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"Certified" Fit Kit analysis - worth it or hype?(3 posts)

"Certified" Fit Kit analysis - worth it or hype?TNSquared
Jun 9, 2003 8:53 AM
My LBS just announced that they now have a certified Fit Kit technician. I purchased my bike and set it up without the assistance of my LBS. I've just used intiution and feedback from the board to select stem length and rise, saddle position, etc.

I'm fairly comfortable on my bike, but I haven't done any mega-mileage yet. If I'm not in serious agony, is it worth spending the $ for a professional fitting?
Jun 9, 2003 9:38 AM
Read all the fit info on this site. It's got all the basics. I just don't put any stock in body measurements, except inseam. Too difficult to take with an accuracy. Getting on a real bike tells the whole story.

If you have a position that is reasonably comfortable, a fitter can't help you much. Experimenting with saddle height and fore/aft position is always worthwhile and you don't need a fitter to help with that.

For a significant change to saddle fore/aft position a longer or shorter stem will be required. If you don't change stems to maintain the same reach, then you're changing two things at once and not really evaluating the saddle position. Moving the saddle back more than 1cm will almost always be uncomfortable without a corresponding change to stem length.

The biggest mistake I ever made was following the old advice to gradually raise the saddle until your hips rock when pedaling at high cadence. By that time, my saddle was way too high and it was negatively affecting my cadence and power. I probably rode for years with the saddle higher than necessary. My advice is to be sure that you can drop your heel well below horizontal with the leg locked out at the bottom of the stroke. If you can't, the saddle may be higher than required for optimum power. Since I've been riding with my saddle lower, my cadence and power have improved.

As for stem length and height, don't hit your elbows with your knees when riding in the drops, if you can avoid it. The lower the bar height you can tolerate, the more aerodynamic you will be, but you won't be faster if you're riding in pain. Placing the bars 8-10cm below the saddle is as much as most folks can tolerate. Big guys with long arms may extend this to 12cm or more.
Widely misunderstood,TJeanloz
Jun 9, 2003 10:28 AM
The fit kit is a good tool to estimate what size frame somebody will need (length of seat tube and top tube) and estimate what length stem should be best. It is not a definitive statement about how your bike should be set up.

A surprising number of good riders will say: "I used to comfortably ride a 120 stem, but the fit kit told me I needed a 110, so I switched, and it's been uncomfortable ever since."

If you have a bike that is very close to what you need (i.e. is the right size frame), a fit kit won't do much of anything for you. From here on, a professional fitter should evaluate you on your bike, on a trainer, and make adaptations to your current bike - not start with a clean slate.