Questions about getting fitted for a road bike

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Nospam, Feb 15, 2003.

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  1. Nospam

    Nospam Guest

    Newbie alert. Don't quite know if this is the proper board for this but here goes. As the weather
    gets warmer, I'm looking into getting into road biking. Went to a couple of highly recommended local
    shops to get fitted for a bike. The first place, I dealt with the owner directly. Told him directly,
    I wasn't looking to buy a bike that day and that as I was just getting into road biking, didn't know
    what I was looking for. He asked me a few questions like, how many miles a year I plan on riding, in
    town vs. long road trips, etc. I told him, I was just looking for something I would enjoy getting
    some exercise on. Maybe in a year or so, do a century ride. As for miles a year, I have NO clue. =)
    So we eventually made our way to what he called an entry level road bike. A Trek 1000. All stock
    parts. He and two others spent about an hour with me adjusting this and that, taking measurements
    and such up on a trainer. We started on a 52cm Trek but eventually settled on a 43cm Trek. I have a
    30" inseam. They moved me to a smaller frame because I guess I was reaching out too far on the
    larger bike. Also swapped out the bar for a wider one as the stock one was too narrow. They even let
    me take it for a test drive. A very positive experience. Absolutely no pressure to buy either, I
    really appreciated that. I wish buying a car was that nice. Shop #2. I go in and repeat my
    situation. Tell them my situation and my goals for biking. Guy takes me to some Bianchi bikes. Tells
    me to hop on one and ask if I can see the front hub in relation to the bar. I told him I could see
    the hub just in front of the bar. He asked me to pedal a bit as he held the front wheel. He said the
    bike was a pretty good fit. It was a 52cm bike. I felt I was reaching out just a little bit. My legs
    felt like I was having to stretch a little as well. The Bianchi was a 530 Cro-molly frame and better
    suited for absorbing road shock I was told. The salesperson then pulled out a Giant OCR-1 bike I
    believe was the model. Aluminum frame with carbon front fork. This bike was about $400 more than the
    Bianchi and the bike that the salesperson was more leaning towards selling me. The second shop had a
    whole room devoted to fitting, but the salesperson didn't offer to fit me. The Giant felt more
    comfortable, but I wouldn't say $400 more comfy. The salesperson was trying to get me to buy a bike
    that day, something that I don't take well to. He said that if I didn't like it, I could always
    exchange it for something else. At this point I thought I should just think about it. Another
    factor, shop #1 has free tune-ups for life. As many as I want. Shop
    #2 only has 2. End of story and they have to be in the first year.

    I talked to a couple of my friends that had been biking for years and related them my experiences.
    The first things they said were "You sure they told you it was a 43cm bike at the first shop???"
    Seems that really seems small. Their other comment is that spending about $1K just to "try-out" this
    sport is insane, which I agree whole-heartedly.

    In my mind, I think my business is better off at shop#1, where they took the time to fit the bike
    just right for me. Also, the free tune-ups for life are definitley worth something as well. My only
    concern is that a 43cm bike seems really small, even for someone with a 30" inseam. I mean, they did
    spend alot of time fitting me, I really can't see where they would have made a mistake. And bottom
    line, I did feel very comfy on the bike when I took it for a test drive. I wasn't afforded the same
    test drive on the bikes from shop #2 so couldn't really tell how they fit. Is Bianchi going to be
    THAT different from a Trek?

    Any thoughts? Any advice? I didn't mean for this to be as long a post as it ended up being. Thanks
    in advance.
     
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  2. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Nospam" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > In my mind, I think my business is better off at shop#1, where they took the time to fit the bike
    > just right for me. Also, the free tune-ups for life are definitley worth something as well. My
    > only concern is that a 43cm bike seems really small, even for someone with a 30" inseam. I mean,
    > they did spend alot of time fitting me, I really can't see where they would have made a mistake.

    For a beginner, fit is much more important than any other feature. You're not going to find a
    signicant performance difference between similarly priced low-to-mid-range road bikes.

