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A couple of questions for people who do their own builds and repairs. If you buy and assemble a new or used bike, how do you dial in the fit? Do you do that yourself also or pay a bike fitter to do it? The reason I ask is that bike fit is a main reason that so many steer you to buy from the LBS.

I'm faced with the dilemma. I'd like to do a custom build on either a new or used frame. To do it through my shop would cost considerably more than if I bargain hunted on the web. But then I worry that I'll have to pay everytime I want help getting the fit right.

My other dilemma is the money for the bike. I could pay $1000.00 for a complete bike on clearance that fits or I could pay $1600.00 and spec it just the way I want and with the frame I want. I realize this is a personal choice, but I wanted to see what thoughts people had.

I'm posting this in cyclocross because the two bikes in question are a Fujji Pro Cross (on clearance for $1000.00, but with parts I would want to upgrade) and a cross check which I'd like to custom build. Thanks, Kraige
 

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Depends....

...on your experience for starters. I've been riding long enough to know what measurements are going to be comfy. I ordered a redline conquest pro, built just the way I want, it without ever seeing one in person, from a bike shop in Madison, WI, to be shipped to Germany, and had to buy a 1cm longer stem to get it just right. I just built a flyte XLS-3 and hit the nail on the head with the fit. Same story on building the mtbs. I used the wrenchscience.com bikefit calculator to double check my estimates for the cross bike, since I'd never ridden one before, it was spot on.

the advantage to building your own is that you get exactly what you want, and can get the parts cheap off the internet. And you don't have to worry about taking an internet bought bike to the LBS for tuning, cuz you know how to fix it yourself because you learn a lot from assembling one from scratch. I think wrenching is part of the Tao of biking. I get questions a lot from co-workers who own $4k ti bikes but can't tune their rear derailleur. That's just sad.

The other side of that is, I like to throw money to the LBS every now and then, unless they're pricks. I had a good relationship with Bluecat in watertown, NY, so I bought a bike from them, and parts occasionally, but they only charged full labor to install parts that I brought in.

I don't trust a shop to fit me for anything, they've always been wrong in my experience.
 

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I think that going to a shop is fine if you've never been on a bike, never been on a bike that fits comfortably or are buying a type of bike that is significantly different from what you have ridden in the past (e.g. MTB rider buying first road bike). Other than that, I don't think it is a big deal. If you have a CX or road bike and are building another one, you can take measurements and figure out what frame size and stem length/angle is going to work accounting for variations in riding position if desired. Form there, If you know enough to build it up, you should know more than enough to dial things in.

Then again, I am not really a fanatic about fit.
 

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Dialing in a bike really isnt that hard. You ride it, if something feels wrong, you change something. Theres also plenty of resources on the web to help you with the basics of how to dial in a bike in order to get started.

At this point, I wouldnt buy a bike from a shop because I could get a better bike for the same or less money. Also, I dont think my LBS really knows anything about how to fit a cyclocross bike.

jeremy
 

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Unless you have extreme body dimensions like me. I'm 6' "2 w/ a 36 inch inseam and dialing a bike based on the frames available in the market not including custom is a pain in the behind. If you have pretty normal dimensions I don't hink you would have any issues dialing your fit if the frame you are getting fits you in the first place. I say go for the closeout and if you have the parts for it go for the Crosscheck.
 

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In answer to your question, you can fit your bike yourself if you have a basis to start with, generally that basis is a correctly fitting road bike. Once you have the dimensions, pretty much replicate a slghtly taller and shorter overall position adjusting stem height, length rise and spacers to accomplish this. You can easially take the completed bike into the shop and fiddle with stems and a tape measure to get the correct one.

I don't think you need to pay someone unless you have never been fitted for a bike, then you need someone with expertise to select the correct setup, doesn't need to be some high tech system, but it just needs to be the right size as a starting point, then we all adjust it over the years.

You need to realize that Surly is a very heavy frame if you are not aware of that, by the way.
 

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I learned by trial-and-error what works for me in terms of sizing, fit and components. Too often when I started riding, I took the advice of shop rats who were likely more interested in getting the commission than in matching the customer with what he needed. Wound up with a lot of ill-fitting bikes...now I know what I want/need, and do the builds/mods/upgrades myself. I love to wrench, maybe almost as much as riding. I know the work will be done right, and I know the finished bike is what suits me, not what some project manager pieced together.

I don't think dialing-in the fit is rocket science. As long as you start with a frame that is right for you, your body will tell you what you need to do.
 

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jroden said:
In answer to your question, you can fit your bike yourself if you have a basis to start with, generally that basis is a correctly fitting road bike. Once you have the dimensions, pretty much replicate a slghtly taller and shorter overall position adjusting stem height, length rise and spacers to accomplish this. You can easially take the completed bike into the shop and fiddle with stems and a tape measure to get the correct one.

