Once, I got a desire to assemble my own bicycle. In this process, one of the difficulties is to order the correct frame size. Moreover, I didn’t even have experience with a road bike ride. In order not to be mistaken with the size, I decided to make a bike fit.
There are not many places in my city where there is a machine for selecting the characteristics of a bicycle. Among the available ones, I chose a bike fitting service in the Trial-Sport sports chain. Their cost is not high, and in general, I am loyal to this chain. They have a machine from the GURU FIT SYSTEM, which boasts a database of over 10,000 bike models. The store offers 2 services: GURU Optimization and GURU Bike Finder. The first involves adjusting an existing bike, adjusting the crank length, the cleats position, the saddle offset, etc. At that time, the service cost $ 92. The second service includes the selection of a bike from the database, of the possible settings there is only the frame size, saddle offset, saddle height, and stem height. At that time, the service cost $ 46.
Obviously, since I didn’t have a bike yet, my choice was the GURU Bike Finder service. The brand of the Chinese frameset that I have chosen is not worldwide known, I assumed that it may not be in the system database. So I put together a small rating of bikes that, according to my quick research, are close in geometry to the frame I wanted.
- Bombtrack Hook EXT-C – I liked this frame the most. And as it turns out, the geometry of the Chinese frame is almost identical to this frame, the differences are minimal.
- Salsa Warbird Carbon – frame close enough in geometry.
- Pride Rocx 8.2 – this frame already had noticeable differences in geometry, but is still quite similar to the Chinese one. Pride Bikes is a Ukrainian company that is rapidly gaining popularity, making bicycles of decent quality.
- Kona Libre DL – this frame is very different in geometry, I was just curious to try it out if I had time.
Visiting the service
The service itself is located right in the store hall, fenced off with tape so that visitors do not crowd around. It was a rainy day and there were no customers at the store. While I was changing into sportswear (in a fitting room), the consultant was setting the pedals and booting the system (booting and calibrates takes a hell of a lot of time). By default, there are ordinary pedals on the machine, if you want contact ones, you must bring your own (well, shoes for these pedals are also your own).
I sat down on the machine and began to cycle. First, the seat height was adjusted. This parameter remained unchanged for all “tested” bicycles.
Bombtrack Hook EXT-C
We started looking for bicycles, and the first one on my list was not found! The Bombtrack brand is not in the database at all! Even though it is a well-known brand, founded in 2011. It was a big disappointment for me, because having chosen the size of this bike, it would be very easy for me to choose the size of the Chinese frame 😔
Salsa Warbird Carbon
This brand was also not in the database 😒
Pride Rocx 8.2
Hurrah! At least this one was 😄 First, the consultant chose one of the sizes in the database (I tried this frame in sizes S and M). Then I just sat and pedaled, while the consultant slightly moved the seat and the stem height, each time asking if it became more comfortable. To be honest, it was difficult for me to understand whether it became more comfortable or not because before that I had never ridden a road bicycle, for me it was new and unusual experience. Of course, if the shift was too large, I could already say that I feel discomfort. After selecting the most comfortable parameters, they are saved in a pdf file.
Then I thought it would be nice to try on one of the good gravel bikes available for sale in my city. Jamis Renegade is one of them.
Merida Scultura CF2
In order not to get hung up on gravel bikes, I decided to try on a road bike. I asked the consultant to choose a famous bike himself. Almost nothing was different from the previous Jamis.
Finally, I decided to try on the last bike from my prepared list. The Kona had a noticeably different geometry from the rest, a very high handlebar. And the frame itself is big too. If Jamis fit me in size 54, then Kona 51.
A report with the result of each bicycle fitting was saved in a separate pdf file upon reaching a comfortable fit. These files are sent to the mail. An example report looks like this:
Among other things, the consultant gave me another saddle to try at my request. Changing the saddle is not a quick process, so you can’t try many models. And it is sad because the selection of a comfortable saddle is not an easy task. On the first saddle, it was comfortable to sit in a position with hands on the handlebar, but as soon as I sat upright, I began to slide forward from it. On the second saddle, it was opposite, it was comfortable to pedal without hands, sitting upright, but as soon as I put my hands on the handlebar, I began to feel discomfort. What a pity that there are no services that provide saddles for rent 🙄
I cannot say that I was completely satisfied with the service. The vaunted database of this system turned out to be not that abundant. In fact, each brand has many frame models, and each model is presented in variations of several years of release, thus the base swells to more than 10,000 bikes. This is an impressive digit that helps attract customers, but it doesn’t guarantee that the particular bike will be found.
I think it would be more efficient (and possibly cheaper) to rent a road bike and ride it. If necessary, you can then take a bike of a different size. For a whole day of riding, in theory, you should understand whether you feel comfortable on it or not.
Now I had sizes of some framesets suitable for me. Based on this, I tried to compare their geometries with the frame that interested me in order to understand what size I need to choose. In comparing the geometries, the site bikeinsights.com helped me a lot (by the way, there is my Chinese frame 😀). It provides both an exhaustive list of frame parameters and a visual comparison.
Well, at the moment I can’t say if I guessed the size of the frame because I have not yet assembled the bike completely, but I hope everything will be okay 😇