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Bike fit frustrations / advice
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Hi -- I'm really struggling to understand why it's so hard to get a proper bike fit, and am starting to wonder if there even is such a thing. I live in San Francisco. I've now had 3 bike fits on my TT and road bikes, and every fitter has contradictory suggestions. I just don't get it.

My personal saga is below, but perhaps Slowman himself can weight in and just tell him who is the best damn fitter in SF (preferably) or Bay Area for a pre-IM tune-up fit and a size-fit for a new TT bike as a reward if I PR at IM Canada.

My Saga.....

Fitter 1) Chicago based custom bike builder who built me a custom geo TT bike. Major knee injuries and 2 surgeries. Take years off.

Fitter 2) Pedro (in SF) -- Said TT fit was all wrong, and bike geo is potentially wrong and suggests I get a new bike. Moved me super far forward on TT bike, dropped front end so much started have major shoulder and neck issues and couldn't digest while biking.

Fitter 3) Cesar @ 3D Bike Fit. Decided to scrap TT bike altogether and got a Canyon Ultimate for versatility and hilly IM. Cesar fits me, feels pretty good except stock stem too short and he recommends a super long ass stem which makes bike handle like a school bus and getting lots of hand numbness and knee pain is starting to come back during longer rides over last couple weeks. IM in 2.5 weeks so start to panic.

Fitter 4) Weightweeines Forum peanut gallery -- Says Cesar at 3D Fit is incompetent and that I'm too far forward with too long a stem and should see some guy in Palo Alto (Curtis Cramblett) instead, but he's damn near impossible to see and would require me taking a whole day off work... which I'm willing to do, but can't do until mid-August.

Now I'm doubting my fit leading into Ironman Canada, kind of in a panic, and lament why is it so impossible to get 2 fitters to agree. I mean, if this is such a science, one should be able to go to two fitter and the second one make no changes right?
Last edited by: wintershade: Jul 12, 18 9:49
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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there is a list of "approved" fitters here
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [lemos] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks. All of the fitters I've gone to have actually been on this list, and they've all had different recommendations.

Adam Kaplan / Get a Grip (Chicago) is 4 stars. Put an insane 1cm spacer stack on one cleat due to a "leg length discrepancy" and I ended up getting 2 surgeries on that knee 3 and 18 months after the fit.

Pedro Dungo (SF) is 5 stars. But he had no alternative saddles for me to try, no alternative stems or seat-posts with different offsets. It was just him trying to make what I had with me work. Perhaps impossible, but I left more uncomfortable then when I arrive.

3D Bike Fit (SF) is 3 stars. They had TONS of stuff to sell me to the point where it almost felt disingenuous. Though, in the end, I do like the saddle they sold me.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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Very sorry to hear this for you

I don’t really talk much to other triathletes sonthoght bike fit was easy.

I’ve had 3 bike fits by 3 fitters on various bikes in various places in the US and all 3 came to almost the same position

Seems strange your guys are so different from each other. Seriously best of luck to you.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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have you considered putting a shorter stem on your bike?
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [ctflower] [ In reply to ]
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The Canyon Ultimate SLX 9 Pro size M comes with a 100mm stem integrated into handlebars and 3D Fit set me up with the stock stem but told me it was probably too short. I rode it that way for a couple months and it felt really cramped at the front end and gave me low back pain because I had to round back to fit on the bike.

Per the 3D Bike Fit's advice, I ordered new $400 integrated handlebars with 130mm stem. Felt way too extended, weight too far forward. Switched (my own decision) to a 120mm stem (requiring yet another $400 handlebar purchase) which felt better.

So now I'm 2 fit sessions, 3 sets of handlebars, over $1000 deep.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [lemos] [ In reply to ]
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What does "approved" mean (or approximate)? Many in my area don't have any reviews.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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Money being no object go see Matt S. in CO or Jim M. in La
You can also start messing with it yourself like I do, leads to a deep understanding of your personal fit and a lot of self criticism along the way.

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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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do you have any pics?
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I never splurged for a real fit - but posted videos here, measured angles myself and got myself into a pretty aero position that worked for me

Could you try to do the same?
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [BBLOEHR] [ In reply to ]
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BBLOEHR wrote:
Money being no object go see Matt S. in CO or Jim M. in La
You can also start messing with it yourself like I do, leads to a deep understanding of your personal fit and a lot of self criticism along the way.

