All About The FIT...Period!
END OF STORY!
by Alex Stanek, Smart Cycles
+[Understanding Customer's Needs and Interests]
+[Highest Level Fitting Knowledge and Intuition]
+[Complete Understanding of Product Performance and
+[Customer's Complete Participation and Input]!
buying a ROAD BIKE, what is the most important thing
to look for?
about frame material. Forget about wheels.
Forget about brakes. Forget about tires.
Forget about bike weight. Forget about any and all
equipment possibilities. Forget about all the
things you know are meaningful when building your
dream bike. At least for a little while.
could write or talk about this for hours. But
we will try to keep this intro as simple as
possible. OK, here it goes: Do whatever you
must to beat it into your head and convince yourself
that ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE, by the greatest
measure imaginable, FIT IS WHAT MATTERS MOST when
you set out to buy a road bike.
a marathon runner be in a position to compete, not
to mention survive a race, with shoes two sizes too
small or too big??? Ummmm....NO! Could a
basketball player have fun, be fun to play with, or
even at the very best give herself the best oppt'y
to not kill herself wearing the wrong size shoes?
NO!!! Could a 5'9", 190 pound major
league baseball player be competitive and keep his
job if he was forced to use Babe Ruth's bat (50
ounces and 44 inches...OUCH!) ....NO! The same
logic applies to road cyclists. No matter what
your level, interest, or ability...when it comes to
cycling, especially road biking...forget about
everything until you have allowed yourself to
proceed with the knowledge that "IT'S ALL ABOUT
THE FIT....PERIOD....END OF STORY"!
that you have been successfully BRAINWASHED.....READ
Size Do I Buy?
You have taken many exciting steps towards buying a
beautiful, maybe even custom, higher-level road
bike. You have labored over frame material,
components, budget, even the bike’s color.
You’ve been to ten shops. You’ve gone back to
three of them 4 times each. You have then visited
the last two stores on your list 5 times each.
Finally, you have decided on the goods and who you
are buying them from. A sense of accomplishment and
glee overcomes you….yet you have the sense about
you that one painful, difficult, nearly cruel
decision is left to be made. You are left with the
infernal riddle…. what size do I buy???
some cases, if you are buying a popular compact or
"semi-compact" style road bike (or most
mountain bikes), the answer is easily found through
a simple process of elimination. If a bike comes in
four or even five sizes, the right choice can be
made easily… simply by considering the rider’s
height, torso length, and to a lesser degree, their
inseam. BUT….what if you are choosing a bike frame
that comes in 12 or even 18 different sizes? And
what if YOU have to determine the sizes of 8 or ten
other items on your bike in addition to the frame
size!? You probably could buy one of four different
frame sizes and for the most part be very pleased.
BUT….how do you know WHAT SIZE IS ABSOLUTELY THE
BEST SIZE FOR YOU?
been selling high-end road bikes (many of which are
available in 18 different sizes, sometimes in
increments as tight as ½ centimeter) for over 40
years in combined experience. Undeniably, it always
comes down to OUR decision and rarely does the
customer have the opportunity to truly participate
and provide valuable feedback in the process. That
is until now!
are a variety of bicycle fitting systems and devices
one can use, as well as many techniques and
"schools of thought" when choosing frame
size and fitting a rider to a bicycle. Some employ
techie tools that allow for body measurements (this
is a great place to start, but certainly not a way
to determine a frame size for keeps). There are a
thousand pieces of computer software that
"solve" the sizing question. Others have
you dropping plumb lines all over the place as the
customer sits on a bike "approximately"
their size…the intersection of these lines
creating a "virtual optimization" of frame
size and rider position.
are not going to tell you that these devices are all
useless or inaccurate or that they will end up
putting you on the wrong size frame. However, all of
these methods still lack the customer’s feel and
true participation and feedback in the sizing and
fitting process. Also, most of these methods use
general guidelines and fitting rules. They do
not incorporate different specific and particular
features that are present in frames and bikes from
different manufacturers. If you are buying a
TORELLI EXPRESS, your fitting session needs to be
specific to that model. The results from your
fitting session, with a Torelli Express in mind,
cannot be used if you change your mind to a
Guerciotti G45!!! Don't fall into the trap!
for a minute you are not buying a bicycle. You have
chosen to have a custom tailored suit made by a
clothier. You choose a style, a fabric, a color, and
you meet the tailor for your first fitting. You are
measured…measured again and again and again! You
trust your tailor. But, you know that in an
approaching visit, you will be putting the suit on
for the most important part of the fitting process. YOU
will wear it and have a say in how it looks and FEELS.
After some time working together, you and your
tailor are on the "same-page"…and you
both move forward with confidence and excitement.
Logically, wouldn’t you like to apply that process
to determine what size bike you need? YOU CAN!
We have made it possible through the development of
a very unique sizing technique, process and device
we call SMARTFIT. But Before we get into its detail,
we’d like to address a few specifics about bike
frame sizes and overall rider-to-bike fit.
