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Should the bike fit the rider, or the rider fit the bike?

  • Option A: Bar drop? We don't need no stinking bar drop!

    Votes: 3 37.5%
  • Option B: Do some situps, ya pudgy bastard...

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • Option 3: Beige.

    Votes: 3 37.5%
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What the what???
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12,703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Amongst the myriad threads devoted to bike fit, it seems the advice boils down to one of two options:

Option A: Adjust the bike to fit the rider (i.e. bar height, saddle height, stem length & angle, etc.)

Option B: Adjust the rider to fit the bike (i.e. stretching exercises, core strengthening, etc.)

But it's more than just physics or biology, there's a philosophical question at work here too.

Option A suggests you place your requisite comfort above the design of the bike. Option B suggests you place more importance on perceived technique and will change yourself accordingly.

Obviously, professionals and those with medical problems have very specific reasons for choosing what they do. For everyone else, though, I'm curious whether you subscribe more to Option A or B. Should the bike come to you, or should you go to the bike?
 

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Burning Fists of Love
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6,899 Posts
option c

Opus51569 said:
Amongst the myriad threads devoted to bike fit, it seems the advice boils down to one of two options:

Option A: Adjust the bike to fit the rider (i.e. bar height, saddle height, stem length & angle, etc.)

Option B: Adjust the rider to fit the bike (i.e. stretching exercises, core strengthening, etc.)

But it's more than just physics or biology, there's a philosophical question at work here too.

Option A suggests you place your requisite comfort above the design of the bike. Option B suggests you place more importance on perceived technique and will change yourself accordingly.

Obviously, professional and those with medical problems have very specific reasons for choosing what they do. For everyone else, though, I'm curious whether you subscribe more to Option A or B. Should the bike come to you, or should you go to the bike?

I think its option C, if the frame fits you and a NORMAL/barring odd physique, set up. OK. HOWEVER, Option A, can suck as well. How many adjustments can one make before the this is the wrong frame dawns.....
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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22,021 Posts
Neither.

For me, I start with my optimal position, which I know from years of riding. I then evaluate bikes as to what I would have to do to the bike to get my 3 contact points in the proper position....i.e. stem length, spacers, bar reach, seat-post setback amount etc. I then look at how that will balance me over the bike.........will that put me with more weight over the front wheel, back wheel or centered.

I then choose the bike that
a.) I'll be best balanced over &
b.) that will appeal to my sense of aesthetics.

That's the bike I will buy.

Most people buy the bike based on brand or looks or whatever, and then try to make it fit. IMO, that's bass ackwards.

IME

Len
 

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corning my own beef
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5,713 Posts
for me, it's more of A. Lots more. But I would add another element to the equation: what is the purpose of the bike?

I know that fit-wise, I have position X that is where I can produce the most horsepower. Then I have position Y, which is as comfortable as an easy chair. The intended purpose of a given bike will influence where, along that spectrum between X and Y, the fit (or maybe I should say, "geometry") should be.
 

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waterproof*
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41,608 Posts
1. There is no such thing as a single correct fit setup for a person. This is easily proved - the same person can be "comfortable and efficient" on a TT bike, Road bike setup for racing, a touring bike, an upright commuter, or a recumbent. Usually the only thing those positions have in common, is leg extension (but not always and not exactly the same).

2. There does exist a fairly broad range of positions that are closer to optimal - more of a zone than a point.

3. Within this zone, one can spend a lot of time and effort chasing "optimal" without gaining much real-world improvement.

4. Bodies are not static. The cycle of the seasons, fitness, life/job/ exercise volume, means that "optimal" will change over time. I commonly move my saddle fore and aft, up and down several times during the season as my fitness and flexibility changes. If I was more persnickety about my position, I'd also move my bars around.

5. To answer the OP, it's "both" and "neither". A fit, lean, flexible rider can get into a more aerodynamic position than a fat couch potato. But the couch potato may not care about aerodynamics, so why should he bother trying to stretch out and drop the bars?
 

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eminence grease
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18,538 Posts
Agree with this except that I start with the aesthetics and then decide if I can make it work. With custom, you can have it both ways from the start. With rack you can also have it all assuming your physical confirmation is close to the standards that are used to design bikes.
 

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What the what???
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12,703 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dave Hickey said:
..............THIS...................

Spot on Len......
But you and Len are essentially arguing for Option A, aren't you? You may not change a bike to suit your physical needs, but you'll make sure the bike you buy already does. You make the bike come to you...you just do a better job of making that happen at the start.
 
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