Thanks for suggestions. While money isn't an object, time is very scarce and I can't justify taking 2 days off (as an MOP AGer) for a bike fit, especially when I live in San Francisco and there a theoretically some "pro" fitter here. Traveling with bike is such a hassle. Heck, I'm having a hard enough time taking a half-day to visit this Curtis Cramblett some pro on weight weenies was raving about. I'd also prefer to work with someone local.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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This seeming need to pay "big names" big money for bike fits is just over the top. If you take good video and some pics and post them on here you can get a real consensus on good changes (if any) to make. Set up your phone/camera on some sort of stable platform (tripod is best) at roughly handlebar/hip height directly perpendicular to you and such that you are framed neatly in video. Pedal at ~70.3 effort for 60s or so and then post it to youtube and link it here. Easy.
Last edited by: jkhayc: Jul 11, 18 14:04
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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I also have very little free time, if I dont work its not good for the company. I went to see Jim on a one day trip to cali and combined it with some aero testing. Yes its a day off but all your questioned are answered and you wont be left asking what if.....If you had done that to start you would have already saved time. Yes you may be middle of the pack but that does not mean you deserve a middle of the pack fit, if your posting here and seeing multiple fitters your already taking a lot of time with your fit.

Your other option is get "bike fit fast" app start measuring your angles and messing with it yourself thats going to be the cheapest and you will learn the most. It will also take the most time and will be lots of second guessing, but possibly worth it in end. No matter what bike fit you get you should still consider tweaking stuff on your own.

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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [BBLOEHR] [ In reply to ]
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1) I will post bike video here tonight. I'll look forward to advice of this group and am excited to see if/what consensus emerges.

2) @BBLOEHR - Regarding Pro fit in LA -- I meant no disrespect. We're all busy. Maybe after I get my next TT bike, I'll make the trip to LA for the Pro fit and combine it with wind-tunnel aero testing, which I've always wanted to do. I'm actually in LA quite often as I have investments there. I initially assumed you mean Louisiana. That said, it would be nice to have someone local who could measure me, help with next bike selection, etc.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [BBLOEHR] [ In reply to ]
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BBLOEHR wrote:
If you had done that to start you would have already saved time.

That's not really fair. ST has deemed Jim Manton to be a "good fitter." Maybe .1% of triathletes read ST. Most don't necessarily know where to look. OP looked in a lot of places, and is unsatisfied.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
BBLOEHR wrote:
If you had done that to start you would have already saved time.

That's not really fair. ST has deemed Jim Manton to be a "good fitter." Maybe .1% of triathletes read ST. Most don't necessarily know where to look. OP looked in a lot of places, and is unsatisfied.

Well he said time was important. But if your going around getting fit by different people and having issues with your fit what if that continues? That’s loss of time right? Have you seen a bad fit by Jim or Matt??? He came on ST looking for answers, that’s what I am providing. I finally got my fit dialed on my own and with input from friends, but man it took months I could have prob saved a lot of time if I had seen: Trent Nix, Jim, or Matt.

I am not trying to be mean or hurt anyone’s feelings just trying to provided some meaningful answers that will get him with a better fit in less time.

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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [jkhayc] [ In reply to ]
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jkhayc wrote:
This seeming need to pay "big names" big money for bike fits is just over the top. If you take good video and some pics and post them on here you can get a real consensus on good changes (if any) to make. Set up your phone/camera on some sort of stable platform (tripod is best) at roughly handlebar/hip height directly perpendicular to you and such that you are framed neatly in video. Pedal at ~70.3 effort for 60s or so and then post it to youtube and link it here. Easy.


Hi jkhayc -- I have posted a video of myself riding on trainer here. Thanks for the tips. I am on hood first 30 sec, drops after that. I'd be curious what people's thoughts are. Is my position at least in the right zipcode?


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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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no - why are you so far forward - have a Retül fit - there are kinematic ranges. along with rider specific notes that need to be considered. if you truly have a leg length discrepancy. need both sides video captured to give "accurate" feed back.

Retul Certified Fitter. gebioMized Pressure Mapping http://www.PedPowerPerformLab.com.
Retailer of Wahoo Fitness, Sable Water Optics, Enve Composit, Giro and more.
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Last edited by: hideano: Jul 11, 18 21:37
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [hideano] [ In reply to ]
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This is exactly what I was afraid of.... my fit being way off.

