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Old 04-26-2022, 11:23 PM
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Ti Designs Ti Designs is offline
Ride 'yer bike.
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Arlington MA
Posts: 6,313
A 3 hour fitting???

I try to stay aware of the status of bike fitting in all it's forms. It seems like fitting is getting more expensive and longer. Most fittings are at least 2 hours, 3 hours has become more common, I've even seen a few 5 hour fittings (with 4 digit price tags). I have to question if there is a point of diminishing returns, and what that point is.

Most fittings start with a rider interview. The problem I see with the rider interview is that people have no sense of self perception. Everybody thinks they have put in Tour de France winning efforts with perfect form... I'll ask clients what they want to do on the bike, but one man's grand tour is another man's trip to the grocery store. It's time wasted, and at $150/hour there are people with diplomas and sofas who are better at that sort of thing.

Then comes the physical assessment. I may be the only fitter who disagrees with this step, but I've actually observed lots of people, and I consider testing flexibility and range of motion limits on a person who's cold to be invalid data. When I get out of bet I'm a crippled old man, 10 minutes after I get on the bike I'm a different person. When I was at Retul University (that's what they call it - I had a different term) they did a physical assessment on me as their second step, and I must say the rider interview wasn't much of a warm-up. I've abused my body over the years, I've spent months in a wheelchair because of a back injury - I'm a mess. With the information they gathered from the assessment they set up a bike with a position that was closer to a wheelchair than what I actually ride. So that's another $200 worth of invalid data...

I'm going to limit this to the first two steps of a 3 hour fitting, maybe in the next round I'll explain the differences between running a software program and understanding how the knee works.

I'm doing 4 sometimes 5 fittings a day, I don't have the luxury of chatting about their goals. I don't even have an espresso machine! I put people on the bike, find an easy gear and have them pedal the bike. They can tell me what their aches and pains are, but watching them pedal for a few minutes it becomes very clear. People are really good at ignoring their limits of range of motion, and they always use the skill sets that are familiar. My job is to put them within their range of motion in every direction, and teach them to get their body weight on the pedals - while that is a serious oversimplification, it is 99% of bike fitting.

Here's the point of this post: I could make this a 3 hour dog and pony show, but it would have no more value to the client. The learning process is a funny thing, it only works on what you're concentrating on. I do the part of adjusting the bike, they need to ride the bike and learn how to use that new position. Nothing beyond that has any value. It's like any class you took in school, classes are limited to maybe an hour, then you go home and digest the information before the next class. If classes were 20 hours of instruction nobody would learn anything.

If people insist on paying more for my services I wouldn't change my fitting process, I would give them a week or two to learn how to get their body weight on the pedals, then I would schedule some time out on the road. What you see on a trainer and what actually happens on the road are two different things. Given some fitting time and a few sessions on the road I can produce a pretty good rider - isn't that why people come in for fittings???

Here's the thing I don't understand - nobody does that. When I first started working at Wheelworks I was told that I could get free coaching from John Allis (he was a part owner of the shop and coaching the Harvard cycling team). I took him up on that offer 3 days a week for 25 years. I was the only one from the shop who took him up on that offer. I can't explain this. I make the same offer to many of my fitting clients. On a good year I ride with maybe 3 or 4 of them.
If the pedals are turning it's all good.
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