Bike Fits...Should I bother? and Deciding which Bike to Fit!


#1

I’ve been riding road and cyclocross for 5 or 6 years now. I’ve never had a bike fit, deciding to go more on feel and piecing together bits of information from the internet, blogs by prominent bike fitters etc.

Lately I’ve gained more of an interest in going for a fit, I’ve been following a few fitters online and I find it kind of fascinating the big changes in comfort / efficiency / smoothness which can be driven by seemingly small changes in position (the best videos are the ones on Purely Custom jigs and the like where you can actually see the transition from one position to the other happening almost instantly).

I’m almost ready to book in for a comprehensive (+4 hours) session with a fitter who is relatively local to me and seems to be very highly spoken of. The main thing that’s stopping me now is which bike to get a fit on! I don’t feel like I have any huge comfort issues with any of my bikes, I wouldn’t say the purpose of the fit is to overcome any specific issues - more just to try to increase efficiency…maybe try to limit any issues cropping up down the line. So I guess I have two choices really:

  • ‘Sunday Best’ road bike - Canyon CF SLX - it’s my newest bike and so the one I’ve spent least time on so far - I think there’s quite a lot of potential to get a better position dialled in with this one, although I knew when I bought it I shouldn’t have got the integrated aero stem / handlebar…I bet that’ll get swapped out! Although going into winter now this bike will probably only get used sporadically, if at all until spring.

  • Cyclocross bike - The bike I do a majority of my outdoor riding on. Clocked up over 20,000km on this bike now so I’d say I’m fairly used to the position. CX racing is my main discipline so this bike also gets raced most and I also use this bike for winter riding and daily commuting. However, being so heavily used, there’s a real possibility it might get replaced next year.

  • To throw some more confusion in the mix I also have an older aluminium road bike which I have setup for the indoor trainer and a TT bike (but let’s take that out of the equation for now).

What would you do? Get setup on the new road bike and take elements of that fit across to the CX bike? Vise versa? Leave it for now? Or do something completely different like get a fit with a view to a new CX bike for next season?

Does anyone have any bike fitting success or failure stories?


#2

Just a point to note, I believe the Canyon comes with an integrated bar? If so, you wouldn’t be able to do much on the front end, if needed.


#3

Thanks, yeah noted that above (integrated aero stem / handlebar). If needed I can swap both the bar and stem out though I would have thought? Or switch to a different size Canyon bar / stem combo. It’s not integrated into the frame itself.


#4

I am in I similar situation and I opted to get fitted on my cx bike because that’s where I wanted the best performance. I use my old cx bike on the trainer and set that up with the same settings from the fitting. I left my road bike alone because like you I was happy with the feel of it.


#5

I learned the hard way and bought a 56 because thought that was the size for me because my last bike was a 56. When i went to get fitted, I learned that for that specific bike I should have been on a 58. I went to the top fitter in my area and it was an amazing experience and plan on getting fitted on every new bike I get.
Anyway, my suggestion to you is to find a very good fitter, go get fitted, and then they can look at the bike specs of the bikes you are looking at and tell you which ones and what sizes will be optimal for you specifically. Hope that helps.


#6

I had a bike fit done two years ago. since that fit, I have tweaked and changed absolutely nothing.

Went into the store wanting to buy a Cannondale SuperSix, came out with a CAAD12. Spent an hour and a half on the RETUL rig and whilst the SuperSix would have been fine, the CAAD was just, better.

Additional plus side for me is that I’m a lazy cyclist. I don’t pack my bike when I go abroad. With the measurements I received from the RETUL session, I can forward those onto any decent bike hire centre and get a dialled in hire bike waiting for me.

In summary, I think my bike fit was the best £150 I spent on cycling for a long, long time. Some stores even refund the cost if you make your purchase through them.


#7

If you have access to a fitter who uses a “fit bike” such as a Purely it’s worth it if nothing else just to verify you’re close or not. They can then help transfer those dimensions to the bike you want to perform well on or the information can be used to size a new bike. You could then transfer the dimensions from that bike to your other bikes as long as the STA’s are reasonably close.

Beyond the “fit bike” if the fitter is worth their salt they will make sure cleat/insoles/shoes are perfecto which, to me, is one of the key components to start the fit process. While we can get em close, often they will observe one or both legs/knees tracking strangely and make a few small tweaks to line everything up. That’s one thing DIY just can’t touch imo.

I’ve mede every mistake in the book, twice, yet thought I knew what I was doing. Getting a pro fit is money well spent from a performance standpoint and injury prevention standpoint. As you know this is all subjective and depends on the skill of the fitter. Comfort is king.

If no fit bike I’d probably get fit to the bike that I wanted to perform the highest on. So for you the cross bike. Again if STA’s are close you could probably transfer the dimensions across bikes.
Cheers!


#8

Talk to the fitter, he should be able to set them all up(maybe not the tt bike) in 4 hours unless you have some crazy major issues.


#9

Last year I spent $550 to get a Retul fit on two bikes. My road bike had huge changes, saddle went forward one inch, up one inch, cleats moved back and foot moved out, was told to get real about bar drop and come up 2.5cm (lol). My CX bike was basically perfect aside from the saddle going forward a few mm and the cleats going way back.

A year later, I’m still happy about spending that money. I bought a new road bike and got it so close that the fitter didn’t charge me to move the saddle at all, I know my precise bike fit so it’s no longer a mystery, and no longer living the lie of a slammed stem. Best of all, I know which bike sizes to buy next time with a high degree of confidence. I’ll have that knowledge for the rest of my life and can take a new bike in and have everything transferred over to the new bike faster than it takes me to drink a beer.

I don’t know what kind of cheddar you have to burn and that matters because it could be a little or a lot of money for a bike fit. I’d do the CX bike if that’s the sport that counts (it does for me). The fitments are pretty similar in my experience and I’d have the fitter transfer the fit from the CX bike to your road bike.


#10

Thanks, that’s all really helpful information. The fitter does use a purely rig. Also cleats / insoles / shoes are the first thing mentioned on his website when it comes to the fit, so that all sounds good!


#11

Thanks, yup you’re right. Starting to think I should just speak to the fitter, sure he gets asked this sort of stuff all the time. Good to get some reassurance on here though :slight_smile:


#12

Personally I would get the fit done on the one I do the most pedalling on.

Or maybe moreso fastest pedalling on?


Actually another thing I heard the otherday… if the “bike fitter” gets out a plum bob and measures your knee over pedal gap (for anything more than a simple reference point) then run away