2 important bike buying questions: Is a bike fitting worth $300 and what about carbon vs aluminum

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by YFreund, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. YFreund

    YFreund New Member

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    I am in the process of researching the purchase of my first road bike. I've been riding a clunky hybrid for the past 15 years. I almost got burnt taking my own measurements and thinking I need a 57cm bike when I really need a 54 due to long legs but short torso and arms. But I am debating if it is worth it to spend $250-300 on a professional bike fitting. The LBS I went to said I can do very well with almost any 54cm since I am buying the bike for recreational riding. What do people think?

    Now the other question: Is it worth the extra $ for carbon vs aluminum for recreational riding? How much is the weight difference going to make on my 20 mi and occassional 40 mile rides? I can probably get a better deal on used aluminum bike than I can on a carbon.

    Thanks much,
    Jeff
     
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  2. Look 566 Rider

    Look 566 Rider New Member

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    I think you are being over charged for the fit session. If you do pay it should be around $150.00. Why are you going used? To save money? If you buy new the fit session should come with the purchase.

    Also, if your not going to race, consider a relaxed geometry bike. Also known as a Plush Road bike. This bike will be easier on your back.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    $250 - $300 is more than a little too high for a fitting. Shop around for a fitting and you should be able to find a good one in the $90 - $120 range.

    The weight of the bike probably won't make much difference on your 20 mile rides. The big difference for you will be the ride. Most aluminum bikes give a harsher ride than most CF bikes do. Instead of making your mind up from opinions on this forum, test ride the bikes and let your comfort be your guide.
     
  4. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    To be honest with you I would'nt drop a dime for a fitting. A recreational cyclist should be able to walk into any bike shop and be fitted properly. A good bike shop should be able to put you on a trainer and make the proper adjustments.
     
  5. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    i agree with all the others, you should pay half that price if not for free,
     
  6. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have physiological issues or you're going for high performance, a basic $40-50 fit session should be plenty. Because of your outlier body proportions, I would also say don't hesitate to get a fit. Riders with average proportions don't know how lucky they are to be able to get on a bike, make a few tweaks, and ride away.

    Because of your build I recommend looking for a bike with a relatively short top tube, longer head tube, and a compact handlebar bend. A long, low frame like an Felt F series is exactly what you don't need.
     
  7. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    $300 range is usually for 3d motion capture high-end fittings for systems like RETUL, etc.. It'll produce a full 3d picture of all joint movement, power optimization with micro adjustments, and other biomechanics. It's a very involved process that takes a couple of hours or more to do properly. You pay for the time and the investment the shop has made in the equipment. It's still an art, but very interesting to get the analysis if you've got some cash to spend. One of the shops I ride with is heavy into it, but he has a number of competitive riders and high-$$ custom build customers.

    The basic frame fit static sensor analysis is more like $150. Mechanical fittings certainly less than that. Still money better invested in the bike if you're on a tight budget, or have a significant special needs fit issue. For recreational riding the basics aren't that hard to dial in. Fit calculators will help get you in the ballpark and then some tweaking/knowledgeable assistance and you should be pretty close. If you can't set up a ride configuration free from ongoing pain, then maybe an investment in a more detailed fit might help.

    Carbon vs Alu. There's a difference. Unless you compare frames designed to be identical, just constructed from different materials you won't know exactly what those differences are. Have to control for other variables too. Otherwise ... apples and oranges.

    Like others said, demo and get a feel for what you like best - for everything, not just frame material.
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    I think everyone covered the fitting thing in terms of utility and price.

    Is it worth the extra payolas for a CF or aluminum bike? That's an ill posed question. There is no inherent ride quality for a given material. Ride quality is going to be dependent on how your bike fits, the design of the bike, the construction methods used, and the quality control during the production of a given bike. What is worth the money is paying for a bike that fits you well, rides to your liking, pleases you aesthetically, and fits in your budget. Implied in that statement is the suggestion to test ride bikes to see what you like.

    How bike weight impacts your ride will be determined, in part, by the kind of riding you do: climbs, descents, flats, rolling terrain, and etc. On the flats, weight makes a negligible difference. When the road starts to rise, weight or lack thereof starts to have more influence. Even then, the weight of the bike is relatively small compared to your body weight.

    What is your budget?
     
  9. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Crank length 165mm if you're short, 170 if average height, 172.5 if taller than 6' and 175 if you play for the NBA. Slight bend in the knee so that barefooted heel can touch pedal, Saddle fore-aft so knee over pedal axle, Saddle tilt: level. 45 degree angle at the waist: when on the hoods handlebar obscures your view of the front hub. 3-6mm drop between bars and saddle if shorter, 5-7mm if average height, 6-9 if taller. Less if uncomfortable, more if needing to be more aero. Handlebars as wide as shoulders. Send me a PM and I'll give you the address where to send the $300 /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    The previous message is tongue in cheek and should be disregarded. Actually these are some touted (and very oversimplified ) baselines which may have something or nothing to do with your personal fit. Any good bike shop should make sure you roll out well fitted. Unfortunately these services are often not available on used bike purchases. For three hundred bucks there better be a slew of monitors, fancy computer equipment, and a bunch of fellas in lab coats hovering hovering around.

    PS. I have seen a $300 fitting go awry on two of my team mates, one who ended up with lower back issues that kept him off the bike for two weeks. Ever get a bad haircut? Same thing. The main thing is that the fitter works with you, and doesn't tell you how it is. A good fitter will have a follow up session a week or two later to get your feedback.
     
  10. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    If going used, once you have determined an appropriate size, try to find someone mechanically knowledgable to qualfy the purchase unless you know enough to feel comfortable. Lot of great deals, lot of nightmare stories too.
     
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