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The recurring theme I hear all the time is that when choosing a road bike you must choose one that suits your riding style, needs, physique etc rather than selecting on brand.

BUT, when a pro rider chooses a team to ride for I'm sure he doesn't check out the bike that team uses to see if it fits him first.

Did Lance choose Astana, Discovery Channel because they race Treks?

So what gives?
 

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All the top of the line bikes from all the manufacturers have similar geometries oriented toward high end racers. Lance could fit on any of them just fine.

Within the product lines there will be bikes with more relaxed geometries.

The problem is people with no riding experience and more money than brains. They are not flexible enough to ride the top of the line racing geometries, but insist on buying the most expensive because it is "the best".
 

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Pros will generally get a frame in their size and adjust the fit as needed. In some (rare) cases, a rider will not fit anything that the sponsor offers, so he/she will ride a custom ride painted w/sponsor logos.

When it comes to top of the line bikes, the difference is the driver, not the bike.
 

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Optomrider said:
The recurring theme I hear all the time is that when choosing a road bike you must choose one that suits your riding style, needs, physique etc rather than selecting on brand.

BUT, when a pro rider chooses a team to ride for I'm sure he doesn't check out the bike that team uses to see if it fits him first.

Did Lance choose Astana, Discovery Channel because they race Treks?

So what gives?
I'm always a little dismayed by respondents who fog the fit issues by mentioning riding style, physique, conditioning, etc. If most racers can jump on any bike in their size, adjust the saddle height and ride it thousands of miles in a season, so can everyone. The ergonomics of road bike fit have been worked out to a fine point by the pros. Why wouldn't the average sport rider follow suit?

When I first started out, Bernard HInault was going through a refitting with Cyril Guimard, who established rules still followed today, and Hinault was my size. I read his book, and followed his suggestions to the letter. Even at age 40, I wanted to ride just like him. Well, 25 years later, now retirement age, I still ride exactly the same way I rode back then. Why? Because I've never gotten chronic pain problems anywhere in that positioning. I've always thought the pros spend the most time on their bikes and ride the hardest, why not follow their fit programs? They must know what they're doing.

All this parsing about different kinds of fit is mainly driven by marketers who want to sell more bikes.
 

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dont forget, some profesional racers will go as far as to "re badge" any thing from components to entire bikes. if memory serves at some point Lance even rode a titainium Look T.T. frame rebadged in his sponsors colors. It happens more than you would think it would. I believe it is all understood between the frame/component makers that this goes on and they have just turned a blind eye towards it.
As far as us regular folk go, that is why you can get whats known as" relaxed geometry " frames. bike makers, in their infinite wisdom , now produce bikes that resemble the real thing. but, have a higher cocpit so us f.o.g.'s dont have to go to yoga class 4 nights a week in order to ride ( not that we would) a high performance machine. these bikes ar designed around our crippled up old bones so we can still ride a bike that LOOKS like one that escaped the peleton .but a real pro would use to pick up their groceries due to the non aero position.... well, less than aero position.
 

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Fredrico said:
.........When I first started out, Bernard HInault was going through a refitting with Cyril Guimard, who established rules still followed today, and Hinault was my size. I read his book, and followed his suggestions to the letter. Even at age 40, I wanted to ride just like him. Well, 25 years later, now retirement age, I still ride exactly the same way I rode back then......
Sounds like me. I set my bike up based on an article in VeloNews which was actually a chapter from Hinault's book. That was in the late 1980's.

A few years later I moved my saddle a little forward as I had installed aero bars and got tired of riding on the nose of my saddle.

In the fall of 1999, I took the aerobars off (for good) but didn't move my saddle back to the original position.

In January of last year, I had a Retul fit by Carmichael Training and guess what. The adjustment they made was moving my saddle back to the position I had established based on Hinault's measuring system 20 years ago.

It was only then that I remembered moving the saddle forward to make using the aerobars more tolerable. And forgetting to move the saddle back.
 

