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Did You Get a Bike Fit?

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.
View Poll Results: Had a bike fit?
Yes and it was worthwhile
Yes and it was snake oil
No never
Have never even thought about it
Voters: 100. You may not vote on this poll

Did You Get a Bike Fit?

Old 04-15-21, 01:53 PM
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I got a bike fit around seven years ago. It was a season where I had really increased my mileage - over the course of the year and for individual day rides. The degree of difficulty also increased, with more climbing on my rides. As the year went on, I had been experiencing increasing discomfort in my elbow and my left knee. About 40 miles into my last century of the season, the discomfort - especially in my knee - got to the point where I was close to making the call of shame to get a ride back to the start. I took around 4 Advil and that relieved the discomfort and I was able to complete the ride. But, it did motivate me to get a bike fit. They swapped out the handlebars and did some seat and cleat adjustments. I will say the fit worked wonders for me and I felt much better after that. I may have been able to figure all that out by doing my own research but, for me, it was money well spent (the bike shop keeps the measurements on file and, when I bought a new bike, they set it up using the same measurements).
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Old 04-15-21, 02:57 PM
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My only 'fit' was a suggestion by the bike shop as to frame size when I was 15 or so... Not a lot of choices back then - every two inches in frame size 19, 21, 23, 25... The shop tried to get me to accept a 21" frame based on the standover height. That's it for 'fitting' me.. BUT, I chose a 23" frame for a couple of reasons - I figured that I'd grow into it ( but I never grew more than 1/2" after age 15 - other than bigger around!), and that the 21 felt too cramped -- fore-aft, so I preferred the more stretched-out posture of the 23, even though 'the lads' are a bit compromised if I stand flat-footed. But honestly, who does that anyway? At age 18 I bought a 'better bike' in that same 23" frame size and rode it for tens of thousands of miles as my only bike. .I simply tweaked the saddle position (height and fore-aft position, and the height of the bars) Voila! Bike fit the old fashioned way.!!! Centuries, double centuries, weeks-long tours. I still ride that 23" bike (my beloved and semi-retired '75 Fuji S-10S), with the fit the same way today.

My other bikes are likewise 'fit' to fit, although they are all 57cm... I simply adjust things after a 20-mile ride until I find that sweet spot.

'75 Fuji S-10S bought new, 52k+ miles and still going!
'84 Univega Gran Tourismo
'84 Univega Viva Sport
'86 Miyata 710
'90 Schwinn Woodlands
Unknown brand MTB of questionable lineage aka 'Mutt Trail Bike'
Plus or minus a few others from time-to-time

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Old 04-15-21, 03:05 PM
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I did most of of my fitting myself. Once I had the seat too high when I was given a new saddle, felt unstable, and decided I should stop riding. Dumb mistake, but I was under a lot of stress. I started riding again almost 8 years ago because I had forgotten the instability. I rode a bit and felt unstable again, but this time I analyzed the problem. The saddle changed, so it was likely that something about the new saddle was the problem. Sure enough, the new saddled was taller than the old one. Lowering it cured the feeling of instability.

A few years ago, when I was experimenting with saddles to avoid perineal numbness, I was experiencing knee pain on every ride. At the urging of a couple of physical therapists, I did a one hour consultation with a fitter, not a full fit. He raised my saddle height by a 3-4 CM. I can still get knee pain, but I have so far always gotten out of pain by moving my foot on the pedal.

I think some sort of observer can be very helpful in curing discomfort. I'm not so certain about a full fit, because I think fit changes with conditioning and miles. I sort of think one might need to get a new fit every month.

Last edited by philbob57; 04-15-21 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 04-16-21, 10:21 AM
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As the poll starter, I was curious about outcomes. For 40 years I never had a bike fit. Never needed or wanted one. Got a new bike last year and set it up like my old bike but developed issues with my shoulders and urinary issues which PT helped but didnít solve as well as the cursed, backing off cycling.

