Some Thoughts on Fit
"A bike shop in the summer is like a lawnmower shop." My old boss used to say. We're so busy during these nice months and I've stayed very busy with Fits among other things. With so many different riders coming through the Fit area I get to see the trends of bicycle sizing and geometry, I get to hear and understand how these people chose the bikes they did and see what type of rider and how their bodies work on the bike to determine how the two can go together.
The trend I see with a lot of riders is too low of stack heights on their bicycles. Stack height is basically the height of the bike up to the stem. The low stack height issue is because of two factors in my opinion. Most older bikes, even up in to the mid 2000s had short headtubes, (the tube of the frame that the fork passes through) the other is that a lot of people want to emulate the positions of the riders they see in the Protour, or just feel that a lower position is more aerodynamic and faster overall.
Most riders who come to the bike shop (in fact, 100% of them) aren't Protour riders, but I want everyone to feel and perform the best they can on the bike, whether they're racers or recreational riders! That's where the pre-fit assessment really comes in. It really allows me to see how limited or flexible a rider is, and where we can get position just right.
So enter the average rider, or even the statistical outliers. Time and time again I see riders who need higher positions to be their best. Most bicycle companies offer an 'endurance' road bike that have, among other things taller headtubes. This makes it easier (and better looking) to get people where they need to be on the bike.
This has been great for riders all over! Most people have gone from a race type bike like a Tarmac to something better suited for their bodies and riding style like a Roubaix or Diverge, which have more stable geometry and smoother rides than their more aggressive counterpart. With carbon fiber technology getting better every year this no longer means that riders have to compromise weight and stiffness for comfort. In fact, Specialized and BMC teams use the endurance geometry type bikes in more than a few of the spring classics races.
Don't feel like that low stack height bike that you love but don't feel quite at home on is obsolete! It's often not too hard to modify your fit for the better.