The world of bike fit choice seems to be ever expanding, and the sheer number of options is becoming quit daunting. Here are five bike fit systems to get you started. And there’s no surprise that these systems relate to some of the biggest companies in the industry;
Bikefitting.com (Shimano) – In 2011 Shimano bought Bikefitting.com, a Dutch-based static fit system. The fit system also included a dynamic component, featuring a fit bike that offered some benefit for road bike fitting. In 2012 Shimano came up with a well-engineered, ready-for-prime-time fit bike, replacing the bike it inherited from Bikefitting.com. But, just a bike. No protocol and no system. By 2013 Shimano had more than just a bike, but the fit system is still called Bikefitting.com.
The Guru System (Cannondale) – The Guru system is owned by Cannondale Sports Unlimited. The Guru is unique in one way, and almost unique in another way. The one thing it does that no other bike does is adjust via built-in motors. There are 6 motors on this bike, and they move the handlebars fore/aft and up/down (that’s 2 motors), same with the saddle (that’s 2 more motors), and then the bike ascends and descends (that’s 2 motors). This is the only bike that simulates a descent (if that is an important feature?)
Retul and F.I.S.T. (Specialized) – The Retül system, consisting of 3D data capture hardware and software, provides an extremely accurate way to measure a rider and his or her bike. It takes the place of a fitter’s level, goneometer, tape measure and plum bob. What it doesn’t do is take the place of a fitter’s expertise. But if your fitter is using a Retül, you can be assured they’ve got one of the most advanced fitting tools in the world.
Trek Fit System (Trek) – Trek’s fit tools are in the main Purely Custom’s tools which are largely the expert, precision tools inspired by the Serotta fit system. But, these are not tools that are bound to a system. A fit session, nowadays, exports a set of X/Y coordinates (generally, with their origin at the bottom bracket), which can then be used to generate a custom geometry or direct you to a geometry that suits.
Ride Right (Giant) – The Giant system is much simpler than the others. With the Right Ride system it would be possible to quickly train sales staff to use it, as it has fail-safes built in to stop the ‘fitter’ from making mistakes. Overall I it’s a great idea and for Giant, the right move. It allows them to offer more confident purchases to new riders and that is a good thing.
Of course, the above does not tell the full story. You have to delve a little deeper for that. The following article (and related articles on the slowtwitch.com site) make for a good read; The Fit System Explosion
bikefit.com claim to be the worldwide leader in bike fitting products and education. The following is a very comprehensive and easy to understand article and well worth a read;
bikedynamics.co.uk This site contains a lot of useful information about all aspects of bike fitting, including what causes certain aches and pains. You can also download a 45 page document describing a dynamic bike fitting process.
Like any machine, a bicycle will work better and last longer if you care for it properly. Get in the habit of checking your bike regularly – simple checks and maintenance can help you enjoy hassle-free riding and avoid repairs.
Before Every Ride:
– Check tire air pressure
– Check brakes and cables
– Be sure your crank set is tight
– Be sure quick release hubs are tight
After Every Ride:
– Inspect tires for glass, gravel shards, and cuts on tread and sidewall
– Check wheels for true
– Clean the bike’s mechanical parts as necessary. Once a week or every 200 miles: Lubricate chain (with dry lubricant; or every other week or 400 miles with wet chain lubricant).
Once a Month:
– Completely clean the bike, including the drivetrain if necessary
– Inspect chain and freewheel. Measure the chain for wear, check for tight links and replace the chain if necessary
– Inspect and lubricate brake levers, derailleurs and all cables
– Inspect pedals and lubricate SPD style cleats. Inspect tires for wear; rotate or replace if needed
– Inspect and check for looseness in the:
Stem binder bolt
Handlebar binder bolt
Seatpost binder bolt (or quick release)
Seat fixing bolt
Derailleur mounting bolts
Bottle cage bolts
Rack mounting bolts
Brake and derailleur cable anchors
Brake and shifter lever mounting bolts
Brake mounting bolts
Every Three Months:
– Inspect frame and fork for paint cracks or bulges that may indicate frame or part damage; pay particular attention to all frame joints.
– Visually inspect for bent components: seat rails, seat post, stem, handlebars, chainrings, crankarms, brake calipers and brake levers.
Every Six Months:
Inspect and readjust bearings in headset, hubs, pedals and bottom bracket (if possible; some sealed cartridge bearings cannot be adjusted, only replaced).
Disassemble and overhaul; replace all bearings (if possible); and remove and if necessary replace all brake and shift cables. This should be performed at 6,000 miles if you ride more than that per year. If you often ride in the rain or mountain bikers who get dirty should overhaul their bicycles more often.
Park Tool This company is a leading American designer, manufacturer and marketer of bicycle tools and equipment for both professional and home bicycle mechanics. It manufactures over 300 products that range from wheel truing stands to hex wrenches. However, they also publish the well known “Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair” and have a very useful blog on the subject of maintenance and repair.
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