote:
    So, do you need a bike fit for every bike you have?.

    Yes, all bikes are not made the same. I have 3 bikes and believe it they are quite different.

    The question was a bit tongue in cheek. I have 5 bikes if you include my shopping bike. None are identical to any of the others but I just set the seat height and set back the same . All the bars are the same width and stems vary from 110 to 120. Same pedals on all bikes.
    I've been cycling now for over 50 years and have never had a bike fit.
    How on earth did we manage all those years ago with toe clips and straps and bikes which,by todays criteria were so wrong?.
    Still managed 100 mile clubruns every Sunday, Touring holidays and racing.
    No I'm not looking back through rose coloured glasses the bikes of today are much better. I just think that people are looking for answers to problems that don't exist.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    My view is unless you are competing / training to a high level or have a long standing medical issue you should be able to sort out your own bike fit / setup. Having come from mountain biking to road biking it took be two weeks of adjustment, mistakes and reading websites to get what I wanted. While I was after speed / power it had to be comfortable so no huge drop and no really low position.

    Most will get by adjusting saddle height, saddle angle, saddle foward / back and the drop / angle of stem to the handle bars. As I wanted a more upright position my saddle to bar drop is under an inch due to flipping the stem upright. The only thing I bought to upgrade is 105 brakes as the original brakes were not sharp enough for me coming from mountain bike disc brakes.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    themekon wrote:
    I've been cycling now for over 50 years and have never had a bike fit.
    How on earth did we manage all those years ago with toe clips and straps and bikes which,by todays criteria were so wrong?.
    Still managed 100 mile clubruns every Sunday, Touring holidays and racing.
    No I'm not looking back through rose coloured glasses the bikes of today are much better. I just think that people are looking for answers to problems that don't exist.

    +1 Nobody had bike fits back then - but you would have people in the club who would point you in the right direction. Now we have a lot more money that people are almost looking to spend it.

    Any decent shop should be able to fit you without going into all the bells and whistles - but if thats what floats your boat - go for it.
  • kwi
    kwi Posts: 181
    Any decent shop should fit you when you buy the bike.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The OP states he has a recurring back problem and somehow feel that repeated visits for a bike fit will somehow fix it? The main reason for back trouble is core body weakness - I'd ask is the OP doing any exercise or therapy to deal with the problem? It's a bit like going to a doctor knowing you're ill, ignoring the medicine and turning up repeatedly to say "am I better?" That said, a lot of bike fit is snake oil as people thinks it's a 'cure' for underlying conditions without doing anything about the condition.
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  • dilemna
    dilemna Posts: 2,187
    A fool and their money are easily parted.

    Maybe you should have established just what the shop bike fit would provide before you paid any cash and who and what their experience was before you paid them any cash? But that's just me. Generally if you are buying a new bike, a proper bike, not an Apollo, a proper bike shop should do a fit to make sure it does errrr ......... fit.

    Caveat emptor.
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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    I would have thought that if you went to four different bike fits that they would all be different.
    If thats the case then at least 3 of them would be wrong!

    I think that getting info on making a bike fit is great and every little helps, but not knowing if the fitter is a/ any good and b/ not trying to just extract money from me by selling me new parts I may not need means that I am unlikely to go down that road in the near future.
  • 86inch
    86inch Posts: 161
    cougie wrote:
    themekon wrote:
    I've been cycling now for over 50 years and have never had a bike fit.
    How on earth did we manage all those years ago with toe clips and straps and bikes which,by todays criteria were so wrong?.
    Still managed 100 mile clubruns every Sunday, Touring holidays and racing.
    No I'm not looking back through rose coloured glasses the bikes of today are much better. I just think that people are looking for answers to problems that don't exist.

    +1 Nobody had bike fits back then - but you would have people in the club who would point you in the right direction. Now we have a lot more money that people are almost looking to spend it.

    Any decent shop should be able to fit you without going into all the bells and whistles - but if thats what floats your boat - go for it.


    +2 It seems to me there is a dilution in cycling culture these days.. i might be an old dinosaur, but back in the day when you were young your older club mates and the "old timers" would all give you help and advice for free. The culture and etiquette of cycling were passed on and we were all the better for it IMHO.
    These days you can bypass all that by having your "fit" done, using Strava and doing Sportives instead of proper racing.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Carbonator wrote:
    I would have thought that if you went to four different bike fits that they would all be different.
    If thats the case then at least 3 of them would be wrong!

    If that's what you think then all it means is that you don't think bike fits work. And in that case why would you think that any of them would be right?
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  • Carbonator wrote:
    I would have thought that if you went to four different bike fits that they would all be different.
    If thats the case then at least 3 of them would be wrong!
    That presupposes there is a maximum of one "right" position. I'm not sure that's the case for most of us who just want to be comfortable, not extract every last watt or mph.
  • Whilst I wholly believe that a bike fit may help a person get the best out of their bike and their cycling pleasure (no pain, further distances due to more comfort etc etc) I can't help but think that the whole bike science thing actually kills the basic pleasure of cycling. I have been riding Road bikes, or Racers as we used to call 'em for over 25 years (I'm 37 now) and have never seen so much scrutinising as I have over the past year on here, on other forums and various online sources. I see people wrought with fear that their stem is 10mm too long or too short, that their stack height may make that difference, if it were 2mm less or more. Again, I understand the importance, but c'mon! People need to relax a little more and just enjoy the bike they have and their rides, without overthinking and worrying if they have the 'perfect fit' or not. I say this as a person who has been through the whole process, only to sit back and think 'what a waste of effort.'

