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Thread: Bike fit

  1. #1
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    Bike fit

    Iíve talked to a few people about this, and ended up really annoyed. Mainly because of the money Iíve thrown into handlebars over the past year.

    I swear I get really annoyed with every coach who needs to change the way my bike fits instead of teaching me how to ride. I also get annoyed at bike fitters who you think every rider needs to be in an aggressive xc position.

    Itís 2018. Everything is about enduroóso why are we still getting fitted like xc riders. I get the dropper post but still. People who need to ride adaptive mountain bikes get a fyeah!! by people who post the vids.

    So what about ďnormalĒ people, particularly women. We donít have the strength as men, yet at the same time are fitted the same way (sans light tune suspension).

    People are now getting the hang of crankarm length, and I love companies like Canfield Bros and Race Face who recognize this. I ordered a set of 160mm cranks that are getting installed on my bike next week.

    So what about bar height to saddle height. My husbandís bikes are all pretty aggressive (high saddle, bars are lower than the saddle), where mine are the opposite. Itís that more of a guy vs woman setup, or do I just have some mobility limitations?

    I am NOT asking for recommendations; Iím asking are their other considerations with fit that Iím missing?

  2. #2
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    From what I see that low bar is a xc race thing, and the opposite of what I think of as aggressive. My friends all run bars that are higher, even the crazy fast ones. I don't see this as female or male specific.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for ďI suck at brake control.Ē Hereís a free tip: get better."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    From what I see that low bar is a xc race thing, and the opposite of what I think of as aggressive. My friends all run bars that are higher, even the crazy fast ones. I don't see this as female or male specific.
    Huh, interesting. I'm looking at redoing my whole front end setup (stem/handlebar) because I think that being in that ridiculously aggressive position just isn't ideal for me. It seems like there are some schools of thought that still believe this.

    There was also a whole thing going on a while ago about how wide bars are bad, but they've been the way people have been going for a while now.

  4. #4
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    You will just have to figure out whats best for YOU. I did a lot of XC racing back in the day. Had my stem turned upside down, and 19" bars. Worked for me. Now I'm more upright, with 22.5" bars. Wide bars make my wrist and arms ache. Shortened my front from 120mm to 90mm. Went from 170mm cranks to 135mm. I don't like the geometry of the new bikes, although, I know it makes riding tech. trails easier. My riding pals use to make jokes about my cranks, but not anymore. They figured out that I'm still having great fun riding with them.

  5. #5
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    Both women in our group are on 40 or 50mm stems, and bars at least 760mm wide. I notice these things and it's a very common setup for both men and women. I suggest borrowing some stems and bars, and experimenting on your own.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for ďI suck at brake control.Ē Hereís a free tip: get better."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    Both women in our group are on 40 or 50mm stems, and bars at least 760mm wide. I notice these things and it's a very common setup for both men and women. I suggest borrowing some stems and bars, and experimenting on your own.
    Thanks, I know how to fit myself. Like I said in my original post, I'm not asking for advice on how to fit myself. I'm asking if anyone has noticed any differences.

  7. #7
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    Just based on what you've mentioned--one could be missing saddle fit. It's possible that the wrong saddle will push women into a posterior pelvic tilt to avoid pressure on soft tissue, which shortens reach by flattening out the lower back (should have a natural slight curve there) and forcing the upper back into hyper-kyphosis. And then the scapulae are probably chronically protracted and probably elevated... And then if you're always pedaling in PPT, that changes your lower body strength and mobility, which of course affects fit.

  8. #8
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    Frankly I just go with whatever is more comfortable... there's no point trying to adapt your body to the "ideal" that a fitter is trying to achieve if it doesn't work for you. I have always had problems with bikes set up in that low bars, weight forward XC/roadie position... my road bike was the worst! I have a short torso, so that position leaves me feeling too stretched with more pressure than I like on my hands and shoulders, even if it is considered correct form. I'd hazard a guess that since women are a little more top heavy, a little more pressure gets put on our shoulders than a man of similar size and weight. Being that I ride for fun, I'd rather be comfortable enough to go out for 4 or 5 hours and not worry about nagging aches or pains due to weird arsed fit issues.

