Several years ago, I bought my first new road bike since college. I did the typical bike shopping thing: figured out my price range, went to the bike shop, looked at every bike in my size and budget, eliminated the ugly bikes, rode around the parking lot a few times, and decided on a bike. That two-minute ride in the parking lot was the best I felt on my current bike.
At times it has felt too small, other times too big. One of my hands often goes numb while I am riding. Less than an hour into every ride, I am fidgety and uncomfortable. Through seven years and many adjustments to the seat, seat position, stem and handle bar position, I have not been able escape the feeling that my bike is wrong for me.
I have considered a new bike, but it isn't in the budget. Plus, every new bike that has been recommended to me is the same size as the one I own. Frustrated by frequent pain, I ride less and less.
Then, about a year ago, my husband had a $200 Pro Fit done for him and his bike by Lyle Uecker and Steve Scherck at the Fit Studio at Cranked Bike Studio in Neenah, Wisconsin. He raved about the experience, noting that his power output increased and he never felt better on his bike.
He encouraged me to do a Pro Fit as well, but I demurred. The money was a concern, but mostly I was reluctant because I wasn't sure what they could do for a nonracer like me.
A custom-made bike makes sense if you are racing in the Olympics or the Tour de France. A custom fitting for your existing bike is a great idea if you are a citizen racer doing triathlons, criteriums or gran fondos on a regular basis. But, what if you are just a casual rider like me? I get out on my bike whenever I can, but I don't want to race. I simply enjoy the recreational, social and fitness aspects of biking. Also, I secretly felt the problem might be more about me and my lack of training miles than the bike itself.
Read the entirety of "Feeling bike fit" by Susie Weber in the June 2013 print edition of Silent Sports. To order a copy or subscribe to the monthly magazine, call 888/706-4045.