    On the other hand, getting a good fit is difficult if you don't have any experience, so you'd be
    wise to get alot of advise from experts (shop owners, friends, etc.). 43cm does seem very small,
    but I don't know what your body is like or even if you are male or female. A male with a 30"
    inseam would normally ride a 50-52cm bike. Sometimes women (with shorter torsos) prefer much
    smaller bikes to get a desired top tube length or more upright riding position. I believe the
    Giant bike you saw was a compact frame (sloped top tube) model, which is another way for smaller
    riders to get a good fit.

    Personally, I would drag one of your bike rider friends out to the bike shop to get a second opinion
    on the fit, but if you think it's comfortable, it's probably right for you.

    Ken
     
  3. >Any thoughts? Any advice? I didn't mean for this to be as long a post as it ended up being. Thanks
    >in advance.

    That model also comes in a 50 cm frame size. I'd have to see you on the bike to make a meaningful
    comment about that, though. Frame size isn't the only variable in fit, often a minor fit mismatch
    can be fixed by changing stem length and/or height.

    The first shop sounds like it's willing to work harder for your business, ask your friends about its
    reputation. Local bicycling communities tend to be relatively close-knit and honest about these
    things (on the other hand, those that ride the most may not buy a new bike very often).

    >Is Bianchi going to be THAT different from a Trek?

    Not significantly, I'm guessing it's the Brava you're talking about. The feel is probably going to
    be different due to frame geometry differences (not materials). You'll need to test ride the Bianchi
    as well as the Trek.

    Either one is a good deal in an entry level road bike, provided it fits.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  4. #1: Easier to read & respond to messages if you break them up into
    paragraphs. Some of us don't have the eyes we used to...

    #2: The TREK 1000 43cm isn't that much different from their next-larger
    size, aside from a sloping top tube. Kind of like a "compact" frame that allows someone with shorter
    legs to fit, although the front/back reach isn't short enough for someone with a short torso or
    arms. You've told us you've got a 30" inseam; how tall are you over all?

    #3: Sounds like shop #1 has a somewhat more egalitarian view towards their
    customers than shop #2 (meaning that they're willing to spend the same amount of time & effort
    towards properly fitting someone on a $500 bike as a $3000 one). That's generally a good thing,
    although I'm somewhat biased since it's closer to our business model. Other customers, those
    buying $3000 bikes, may be annoyed that the extra money isn't buying them six times as much
    extra attention. I figure if you treat everyone as though they deserve a bike that fits, who's
    gonna complain?

    #4: Don't get too hung up on "free tune-ups." The realities of the
    business world are such that a shop actually giving free "tune-ups" for life isn't going to be in
    business too long. There are two other possibilities, though. One is that the so-called "tune-up"
    is done so quickly and shoddily that it's not something you'd come back for (we've seen some of
    those 'round these parts). However, it seems that the manner in which you were treated so far would
    make that seem unlikely. Another possibility is that you may have misunderstood the meaning of
    "tune-up." For example, we offer free minor adjustments for life. Minor adjustments are those
    things that I can take care of quickly in a stand, without having to write up a service ticket and
    bring the bike in. Small brake, gear & wheel adjustments, for example. I like doing those things
    because, while I'm taking care of them, the customer is typically buying stuff in the store. Such a
    deal! And I can often work minor miracles in a couple minutes that seem to be beyond what others
    charge an arm and a leg for.

    #5: You might take a look at a page on our website about what to look for
    when test-riding a road bike. It's found at http://www.ChainReaction.com/roadbiketestrides.htm.

    #6: Keep in mind that the most expensive bike you can buy is the one that
    sits in the garage, unridden. If one bike costs a couple hundred dollars more than another, but
    there are things about it (or the shop behind it) that are going to help you enjoy riding more,
    that's more relevant than the cost savings. Of course, in your case, it sounds like it's the
    less-expensive bike that you might enjoy more!

