Free Fitting



Tieme

New Member
Sep 12, 2007
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Hi guys. I just bought my first new road bike ever yesterday - I am still waiting on the check to clear so I can pick up but I was wondering if it is normal for them not to include a fitting with the purchase of a bike. Like I said it's my first new bike really and I has always assumed they did a fitting when you bought the bike. Which is the norm, free with bike or you still have to pay?

Also, any good resources on how to fit myself since I can't really pay 75 bucks to have it done?
 

geraldatwork

New Member
Dec 13, 2006
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Most bike shops offer some form of bike fitting often for free. Some offer more extensive fit sessions (1-4 hours) at a discount. I would think at the very least the shop should spend 10-15 minutes with you on the bike to adjust the seat height and the fore and aft (distance of seat to handlebars) to make sure you are not too stretched out (or too upright) and make sure your feet are in the right position to get efficient power in the pedals. If the distance from the seat to the handlebars can't be easily corrected by moving the seat they should "swap" in a different length/rise stem for free. I would make sure you get the simple 10-15 minute fit before you hand over the money. Personally if I wasn't experienced in this I would just walk out and go to another shop. That said if you do a search on the internet "bike fit" or something similiar you will get some good ideas how the bike should fit.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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geraldatwork said:
Most bike shops offer some form of bike fitting often for free. Some offer more extensive fit sessions (1-4 hours) at a discount. I would think at the very least the shop should spend 10-15 minutes with you on the bike to adjust the seat height and the fore and aft (distance of seat to handlebars) to make sure you are not too stretched out (or too upright) and make sure your feet are in the right position to get efficient power in the pedals. If the distance from the seat to the handlebars can't be easily corrected by moving the seat they should "swap" in a different length/rise stem for free. I would make sure you get the simple 10-15 minute fit before you hand over the money. Personally if I wasn't experienced in this I would just walk out and go to another shop. That said if you do a search on the internet "bike fit" or something similiar you will get some good ideas how the bike should fit.
+1! I would never let a customer buy a bike in my shop until we agreed on the fit. Usually a fit is done before you even show the customer a bike. You need to know what size bike he will need. It is sort of like going to buy trousers but not knowing what length and waist size you take. Once the fit is determined, the sales person then can show the customer the correct size bikes that they have in stock or discuss ordering one for them in the correct size.
 

Tieme

New Member
Sep 12, 2007
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That is kind of how I thought it should be too. However I just picked up my bike today and they don't even do a short fitting. She said she could change the seat or bar height if I wanted but they don't actually help me measure they will just go up or down if I ask. I picked this shop because they offer 2 free tune ups with bike purchase (one mini at 300 miles and another full over - they recomend about a year- 1.5 years) but am now starting to think maybe I should have bought from a different one.

Oh well, I guess I will have to size myself.


kdelong said:
+1! I would never let a customer buy a bike in my shop until we agreed on the fit. Usually a fit is done before you even show the customer a bike. You need to know what size bike he will need. It is sort of like going to buy trousers but not knowing what length and waist size you take. Once the fit is determined, the sales person then can show the customer the correct size bikes that they have in stock or discuss ordering one for them in the correct size.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
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I hope that you have the option of returning the bike. If you have a bicycle club in your area, get in touch with them and see about joining. The other members will be experienced in fitting a bike and will be able to help you out with the fit. It may be that the bike is not a good size for you, and there is very little that can be done to make a bike fit you if the frame is not the right size to begin with. If it turns out that it is too small or too large, definitely take it back and let them know why you are returning it!
 

Tieme

New Member
Sep 12, 2007
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kdelong said:
I hope that you have the option of returning the bike. If you have a bicycle club in your area, get in touch with them and see about joining. The other members will be experienced in fitting a bike and will be able to help you out with the fit. It may be that the bike is not a good size for you, and there is very little that can be done to make a bike fit you if the frame is not the right size to begin with. If it turns out that it is too small or too large, definitely take it back and let them know why you are returning it!
Well the frame size I think is right - I am 5'8-5'9 and it is a medium which is pretty much the consensus I have gotten from anythere I've looked.
 

lbraasch

New Member
Jul 24, 2007
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Tieme said:
Well the frame size I think is right - I am 5'8-5'9 and it is a medium which is pretty much the consensus I have gotten from anythere I've looked.
Frame fitting is the easiest part of the bike to fit, b/c it's generally associated with height and foot size if you're in an in between height. M translates out to a 54cm-56cm range depending on the company, which is right for your height.

More extensive fitting is swapping stems for a longer/shorter reach, and more/less rise of the bars. A general rule of thumb for a recreational rider is to have two fingers of drop from the seat to the bars, and 4 fingers for a more aero position. You can also adjust the seat position forwards and backwards to taste to accommodate your pedal stroke, and a little bit of reach as well. Additionally, you can rotate the drops up or down to taste. The goal is to not feel too stretched out, and not too compact.

For seat height, although there are said exact positions of where it 'should' be, it really comes down to preference. There are a few tricks to getting the seat to about where it should be. If you have someone hold the bike for you, sit on the saddle, line up the pedal with the seat tube, and put your heel on the pedal. Your knee should be locked, but your hips should not be rocking side to side to achieve the reach. With your feet then on the pedals, you want a slight bend of the knee, and again, your hips should not be rocking on the seat while pedaling. However, with clipless pedals, different cleats act as a shim, which then requires the seat to come up a little higher. Look cleats in particular require a decent rising of the saddle.

Fitting a bike is more of a general guideline to get you close to where the bike should be, and not the end all, set it and forget it positioning. Every rider is different, and thus everyone has their own comfortable geometry.

The tough part for a new rider is they aren't used to being in drops, reaching for the hoods, and so they always feel stretched out and uncomfortable at first. Go ride your bike, see where pains show up, post them here, and people will be able to help you out. There is not a lot to change on a bike to make it fit right.

Side note: It's incredibly strange that the shop you bought the bike from didn't offer you a full fitting. At my shop, we size a customer to the frame on the spot when showing them bikes. After they've decided to purchase a bike, we then offer a full fitting, to where we adjust the seat height, seat, seat angle, bar rotation, and then also swap stems if necessary. As a rule of thumb, if a customer wants a shorter/longer stem, we'll swap it for free if it's of equal or lesser value, and they have to pay for it if it's an upgraded part. The shop you bought your bike from should have tons of stems lying around from swaps. We have at least 10 Ritchey Pro stems lying around, as most of the bikes we sell come with them stock, thus making it an easier swap for us.
 

Tieme

New Member
Sep 12, 2007
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The more time I spend with this shop the more I wish I had chosen another one to purchase from. I chose them because they have helped me out free on an older bike and have the best price on a road bike I've seen (420 for Schwinn Circuit which is what I bought) and they offer two free tune ups. Apart from these three things which I kind of based my purchase on, they are really losing my respect. Apparently they don't allow returns on bikes at all. Unless it is within the first 5 days, and has not been ridden at all - they will give store credit at the managers discretion. I was kind of upset to hear this because they don't have it posted anywhere in the store or on the site. Anyways, I still like the bike and will just take my additional business elsewhere in the future. Thanks for the help with everything guys (and gals). Once I start riding more I will post if I have any problems.