Got a fit yesterday by a licensed, masters degree dd PT who did several tests, videos and asked countless questions. She was extremely thorough, not to mention being a former national mountain biking champion. She readjusted one cleat, evaluated body position and got me a new shorter stem and adjusted height and videoed again. The change in body position was remarkable and I could actually feel the difference. Will try the new stem for a month and see her again if needed for any tweaks. Was it worthwhile? I don;t actually know at this point but I doubt it could hurt and if I benefit, I can increase my distance.
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Old 04-16-21, 11:07 AM
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Never was tempted to get a bike fit. I see fitters in the same light as Tarot readers: might be right sometimes, but I have no reason to have any confidence in it. Testimonials notwithstanding.
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Old 04-16-21, 01:19 PM
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I have had 2 professional fits. They were worth it.

My last one was a Retul fit. It took about 4 hours and I learned a lot about my position on the bike. It was like 5 years ago and I am pretty comfortable on my bike. I did find out that one leg is slightly shorter than the other and they needed to shim my left cleat with two shims. My first fit never caught that issue.

So, for me, it was well worth it. I've managed 3 centuries and a bunch of other metric's without any issues at all except for a bit of chaffing here and there.

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Old 04-17-21, 04:20 PM
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Yes, when I first started riding again. A 6 month recheck was included in the price.

After 2 years I went to a longer stem (90mm to a 110mm) and dropped it 10mm. It's been that way for years now. I also moved my left cleat back a bit and was more comfortable.

A professional fit can help but your body know what it likes, so don't be afraid to makes some minor changes. Just have all the measurements so you can go back if it's not beneficial.
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Old 04-18-21, 12:47 PM
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Of all the bikes shops I went to none of them offered a bike fit. In fact I doubt any of them know what that is apart from letting you take it on a ride up and down the street and asking "how does that feel?" People do tend to over think these things.
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Old 04-18-21, 01:13 PM
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I'd like to see one of those exposes where one actor takes the same bike with the same riding history to 3 or 4 different fitters to see how dissimilar they are. If I was in pain due to cycling, I would see a good PT before a bike shop employee.
I don't do: disks, tubeless, e-shifting, or bead head nymphs.
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Old 04-19-21, 11:40 AM
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I had a titanium bike made for me 20 years ago. Custom fit and geometry were part of the deal. The bike fit like a glove. 20 years later, it still does. Steady as a rock going down hills. Comfortable for me.
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Old 04-19-21, 11:49 AM
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Old 04-19-21, 12:42 PM
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Bike fit benefits

Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Have you had a professional bike fit and if you did, was it beneficial?
Yes, several times, and here's just one example of potential benefit:

I was in a favorite shop that sells high-end bikes, including Seven and Parlee, for some new road cleats. The fitter asked why my saddle was set with the nose high, something I didn't intend nor noticed. He dropped the nose, pretty much imperceptibly to my eye. Strikingly though, on my next rides I noticed suddenly I'd gained 1.5-2.0 mph simply from his infinitesimal nosing down of my saddle. So that was an immediate and obvious performance gain from something simple. Meanwhile, there is no way to quantify the injuries possibly saved from prior fittings.

Cycling is like golf: some can do well with poor fit and form, but most benefit and even excel with a good fitting and good form. And it's hard to have good form without a good fit.
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Old 04-19-21, 01:31 PM
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Nate Loyal did my fit three years ago

Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Have never had a bike fit but I only average 20-30 miles per ride a few times a week. Along with an occasional 50 mile charity ride pre pandemic.
At that mileage I can ride damn near any close-size bike right off the shelf.
Donít need or want to obsess over dialing-in fit, or even sillier, Ďfeel one with my bikeí
At age 73 after reading a BF post praising Nate and finding his website we spent an hour or more together to significant benefit. Yesterday it was finally possible to resume riding with companions. It was very fine. I'd gladly return to Nate should I feel a need. Rigors of age may compell it.
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Old 04-19-21, 01:50 PM
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On my tri bike I went for a fit. I don't know that it changed my position much, but I wanted to see the process first-hand. It was fairly comprehensive with markers attached to my knees, ankles, hips etc, and some cameras and software doing some of the observation. In the end we shimmed one of my cleats a bit, which seemed to improve how my knees tracked. Raised my bars slightly and adjusted the fore-aft and tilt of my saddle slightly. My frontal area was reduced minimally, and my power output was raised a bit, and my comfort noticeably. The big benefit for me was the measurements provided at the end. When I travel to race, it's really easy to replicate my position whether I dismantle my bike or use a rental.

For my road bike we started by having me on one of those adjustable bike rigs. The measurements were used to get a Moots built for me from scratch.

Both of these were mostly intended to satisfy my curiosity. Avid cyclist or not, I would suggest that a fit or a custom bike is near the end of the discretionary spending scale. Given my life situation today, I wouldn't spend the money on either. When I ride, I never regret the decisions I made then.
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Old 04-19-21, 03:07 PM
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Just turned 70 last month and went for my first bike fit. Did this for a 3 reasons.
1. My height (6'3" / 190cm) puts me typically between a large and extra large frame.
2. I didn't want to mess around with trial and error for seat, stem / bars, etc - I just wanted to ride comfortably, after a few years away from biking and I'm not as flexible as I once was.
3. The bike technology had changed so much since I last did serious riding (>5K kilometres a year) I wanted to be reasonably confident that my thinking and understanding on what would work was in fact true.

I'd say the bike fit helped in some area's to clarify and confirmed what I'd been reading so I got good value but I didn't have any "Eureka" type moments. I ended up changing the seat post and stem.

Would I do it again - depends on how much I was going to spend on a bike. Big $$ then probably.
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Old 04-19-21, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Have you had a professional bike fit and if you did, was it beneficial?
I wasnít comfortable and had some pain. My little tweaks didnít help.
spent about 1.5 hours with a certified fitter. He said I gained 5w (donít care) but for sure I was much more comfortable. Fixed a couple of problems I didnít know I had thanks to the fit.
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Old 04-19-21, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by d-klumpp View Post
Yes, several times, and here's just one example of potential benefit:

I was in a favorite shop that sells high-end bikes, including Seven and Parlee, for some new road cleats. The fitter asked why my saddle was set with the nose high, something I didn't intend nor noticed. He dropped the nose, pretty much imperceptibly to my eye. Strikingly though, on my next rides I noticed suddenly I'd gained 1.5-2.0 mph simply from his infinitesimal nosing down of my saddle. So that was an immediate and obvious performance gain from something simple. Meanwhile, there is no way to quantify the injuries possibly saved from prior fittings.

Cycling is like golf: some can do well with poor fit and form, but most benefit and even excel with a good fitting and good form. And it's hard to have good form without a good fit.
Thatís awesome.
You should go back and have him drop the nose down another inch and a half.
Would definitely result in podium at TDF
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Old 04-19-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Have you had a professional bike fit and if you did, was it beneficial?
YES. Was a fantastic use of $100. My first really long ride- about 75 miles - gave me a neuropathy in my hands that hasn't fully healed 8 years later. Took the bike to a fitter who used some special proprietary system (forget what) and he adjusted not just up and down measurements but back and forward such as the saddle and put on a new stem which was much more upright. I've been very comfortable ever since and when I bought a Kona online, took it back to the same shop for a fit, they again swapped the stem and fitted me using the shoes and pedals I brought it and it's better than I could ever do on my own.