    Hope this helps-

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com

    "Nospam" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Newbie alert. Don't quite know if this is the proper board for this but
    here
    > goes. As the weather gets warmer, I'm looking into getting into road biking.
    Went
    > to a couple of highly recommended local shops to get fitted for a bike.
    The
    > first place, I dealt with the owner directly. Told him directly, I wasn't looking to buy a bike
    > that day and that as I was just getting into road biking, didn't know what I was looking for. He
    > asked me a few questions like, how many miles a year I plan on riding, in town vs. long road
    > trips, etc. I told him, I was just looking for something I would enjoy getting
    some
    > exercise on. Maybe in a year or so, do a century ride. As for miles a
    year,
    > I have NO clue. =) So we eventually made our way to what he called an
    entry
    > level road bike. A Trek 1000. All stock parts. He and two others spent
    about
    > an hour with me adjusting this and that, taking measurements and such up
    on
    > a trainer. We started on a 52cm Trek but eventually settled on a 43cm
    Trek.
    > I have a 30" inseam. They moved me to a smaller frame because I guess I
    was
    > reaching out too far on the larger bike. Also swapped out the bar for a wider one as the stock one
    > was too narrow. They even let me take it for a test drive. A very positive experience. Absolutely
    > no pressure to buy either, I really appreciated that. I wish buying a car was that nice. Shop #2.
    > I go in and repeat my situation. Tell them my situation and my goals for biking. Guy takes me to
    > some Bianchi bikes. Tells me to hop on
    one
    > and ask if I can see the front hub in relation to the bar. I told him I could see the hub just in
    > front of the bar. He asked me to pedal a bit as
    he
    > held the front wheel. He said the bike was a pretty good fit. It was a
    52cm
    > bike. I felt I was reaching out just a little bit. My legs felt like I was having to stretch a
    > little as well. The Bianchi was a 530 Cro-molly frame and better suited for absorbing road shock I
    > was told. The salesperson
    then
    > pulled out a Giant OCR-1 bike I believe was the model. Aluminum frame with carbon front fork. This
    > bike was about $400 more than the Bianchi and the bike that the salesperson was more leaning
    > towards selling me. The second shop had a whole room devoted to fitting, but the salesperson
    > didn't offer to fit me. The Giant felt more comfortable, but I wouldn't say $400 more comfy. The
    > salesperson was trying to get me to buy a bike that day, something that I don't take well to. He
    > said that if I didn't like it, I could always exchange it for something else. At this point I
    > thought I should just think about it. Another factor, shop #1 has free tune-ups for life. As many
    > as I want.
    Shop
    > #2 only has 2. End of story and they have to be in the first year.
    >
    > I talked to a couple of my friends that had been biking for years and related them my experiences.
    > The first things they said were "You sure
    they
    > told you it was a 43cm bike at the first shop???" Seems that really seems small. Their other
    > comment is that spending about $1K just to "try-out"
    this
    > sport is insane, which I agree whole-heartedly.
    >
    > In my mind, I think my business is better off at shop#1, where they took
    the
    > time to fit the bike just right for me. Also, the free tune-ups for life are definitley worth
    > something as well. My only concern is that a 43cm
    bike
    > seems really small, even for someone with a 30" inseam. I mean, they did spend alot of time
    > fitting me, I really can't see where they would have
    made
    > a mistake. And bottom line, I did feel very comfy on the bike when I took
    it
    > for a test drive. I wasn't afforded the same test drive on the bikes from shop #2 so couldn't
    > really tell how they fit. Is Bianchi going to be THAT different from a Trek?
    >
    > Any thoughts? Any advice? I didn't mean for this to be as long a post as
    it
    > ended up being. Thanks in advance.
     
  5. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Nospam" wrote:

    > The first place, I dealt with the owner directly. Told him directly, I wasn't looking to buy a
    > bike that day and that as I was just getting into road biking, didn't know what I was looking for.

    > He asked me a few questions

    > A Trek 1000. All stock parts. He and two others spent about an hour with me adjusting this and
    > that, taking measurements and such up
    on
    > We started on a 52cm Trek but eventually settled on a 43cm Trek. I have a 30" inseam. They moved
    > me to a smaller frame because I guess I
    was
    > reaching out too far on the larger bike. Also swapped out the bar for a wider one as the stock one
    > was too narrow.

    They are obviously interested in helping you get the right bike rather than making a quick sale.
    That's good. My concern with the 43 cm frame is that you may not be able to get the handlebars up
    high enough. As a beginner, you may want the bars nearly at the same height as the saddle. I checked
    the Trek website, and found that the top tube length on the 43cm frame is only .2 cm shorter than on
    the 52cm frame. And both have the same seat tube angle. How much standover clearance did you have on
    the 52 cm? This bike is also available in a 50 cm (which they could order for you). If the bars are
    too bar forward, they can replace the stem with a shorter one.