1) Is it too late to make a major adjustment, considering I’ve been training like this for last 6 months and have an IM in 2.5 week?

2) No idea why I’m so far forward? Maybe because I have a history of petellarfemoral pain and patellar tendeon surgery? Maybe fitter thought it would be better to be forward on road bike for Triathlon? I don’t know but it explains why 3D Fit suggested a goofy long stem (advice which ignored and sent me looking for 2nd opinions). This was also my fear, I was staring down recently and wondering why my knees were so far out past my BB.

3) I don’t actually have a leg length descripancy. That fitter was wrong. I’ve since had that looked at by a PT and two knee surgeons who said riding with a 1cm shim stack is probably what caused me to need knee surgery in the first place. Shims are gone.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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wintershade wrote:

2) No idea why I’m so far forward? Maybe because I have a history of petellarfemoral pain and patellar tendeon surgery? Maybe fitter thought it would be better to be forward on road bike for Triathlon? .

Classic problem - 'fitters' think that a triathlete should be forward on a road bike because that's what you do for tri positions. Except that principle is based on then resting on aerobars. I have seen a lot of tri-roadies with knee problems because of this idea.

I've made major adjustments to positions this far out from an IM. I don't like doing it but when someone is in a horrible position - going to a good one doesn't take much adaptation and makes IM that little bit more enjoyable.

For future reference, I see no reason that you shouldn't be able to get comfortable on a tri bike, which makes IM much more fun. Just that you need to see one of the small handful of good tri fitters on your continent.


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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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Nothing looks out of the ordinary, other than that you look quite "tense." But your posture is actually quite good. You are using your trunk/core muscles to support your upper body and aren't solely relying on your arms or lower back. You do appear to ride a slightly steeper than normal road position, but so do I and it's a matter of personal preference to an extent.

I had been assuming this whole time that you were on a tri bike (although now I see in a post that I didn't read completely that you mention your road bike model), so that's kind of funny to see video of you on a roadie. All that is to say that it's hard to really F up a road position, but a good way to do that is to put giant shims under cleats.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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when we do an "Aero Road" fit on a bike the road bike has clip-on aero bars to take advantage of the "forward" position
otherwise it does not make sense to be that far forward.

your hands are gonna go numb as is I predict.

2.5 weeks away, I would recommend a true road bike fitting if you do not have aero bars.

comparison images


aero road w/clip ons



Road fit


Retul Certified Fitter. gebioMized Pressure Mapping http://www.PedPowerPerformLab.com.
Retailer of Wahoo Fitness, Sable Water Optics, Enve Composit, Giro and more.
Zone3 USA Ambassador - use code DEAN25 for 25% off
http://www.OasisOne-Twelve.com - The ultimate hands free hydration system.
http://athlinks.com/...dv.aspx?rid=19354499 - results.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [wintershade] [ In reply to ]
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1) they are fitting you to a position and making you adapt which is wrong, it takes a lot of time over several days to properly adjust a bike to fit etc.
2) even with a good fit the athlete can still cause issues with improper muscle timing and load baring.
3) your seat is to high.
4) your arms have more pressure on them then your legs. You bike on your legs not your arms.
5) see you at ironman whistler.

Technique will always last longer then energy production. Improve biomechanics, improve performance.
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [hideano] [ In reply to ]
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Out of curiosity, why have you chose those angles to show?


Brandon Marsh - Website | @BrandonMarshTX | Cervelo | RokaWetsuits | 1stEndurance |
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Re: Bike fit frustrations / advice [-JBMarshTX] [ In reply to ]
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just stills for our videos we we make -
we do visual angles for the important ones
closed hip angle, knee at flexion, shoulder angle...etc

these are just visual. use use Retül protocol/kinematic ranges based on rider information.

Retul Certified Fitter. gebioMized Pressure Mapping http://www.PedPowerPerformLab.com.
Retailer of Wahoo Fitness, Sable Water Optics, Enve Composit, Giro and more.
Zone3 USA Ambassador - use code DEAN25 for 25% off
http://www.OasisOne-Twelve.com - The ultimate hands free hydration system.
http://athlinks.com/...dv.aspx?rid=19354499 - results.
Last edited by: hideano: Jul 12, 18 9:41
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