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  1. #1
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    How to approach bike fit and cockpit setup

    Iím building up a new bike from the frame for the first time. Itís a full suspension bike (Knolly Fugitive LT) and I will be prioritizing all day performance. Basically, I ride for the downhills, but I also ride quite a bit of more rolling trail and love me some singletrack climbing as well. I need my bike to work great on the downs, and pretty damn good on the ups.

    In the past, Iíve simply bought complete bikes and adjusted/modified what was there to get the bike to feel good. Choosing every single part, Iím sure I can do more to optimize the fit and feel of the bike for my body, skill level and riding style, but Iím a bit lost as to how to even start!

    How to determine optimal handlebar height and placement?

    Optimal seat placement?

    Iíve dug around looking for advice on this already, but most of it seems focused on getting seated pedaling position just right. What Iím interested in is how you guys choose stems, handlebars, stack height, etc and then how you know if itís working for you.




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  2. #2
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    Duplicate the fit you have that works if you actually have one. Choose parts that put the points of contact where you need them. If you don't have a good fit then a pro fit might be money well spent.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    Duplicate the fit you have that works if you actually have one. Choose parts that put the points of contact where you need them. If you don't have a good fit then a pro fit might be money well spent.
    This was my original plan, but the problem is knowing if I truly have a good fit or not. I mean sure, my current bike feels fine, but is there significant room for improvement? Is there a specific relation between grip placement and the front axle? If there is, am I close. Iíve heard many allude to sketching like this, but have never seen/heard it explained.


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  4. #4
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    I would look online at the geos and component specs/builds of bikes you have tried and liked, and go from there. I would also look at the build spec of Fugitive complete bike builds, especially if you demoed it and liked it. There is something to be said for what Knolly believes is the best component mix.

    Aluminum bars are inexpensive and good for experimenting with bar width (although you still have sweep and rise to worry about). Just leave it the full width and use lock on grips to slide them in and out.

    Thankfully, it's pretty straightforward for me. I like RaceFace bars, 800mm wide, 20mm rise. I like RaceFace Turbine stems, 50mm. I like a relatively high stack.

    I have a great relationship with my LBS so they let me try things for free - bars, stems, etc.

    Seat placement is straightforward. Google the whole plum line thing online and go from there.

    And yes - the bike fit thing - if you don't mind paying for it.

    Sorry if this was a little more basic than what you were looking for. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    id build it up similar to how Knolly builds em up, but with aluminum parts (cheaper). and then just ride it and visualize what feels off. and then go from there. you might demo a bunch of bikes too and see if they feel better, esp saddles. that can be HUGE

  6. #6
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    Seems like frame geometry selection for intended use would be the first and biggest factor...

  7. #7
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    Use you bottom bracket as a point of reference. BB to top of saddle, BB to handlebar. Saddle - handlebar position means very little because the BB drop could be different enough from one bike to another. Set the bike up for stand-up handling first, seated comfort second.

    If you know what fits, take your current stack + stem hieght and your reach + stem length. Map it all out on bikegeo.net for the clostest results you can get.
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  8. #8
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    This is all I've got...

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    But generally, start with correct saddle location (height, fore/aft, tilt) for efficient pedaling, and leave your steerer tube full length until you figure out where your bars need to be.

    If you can get a measurement from a known comfortable bike, that's a good starting point.

    -F

    edit: for saddle location, having the saddle slid far back on the rails might make it difficult to move around the saddle. A dropper alleviates that, but you want a good spot from which to control the bike, even on flat ground - and you want to be able to climb without feeling awkward trying to keep the front end planted. The bar location is then relative to the saddle location.
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  9. #9
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    Pick your frame size carefully. I do not follow their recommendation, and need to size up. Saddle position first, then get the grips where you want them with stem, spacers , and bars. You are comfortable on your current bike, but there is almost always room for improvement. The Fugitive has a steeper STA which may throw off your assumptions on how it will fit. It turns out my optimal seat placement is farther forward than I have ever had previously, I just never had a frame where it was possible until this year.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Use you bottom bracket as a point of reference. BB to top of saddle, BB to handlebar. Saddle - handlebar position means very little because the BB drop could be different enough from one bike to another. Set the bike up for stand-up handling first, seated comfort second.

