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Professional bike fit?
#1
Hello everyone,

Last March, I bought a new road bike, and have had a great time riding every chance I get. I even got clipless pedals, which I love, and no I didn't fall over. Yet. Smile Anyway, a friend asked me last week if I've ever had a professional bike fitting. He said that it made all the difference for him in comfort and performance. My bike was adjusted by the bike shop guy I bought it from, just eye-balling it. My plan is to add time and distance to my rides, including a week-long tour of Yellowstone and the Tetons next summer.

So, is there really something to the whole video/bike fit thing? And is it worth the approximately $200 is would cost?

Patty
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#2
Well since no one chimed in yet, I'll add my 2C worth.

I recall you had a problem with cleats causing leg pain that now seems OK so thats good. Was it a adjustment issue or more. May help someone if you say how you solved it.

As per fit there are some very good articles around, as usual Sheldon Brown is a good start.
If you are completely in the dark or have problems a pro fit may help although the price is a bit steep IMO.
Otherwise if it feels good stick with it. Learn to listen to your body and ergonomics, with practice you can dial in the bike after a few rides. Your body is the key, not theories. Most fit comes out of practice, proper seat is a big help, than set it where you normally tend to sit. Adjust to your type of riding not someone else's.

If you go pro, well talk to a pro.:-)))
Never Give Up!!!
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#3
Thanks, George! At the moment, I'm inclined to wait, mostly because I'm losing weight, so it seems to me that any adjustments now wouldn't last. Especially at almost $200 for a fitting. I'm comfortable on the bike now, so what the hey...

As for the cleats, it turns out that I did just what you suggest. I was out riding and my right leg started to ache, and I found that what I wanted was to turn my heel in a little and my toes out, so I adjusted the cleat in the direction just a few mm. and whaddya know, I can ride all day and my leg doesn't bother me at all. My toes get numb and tingly at about 25 miles or so, but not too bad and it stops if I get off the bike for a minute or two. But at least my ankle doesn't hurt! Big Grin

Thanks!
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#4
Good cleat adjustment, thats listening to your body.

You can ride all day?? Wow :-)) YE stopping and stretching is good.
Never Give Up!!!
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#5
(09-03-2010, 02:27 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Good cleat adjustment, thats listening to your body.

You can ride all day?? Wow :-)) YE stopping and stretching is good.

Welllll, that might've been a little bit of an exaggeration.... Big Grin
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#6
I wouldn't ignore your toes going numb after 25 miles. It could be "nothing", but it also could be a sign you still need more adjustment on the cleats, shoes, seat height, etc.

While a pro fit is probably a waste of time for a lot of people, it might not be a bad idea if you are having issues when your in the saddle for longer periods. Especially if you're planning to do some real distances soon. Fit's not a big issue for riding 5-10 miles. But even a small mis-adjustment can mess you up over long distances.
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#7
(09-03-2010, 08:30 PM)DaveM Wrote:  I wouldn't ignore your toes going numb after 25 miles. It could be "nothing", but it also could be a sign you still need more adjustment on the cleats, shoes, seat height, etc.

While a pro fit is probably a waste of time for a lot of people, it might not be a bad idea if you are having issues when your in the saddle for longer periods. Especially if you're planning to do some real distances soon. Fit's not a big issue for riding 5-10 miles. But even a small mis-adjustment can mess you up over long distances.

Yes, I'd like it solved. At the moment, it's a minor annoyance that clears up quickly, but my long-term plan is to do serious distance riding. I was pleased that a very minor cleat adjustment cleared up the achy ankle syndrome, but I don't much like it when my toes go tingly. A couple of the local bike shops do cleat adjustments, either with or without the total bike fit service, and I'm thinking that it might be worthwhile. I'm new to clipless pedals, for one thing, and after so many years without riding, I don't want to injure myself or do anything else that would keep me from riding now.
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#8
Just want to put my tid bit in, just make sure the person you are going to pay REALLY knows what they are talking about and is at least known by others you know.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#9
(09-04-2010, 02:33 PM)Bill Wrote:  Just want to put my tid bit in, just make sure the person you are going to pay REALLY knows what they are talking about and is at least known by others you know.

Good idea, of course. Unfortunately, I don't know enough other cyclists here in town (Portland, Oregon) to get that kind of recommendation. I have a couple of bike shops that I particularly like, but that probably isn't helpful.
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#10
"I wouldn't ignore your toes going numb after 25 miles. It could be "nothing", but it also could be a sign you still need more adjustment on the cleats, shoes, seat height, etc.DaveM"
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Man Dave your riding is way above my head, you also must be young.

Pain is an everyday thing for me and learning to deal with it is part of life at my age. Be nice if fit alone would make me a 100 mile rider, but thats not gonna happen.

I agree that proper bike fit is important and I agree with Bill that finding the right person is important. However there are several systems claiming to be the best and several theories. I like Sheldons Browns approach of feeling what works for you and setting up accordingly. That does take some experience and I agree with you that a set up pro would reduce the fit time.
I also recommend seeing a doctor to make sure you are OK and the pain is not caused by medical issues. Working out and working your way up to longer rides is a good way to go. I find stopping and stretching helps me a lot and once I get my second wind I am good to go. :-)))
Its all good.
Never Give Up!!!
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#11
(09-05-2010, 02:00 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  you also must be young.

Well, not as young as I used to be... Wink

I know what you mean about accepting that the body has its aches and pains. But I've also known people who did real damage to their knees by ignoring very minor irritations when riding for long periods. Bike riding is a extremely repetitive motion and even low stress repetitive motion can cause injury if you are not it the ideal position.