    > Shop #2. I go in and repeat my situation. Tell them my situation and my goals for biking. Guy
    > takes me to some Bianchi bikes. Tells me to hop on
    one
    > and ask if I can see the front hub in relation to the bar.

    This is an old wive's tale, and tells me they don't know what they're doing. The first thing they
    need to do is set up the saddle height and fore/aft position for you. Then YOU determine if the
    handlebar height and reach feels comfortable. With your hands on the brake hoods and your elbows
    bent, you should not feel cramped or overly stretched out/bent over.

    > He said the bike was a pretty good fit. It was a 52cm bike. I felt I was reaching out just a
    > little bit. My legs felt like I was having to stretch a little as well.

    Anything that feels slightly uncomfortable in the showroom will probably be unbearable on a century
    ride. It sounds like they didn't even adjust the seat height. I'd stay away from this place.

    > I talked to a couple of my friends that had been biking for years

    > Their other comment is that spending about $1K just to "try-out" this sport is insane, which I
    > agree whole-heartedly.

    The suggested retail price for the Trek 1000 is $600. You're not going to get a decent road bike for
    less than that. You will have to buy a few other items (helmet, gloves, shorts, etc.).

    Art Harris
     
  6. nospam

    nospam Guest

    To all that replied. Thanks!

    To answer some of your questions... I'm a 5'6" tall guy. The bike shop guys said I have short legs,
    but normal size torso and arms.

    Ken - Yes, the Giant had a sloped top tube. I think I will just have to drag one of my buddies out
    to the shop to look for bikes with me.

    Eric - The guy at the second shop didn't even tell me what kind of Bianchi it was. I guess I
    shoulda asked.

    Harris - When I stood over the 52, I was JUST touching the top bar. I had the slightest bit of
    clearance.

    Mike - Thanks for the link and the advice about paragraphs! I tried to break it up into sections,
    but it was late. ;-)

    Thanks to all that replied! Hopefully I will be out on the road very shortly! =)
     
  7. Ken

    Ken Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > I'm a 5'6" tall guy. The bike shop guys said I have short legs, but normal size torso and arms.

    If you're 5'6" tall and have a real 30" inseam (your leg length, not your pants size), then yes, you
    do have short legs for your height. That also means you have a longer body, so for century riding
    you'll probably want a bike with a longer top tube and lower handlebars than your typical entry
    level bike. The Trek you described sounds reasonable, especially since the fitting sounded very
    competent.

    Ken
     
  8. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Nospam" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    >The Bianchi was a 530 Cro-molly frame and better suited for absorbing road shock I was told.

    This is mis-information. The thing that most affects the road shock you'll feel is tire size. Ask
    the salespersons what the largest size tire that you'll be able to use is. Anything less than a 28
    mm might cause you to regret the purchase down the road.

    It's hard to know how much to spend on a first bike. If you don't like it, you'll lose a lot of
    money on resale. If you really get into it, you may wish you spent more.
     
  9. Umterp

    Umterp Guest

    Proper fit will determine how comfortable you are on the bike. The more comfortable, the more likely
    that you will ride it and enjoy it. The first shop took the time to make certain that you were fit
    properly and comfortable. Its a no-brainer to me: shop #1.

    Good luck,

    Dave
     
  10. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >To all that replied. Thanks!
    >
    >To answer some of your questions... I'm a 5'6" tall guy. The bike shop guys said I have short legs,
    >but normal size torso and arms.

    My concern here is that as you spend more time on your road bike, you will become more accustomed to
    the stretched out road bike fit so that the frame which seemed comfortable at first actually is soon
    too small.

    It is my view that frames shoud be sized by effective top tube length rather than seat tube height,
    the seat post and stem go up and down nicely but a short top tube is more difficult to compensate
    for. This topic has been discussed here and on RBT rather extensively and I think there is a
    consensus that TT length is really more important than seat tube height.

    With a longer than normal upper torso this indicates to be that in the long run you may well be more
    comfortable with a larger frame.