To Frame Size Than Meets The EYE!
bike’s frame size (as it corresponds to the
rider’s fit) has 4 basic dimensions:
length of the SEAT TUBE, this is generally
referred to as the FRAME SIZE.
length of the TOP TUBE.
SEAT TUBE ANGLE.
HEAD TUBE ANGLE.
dimensions have a profound effect on the overall
size of the bike, how it rides, its stability, and
how the rider fits it. They also will have an effect
on what crankarm length you should use, what stem
rise and reach you should use, and also help
determine what sizes to choose in other components
of your bike. Our SMARTFIT BICYCLE SIZING AND
FITTING SYSTEM takes the guesswork out of the
selection of available frame sizes* and totally
quells the wonder if one has selected the correct
frame size. Most importantly, it makes the rider’s
specific needs and input a decisive part of the
process. Before we tell you how it works, we have a
little more info for you.
also serves as a fantastic tool when the need to
determine truly custom frame configurations arises.
We can measure you up for a TOTALLY custom frame
built for you personally by the MONDONICO's in
read these two words in this essay a number of
times. They do NOT mean the same thing. Once
you have determined the correct bike SIZE…we
move onto the FITTING process. How you fit on
a carefully selected bike depends on things other
than just the correct frame size. YES, there is more
to do. Many people do not even consider that there
are a number of CRUCIAL component sizes and
adjustments that must be chosen and made properly in
order to put you in the best riding position
possible on your new bike.
particulars will ENSURE:
fit the bike properly
bike provides the greatest efficiency for the
comfort for the rider
stability for the rider
power transfer for the rider
aerodynamics for the rider
Post Clamp Range-of-Adjustment and Length
width and fit-to-rider
Width, Reach and Drop
Cleat and Shoe Selection and Set-up
of Rider and Bike Weight Between Front and Rear
Width and Compound
now you know what must be considered to make all the
right decisions in these departments and we are sure
you want to know how SMARTFIT achieves it all
easily, precisely and in a timely manner that is all
easy to comprehend by the client. Even a purely
novice biker will understand what is being done and
how their feedback will be VERY valuable in the
process. At all times during the SMARTFIT process,
we keep the best interests and riding style of our
customer in mind. If you are buying a bike to race,
we would certainly not suggest the same set-up as we
might if you were buying a bike for recreational, or
serious but non-competitive riding.
perfect world, a customer would be able to test ride
every frame size available with every combination of
components available. Picking the right bike in this
situation would be easier, but it would still be
necessary to try at least a few combinations to
determine what felt best. This is proof that the
rider's input IS CRITICAL in the process. Not only
would the customer have the opportunity to test
different frame sizes, but they could also try EVERY
stem length, rise and stacking height that would be
reasonable for them to consider…then try 5
different crankarm lengths…how about 15 different
handlebar combinations…do you see where we are
going??? (Believe it or not, there would be nearly
3000 different possible combinations in a typical
bicycle fitting session.) After testing all the
different possibilities, we could make alterations
and adjustments to achieve the perfect set up.
Sounds nice, we know….but completely impossible!!!
Well, impossible in the most literal of sense of the
is an infinitely adjustable bicycle "position
simulator". We have conceptualized, designed,
engineered and manufactured a truly MORPHING bicycle
frame-sizing apparatus that is unlike any other
system of its type. The lengths of the seat tube and
top tube are totally adjustable as are the angles of
the head tube and the seat tube. We can manipulate
the stacking height of the headset, the length of
the stem, the rise of the stem and the length of the
crankarms. The seatpost height is adjustable as is
the saddle fore-aft position. Different handlebar
widths, reaches, and drops can be tested. This is
how SMARTFIT reveals its inarguable value.
allows us to do all of this in REALITY, not just
virtually on a computer screen. As the client, you
will actually sit up on the SMARTFIT and be able to
ride the EXACT configuration of frame size and
component set-up that our calculations and intuition
have suggested as the best for you. You then
become an integral and important part of the
selection process. YOUR feedback as well as YOUR
position on your "virtual" bike are taken
into account to a high degree. There is no more
guessing, no shrugging of shoulders, no more
"ok…that looks good…must be good"
assurances. Basically, you get to ride 5, 10, 20, 30
or more different configurations to determine the
one that is best for you.
ends all wonder and question as to what to buy. Its
ability to determine EXACT positions and
sizes even helps you optimize your purchase of
components. After a SMARTFIT session, you will know
what cranks, stems, bars, saddles, headsets,
seatposts, and pedals you should be considering. You
will avoid costly mistakes that look good on paper
but don’t feel great on the bike. And the best
part of the whole process is that FEEL was taken
into consideration. In order to have fun on a bike,
it has to FEEL comfortable, it must FEEL efficient,
it must FEEL like it allows you to be a part of your
riding environment. Ultimately you are buying a bike
to get out and FEEL the road below you…why should
you not FEEL what you are buying before you commit
to it? We developed and invested in SMARTFIT to
allow our customers just that opportunity and it
DOES NOT FAIL!
we have compiled a database of riders, their riding
styles, body measurements and the frame sizes and
component choices that this sample of bikers has
been happily and successfully using. This data has
been collected from a varied group of retailers,
teams, speed labs, coaches, framebuilders, and
distributors. While we wouldn’t use this as a way
to determine your optimal frame size and bike
fitting, the information can be very valuable to the
process. Sizing and fitting a bike is all about the
personal relationship between the rider and the
equipment, but our intuition and beliefs come from
experience and this rider database keeps all of that
experience at our fingertips for reference!
up today for a SMARTFIT Session. Available for stock
or custom new bike buyers. Also available to
optimize fit of riders to their current bikes.
