General Discussion Triathlon Talk » disappointing first fit Rss Feed  
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2019-01-18 12:40 PM

Subject: disappointing first fit
Do your fits always help you improve? Or do you sometimes feel that the fit hurts your performance?

I am somewhat new to the sport and got a bike fit last year. It helped somewhat. But overall I was pretty disappointed with the process.

One of the issue was that my fitter didn't exactly walk me through why he was making the changes he was . ie. what was the rationale was. Granted I was asking him to make me as fitted to a aero position on an endurance road bike ( specialized Roubaix)...

I started noticing that I found the new position almost unrideable. I experienced three issues.

1. Shoulder pain
2. Right foot numbness
3. The saddle was just critically painful.

I then tinkered around with the fit. I noticed he had set my cleats as far front as possible, it seemed it was ahead of the ball of my feet.
The saddle was moved way back. Making me feel stretched. I moved the saddle forward significantly.

I also changed my saddle to a snub nosed which helped a lot.

I am curious if any of you have had misses with a fit. I rode in the new fit for a month before giving up... I am however also trying to adjust to a new position... so its all pretty painful.

I am considering going elsewhere for a fit, given that I am feeling that I have a better understanding of where my pain points are. ( after having some a few long rides)

2019-01-18 3:36 PM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Official BT Coach
Indianapolis, Indiana
Gold member
Subject: RE: disappointing first fit

Originally posted by orijitdhar

One of the issue was that my fitter didn't exactly walk me through why he was making the changes he was . ie. what was the rationale was. Granted I was asking him to make me as fitted to a aero position on an endurance road bike ( specialized Roubaix)... 

First thing, the fitter should have done an interview and determined your cycling history, fitness, skill level, etc.  How aero you wanted to be/could be should have been part of that discussion.  It's probably never a good thing when an athlete, especially an athlete new to the sport, is asking the fitter to set them up as if they had been in the sport for an extended period of time.

Here is a link that goes through what you can reasonably expect from a bike fit.  This article is talking specifically about a tri-bike fit, however many of the same concepts apply to a road bike.

2019-01-18 8:10 PM
in reply to: 0

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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: disappointing first fit
The fitter needs to ask in more detail, or you need to tell him if you aren't asked, about your background as a cyclist, and to get some feedback from you about the fit. As I recall, one fitter even tested my strength and flexibility on each side of my body to see if there were any discrepancies. I think I also tried just about every single saddle in the shop!

I have not had an issues as serious as you describe, but definitely at every fit I've done, there's been some give and take between what might be "ideal" to get me as aero as possible, and what I'm comfortable with in terms of bike handling or ability to physically adapt to the position. It might be better to start with a less aggressive position and more gradually approach "ideal" as you become accustomed to riding in aero, for example. I had to do this in particular with the width of the aerobars--I just didn't feel comfortable with them too close together in my first few years on a tri bike, even though I'm thin with narrow shoulders and "can" be fitted into a really aggressive, narrow position.

Tweaking a problematic fit by yourself often leads to further problems. Everything's connected, and doing something to one part of the fit will often affect the other parts. This can be true even of seemingly minor things like cleat position. Normally a fit will include a couple of follow-up sessions to work on any problems you've observed after riding for a while. If not, maybe seek out a different fitter.

As far as whether a fit makes you faster, I have not honestly noticed that to a great extent. It can be hard to separate the effects of a fit, a new bike, and training. Plus it can take time to get used to generating power/speed in a new position--sometimes you can actually get slower before you get faster. But definitely a good fit is (well, should be) more comfortable, especially for longer rides and races. And if you feel more comfortable, you will probably put in better quality workouts, which should lead to improved fitness and faster times.

I'm in awe of my last fitter. It was a new tri bike, and due to weather, road, and training-related reasons, I wasn't able to ride it outside longer than about 90 minutes before my first IM in November. Nor did I ride that bike longer than about 3 hours total on the trainer (splitting long rides between outside on a road bike with a club and inside on a trainer). But I was fine for a full IM ride, much of it in aero, that due to tough conditions took nearly seven hours. A good fit is worth its weight in gold!

Edited by Hot Runner 2019-01-18 8:19 PM
2019-01-20 4:42 PM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: disappointing first fit
I have had 3 fitters through the years.

First when I bought a new tri bike back in like 2009. Came with the bike. The guy seemed good and the fit worked. I wasn't really up to speed to know what to watch for, so on I went.

2017 I dropped a big chunk for QR PR 6 and knew I needed a real fit. Back was killing me on long rides. Got a retul fit done at a bike shop. Policy was the initial fit and then 1 refit within 60 days. Rode it when I could and tried to get one more session for the refit, but never felt like the fitter really was invested in the process more than income for the store.

2018/2019 found a guy recommended from locals that comes to my house, fits me and he has been back once after a full IM and will be back a third time to address any other issues. Still have back issues on longer rides, but he has fixed other stuff and his fee covers coming back until the fit works as best as possible. I try not to abuse his service, but he is committed to his craft.

Find a fitter than cares and has recommendations from others. Retul and other official fit programs are great, but the fitter makes the difference.
2019-01-22 5:51 AM
in reply to: orijitdhar

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Fort Wayne, IN
Subject: RE: disappointing first fit
My first fit on my tri bike was a disaster. My aerobars were set way too low due to arthritis in my neck. I didn't realize the very minor feelings of discomfort in my neck during the fit would grow. On my first ride and attempt to get in aero, I had my first crash. I could not see down the road at all and was way too unstable. I incrementally got a longer/taller stem and on my first long ride with a new setup, by the time I finished the ride, I had lost significant strength in my right hand that did not recover for a couple weeks. My final setup, that I have had for years, I have the tallest stem I could get and that works adequately. I will never be as aero as some people, but that's the breaks.

My best fit came when I switched to Retul. I think part of the challenge with previous fits was not really having enough time during the fit to really know what felt good. With Retul, they showed me my parameters and knowing the reasonable range of tweaks I could make after the fact to dial things in. The main thing that I changed was adjusting my saddle forward a bit. This fit helped my knees quite a bit over previous fits.
2019-01-23 7:40 AM
in reply to: #5254189

Subject: RE: disappointing first fit
I am considering a retul fit, but right now I am experimenting with fit myself. Esp saddles I tried the specialized sitero and next is the ISM PR. At my first fit, I had little experience as to what I wanted out of it. And also was getting used to new bike, new shoes , new position. With so many variables, I just didnt know what to look for. Hoping the time spent on the bike will give me a better idea.

Also what I notice is that as I am putting more power through the pedals I am getting more uncomfortable in certain places. Low power is ok , high power is tougher.

So hoping I have more of an idea as to what I am trying to fix

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