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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I treated myself to a bike fitting today. What struck me, is that the fitter didn't measure me. He was only interested in my body height and inner leg length. I asked him why, because during my previous fitting (in 1998) everything that could be held against a ruler was measured: arm length, femur length, shoulder width etc. etc.

He explained that all these measurements were unnecessary. First of all, they're not correct - for a correct measurement you need an X-ray. Moreover, they're of very limited value to find the right position on the bike.

He started with a very thorough, one hour examination of my flexibility and the stability of various body parts and muscle groups: pelvis, knees etc. Then he worked with camera's and computer programs that analyse angles of legs, arms, width of the handle-bar etc.

The place I went to is associated with a university and councels professional cyclists. The bike fitter had a university degree in sports sciences and physiotherapy and practices as a physiotherapist. There's a free follow-up period of one year, so I assume they know what they're doing.

But still, I was surprised. Anyone else has experience with this approach?
 

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I treated myself to a bike fitting today. What struck me, is that the fitter didn't measure me. He was only interested in my body height and inner leg length. I asked him why, because during my previous fitting (in 1998) everything that could be held against a ruler was measured: arm length, femur length, shoulder width etc. etc.

He explained that all these measurements were unnecessary. First of all, they're not correct - for a correct measurement you need an X-ray. Moreover, they're of very limited value to find the right position on the bike.

He started with a very thorough, one hour examination of my flexibility and the stability of various body parts and muscle groups: pelvis, knees etc. Then he worked with camera's and computer programs that analyse angles of legs, arms, width of the handle-bar etc.

The place I went to is associated with a university and councels professional cyclists. The bike fitter had a university degree in sports sciences and physiotherapy and practices as a physiotherapist. There's a free follow-up period of one year, so I assume they know what they're doing.

But still, I was surprised. Anyone else has experience with this approach?
Measurements are only of use if you don't have a bike and the purpose of getting them is to pick or have built a bike. If you already have a bike it's to late to do anything with measurements of body and all that matters is measurement of angles when on the bike.
 

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Sounds legit to me. I would agree that getting truly accurate measurements of the length of one bone or another would be very difficult with a tape measure. I'll take some heat for this, but the "science" of bike fitting has a ton of differing theories. So far I haven't seen one of them proven to be undeniably correct. That is why all fitters should provide follow up in the price of what they do. No two human bodies are the same, or have the same history.
 

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I treated myself to a bike fitting today. What struck me, is that the fitter didn't measure me. He was only interested in my body height and inner leg length. I asked him why, because during my previous fitting (in 1998) everything that could be held against a ruler was measured: arm length, femur length, shoulder width etc. etc.

He explained that all these measurements were unnecessary. First of all, they're not correct - for a correct measurement you need an X-ray. Moreover, they're of very limited value to find the right position on the bike.

He started with a very thorough, one hour examination of my flexibility and the stability of various body parts and muscle groups: pelvis, knees etc. Then he worked with camera's and computer programs that analyse angles of legs, arms, width of the handle-bar etc.

The place I went to is associated with a university and councels professional cyclists. The bike fitter had a university degree in sports sciences and physiotherapy and practices as a physiotherapist. There's a free follow-up period of one year, so I assume they know what they're doing.

But still, I was surprised. Anyone else has experience with this approach?
Yes. John Cobb out in ETX, the guy who did wind tunnel tests with triathletes at U.TX. does fit sessions that way. Sitting on a bike isn't rocket science. It's basic geometry, discernible with a well trained eye. Your fitter had computer backup!

Going by numbers is safer for LBS employees. But measurements are imprecise enough on the human body, as said, to really only to get rider in the ballpark. Tweaking is often necessary after riding some miles and problems come up.

Listen to the body. Mention any problems in the follow up session. Your fitter should know exactly what to do. Some kid out of high school won't.
 

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What struck me, is that the fitter didn't measure me.
He started with a very thorough, one hour examination of my flexibility and the stability of various body parts and muscle groups: pelvis, knees etc. Then he worked with camera's and computer programs that analyse angles of legs, arms, width of the handle-bar etc.
Thus he did measure you. Not with a tape measure but with a computer. I'm sure it was quite precise.


I'll take some heat for this, but the "science" of bike fitting has a ton of differing theories. So far I haven't seen one of them proven to be undeniably correct. That is why all fitters should provide follow up in the price of what they do. No two human bodies are the same, or have the same history.
You shouldn't take heat. Bike fitting is a fuzzy science. Hence why there's a bunch of different theories.
 

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Thus he did measure you. Not with a tape measure but with a computer. I'm sure it was quite precise.


You shouldn't take heat. Bike fitting is a fuzzy science. Hence why there's a bunch of different theories.
And that's why fitter wanted to find out how flexible rider was. Stiff rider will be comfortable slightly more upright than flexible rider, for example. That may change over a year or two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Measurements are only of use if you don't have a bike and the purpose of getting them is to pick or have built a bike. If you already have a bike it's to late to do anything with measurements of body and all that matters is measurement of angles when on the bike.
You can go there if you want to buy a bike or have one built. You can even show them the bikes you're interested in, and they'll tell you which one has a good geometry for you position.
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But they don't take measurements for that either. They check your flexibility, put you on an adjustable contraption and work with video analyses, just like they did with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll take some heat for this, but the "science" of bike fitting has a ton of differing theories. So far I haven't seen one of them proven to be undeniably correct. That is why all fitters should provide follow up in the price of what they do. No two human bodies are the same, or have the same history.
You won't take heat from today's bike fitter. One of the first things he said to me was that there exists as good as no serious scientific literature on bike fitting. "Dogmatic" is the last word I'd use to describe his approach.
 

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My bike fit was a lot like that. No computer though. A long interview including (but not limited to) flexibility and injury history. Then a lot of riding on the retul bike. Set it up like my current bike, watch me ride. Adjust, watch me ride. Repeat over and over.

I remember him paying particular attention to my shoulders. How much bunching and tension. that could have been because of my shoulder issues though. Having said that, I enjoyed the process quite a bit, and I came out of it faster.

cmn
 
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