    I recently switched out my 50mm stem and 10mm rise bars for a 40mm stem and 30mm rise. The new bars are also slightly narrower at 740mm vs 760mm as I found my natural position was to grab the old bars slightly inboard. The old bars were fine going up hill and steep down hill, but I found that I was getting fatigued on flat terrain and on long, shallow descents where I was sitting rather than standing (yeah, I know I'm supposed to be standing going down hill, but I'm not gonna stand all the way down a 5 mile descent). The new bars are much better on the flats and descents, and I only noticed a small amount of additional lightness on the front end while tackling steep up hill climbs. Oh yeah, and they're stupid light, 'cause everyone needs more carbon

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Juice View Post
    Just based on what you've mentioned--one could be missing saddle fit. It's possible that the wrong saddle will push women into a posterior pelvic tilt to avoid pressure on soft tissue, which shortens reach by flattening out the lower back (should have a natural slight curve there) and forcing the upper back into hyper-kyphosis. And then the scapulae are probably chronically protracted and probably elevated... And then if you're always pedaling in PPT, that changes your lower body strength and mobility, which of course affects fit.
    Thanks, I didn't think about the saddle fit. I should probably check out some of the new saddles by SQlabs and Ergon.

    I have my saddle titled a bit forward right now, but that will change once I get the shorter stem and wider and higher bars on my rebuilt bike.

    Obviously, this isn't a problem at all on my DH bike because I never sit on that, so I didn't even think of this as an issue. Thanks!

  10. #10
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    The miniscule physical differences in body measurements between men and women of same height just don't justify designing women specific geometries, however, women usually prefer to sit shorter and more upright compared to men which leads to a lot of confusion when bike fitters try to fit a woman the same way they successfully do with a man focusing entirely on science and mostly ignoring personal preferences.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Calf View Post
    The miniscule physical differences in body measurements between men and women of same height just don't justify designing women specific geometries, however, women usually prefer to sit shorter and more upright compared to men which leads to a lot of confusion when bike fitters try to fit a woman the same way they successfully do with a man focusing entirely on science and mostly ignoring personal preferences.
    I think you nailed it there. I have had a couple of bikes professionally fitted in the past and I was never completely happy with them. The fitter was a road and XC racer, and I ended up feeling stretched on both bikes despite the fit being technically 'correct'.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    I think you nailed it there. I have had a couple of bikes professionally fitted in the past and I was never completely happy with them. The fitter was a road and XC racer, and I ended up feeling stretched on both bikes despite the fit being technically 'correct'.

    Sent from my SM-T800 using Tapatalk
    Agreed. Last bike fitter I had fit me kept raising my seat, despite it was obvious my hips were rocking and had me more stretched out than was comfortable.

  13. #13
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    Honestly I think the best way is to just twiddle with it a bit, spend a LOT of time in the saddle, and follow your instincts. Advice is just that- you don't have to adopt all of it.

    I have a 33"-ish inseam and long arms to boot, so every bike I own has the saddle jacked way up. I've gotten a few weird comments about it until they see me on it, in which case the commentary fades out because it all seems to come together. My husband is an inch taller but has a shorter inseam, probably about the same length arms as I do, and likes a taller bar position.... which I think makes his rigs handle like a clown car, lol.

    And there's NOBODY that doesn't shake their head when I say everything just *clicks* when the saddle nose is pointed slightly left. But hey, a slightly hinky right hip is a whole lot better than the acute spine/nerve injury right after I had the baby, sooooo... yeah. I'll take it.

    Really, everyone needs to be fit for the human they are, and the final judge is how it rides.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    Honestly I think the best way is to just twiddle with it a bit, spend a LOT of time in the saddle, and follow your instincts. Advice is just that- you don't have to adopt all of it.

    I have a 33"-ish inseam and long arms to boot, so every bike I own has the saddle jacked way up. I've gotten a few weird comments about it until they see me on it, in which case the commentary fades out because it all seems to come together. My husband is an inch taller but has a shorter inseam, probably about the same length arms as I do, and likes a taller bar position.... which I think makes his rigs handle like a clown car, lol.

    And there's NOBODY that doesn't shake their head when I say everything just *clicks* when the saddle nose is pointed slightly left. But hey, a slightly hinky right hip is a whole lot better than the acute spine/nerve injury right after I had the baby, sooooo... yeah. I'll take it.

    Really, everyone needs to be fit for the human they are, and the final judge is how it rides.
    THANK YOU. Very well said.

    I had to refit myself after a shoulder injury, caused my a combo of being too far forward and possibly too high. Funny, now even my saddle feels better.

    My husband and I have the same inseam roughly, but I ride 10mm shorter cranks than him (160mm now, he rides 170mm), and he rides a bigger frame. But each person also has their own comfort due to either personal preference or limitations (and we all have those).

    I've gotten into it with Lee McCormack over this, and I can't stand that every coach wants to fit you differently to your bike rather than have you ride it (or make very very small adjustments so you don't end up killing yourself), which is where this stems from.

    I've been a bit all tied up over this, because I know a lot of people take Lee's words as gospel.

    Other fitters have their thing too: Some fit people more towards a road fit (I went through that too, and that didn't help), and some more towards a DH style fit.

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