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That "new bike fit", by Al Hospers
 Article List
• My winter vacation
• Phil Gaimon wins 2008 Mt. Washington Hillclimb
• Biking brothers in law charge around the Whites
• Overendís ready for a Granite State nickname
• Maineís Islesboro is a seaside bicycle adventure
• Quietly cycling Connecticutís northeastís corner
• That "new bike fit"
• Cyclocross - Best way to enjoy it, watch it.
• The next step in personal training?
• What goes up, goes down along Virginiaís Skyline Drive
• Hillclimbs, heaven or hell?
• Acadiaís bikeways beckon
• Where Cycling Is Taken Seriously
• Crusing along Lake Winnipesaukee by bike and boat
• Crank That Kanc
• Wrap, ride and reward
• A Clean Sweep
I already have a bike & have gotten other bikes fit to me in the past. However, since I'm planning on making a substantial investment in a new bike to replace my broken De Rosa, a few people have suggested that I get a good new bike fit. It seemed like a good idea. After all the goal should be to gather information to determine which bikes would fit me BEFORE I actually bought one! So I made an appointment and yesterday took the long ride over to Fit Werx in Waitfield, VT for a new bike fitting. Mind you this is not a cheap process. It costs $350, however you do get a credit of $200 toward the cost of a new bike IF you purchase it through Fit Werx.

I arrived at their shop in Waitsfield at about 10:30 AM. I brought in my old bike and a bag containing my shoes and cycling clothes. Their shop is small, but very nicely done. There are a fair number of frames and fully built out bikes on the walls. Glancing at a few of the discretely placed price tags, it became obvious that most are really high-end machines. Yes folks, I was in a specialty shop. I introduced myself to the owner Ian, and he took me into the fitting area. We chatted as he wrote down the answers to questions about my goals, how I ride, any previous injuries that might affect the way I ride and any additional issues I have. Since I'm a professional musician, computer programmer and climbing guide I am very particular about how my hands feel, so I brought that issue up first. I also mentioned out that my main goal for this year was to go to France and ride sections of the Tour for 2 weeks. Next he took all kinds of measurements of my body. Among other things these were to determine if I had one leg longer than the other and the like. I didn't! He checked my core strength and generally flexibility as well.

Like many other high-end shops these days Fit Werx uses the Serotta fitting system. This involves using a special type of completely adjustable bike frame mounted on a CompuTrainer. In addition they have a video camera pointed at you from the side with a TV screen in front of you. It's a really neat setup. You can see how your position on the bike changes as he makes his adjustments. He did an initial setup based on his measurements and then got me up on the fit bike. He spent some time initially working on the adjustments of my cleats. There were a number of changes he made and I immediately noticed a little difference in my knees. The he started tweaking other positions like the height of the bars, position and height of the saddle and a number of other things. At various times he would point out the changes in the TV monitor. He even drew angles on the screen to show how it was changing. I would pedal in between his adjustments to see how it felt. After about an hour we were basically done and things felt quite nice.

Next he fired up a laptop computer running software connected to the CompuTrainer. He had me pedal at a moderate cadence while observing my power output. A graph displayed my power was at every part of my pedal stroke, separately for my left and right legs. This was very revealing. He immediately pointed out that I was somewhat left leg dominant. In addition I wasn't evenly pulling through the complete power cycle. With some mental and physical effort I was able to make some changes in my stroke that evened out the left and right legs and added some power. Just from that short time it was clear that having a CompuTrainer would be a great way to train, but at about $1,500+ it's not likely to happen! After the fit process was completed we spent some time talking about what I wanted in a new bike. I mentioned that I could get a deal from De Rosa on a new frame and that I also really liked the look of the Cervelo Team Soloist and that I'd read good reviews of it. I mentioned that I really wanted this to be a bike that, especially as I've turned 58 last year, I would really like have last me for at least 10 years. Ian showed me the various bikes they had in stock, pointing out that the Serrota might be a good choice - both for my size and for its durability.

Ian then went off and spent some time on his computer looking at which bikes he felt were going to fit me well. Once he was done we sat down and discussed his recommendations. He felt that while the De Rosa and Cervelo bikes could be made to fit my body type, they were not optimal. He suggested the Serrota IT and Guru Carbonio bikes. The Serrota frame is a mix of Titanium and carbon fiber while the Guru is a full carbon fiber. Due to the pricing it was better to buy the Guru as a fully built out bike, while the Serrota we would get as just a frame and add the components. There were parts on my De Rosa that would be fine to use on the Serrota which would help to keep the costs down a little. That said, buying the bike through Fit Werx was not going to be inexpensive!

The complete Guru Carbonio with 10 speed Ultegra and Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL wheels was going to set me back a cool $4,090. It's a beautiful bike, but that's a lot of cash. The Serrota option included the Fierte IT frame, new 10 speed Ultegra drive train with Shimano compact crank, Ouzo Pro fork, Crane Creek stem and Thompson seat post. It used my existing shifters, brakes, seat and bars. The total cost was $3,450. Still a lot of mo-ola to me.

Well a day later and I'm still mulling it over. I'll need to make a decision soon. Spring is coming and pretty soon everyone is going to be getting their new bikes for the season. I don't want to get caught without a bike or having to wait for a month or more. I just can't ride my De Rosa out on the road any more. It's a lot of bucks initially, but if I amortize the cost over the next 10 years, it's not that bad. I'll certainly get the use out of it. I'll let you know what my decision is once I make up my mind.
by Al Hospers


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