But what you're reading is: YMMV. Some people get their suits precisely fitted, other people don't mind floppy clothes and too-long sleeves- it depends on context and your personal needs and capabilities for adjusting things yourself and knowing what to adjust.
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Old 04-20-21, 08:20 AM
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I got a professional bike fit in 2005 for a new custom Serotta. The fit was great. In the intervening years, I have changed that fit quite a bit. In 2019, I decided to buy a custom Gunnar. I took my current bike in to the fitter who analyzed the fit that I had evolved into. He concluded it was perfect and was surprised that it had not come from an updated professional fit job.

So I guess I've done ok on my own.
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Old 04-20-21, 04:37 PM
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Question for the OP: Your profile lists a Rodriguez racing tandem. R-E offers individualized fitting session as part of their custom build service. Did you and your tandem partner take advantage of their service (or perhaps you acquired the tandem used?) If so, what did you think?

We recently purchased a new Rodriguez tandem and couldn't schedule a fitting session due to the pandemic, but I thought the body measurements we provided and the Q&A with their staff before finalizing our build was very helpful, and we are delighted with our tandem. I did raise the captain's bars a cm which helped reduce some numbness in my right hand and we changed the stoker's seat which helped her endurance and comfort.
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Old 04-20-21, 07:04 PM
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Late entry here. I have never had a bike fit though have had a fit or two fixing roadside flats. Seriously, I began road riding in 1973 with a bunch of young riders that helped me along. Through the years I have a sixth sense for finding that sweet spot of seat height, stem height and reach. There is nothing more aggravating than trying to put miles on a bike that needs adjusting to your needs. First step is finding the frame size and bike to fit your needs, wants and style. If not, you probably wonít ride that bike much. Fit is important.
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Old 04-21-21, 07:14 AM
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On a new road bike, I get fit, which my LBS does with the purchase of a new bike. On a new MTB, I don't get fit. I just have them eye ball it with me sitting on it to check for and aft of the seat as well as seat height.
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Old 04-21-21, 09:49 AM
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After what seemed like an eternity of aches and pains when I rode (butt pain, back pain, hip pain, neck pain, hand and wrist pain), I finally broke down and saw a licensed physical therapist who does bike fittings. She discovered, among other things, that: 1.) my right knee tracked perfectly over the pedals, but my left knee splayed out a full 17 degrees; 2.) my brake hoods were angled slightly outward instead of inward; 3.) my saddle was 2 cm too low; and 4.) the SPD cleats on my shoes were positioned too far back.

She also did a functional assessment of my range of motion, strength, etc. She found that my left hip/glute is considerably weaker than my right, and she prescribed exercises to compensate for that.

I've ridden much more comfortably since then. The bike fitting was $200, the assessment an additional $100. I consider it to have been $300 well spent.
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Old 04-21-21, 10:10 AM
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I think it matters who does the fit ,
I had a fit done once and it was just an opportunity for the bike shop to sell you stuff you didn't need
stem is too long, need a shorter stem, cleat is wrong, new cleat, this needs a shim, buy this one
don't think there is any way better than doing it yourself , if you make an adjustment , ride with that set up and adjust accordingly
eventually you will get it right, I don't think a fitter can do that for you. close but not right
there's plenty of material online to see what is the best position, set it up , the rest is up to you to adjust.
you will have a better understanding of bike positioning in the end,
to me it is super interesting to adjust and get things better. it does take time.
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Old 04-22-21, 11:32 PM
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Way back in 1972 I was in Ocean Beach California thanks to my uncle's boat club. I walked into a bike shop looking at a bike to take along with the ship that was heading to Japan. It was the most educational things I had ever done. Before, I had ridden what-ever I could afford or was available in small town Iowa. I left my 3 speed Herculies at home and in a matter of 30 minutes in that store I was taught about fitting a bike to my long legged 6'-3", 155 lb. frame. That Fuji I rode out of that shop took me over many a mile and cemented me to a life of bicycle riding. I still revert back to those basics when I look at any new ride. Before that day the sum total of my bike shop expertise was that "That model comes in red and blue. Those come in black, but we would have to order it special. Did you want white walls?"
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