I don't think you need to pay someone unless you have never been fitted for a bike, then you need someone with expertise to select the correct setup, doesn't need to be some high tech system, but it just needs to be the right size as a starting point, then we all adjust it over the years.

You need to realize that Surly is a very heavy frame if you are not aware of that, by the way.
True story: the shop I was workin in had a guy that thought he was the shiznit on the bike, hired a fit expert, etc. to come down and do fits for his teammates and I went in on the deal.

Lady looked at me and said 'you look good.' All she suggested were some arch support insoles. Kiss that $$ good bye!

Its good to know that by trial and error, I'd acheived what one person thought was a good
position.

I've gotten to the point that I can eyeball someone to within 5-10mm of their 'perfect' position.

M
 

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What feels right?

Ultimately, it comes down to what feels best and what is most effective. I NEVER pay for any work on any of my bikes other than maybe something like frame alignment or tap / facing - crap like that which requires ultra-expensive and little used tools. Anyway - do you have a bike that fits you well now? If so, just replicate all the dimensions . . . if it takes a longer stem . . .so be it. If you don't have a bike that fits you right now, I guess you could spend some cash on a "bike fitter", but my guess is that you'll replicate those dimensions and change them later anyway. Hell, thirty years ago there were no bike fitters and Eddy Merckx seemed to get along just fine without one (or a HRM or Power Meter, etc. etc). My point is this . . . don't get suckered into all the crap that is getting sold to cyclists today . . . like bike fitting. Use some common sense, try to make it comfortable . . . weigh the cost of perhaps buying a new stem or maybe crankset against what some bike fitter will cost you.
 

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The shop that sponsors our team has this computerized fitting system, so I went in and fiddled with it when they first got it and ran all the dimensions, it ended up being pretty close to where I was, with a couple of changes, the largest being about 1/2 inch lower seat, maybe even a little more. I tried it for a while and ended up with a slightly lower seat, but not as much as the machine said.

Three things a machine can't understand:

I've been racing a bike for over 20 years and don't have as much flexibility in my core as I used to, but my body dimensions are unchanged. If you stretch me out too much and rotate my torso too far, I have to compensate by scooting forward on the saddle to generate the same power, especially on the tt bike. At some point it is counter productive, but for a younger person with my body, a longer, lower setup might be right. Most fit systems don't really understand this. In the end you have to pedal the bike.

Few systems have a clue about cyclocross. My experience has been that your fore-aft balance on the bike is really important for riding hard in low traction corners and such. Most fit systems don't care about where your center of gravity is, but if your front wheel is overweighted and sliding out, you will corner more slowly. Most shops are also clueless about sizing and fitting cross bikes, you end up having to dial it in yourself, which can be an expensive process, but in the end you get the right fit.

Trail riding over the summer with an allen wrench is the perfect time to start making adjustments for the fall racing season so you can test the balance and handling of the bike.

Good luck!
 

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jroden said:
In answer to your question, you can fit your bike yourself if you have a basis to start with, generally that basis is a correctly fitting road bike. Once you have the dimensions, pretty much replicate a slghtly taller and shorter overall position adjusting stem height, length rise and spacers to accomplish this. You can easially take the completed bike into the shop and fiddle with stems and a tape measure to get the correct one.
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I set my CX, MTB, and road bikes exactly the same.

First I start with my vertical distance from the saddle to the bottom bracket. The set for/aft relative to knee over spindle. Bar height is set relative to the sattle height. And then the distance form the saddle to the bar is set. Each bike is identicle in set up.
 

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Pigtire said:
Unless you have extreme body dimensions like me. I'm 6' "2 w/ a 36 inch inseam and dialing a bike based on the frames available in the market not including custom is a pain in the behind. If you have pretty normal dimensions I don't hink you would have any issues dialing your fit if the frame you are getting fits you in the first place. I say go for the closeout and if you have the parts for it go for the Crosscheck.
I have the exact same height and inseam and I wouldn't call it "extreme" and its not that big of a deal finding a frame that fits off the rack.
 

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filthy_mikey said:
I have the exact same height and inseam and I wouldn't call it "extreme" and its not that big of a deal finding a frame that fits off the rack.
For that height I would say so and if I have the flexibility I would not call it "a pain in the behind" looking for the proper size. With my extremities I only not put into account seat tube and top tube lenght but headtube length as well per my correct frame size. Took me while to find a frame for my size(61) and w/ the correct top tube(58) and a headtube length( 7inches) and of course steel. Why the long headtube Well, I needed the bars to be almost level to my saddle w/out resorting to using a zillion spacers. The only off the shelf frameset that almost matches those measurements is the Surly Long Haul Trucker and yes, I just have to get it.
 
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