Bike Fitting

I did a full fit years ago. It solved my neck pain issues and I have used the pdf they produced with custom builders in subsequent years. All my bikes are therefore identical in terms of key contact points etc. Worth every penny, but you have to be willing spend money on stem/bar and other changes afterward. Or consider a custom build.

As a caveat I would say that since then a lot of people are offering bike fits and I suspect quality varies. Also I have a moderate spinal issue that made me a bit non standard in terms of regular bike sizing. Bear in mind if you’ve been riding for years to change things slowly. Your fit may be ‘wrong’ but your body is used to it!

Finally a good fit might help identify biomechanucal issues such as leg length, foot rotation etc but they are less likely to pick up or indeed fix wear and tear problems. A physio with cycling knowledge may be where I would start. Be wary of Internet experts. Well meaning but assessment needs to be dynamic with you on a bike trainer, or even someone with insight just riding behind you.

Bruce

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Hi @Andyblain

Thank you for the information.

Hi @Fatcat

I use a racing bike.
I have a session, once a week, with a PT to work on core strength and increasing my muscle strength.

Hi @BruceW .

Thank you for the information.

Hi @Clive

Thank you for the information.

Bruce, just wondering what your neck issues were?

As we age it usually becomes more difficult to maintain a lower aerodynamic profile with a lower handlebar position, even for experienced ex-road raced and time trial cyclists.
This was the only concern with my bike-fit in 2017 which otherwise went very well. The fitter wanted me to be more upright at the front (due to my age) …although this is very easy to tryout with handlebar stem spacers, and in practice i rather hate it, by far prefer to have bars a few inches lower than seat height.

However i do remain concerned that having the bar height slam-dunked for an oldie can take its toll on the neck with the need of holding the head up to see where one is going.

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Debs

All males of my family have a bit of a stoop, so getting bar position right in particular is tricky. I am also quite tall. Too upright and I have insufficient reach on stock frames, too low and I get neck pain as I have to hyper-extend my neck to see forwards. These are not age-related but from my youth actually. With stock frames I would tend to need odd stem lengths or angles.

The fit looked at lots of other things including a lot of time on BB to saddle relationship as Christopher M mentioned. What was great is that it just felt right from the off on the frame I built, and all others since and it actually copies across in terms of contact points more or less to my MTB’s (which are not custom).

I did my fit 15 years ago and it doesn’t feel like it needs updating for now at least.

Bruce

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My bike fit was the best thing I did in ages! No more numb feet, less lower back pain, faster! My seat was moved some cm up (after years of thinking I got it dialed. Cleats were completely repositioned. stem was slammed. Quite revolutionary!

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A professional bike fitting is the best upgrade you can get for a bike. I always get one when I take delivery of my bikes, have it checked after I’ve ridden it for a couple months, and again about every year or so. As I get older, my fitness, how I ride my bike, etc. can change and I find it’s worth the effort to make sure my bike is adjusted properly for me. It’s money and time well spent.

I’m 63, ride 5000-6000 miles/year and going strong, and have four bikes I use on a regular basis. I have been fitted and refitted for all of them.

I have a new bike on order built on a custom frame. The frame is getting a bit of custom geometry – determined by my fitter – to suit me better than the standard geometry.

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I raced bikes for many years (mostly road, some mtb) & by the time I quit in my mid-40s my hips and lower back were chronically tight.

I’ve restored a fair amount of mobility through regular yoga. Some yoga studios even offer specific classes for runners & cyclists, so perhaps worth investigating. Plenty of YouTube stuff too.

I’ve seen numerous older cyclists who appear fixed in a semi-crouched position even after dismounting the bike. Not a great look, and likely to exacerbate existing aches and pains.

Recently I’ve also traded in my race bike for a gravel bike (but still ride 95% on road). The more relaxed geometry and fatter tyres (32 v 25mm) make for a much more comfortable ride, with minimal loss of speed.

I’ve been running fatter tubeless tires for years. My road bikes have 32mm tires running tubless at 40/45 PSI. My gravel bike has 44mm tires running tubless at 22/24 PSI.

Unpopular counterpoint: I’ve never had a bike fit in my life. I’m over 60 and doing 15,000km in a typical year. Never had an injury from riding.

It’s borne only of my personal experience, but for me, bike fits are basically worthless. The rider knows what works and doesn’t work for them. A poorly trained “professional” bike fitter is as likely to make things worse as they are to make things better. The science is sketchy. A few rules-of-thumb only. Remember the “knee-over-pedal-spindle” nonsense? This is not to say that some bike fitters aren’t gifted. But how do you know which ones they are?

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Those are very low pressures (compared to what I run, at least) for those tyre sizes. I run ~70psi in 32s and ~35psi in 44s.

Are you running tubeless or not? The pressures I run are considered the correct ones for my weight (140 lbs) and tire size on a tubeless setup.

I have benefited quit a lot from getting fitted on my bikes. I’m sorry you’re soured and hostile to the idea of it but it’s a legitimate approach and I’ve not knowna single rider harmed or negatively impacted by it. I’ve known plenty of people who’s riding was improved.

I stand by my recommendation.

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I run tubeless in gravel bike tyres 38mm and up. For road bikes it’s a solution to to a problem I simply don’t have.

I’m not hostile to a good bike fit. Emphasis on “good”. I’m just sceptical, not convinced that many bike fits are much more than the coarse application of rules of thumb. Throw in prejudices of fitters who are convinced that they “know” the best position, and that their favoured single position is best for everyone.

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You’re right. Your pressures are correct and mine are obviously too high. I can live with that.

I don’t think that is such a radical comment.

I totally agree it is dependent on the quality and experience of the fitter. Some have clearly ‘done the course’ and slavishly follow their training to provide a fairly inflexible set of fit ‘rules’ that do not work for everyone at all (seen it with a mate). Some clearly have more insight. Nothing beats a recommendation.

If you are fortunate to have a position that works for you, and have no injuries etc then I’m not sure why you’d go to one anyway. However some people struggle with fit and positioning issues and lack the knowledge or confidence to tweak things without external guidance.

Bruce

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That’s the way you recognise old lifelong motorcyclists where I live, some locked in the racing position! In the more extreme cases I suspect the repeated reconstruction of broken bones may be a factor…!

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The thing I find strange regarding bike fitting is how much adjustment bikes need to fit many riders. I’m talking mainly about for older riders (like me!). Even if we buy a performance (road) bike designed for “fondos” or “endurance”, most people require stacks of spacers and their stems on upside-down to get their bars high-enough for a comfortable position. These style of bikes already have taller head-tubes (relative to top-tubes), and even with the bars positioned way-up, the riders still never ride in the drops. And the bikes look ridiculous.

Bikes that should be set up more like the one on the right (with steerer trimmed, natch), end-up looking like the one on the left.

image

I’d make a case that there are many riders out there that who would be better-off on a flat-bar bike.

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