    If you know what fits, take your current stack + stem hieght and your reach + stem length. Map it all out on bikegeo.net for the clostest results you can get.
    I was not aware of bikegeo.net - thanks for the recommendation!

    The Knolly will be a bit different than my current YT Jeffsy in terms of geometry, but Iíve been making a steady progression towards the geometry on the Knolly and liked the way the other Knolly bikes rode.

    Two issues that Iím currently trying with fit are a bit of horizontal tweak to my wrists (thinking of trying a bit more sweep in the bars to remedy this) and a bit of neck/shoulder pain/pump. Iím not quite sure how to address the latter....

    Thanks to everyone for chiming in - already got what seems like solid advice.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by inonjoey View Post

    Iíve dug around looking for advice on this already, but most of it seems focused on getting seated pedaling position just right. What Iím interested in is how you guys choose stems, handlebars, stack height, etc and then how you know if itís working for you.
    You know it's working for you when you never think about it any more.


    Neck and shoulder pain would usually indicate that you need more height...spacers under the stem are the easiest path there. May also be a heavy or poor fitting pack.


    Ergo grips ( I like the Specialized ones best) helped me with my wrist. I also found that I prefer my bars rolled a up/forward a bit more than is normal.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Pick your frame size carefully. I do not follow their recommendation, and need to size up. Saddle position first, then get the grips where you want them with stem, spacers , and bars. You are comfortable on your current bike, but there is almost always room for improvement. The Fugitive has a steeper STA which may throw off your assumptions on how it will fit. It turns out my optimal seat placement is farther forward than I have ever had previously, I just never had a frame where it was possible until this year.
    Iím right at 6í0Ē, pretty evenly proportioned and went with the large. Compared to my YT, seat angle is a full degree steeper on the Knolly, reach is 32mm longer and stack is 6.5mm lower. Going with a 35 or 40mm stem as opposed to the 50mm on my YT should get me in a pretty good starting spot considering the longer reach but steeper seat angle. Iíll definitely be leaving my steerer uncut and experimenting with a few different stems and handlebars that I have lying around. Excited to approach my setup from scratch, and Iíll document the process in the hope of getting feedback and maybe even helping others.

    I read your Moxie thoughts/review with great interest, especially as Iíve been surprised at how long of reach I need to feel comfortable while seated on a steep seat angle bike. For example, after riding a large Transition, I would consider sizing up if buying one of their frames (or maybe I just need to get used to the tighter feel while seated and it will be better?).


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MOJO K View Post
    You know it's working for you when you never think about it any more.


    Neck and shoulder pain would usually indicate that you need more height...spacers under the stem are the easiest path there. May also be a heavy or poor fitting pack.


    Ergo grips ( I like the Specialized ones best) helped me with my wrist. I also found that I prefer my bars rolled a up/forward a bit more than is normal.
    Yes - planning on raising my handlebars on the YT a bit and see how that feels, especially because the stack on the New bike is actually lower.

    Iíve yet to find ergo grips that I really get along with. Did you experiment with more or less sweep at all?


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by inonjoey View Post
    Yes - planning on raising my handlebars on the YT a bit and see how that feels, especially because the stack on the New bike is actually lower.

    Iíve yet to find ergo grips that I really get along with. Did you experiment with more or less sweep at all?


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    My issue had to do more with fatigue (work related) and being able to hold my wrists straight deeper into the ride. I never had the sore hands/ tingling that usually indicate the need for ergo grips. I just needed to keep myself lined up correctly and the ergo grips supported my palms enough that I couldn't roll my hands back when I got tired and sloppy,. Normal sweep (7-8deg back/ 5deg up) on most bars worked fine.

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