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info...

Most brands now offer top of the line frames with pretty standard racing geometry and a little lower level product with a head tube that is 20-30mm taller and perhaps a little shorter TT length. The taller head tube allows less saddle to handlebar drop without resorting to a larger spacer stack under the stem or a high rise stem. I still see a lot of rider with all three - a tall head tube, 3-4cm of spacer and a 96-100 degree stem. Whatever works I guess.

As I near age 56, I have a short head tube, 5mm of spacer and a 73 degree stem to produce a 12cm drop from the saddle to the bars. The pros often use even more saddle to bar drop.

If you compare a number of brands, there is rarely much more than a 10mm difference in the frame reach for a given size, so just about any frame brand can be made to fit the same.
 

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I'm always a little dismayed by respondents who fog the fit issues by mentioning riding style, physique, conditioning, etc. If most racers can jump on any bike in their size, adjust the saddle height and ride it thousands of miles in a season, so can everyone. The ergonomics of road bike fit have been worked out to a fine point by the pros. Why wouldn't the average sport rider follow suit?
Average and beginning riders do not have the body flexibility and muscular adaptations that the pros have. It takes time to become comfortable riding in a racing position.

For someone just coming into the sport, getting set up identically to a pro rider is not the way to go. For someone who's been riding seriously for a couple of years, they can probably be set up closer to how the pros are fitted to their bikes.
 

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flyjoe said:
dont forget, some profesional racers will go as far as to "re badge" any thing from components to entire bikes. if memory serves at some point Lance even rode a titainium Look T.T. frame rebadged in his sponsors colors. It happens more than you would think it would. I believe it is all understood between the frame/component makers that this goes on and they have just turned a blind eye towards it.
As far as us regular folk go, that is why you can get whats known as" relaxed geometry " frames. bike makers, in their infinite wisdom , now produce bikes that resemble the real thing. but, have a higher cocpit so us f.o.g.'s dont have to go to yoga class 4 nights a week in order to ride ( not that we would) a high performance machine. these bikes ar designed around our crippled up old bones so we can still ride a bike that LOOKS like one that escaped the peleton .but a real pro would use to pick up their groceries due to the non aero position.... well, less than aero position.
Wasn't that because Trek did not have a (good enough? UCI legal?) TT Bike?
 

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lalahsghost said:
Wasn't that because Trek did not have a (good enough? UCI legal?) TT Bike?
You could be correct about why they did it, but arent they the factory? Its not like they sprung the time trial on them at the last minute and trek said "oh shoot! we dont have a bike that will fit those requirements Lance, you better buy your own bike for this time trial thing." I have to believe it was something else that made that neccesary. The point is as long as the sponsor is properly represented I dont think anyone really cares who's bike or equipment is being used,as long as the rider is happy. There is another story about a moots ti frame being used similarly just without the badges. but I cant recall all the details.
 

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flyjoe said:
You could be correct about why they did it, but arent they the factory? Its not like they sprung the time trial on them at the last minute and trek said "oh shoot! we dont have a bike that will fit those requirements Lance, you better buy your own bike for this time trial thing." I have to believe it was something else that made that neccesary. The point is as long as the sponsor is properly represented I dont think anyone really cares who's bike or equipment is being used,as long as the rider is happy. There is another story about a moots ti frame being used similarly just without the badges. but I cant recall all the details.
You'd be surprised about the kind of things that slip through the manufactures design process. I believe it was Tyler Hamilton when he was on Phonak, BMC had made him a brand new aero TT bike that was supposed to be the fastest in the world. However the course that he was going to use it on had sections of cobblestone so the mechanics wanted to but put thicker tires on the bike, but they couldn't. The bike had been designed with very small clearances to create a more aero bike. Now that's all I remember from that story and I'm sure my details are off, but it was just to show how something like that could totally mess up your bike and your plan.
 