That said, I'm definitely +1 on the "only go to someone good". Some kid at a shop who just read the same online articles you could probably won't help much. I'd ask the shops you have access to what type of system they use, what training the people who do it have, any certifications, etc. While there are several systems out there, someone who has some level of knowledge should spot anything major that could be causing you problems.

Side note, do you use cleats that have some side to side play in them? This will sometimes cure issue by giving your feet a couple degrees of movement.
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#12
(09-05-2010, 03:26 PM)DaveM Wrote:  That said, I'm definately +1 on the "only go to someone good". Some kid at a shop who just read the same online articles you could probably won't help much. I'd ask the shops you have access to what type of system they use, what training the people who do it have, any certifications, etc. While there are several systems out there, someone who has some level of knowledge should spot anything major that could be causing you problems.

Side note, do you use cleats that have some side to side play in them? This will sometimes cure issue by giving your feet a couple degrees of movement.

My pedals are Shimano M-324 and I have SPD shoes (if that's the right way to describe it), and yes, there's a little play. My shoes fit well, and I can relieve the tingling a bit just by lifting up on the backstroke of the pedal, but it doesn't really stop until/unless I get off the bike, and then it goes away immediately. I'm not a lightweight rider by any means, so I suspect that I'm putting a lot of pressure on my feet when I pedal, perhaps more than someone smaller would do.

As for the fit, one of the shops here advertises a system designed by Specialized. I have no idea what to make of that, except that I know that Specialized built my bike and I'm very happy with it. Big Grin I'll have to do some research, I guess.
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#13
My two centavos would be to consider riding with a decent pair of stiff-soled shoes and regular pedals as you acclimate yourself to riding and losing weight and finding out what works and doesn't insofar as position and comfort and safety and such. I have a set of Look pedals on one of my bikes--and I'm fine with them and my fancy shoes--but I still like toe-clips and prefer not being bolted to my bike.
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#14
Sounds like it could be that the pressure point of the pedal is digging into your foot too much. You say that lifting the foot relieves it which is what makes me think that. You could try putting something thin and stiff under the insole of the shoe to spread out the pressure a little. Higher price shoes tend to be stiffer than entry level ones as well. If your pedals are dual sided, you could try clipping out and using the flat side of the pedal for a few miles. If that changes things, it would also indicate that the shoe/pedal interface is the problem and not necessarily something about your overall position.
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#15
(09-07-2010, 05:09 AM)DaveM Wrote:  Sounds like it could be that the pressure point of the pedal is digging into your foot too much. You say that lifting the foot relieves it which is what makes me think that. You could try putting something thin and stiff under the insole of the shoe to spread out the pressure a little. Higher price shoes tend to be stiffer than entry level ones as well. If your pedals are dual sided, you could try clipping out and using the flat side of the pedal for a few miles. If that changes things, it would also indicate that the shoe/pedal interface is the problem and not necessarily something about your overall position.

Good suggestion. I'll try it the next time I'm on a longer ride.

Thanks!
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#16
I think $200 is not worth it for a "professional fitting" since I believe that you can do it by yourself without paying that amount of money. You can find useful websites about cycling and other bicycle needs and tutorials without having to pay $200. Save your money and time, and research for some good instructional sites for your bike fitting.
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#17
You can do it your self if you take your time and do a lot of research on bicycle fit. So it takes you a little longer to do it your self. You will have learn a lot and it's your body. I did my own fit and it took me a while to get it dial in but I talk to a lot of bicycle shops and ask them how and what I need to do. You never know until you ask for a little help from your LBS. 200.00 is a lot but not bad for a good fit if it works for you.
My dad always told me a Sledge a matic can fix any thing.
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#18
Try this out for info on getting your measurements.

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCM?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO&SITE.CODE=MTB

Shows ya how to get them right.
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#19
I'm new to this forum (as of today) and I have been reading the responses to your post. I am an avid rider and put between 15 to 20 hard miles a day (not counting my weekend rides), seven days a week (on a trainer when weather is bad). I am also 64 years of age and have been riding full time for almost a year. I have a hybrid bike on which I do my cardio workouts and a road bike on which I do my distance rides.

In the Tampa, FL area there are several LBS that offer the Retul computerized fitting. I did it for my road bike and can't say enough about it. It was the best thing I ever did as far as cycling goes. It's pretty much a professional fitting but anyone can benefit from it. It isn't cheap, but the results are well worth it.

It's also not a one time thing. It takes about an hour or so for each sitting and you continue to go until you and the bike work as one. The people that do the fittings must be certified by the company and must continue their training if the bike shop wants to continue the service. They not only adjust the bike to fit you, but they also tell you where you are going wrong and give you exercises to work on so that you don't get the little aches and pains that you used to get. Pretty much fitting you to the bike. Every sitting is recorded in the computer and the goal is to get you as close to the optimal settings as they possibly can. Everything is recorded, from the angle of your toes on the pedals to the pressure of your hands on the bars.

If you do serious riding and are still having issues, I highly recommend that you check this service out. It has really made a difference in my rides thus far. You can email me off-line if you want more information. Their web site is Retul.com. The site says that each followup visit is billed by the half hour, but that's only if you come back after the original fit is done (i.e. you change your saddle or some other component on the bike).
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#20
Thanks for the great suggestion! I am interested in long distance road cycling, so I know that fit really matters. I've put off getting a professional fit done, but I do plan to do it soon. I live in Oregon and I'm a bit wimpy when it comes to cold weather (it hasn't been above freezing here for several days), so I haven't ridden much recently, but I'm hoping to get back out there just as soon as it warms up a bit.

I'll check out the company you mentioned. The name sounds familiar, so I'm wondering if I've seen it referenced on the websites of local bike shops.

Thanks again,
Patty
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