Retul, Specialized, Guru, Serotta, and many others have created “expert” fitters. I don’t mean to discount the training fitters are receiving, but what I’m noticing is an over complication of basic bike fitting concepts and practices.
Years ago, we used a device called “Fit Kit.” It came in a nice wooden box and was basically a stick with cleat fitting tools and a chart to use once the measurements were taken. What it didn’t come with is nifty bells and whistles. For me, it also came with two weeks of hands-on training and an understanding that the human body isn’t a machine. It constantly changes and evolves as muscles get stronger, tighter, and fatigue sets in.
Today’s fitters have made bike fitting a finite quantity, i.e. your saddle height goes exactly here, stem length and angle has to be here. It simply doesn’t work that way!
I have 30 years of bike fitting experience. I’ve taken almost every class out there just to learn and hear what the experts are preaching. Yet it still comes back to a few basic things…
1. Comfort. Quite literally, can you ride this position for X miles and not be in pain?
2. Run transition. If you are a triathlete, can you run effectively after spending time on your bike? Many fitters forget this with triathletes & focus purely on bike efficiency, but often to the detriment of having a good run afterwards.
3. Quantifying power. Are you maximizing the amount of power you can get on your bike? Without checking with a power meter or computertrainer, you are simply guessing.
The ideal fit combines positioning with power and aerodynamics (like in a wind tunnel). But for most, getting in the wind tunnel just isn’t in the cards, and is limited to the top athletes and those with the funds to do so.
The great part of working with CEEPO is that I brought my proprietary fit system with me. Years ago I was fortunate to work with a computer programmer who helped me design a program that creates a stick figure on a bike using a few simple measurements. It places a “rider” on a designated bike with all the measurements so I can see what they look like even if they aren’t in front of me. It allows me to do online fittings exceptionally well and I’m able to ensure that each client receives the absolute optimal frame size when they purchase – the critical first step in any fit. The program works so well, I’ve actually been offered money for it. But I’m never going to sell, as it gives me the ability to do my fittings based on my experience and philosophies.
All that said, do your research, make sure your fitter listens to you, and spend some time learning what you need to do to become faster and more comfortable on your bike!
Want a head start? Check out our new sizing wizard form. It provides step-by-step instructions to get the measurements I need to size you up!
(Have a question? Ask Steve. Steve's great about responding to everyone's questions, but if you send us a doozy we deem worthy of posting on the site, we'll send you a t-shirt for the trouble.)