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flyjoe said:
dont forget, some profesional racers will go as far as to "re badge" any thing from components to entire bikes. if memory serves at some point Lance even rode a titainium Look T.T. frame rebadged in his sponsors colors.
Actually, it was a Litespeed. But the point is the same. Eddy Merckx set his hour record on a Windsor, which was repainted to the Windsor colors just days before the ride (it was a DeRosa or Colnago, IIRC).
 

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Well, ok,

crispy010 said:
Average and beginning riders do not have the body flexibility and muscular adaptations that the pros have. It takes time to become comfortable riding in a racing position.

For someone just coming into the sport, getting set up identically to a pro rider is not the way to go. For someone who's been riding seriously for a couple of years, they can probably be set up closer to how the pros are fitted to their bikes.
If the prospective rider is totally out of shape and muscles are stiff, he'll definitely feel uncomfortable copying a pro position. But all the manuals I've read suggest light weight lifting for overall body conditioning, as well as stretching exercizes in conjunction with the lifting. The people I see riding upright usually started that way when they were overweight, stiff, out of shape, and had guts that would brush the top tube if they were bent forward and tried to make their backs flat. For some people owing to constraints of time, it may take a few years to get fit and limber, but others could do it in a few months.

The advantage of having arms extended from your back at roughly a 90 degree angle, and having a flat back at 90 degrees with your thighs, is so you can use your whole body in the pedaling effort, upper body and arms supporting the legs working the crank, and also achieving good fore-aft balance and therefore precise control of the bike. With a good pro style fit, nothing is holding you back from riding hard. The bike and you work together. Being too far up or too far down on the bars, saddle height too low or too high, not having enough room to maneuver in the cockpit, all of this inhibits, interferes with the work in motion, robbing energy.

The sooner a new rider gets dialed into the ergonomic efficiency of the pro fit, the better he will ride, the less he'll encounter chronic pain problems, and the more he'll enjoy the sport. As far as losing flexibility with age, well, that's not inevitable if you stretch those muscles. You can even do it on the bike, all the better if it fits you right.
 

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Fredrico, I agree. My point was that getting into the sport and immediately getting set up on your pro-level bike exactly how a pro would be set up is a recipe for failure, or at least a lot of discomfort.

Case in point: saddles. I currently ride a specialized toupe, but there is no way I would have been comfortable on that saddle when I started riding. As you ride more, your body gets used to it, and you can make your position more efficient. Also, your definition of comfort changes. Like in saddles, from cushy to shaped correctly.
 

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android said:
All the top of the line bikes from all the manufacturers have similar geometries oriented toward high end racers. Lance could fit on any of them just fine.

Within the product lines there will be bikes with more relaxed geometries.

The problem is people with no riding experience and more money than brains. They are not flexible enough to ride the top of the line racing geometries, but insist on buying the most expensive because it is "the best".
Android "gets it". He must be my chimeric twin.

If you're not built like a racer or have a body that, with many miles and lost body fat will evolve to fit a racing bike, then a racing bike will likely not fit you. You could be fat, old, or have flexibility issues. Whatever the reason, many people will not fit comfortably on a racing bike even though the geometries of stock bikes are meant to fit the widest range of physiques out there, otherwise they wouldn't sell. Fortunately, there are still many models available to fit those that find racing bikes unsuitable for themselves.

Pros ride what they're paid to ride. It should be obvious they can't complain about their current bike sponsor. Can you imagine have to ride a bike whose geometry you didn't like?! ;-) Besides, for most of them the bike is more a tool, and they just learn to adapt to the bike. The rest of us mere mortals can be more fussy about angles and tube lengths, but that don't turn us into pros, does it?
 