    I completely understand the importance of the correct size of bike, clothing, shoes and overall set-up of a bike, but I'm afraid the enjoyment factor is dying its death because of it. My mom's partner is 62, he has a Spesh Secteur and has done for over 5 years now. He has no bike maintenance knowledge whatsoever. He is in a cycling club and goes out 2-3 times a week and covers over 150 miles in that time. There is also an older guy of around 80 in the club who has an old steel framed bike from the 70's, never had a bike fit, uses toe clips, wears lace up leather shoes and whatever he feels will keep him warm on his bike. He could probably out-distance the majority of cyclists on here, the guy is a legend.

    I'm not denying that a bike fit may help but, as the OP has found, the 'mythical' perfect fit doesn't exist!
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  • A bike fit sounds great up until they ask you how flexible you are... at which point it all becomes a bit of a guess, also a 20 minute video session is not always reflective of your riding position 4hrs into a ride. I think with a bit of free advice and research most people can achieve a comfortable position gaining better outputs etc may be a different scenario, but not too dissimilar.
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    Monty Dog wrote:
    The OP states he has a recurring back problem and somehow feel that repeated visits for a bike fit will somehow fix it? The main reason for back trouble is core body weakness - I'd ask is the OP doing any exercise or therapy to deal with the problem? It's a bit like going to a doctor knowing you're ill, ignoring the medicine and turning up repeatedly to say "am I better?" That said, a lot of bike fit is snake oil as people thinks it's a 'cure' for underlying conditions without doing anything about the condition.

    Actually he said he has lateral foot problems, not sure situps would help very much :D

    I got a free retul fit when I bought my new bike. Being a new bike its hard to know how much it helped out and how much of my improvements was just down to it being a better bike. The thing that got pointed out for me is my saddle was to low which was overworking my quads. He warned me that the higher saddle would hurt the hamstrings for a while as they would be underpowered compared to my quads which were now going to be working equally. If I had put the bike in that position myself then the pain of my hamstrings would of made be lower the saddle again. So what I thought was a fitness issue on longer rides making my quads burn was just a poor fit.
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  • I know this thread wasn't intended as a discussion of the pros and cons of bike fit, but there have been some really interesting replies along those lines and I thought I'd add to them with my recent experience.

    I had a Retul bike fit at the beginning of July and since then I've adjusted the tilt of my saddle, the fore/aft position of the saddle, the size of stem, and the angle of the shifters. Things are starting to feel pretty good now, but I might raise the saddle a little too. I guess that's an indicator of how well it worked out for me.

    I'll be honest, based on comments I'd read at places like this along the lines of, "Best money you'll ever spend on cycling," I was expecting my fit to be some kind of magical experience. I was hoping the fitter would look at me, narrow his eyes and announce, "110mm stem, 42cm bars, 143mm saddle!" and my aches and pains would be gone for good, but then that's perhaps a little deluded on my part. I was surprised how relatively vague the whole thing was, though. When questioning saddle size I was simply told, "Saddles are so personal," which is probably bang on, but then couldn't that be said of every variable on the bike?

    In favour of the fit, it did sort out my foot comfort, eradicate niggling knee pains that were creeping in and give me some ideas as to how I can improve my position on the bike and pedal stroke, but then I guess I could have achieved all of that with a much cheaper cleat fit and chats with experienced riders.

    One of the things I didn't really get with the Retul fit was that you're data is assessed based on your current riding position, but is not reassessed once all adjustments have been made. Surely this would show if improvements in efficiency had actually been made or not?

    I have no regrets over the money I spent on my bike fit, but would I get one again? Hmm... maybe I'd be intrigued to see what this Bike Whisperer bloke is all about.

    Would I advise others to go for bike fit? Sure, if the cost isn't going to affect you too badly, but if money is a consideration (and for how many of us is it not?) I'd say, make sure your cleats are set up correctly (can't be too hard - the Retul fit basically just used one of those jig things), read up on technique, or better still, consult with experienced riders, and maybe spend your money on a few different length stems to experiment with. Above all, listen to your body and make adjustments to bike and riding position that will help keep you as relaxed as possible while in the saddle.

    I recently read something that seemed to make a lot of sense, and it stopped me from thinking I need a new frame simply because the one I have now I'm not yet 100% comfortable on: it said that anyone should be able to ride either one of two frame sizes providing they are set up correctly for the individual. I suppose you could read that as backing up professional bike fits, but I saw it more as meaning bikes are incredibly adaptable in terms of their physical set up and that if you keep tinkering, you'll get something approaching right in the end.