Author Topic: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?  (Read 4361 times)

cbr shadow

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Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« on: June 28, 2013, 08:27:30 AM »
Since finding this site I've really gotten into bike riding.  First it was just riding to work and back, then I did an organized bike ride, then I bought a nice road bike off of craigslist, then I road in a Century (100 mile) bike ride.  I've done 2 of those this summer now and plan on at least 2 more.  This also requires tons of training/exerise to prepare for them.

The disadvantage of buying on craigslist is that I didn't get "custom fit" on the bike when I bought it.  At the end off all of my training sessions and about halfway through my Century rides my knees and shoulders really start to bug me.  I'm young (29 y/o) and dont have knee or shoulder issues at all normally.  I was told by another rider that it's because the bike doesn't "Fit" me perfectly.  He suggested taking it to a bike shop that has an expert to get the right seat height/angle, stem length, bar angle, hood position, spacers, etc.  Since i'm going to be doing a LOT of riding on this bike it makes sense to get it right.

So I went to a local bike shop who have 1 guy that does all of their fittings and is supposed to be really good.  They put your bike on the trainer and make all of the adjustments needed, correct your form, etc.  But it's $150!  Would it be antimustachian to go through with it?  I took my bike there to get it done but walked away when I heard it was $150, but not i'm starting to consider it again.

Before you say to go on youtube to see how a bike should fit, I've done that. It's difficult for me to fit myself on my own bike so lets assume that's not an option.

Also since it probably matters, my bike is a 2008 Specialized Allez Elite.  The MSRP new was $1,260 but I paid $450 for it used this year.  It was BARELY used though because it still had the nubs on the tires.  The guy I bought it from said his wife bought it for him but he only used it twice.

Anyways, please let me know if you think I should get custom fitted on this bike.



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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 08:29:56 AM »
$150 is a lot cheaper than physical therapy to correct the damage from a badly fitting bike. Go for it.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 08:38:43 AM »
I personally think it's worth getting the fit done if you are starting to have complaints. Around here $100 seems to be standard, so if  you have other bike shops you may be able to get it done for less than $150.

The fit may come with recommendations for equipment changes (the most common would be a different stem, if you need to correct your reach) so the $150 may not cover everything.

Great deal on the bike, btw.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 09:46:21 AM »
Probably not a bad idea to get everything checked out (especially if you have one of those non-adjustable stems . . . quill stem bikes FTW).  Remember though that a bike fit isn't a static thing.  It's going to change over time depending on how often you ride, how fit you are, how flexible you are, the shoes you use, the pedals on the bike, and how much other exercise you're getting.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013, 10:05:09 AM »
(especially if you have one of those non-adjustable stems . . . quill stem bikes FTW)

Hey now, stems for threadless systems are plenty adjustable.

It's difficult for me to fit myself on my own bike so lets assume that's not an option.

So have someone help you! If you want to try one more thing, there's the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator. Have someone measure you according to their directions, input the numbers, and it'll spit out some starting points for a good fit. Also read Sheldon Brown's section on fit if you haven't yet, whether you end up D'ing IY or going to get fit at the shop. Not that you should be all "I know more than you 'cause I read this website", but it'll help you know what the fitter is talking about if you go have it done.

If none of that works for you then yeah, go get fit. If you're chill about it a good shop will bend over backwards to help you, to the extent of possibly swapping stems and other parts for free. Not that you couldn't break even doing this yourself, but you'd have to go through the trouble of selling yourold stuff, which is a PITA. $150 ain't bad where I'm from, but your area might be different. Try not to go to the shop where all the dentists buy their bikes or else you'll end up with a dentist fit (bad and extra $$$). Either find a serious commuter shop and make sure they know you do more than commuting, or find a serious racing shop and make sure they know you don't really race but you ride far and commute. Either will be much more accomodating, and cooler to talk to if you're into that.

Slammin' deal on a great bike btw. A 2004 Allez Elite was my first road bike, back in the day.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2013, 05:54:52 PM »
if it encourages you to use your bike a lot more than drive, its probably worth it;

heck to replace one tire on a car costs $150


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 01:04:54 AM »
What's the ROI of being pain free?

I would do it.

Buying a new bike from a store doesn't mean you will have been given a custom fit. You may have had to pay for it anyway. You also seem to be spending a lot of time in the saddle and the per use cost will continue to decrease significantly (assuming you keep biking this high mileage). I also think your older self looking back will thank you immensely for investing in your health.

You could also ask the shop to see if they have any type of guarantee if your nervous about it.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2013, 08:56:24 AM »
A couple of other thoughts on your pain.

The pains may just be due to the fact that you have increased your riding a lot in a relatively short time. That means new stresses on connective tissue regardless of how good your fit is, and those tissues may just need time to recover before being stressed again. Easing off on the long/hard rides for a few weeks may fix things.

A couple of other thoughts on the knees--and there can be MANY different fit and technique-related causes of knee pain, so these may not apply to you.

1) Pushing in too high a gear can cause knee pain - so consider lower gear, higher cadence if that may apply. People usually rec 80-100 revolutions per min.
2) Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome - usually on the outside of the knees over the bony prominences. I got this from having the seat too high (or too far back can do the same thing) which makes the leg too straight on the down stroke. See this video. You can also do stretches or use a roller to help with that--rolling on the outside of the thighs.
3) Seat too low can also cause knee pain, especially if pushing hard, climbing hills. It's kind of like doing squats and transfers a lot of force across the knee.
4) Pedal to shoe attachment and knee alignment--if you are clipped in, having a system that allows more float may allow a more natural knee alignment. Adjusting the cleat position can make a big difference depending on the system you use, or selecting a system that allows more float.

Shoulder pain is frustrating. That has been my biggest complaing on a few of my long rides. I have played a bit with stem length/reach and such without obvious help. It still crops up know and then, usually when I increase my riding time quickly.


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Re: Bike Expense - Mustachian or not?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2013, 07:55:21 AM »
I think I paid $200 for a full fit in ABQ ($150 sounds more like the "standard" fit in most markets; what I paid for is what Specialized calls the "BG 3D fit.") For that, I spent about THREE HOURS with the fit specialist, measuring me, measuring the bike, adjusting, trying the adjustment, etc. I came back for a followup a few weeks later and spent close to another TWO HOURS. That's a huge amount of professional time for the money.

Bear in mind you'll likely incur other expenses as a result. I wound up with a new saddle (which was not surprising; part of why I went in was that I knew I needed a better saddle), new stem (also not surprising; I knew I needed more reach), some orthotics, and aerobars (again, something I was planning on buying and wanted to get while I was in for the fit.)

The net result is that I'm faster and a lot more comfortable. Haven't done a century since the fit but been very good with my more typical 20-30 mile rides.

Note that I did this on the good road bike, not on the haul-stuff-and-bad-weather hybrid or the folding bike. For basic local transportation the fit being a little off doesn't matter much. But it seems like you've moved into fitness-and-performance (and volume!) and I think it's a good payoff if you've got the means.

Hamster's suggestions are also good. A good fitter will talk to you about your biomechanics, including areas where you're loose and areas where you're tight. I can tell you what I do for my body malfunctions but that may be useless for you. See also Sheldon's pain article.