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  #1  
Old 04-26-2017, 10:31 PM
exapkib exapkib is offline
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Choosing the right fit experience: Human or Machine?

Here's my question:

I've been riding the same bike happily for a number of years. I say happily, but I have never been 100% confident in my fit on the frame. I've played with a variety of setback seatposts, hung various washers from different parts of my frame with pieces of string, tried a number of stem lengths and angles--I'm just not sure of the fit.

On top of all of this, last summer I managed to hurt my knee quite badly on the bike. I'm still not exactly sure what caused the injury--No tears, just some inflammation that was bad enough to keep me off the bike and send me to physical therapy for a while. The pain went away, but the nagging suspicion that I should check my fit on the bike did not.

After asking around locally, I have two options:

1. Get a fit session at a local bike shop that uses the GURU system. I've talked with the fitter there, and he seems like a nice guy. I don't personally know anyone who has been fit by him.

2. Go with a fellow who was recommended by a couple of friends on a local racing team. He's worked with their team as a coach and a fitter, and they all seemed to feel that he did good work.

I'm leaning toward option #2, even though the individual in question is quite a bit farther away--a couple of towns over (about 90 minutes travel).

Any advice one way or the other?

Part of me wonders if the GURU fit would result in a more neutral fit that is independent of the bike I'm currently riding. Sometimes it feels like that would be an advantage. At the same time, though, any fitter worth his salt would give a good fit regardless of the starting position, right?

Thanks for listening . . .
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Old 05-09-2017, 07:56 PM
exapkib exapkib is offline
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Well, I choose human, and I go up tomorrow for my first appointment. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Last edited by exapkib; 05-10-2017 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 05-10-2017, 04:34 PM
John H. John H. is offline
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#2

Go with number #2- Experience and a good eye will do a better job than bells and whistles.
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Old 05-10-2017, 08:11 PM
exapkib exapkib is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John H. View Post
Go with number #2- Experience and a good eye will do a better job than bells and whistles.
Funny you should mention that--the fitter who came recommended is a young CAT1 racer and up-and-coming coach on the local scene. As I was in his shop, I found myself wondering how many of the voices here on this forum would respond to working with such a young fitter.

I had my appointment this afternoon--I feel really good about it, though I was haunted by some of the threads in this forum about the vagaries of fitting as we went through the process.

In the end, we brought my seat down a little bit, and forward quite a bit. This second move surprised me quite a bit--I had been trying to solve some discomfort by increasing my setback. After watching me ride for a while, he asked to check where my knee was over the pedal axle (KOPS!). Turns out I was way behind the axle.

I'll get my first miles in this new setup tomorrow, and post here again after that.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:13 PM
p nut p nut is offline
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After reading through a bunch of "fit" sites and blogs, it seems most (seemingly) credible fitters pay no attention to KOPS. Maybe as a starting point for some, but not a standard to follow.

Which shop was this? I'm looking for a good fitter in the valley.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:25 AM
exapkib exapkib is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p nut View Post
After reading through a bunch of "fit" sites and blogs, it seems most (seemingly) credible fitters pay no attention to KOPS. Maybe as a starting point for some, but not a standard to follow.

Which shop was this? I'm looking for a good fitter in the valley.
The fitter/coach I'm working with is Patrick Casey in SLC (I can PM contact info if you want). I've been very pleased with the experience so far, though it's still young. One of the things that made me choose to work with Pat: he views fitting as a process, and expects multiple follow up visits after the initial fit (included in the initial fee). In addition, Pat included a set of specific exercises (on and off the bike) to address some of my issues on the bike. As I said, I'm still at the beginning of the process, but I really like it so far.

He looked at KOPS because of some of the specific issues I was experiencing, namely: lower back pain late in long rides and some flexibility issues. It was interesting to me that he measured all of mobility/flexibility issues off of the bike using a variety of balancing/stretching motions. He used the results from those yoga-type maneuvers to find some of my limits on hip and back flexibility, then had me get on the bike and pedal.

Unfortunately, some deadlines at work have kept me from putting in as much time on the bike post-fit as I would like. I've gone up the climbs in Provo Canyon a couple of times, and along the valley floor (Murdock Canal Trail) once. I can feel a huge difference in the muscle groups being called upon, especially when climbing. Lot's more work being done by glutes and hamstrings, relieving some of the pressure I've been putting on the quads.
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:32 PM
p nut p nut is offline
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I've heard good things about the fitter up at Bountiful Bicycle. But that's a little too far for me. Hopefully you work through your fit issues. I just want to be able to ride for more than 3 hrs without numb hands (really, just the right hand). I'll have to see about getting a proper fit to see if that alleviates the issue.
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:39 PM
Clean39T Clean39T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exapkib View Post
I can feel a huge difference in the muscle groups being called upon, especially when climbing. Lot's more work being done by glutes and hamstrings, relieving some of the pressure I've been putting on the quads.
Anything further to report at this point? What were the changes made?
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:29 AM
exapkib exapkib is offline
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About one month removed from the fitting, here’s the report:

Primary changes to my position:
--repositioned cleats, bringing them backwards a little bit
--Lowered the saddle almost 1 cm
--brought the saddle forward 4.25 cm
--Lowered the bars a little bit
--Switch to narrower bars

The fore/aft adjustment seemed to be the most radical (and unexpected) of the changes. It is also the adjustment that concerned me the most going in to the fitting. I had gradually slid my saddle backwards when playing around with different variations on the “at what point can I hover over my handlebars and comfortably support myself with my core” technique. While watching me go through some exercises on and off the bike, the fitter noticed that I was really overworking my quads in comparison to my hamstrings and glutes. Compared to KOPS position, I was pretty far back—even with this drastic adjustment I’m still a little bit behind the pedal axle.

The saddle height adjustment was made after recourse to a goniometer, looking to reduce the knee angle at full extension.

The changes seem to have alleviated some of the discomforts that I was experiencing—lower back pain in longer rides, a twinge in a shoulder that had been previously injured.

He also gave me a series of off-the-bike exercises that target some of the weaknesses I exhibited, some to be completed immediately before the ride (to “activate” certain muscle groups), and others to be completed on their own.

To get back to the original question, I think I made the right decision. I was initially caught up in the difference between ‘fitting me to the bike that I have” and “determining some ideal theoretical fit for my body independent of a certain frame.” That feeling hasn’t entirely gone away, but I am certainly more comfortable on my bike than I was before (and I was pretty comfortable before—I figured the minor aches and pains were from getting old and/or not riding enough).

During the first few rides, I felt cramped in the leg region—my legs let me know that they weren’t extending as much as they were used to. After two weeks of regular riding, they stopped sending that feedback back to HQ. Now, after about a month of riding (and some bigger rides) I can see that I’m much more comfortable than I used to be. I’m still chasing a narrower set of bars (will probably need to just pony up for a new pair of Soma HWY 1), and I think that will help even more—effective reducing the reach a small amount, while letting me sit ‘tighter’ on the bike overall.
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