Bike Fit Conspiracy

Am I the only one considering the wattage you output can have a big impact on bike fit? My sub 3w/kg ftp means lots of my weight is on the saddle. The 5+w/kg ftp of pros means there is way less weight on the saddle and their torso/core has a different engagment to how they pedal


Also worth noting that there are tons of variances in pro bike fits…compare somebody like Castroviejo against Peter Sagan.


Am I the only one considering the wattage you output can have a big impact on bike fit?

No, definitely not the only one. Thats why a bike fit should involve dynamic assessment and rider feedback, rather than just leg angles and formulae.

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Should also point out my last bike fit was a retul bike fit (i.e. ir emiters stuck to me) on a guru fit bike. They kept the wattage very low as they didn’t want me to sweat and cause the ir emitters to shift and the retul system made me pedal slower then my regular cadence as it couldn’t measure well at a faster speed

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Less than ideal, IMO. Just leaves the door open for differences in the functional fit outside.

Fitting with the rider using at least their most common power level effort is a good place to start, unless they have specific focus at other data points. I can tell you that a great fit at one power level is not guaranteed to feel the same at other levels.

My own fit is centered around Tempo and above. When I do recovery level rides, I have to take some extra steps to prevent issues from comfort to even avoiding saddle sores from the difference in loading on the saddle relative to the force in the pedals. It’s a real difference, at least for me.


Bikes have always been designed at “pro” geometry and then sold to the general public. If anything we have way more options these days and have the ability to get a bike to be fit to you more personally.

I don’t think any fitter in the world could make this comfortable with the 1990 tech available (just look at the reach):

Vs all the options and ability to fit today’s race bikes:

Kinda disagree there since today’s modern bikes are all about integration and non-standard parts = less options.

But in both cases I’m not sure fitting a bike is an issue granted the frames come in enough sizes and as long as you can change stem/handlebar

Also funny but that sl7 seems like a more aggressive fit to me with the huge seat to handlebar drop and the resulting reach… but yeah that’s just an extreme setup sl7 for photo op

I agree with that, the slow rides are usually the most uncomfortable

Don’t let the difference in components and frame design (mostly dropped top tube angle) fool you.

This is NOT conclusive, but I over-layed the two bikes and set them to scale with identical 990mm wheelbase.

Note the drop is less on the new bike, despite what looks bigger from the illusion of the seat post.

The only point here is that real measurements matter most, pictures can be misleading.


I thought the trend in smaller frames was relatively new. Now bikes are set up to optimize aerodynamics on the hoods with straight forearms so they need a bigger drop. Looking at pictures of tour riders in the early 00s and 90s, their fits don’t look that different than what mine is. I could be wrong though.

His saddle is too low :wink:


Want three different opinions? Ask three different bike fitters.


Hump, I have seen you on a bike (usually while hanging on to your wheel), and you always looked good to me.

I used to get paid to do bike fits in shops, and got trained by an unnamed fitter whose philosophy I no longer believe in. Some pros look terrible on their bikes. Some pros look elegant. They’re all riding in positions that allow them to get the miles in, but, some of those positions also put their bodies in positions where they need a lot of minor upkeep on the massage table, but they don’t want to change them much.

The best “fitter” is the one who could ride with you a few times over the season, see what you look like under pressure, get to know your body’s habits and niggles. I don’t think that a single session, even with motion sensors, can do this.

All “fits” are starting points. After that, it’s the rider’s body and the bike. One is somewhat adaptable. The other is somewhat adjustable. Like many other things involving the bike-y, there is no secret sauce or magic bullet.


Compared to my SL7 Comp, that photo has all the spacers removed.

Yup, the web pics are usually full drop on the stack with 1 or no spacers (and a cut steer tube, even if Photochopped).

Delivered bikes will have about 20-30mm of spacers installed and the related longer steerer. All part of giving the maximum material condition since removal is easier than adding back :stuck_out_tongue:

Bikes in the 80 / 90s were comfortable. But then when you are relatively young, anything is pretty much comfortable


Kinda saying the same thing. Only eyeballed it. sworks couldve easily been more aggressive although it doesn’t look as aggressive because of the headtube looking higher (was considering the front actually not the back)

anyway, yes. numbers will tell the full story. we can’t make a blanket statement like old bikes are more aggressive or modern bikes are more aggressive

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Except as Chad demonstrated above, that is not necessarily true.

I know that is the popular thinking, but it doesn’t necessarily hold up.

Another element that is not factored into the equation is the design for HB and the transition from shifters to the bar. Look at the bar shape on the Lemond bike above…my wrists hurt just thinking about riding the hoods.

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Yup, those old setups look like torture devices to me. I still remember with mixed fondness, my old Colnago that was my first road bike in 1997. 7-speed Mavic with DT shifters and the bar and hood setup was “traditional” for that mid 90’s era, but so so bad. That and the Sella Italia Flite that I lusted after as a kid turned out to be a torture device of a saddle for me.

This bike happened into my life the same time I worked with the owner of Fit Kit Systems (1997 until he sold it in the mid to late 2000’s?). That bike, coupled with what I learned from the owner then were my entry to fitting. Considering what we had then to what we have now, there are some MAJOR differences in bike setup that leads to notable changes in joint angles and related comfort.

Then consider how much we have learned with the advent of things like wind tunnels and comparing today’s fits to what was done 20-30 years ago are partly laughable. It’s like saying the same thing with respect to training and fitness. We are light years ahead on training, and fitting has followed suit to some degree.

Talking with the pro fitters when I was at the Specialized wind tunnel lead to some interesting takes on “pro” fits and what is actually fast. Conventional wisdom can work, but is far from perfect. The guys there had great stories about changing to higher and wider fits, with improved aero and power results compared to the “pro” style fits that riders had previously adopted. All that to say that we know a LOT more now than what was considered the best/fastest fitting back in the day.

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The old bikes they spent more time on the drops and the tops, the hoods were small, so not much time spent there.