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Guys, pro bike - non pro bike. How can we "non professional cyclist" know which one to get? Which geometry suits us. I talked to several pro fitters, from my initial understanding they were supposed to tell me which bike fits me best. If not model, the brand since they all have different geometry. Telling you the truth, I was quite disappointed. They all said that I should just buy the bike and bring it to them and they'll adjust the seatpost, stem, etc. Some can't even be sure about the sizing since sometimes the sizing can be in between small-medium. So, how are we supposed to decide which brand/model fits us best? Comfort/discomfort? I guess it doesn't matter. The most important is buying what you love right? Paint job, model? Just like a ferrari, it's not the most comfortable to drive, you might even have back pain. Driving it, WOW! unbeatable. Just like a bike. If none of the bike fitter can tell what fits us best, get the best we can afford. What do you guys think?
 

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Agree.

crispy010 said:
Fredrico, I agree. My point was that getting into the sport and immediately getting set up on your pro-level bike exactly how a pro would be set up is a recipe for failure, or at least a lot of discomfort.

Case in point: saddles. I currently ride a specialized toupe, but there is no way I would have been comfortable on that saddle when I started riding. As you ride more, your body gets used to it, and you can make your position more efficient. Also, your definition of comfort changes. Like in saddles, from cushy to shaped correctly.
Nothing worse than getting on a hard racing saddle after a few months layoff. :eek6:
I guess I was lucky. When starting into biking, I was already pretty limber and in basic good shape from lifting. Sitting on the saddle and cranking along, steadying upper body, all came naturally, and I could concentrate on aerobic efforts and slow burns to build endurance. Closed cell foam saddles weren't invented yet in '82, so everyone had to adapt to the relatively hard saddles like the racing ones today. I can remember taking a few months to "break in" my butt on the several Selle Italia Turbo saddles I used back then (and am still riding now, with great comfort).

So ok, a newbie could benefit from a cushiony saddle for awhile, as well as a bar drop of no more than say an inch, and even possibly a stem 1 or 2 cm. shorter than the ideal. The trouble is if you keep it going like that, you'll likely ride with your arms straight out transferring shocks to shoulders and back, develope lower back problems from being scrunched up, won't have enough room to rotate down into the drops or bend your elbows and use your arms as shock absorbers, and you'll "look like a toad" as Hinault said of himself before working with Guimard.

After a few months "getting your legs under you," my experience is that improvements in fit almost always provide an immediate, sometimes dramatic, result in comfort and efficiency, with a very short break-in period, if at all.
 

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Fredrico said:
I'm always a little dismayed by respondents who fog the fit issues by mentioning riding style, physique, conditioning, etc. If most racers can jump on any bike in their size, adjust the saddle height and ride it thousands of miles in a season, so can everyone. The ergonomics of road bike fit have been worked out to a fine point by the pros. Why wouldn't the average sport rider follow suit?
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Too many reasons to count. The average pro, just for instance, weighs two pounds or so per inch of height; none is over 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) per inch. For a six-foot rider, that means 145 pounds. Most Americans that height, even those who are fit by normal standards, are 25 pounds or more heavier. That alone can keep them from getting into the pros' position, let alone staying there for six hours.
The pros also are just that: Professional athletes. They train for a lifetime to get where they are, work out five or six hours a day for years, and most are burned out or used up by their mid 30s, sometimes with arthritis or other ailments that come with hard use (I'm far from pro caliber in any sport, but I have some of those issues myself at 64).
Most of us probably can force ourselves into pro-like positions. i did it for years. For the average rider, though, there's no reason to suffer. I'm sure that raising my handlebars a couple of inches, putting on bigger tires and making a few other changes have prolonged my riding career by at least 10 years. I was in nearly constant pain and dreaded riding more than a few minutes before that. I'm faster now than I was 10 years ago and can stay on the bike twice as long without discomfort. I don't exactly regret all the time I spent hammering in the drops, but there was no reason to do it.
 

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Optomrider said:
Did Lance choose Astana, Discovery Channel because they race Treks?
Just to answer your question here, Lance will never leave Trek because of the faith they had in him and how they stood by him back then. Just like Nike as well. And of course, he wouldn't ride for anyone but Johan.
 

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Fredrico, which Bernard HInault book is it ? I did a search and he has many.

Thanks,
John
 
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