    Definite ride some bikes for a while. This might be a time when buying an inexpensive but decent
    used bike might be a good choice. A 7 speed model from the late 80s may be missing the STI but it
    will otherwise be functionally identical and would provide an inexpensive way to really know what
    you find most comfortable.

    As others have said, fit is most important. There is a huge difference between a bike that really
    does fit and one that "kinda" fits.

    A bike that "kinda" of fits is like a shoe that "kinda" fits, OK for short walks but not too fun for
    those hikes in the mountains.

    jon isaacs
     
  11. Nospam

    Nospam Guest

    > Definite ride some bikes for a while. This might be a time when buying an inexpensive but decent
    > used bike might be a good choice. A 7 speed model
    from
    > the late 80s may be missing the STI but it will otherwise be functionally identical and would
    > provide an inexpensive way to really know what you
    find
    > most comfortable.

    Thanks for the advice! Very good point. Makes alot of sense and I will definitely keep it in mind.
    One question though, what's "STI"? Time for increasing my vocab I think. ;-) I've seen that term
    alot, but I don't know what it means. Does it have something to do with the shifters?
     
  12. >I've seen that term alot, but I don't know what it means. Does it have something to do with the
    >shifters?

    Shimano Total Integration. It means the parts don't work unless you have the right parts, and the
    right year and model parts.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  13. In article <[email protected]>,
    "Eric S. Sande" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > >I've seen that term alot, but I don't know what it means. Does it have something to do with the
    > >shifters?
    >
    > Shimano Total Integration. It means the parts don't work unless you have the right parts, and the
    > right year and model parts.

    Wiseacre.

    STI stands for Shimano something whatever, but means that the shifters are part of the brake levers,
    generically known as "brifteurs" to lump in the Campy "Ergo" version. This is good because putting
    the shifters where your hands are is just a really good idea. This is bad because brifteurs are
    expensive and slightly heavier than individual DT shifters and normal ("aero") brake levers.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  14. Jim Edgar

    Jim Edgar Guest

    Terry Morse at [email protected] wrote on 2/19/03 7:43 AM:

    > Then there's the inability to trim the front derailleur as you ride. I get a chuckle out of
    > brifter users as they get out of the saddle and climb, letting their derailleur rub on every
    > donwstroke. That would drive me nuts.

    IIRC, the only non-trimable STI front shifter is the Tiagra (or whichever is the least expensive one
    these days...)

    -- Jim (riding silent DA/Ultegra drivetrains, even up hills)
     
  15. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Ryan Cousineau wrote:

    > This is bad because brifteurs are expensive and slightly heavier than individual DT shifters and
    > normal ("aero") brake levers.

    Besides being more expensive, brifters are more delicate and finicky than the alternatives (DT
    shifters and barcons).

    Then there's the inability to trim the front derailleur as you ride. I get a chuckle out of brifter
    users as they get out of the saddle and climb, letting their derailleur rub on every donwstroke.
    That would drive me nuts.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  16. "Terry Morse" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:tmorse->
    > Besides being more expensive, brifters are more delicate and finicky than the alternatives (DT
    > shifters and barcons).

    Downtube shifters are no longer an alternative, believe me you wouldn't want to be caught riding
    around on some old frameset that still uses those silly things.
     
  17. John

    John Guest

    [email protected] (Hunrobe) wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > Seriously though a 30" true inseam is not at all outside the norm for a male that is 5'6". I've
    > heard the "you have short legs for your height" comments all my life but according to the
    > orthopedic surgeon that treated me back in '77 my leg bones are not disproportionate to the rest

    Different people define "normal" in different ways. To a doctor, "normal" usually means able to live
    without special accomodations.

    From a practical point of view, the question is what size bike to buy. My leg length is 31 inches
    and my height is 5'6". The last couple of times I bought a road bike, I searched long and hard for
    the stock bikes with the longest top tubes (with a 52cm c-t seat tube). Then I replaced the seat
    with an extra long seat and slid it all the way back on the rails. I also replaced the stem with one
    4cm longer than the stock stem. I think these body dimensions are pretty much the extreme of what
    can be fitted comfortably on a modern road bike without going custom.
     
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