Bike Fitting: What to Think?

A few months ago, I went for a “professional bike fitting” on the Vaya and the Madone.

Prior to the bike fitting, I had been informally fit by my local bike shop.  Informal fitting consisted of a number of elements.  Looking at me on various bike sizes.  Experimenting with different stems and bars.  Throwing bikes on trainers and watching me pedal.  Watching me on rides.

There were no lasers, no computer measurements…no measurements at all.  Just watching.

Following the watching, I screwed around with my bikes.  Raised seatpost.  Dropped seatpost.  Adjusted bars.  Adjusted stem.  Lots of experimentation.

At the pro bike fitting, we found that my saddle height was 2cm off between the Vaya and Madone.  Believe it or not, the Madone saddle was actually 2cm lower than the Madone.  (I have the PDFs from the fitting.  Believe it).  I did a bunch of riding on both bikes, on on a trainer.  I was lasered.  I was measured.  I was taped.  I was video’d.  I was observed.  After all of that, the handlebars on my bike were rotated forward about 2 degrees.

That’s it.

2 degrees.

Notwithstanding the fact that the saddles were 2cm difference in height (center of crank to saddle), I was told that everything was fine.

I’ve gotta say…a pro fitting was not for me.  I have friends who have had professional fittings done and have had great results…knee pain gone, back pain alleviated.  It’s not for me.  It didn’t solve any problems, and I left frustrated that my bikes were so vastly disparate in setup, and yet I was told that it was “fine.”  I left feeling that it was not worth the investment.

Part of the reason I left with that feeling was undoubtedly because my local bike shop is so awesome.  An ‘eyeball’ fitting, coupled with ride time together, leads to a great fit.  My 2cm difference in saddle height was due to my experimentation.

Coming out of my fitting, I basically disregarded what i was told.  I evened up both of my saddle heights (at the higher height).  My saddle height is now set by leg extension, not by “feeling”.  (And as it turns out, the proper saddle height is that which my local bike shop initially suggested I should use.  D’oh).

My stem length is that which my LBS suggested.

What I’m still experimenting with is bar height.  Mountain bikes are a whole different story…I’m dropping my bars as low as I can, slamming my stems, and feeling great.  But for the Moots and Madone, I don’t know.  I’m spending all of my time in the drops, and I don’t know where they should be.  I’m slowly going lower and lower, but I have no idea where the cutoff is.  Go as low as I can without discomfort?  Perhaps.

I could probably simplify things by just asking the pros at my LBS.  But another “pro fitting”?


No thanks.


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