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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm another one of those old, fat guys who have taken up cycling to lose weight / get in shape / get outside more often. Over the last year or so, I've had some success using a hybrid "fitness bike", but I'm about to move up into an entry level road bike. I have not yet selected a bike, but it will be somewhere in the Specialized Allez Sport/Elite, Felt Z70, Trek 2.1 range (aluminum bikes with some carbon components). I am not a racer, nor will I ever be a racer, I'm just in this to have fun riding.

My main question is just how much "fitting" I need to do, and whether to do it before or after I select the bike.

I've been to a couple of the nearby LBSs. For these small shops, fitting seems to be mostly by "eyeball", although they have some measurement tools (and take measurements) they feel free to ignore the measurements when they conflict with their expert judgement. They don't have the facilities to do much (if any) testing.

The larger shops in the area offer 2 (or more) levels of "fitting". The basic fitting comes with the bike purchase: this will include saddle and bar positioning, etc. The more comprehensive fitting involves more time on the trainer, videos, various angle measurements, etc. This cost an extra $100 to $250 (depending on the shop and the exact services).

From what I read here in the forums, getting a good fit is important. I'm pretty sure that I can get the basic fit right either at the local shop (where I bought my last bike) or at one of the larger shops (where I will get a bit more guidance). I will probably start off with a fairly relaxed position, and gradually lower and extend the bars as I get fitter (and hopefully thinner). I've already done this with my hybrid, and so I'm comfortable with the process.

For the kind of casual riding I do (an hour or so each morning, and 2 or 3 hours on weekends) do I need more that that? If so, should I get more thorough measurements BEFORE I select a bike, or wait until I have it and then get it fine tuned by the shop where I do the testing?

Any thoughts or wisdom from the experts would be most welcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think I have a reasonable handle on what "fit" feels like, and for my riding style, that's probably enough. So far, I've never had any issues with pain (beyond the occasional case of road rash, but that has nothing to do with proper fitting).

At both of the "one man band" type shops I've been to, sizing consisted mostly of looking at me and my existing bike, and then selecting a size. I then "sat" on the bike and felt how the reach. The next step was a spin around the block.

At the one larger shop I've been to, the routine started off the same way, but was followed about about 10 min on the trainer, with the fit guru watching me from the side, and a couple of minor saddle adjustments. In no case did we get as far as stem adjustments, although I fully expect that I will not ride away with the "stock" stem on any of these bikes.

All of the shops selected a frame between 58 and 61 cm (I'm 6' 2"with a 32" inseam), and I could probably fit either size, but I'd need a longer stem on the 58, of course. There's a bit more "saddle aft" room (because of the increased seat tube angle) in the 61, and I suspect that I'm riding a tiny bit forward of the ideal saddle position.

The other thing that hasn't been addressed is cleat position and alignment. I ride with SPD pedals, and there seems to be enough "float" that there is no apparent pressure on my feet or knees. I guess that I'm not too far off on cleat positioning, but once again I wonder if a professional alignment would help any.

Although this is not entirely about money, the small shops sell strictly at MSRP, where the larger shop takes a bit off.

Thanks Again for the suggestions.
 
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