If you want an honest,
educated and experienced opinion of any
existing frame or bike and/or if it is appropriate
for you, you should consider doing a SMARTFIT
session with us. SMARTFIT is a valuable tool
and will help you determine if a particular frame
geometry or full bike configuration will fit YOU
properly. We perform fittings on a stand alone
basis. You do not have to buy a bike or frame
from us to benefit from SMARTFIT!
SMARTFIT sessions are specific to you the
customer...but that is only half of the
equation...we MUST BE FAMILIAR with the specifics of
the intended frame purchase to provide accurate
SMARTFIT Differs From Other "Sizing
Like A Bike, Eliminates Confusion Of Person Being
Use Of Real Bike Parts, Specifically Tires and
Wheels To Retain The Feel Of A Bike And Offers A
More True Rider Cockpit and Feel.
Client To Set Their Components On It For Even More
Accurate and Specific Results and Feel.
Etched Rulers and Compasses Make For Quick and
Accurate Changes To Lengths and Angles For Testing
Into A Familiar, Easy To Use, Indoor Trainer.
Established SALSA Brand Stem Sizer.
Standard Road Bike Bottom Bracket and Cranksets To
Retain Feel Of A Real Bike During Pedaling
Typical SMARTFIT SESSION Includes:
measurements: height, inseam, hip to knee, knee to
ankle, foot length, torso length, neck length,
arm/reach, shoulder width and other measurements. Done
on the remarkable equipment and data analysis
tools from BIKEFITTING.com
Of Measurements Vs. Sizes
that desired frame is available in or your
existing bike’s measurements or guidelines Of
Builder Making Your Custom Frame
of Analysis and Selection Of Optimal Frame Size
Guided Session on SMARTFIT SIZING APPARATUS
including the testing of different frame sizes and
component set-up possibilities
Of Your Session, listing "best" choices
in frame size and other components
Bring your existing bike, shoes, pedals, comfortable
but tight fitting riding shorts or tights and
Appointment ONLY. $150 for customers purchasing a
bike from Smart Cycles. $300 per session otherwise.
of fitting is deducted from full bikes purchased at
Smart Cycles. (Bike may be purchased up to 30 days
following fitting to have fitting cost applied to
appointments last 1 to more than 2 hours.
FIT, BAD FIT!
the pic for a larger view!
quick note about RIDER FLEXIBILITY
don’t mean to overwhelm you with information, but
we would like to let you know that we strongly
believe that your personal flexibility has a LOT to
do with your overall comfort on a bike and it will
directly affect your performance on a
bike. Many people sit on a bike cold and stiff and
say "this is uncomfortable"…the same
person, after doing some stretching and being more
prepared for a ride physically can have a completely
different experience. Imagine this while riding and
not just sitting on the bike. This segment of the
cycling, sizing and fitting process is more akin to
performance, training, and coaching, but we would
like to put the bug in your ear. As with ANY sport
or physical activity, stretching the appropriate
muscle groups is IMPORTANT. As we proceed with your
SMARTFIT SESSION, we will take your personal
flexibility into account. Some people would make
sizing decisions based on cold measurements…we
will NOT allow that to happen! We also recommend
some basic stretching right before the session. If
it is possible for you to get real loose before our
appointment, like you might get if you sit in a hot
tub or sauna, we would not tell you that it
wouldn’t make a difference…much like it would
right before a long ride!
a coincidence to receive your note just now, as
I was about to email you the 100 mile report !
the poets among us, I'll tell you that the
Mondonico Futura Leggero bike rides like
Michelangelo's David stands - strong, athletic,
graceful - courageous, if a bike could have
those of us with more scientific sensibilities,
I should note that, in the first week, my
average speed on the flats and climbs has
improved 1 - 2 MPH, with a reduced heart rate of
8 - 10 BPM.
custom bike fit is extraordinary - where
previously I dismounted my bike feeling tired
and beaten up, I now dismount my new Mondonico
bike feeling still tired, yeah, but without the
aches and pains associated with a bike that
really didn't fit correctly.
will keep you posted as I continue to break in
the bike and will, of course, see you in a
couple weeks for a 300 - 400 mile adjustment.
Thanks for the great bike, the incredible custom
fit, and the Awesome customer service !
you guys rock !
regards, Joel M.
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Copyright 2004 Smart Cycles, Inc. Norwalk, CT USA