By Rick Schultz, MBA, DBA
Here are several questions I get asked quite often related to bike fitting.
1) “Should I get a bike fit when I get… “
a. New Shoes?
If you are getting the same shoes and the bike fitter marked your cleats, and the cleats are in the correct position, then probably not. But, if these are different shoes, then YES. Different shoes have different ‘stack’ heights as well as different bolt hole positioning so, at a minimum, cleats will need to be adjusted as well as potentially saddle height, fore-aft. Remember, new shoes imply new cleats.
b. New Cleats?
c. New Saddle?
Again, if same saddle, then probably not, if you have marked where the previous saddle was. But, if it’s a different saddle, then probably yes. Different saddles have different seat heights above the rails, different amounts of foam, different shapes, etc., so you will need a bike fit.
2) “I got a new bike and I sized it against my old bike making sure all of the measurements are the same. They feel completely different from each other and I don’t like the way the new bike feels. What did I do wrong?”
To get the new bike to be in the same exact position as the old bike, you will need to use this $300 X/Y tool. Frames are now measured in STACK & REACH and this tool measures the touch points (handlebars & saddle) as STACK & REACH so it is very easy to duplicate one bike to the next.
What I have found out is that when you get clients close to ideal position, even moving something 1mm, the client can feel this difference and respond with yes or no. So, by ‘eye-balling’ the bike sizing, you are probably off at least 5mm which will make the new bike feel like a completely different bike.
If you don’t have this tool, see if you can borrow one from your local bike shop. You might have to bring some bagels, chips and or coffee with you to “grease the skids!”
3) What shoes do you recommend?
My preference is Lake Cycling Shoes. They offer the best bang for the buck. I am a Lake dealer and I get nothing but positive feedback from clients. The LAKE road cycling shoes I recommend are (most expensive to least expensive)
CX 402 – kangaroo and fully heat moldable
CX 332 – kangaroo and heat moldable
CX 241 – new endurance/gran fondo shoes
CX 301 – the lightest cycling shoe made. Period
CX 237 – the best seller
One recent client bought the CX 237 and stated that LAKE’s bottom of the line shoe is higher quality than most other manufacturers top of the line shoes.
Another client bought the CX 332 and said that they felt like slippers and that he might wear them to bed!
Lake offers custom colors on their two top shoes and offers custom orders like swapping out the cowhide upper for kangaroo on some models. Lake offers the widest full-carbon sole (last) of any cycling shoe.
Lake’s higher end shoes run VERY narrow. I have narrow AND low volume feet and Lake recommended I try their shoes. So I tried them and ran into painful metatarsal issues wearing the 331 with the competition last. I also tried the 237 but they did not work for my low volume (flat feet), even with multiple insoles stacked in the shoe. I switched back to Sidi.
Lake offers 2 different LASTS, Race=narrow, COMPETITION=wider. I believe the 331 is RACE last, at least the 332 is. The heat moldable shoes run small on purpose so when they are heat-molded, the ‘expand’ to match the size and shape of your feet. Most Lake shoes come in regular (i.e., narrow) and wide (designated by X, for example CX237-X). Several even come in X-Wide (for example CX 332-XX).
What do you actually run into as painful metatarsal issues. Were the shoes squeezing your feet? Do you have excessive Valgus or Varus feet (big toe down, big toe up)? Was the LAKE’s full carbon sole too stiff and the Sidi plastic sole ‘softer’ and more comfortable?
I have had quite a few clients ditch their Sidi’s and Shimano’s (the other 2 most popular shoes) in favor of Lake.
Thanks for your reply! I originally purchased the 237’s but after a few rides the shoes were too wide so I explained my situation of flat and narrow, C right and D left, feet to Bob Maas and he sent out a replacement pair of 331’s in a 46.5, he recommend a half smaller would fit better with the narrower last but my toes cramped. So then I purchased a pair of 331’s in 47 and they fit much better for almost a year. But earlier this year I started getting a sharp pain under my right foot just behind the middle toes. I knew exactly what is was as I had developed the same issue on my left foot years ago with the Sidi Wire. I knew the 331’s were a bit too narrow. The “heat moldable” is only on the heel of this particular shoe. So I switched back to my old Sidi Ergo 3 and the pain stopped. Other than the narrow and flat feet I have no other problems with my feet. I was able to wear army combat boots for 8 years with zero problems. I also have a pair of Specialized Adaux shoes and they fit great and I use them most often as the Ergo’s are well-worn and the white has yellowed. You are correct about the shoe fitting better after they are warmed up by your feet. Most real leather shoes are like this, including combat boots. This is why I preferred real leather and looked to Lake. I became extremely disappointed with the Vernice coating used by Sidi a few years ago, the upper stayed too stiff so I wanted to go back to a shoe with a softer upper. Now that Sidi has gone back to the uncoated uppers I am agin looking into a new shoe by them.
Tom in MN says
I bought a laser level with horizontal and vertical lines that auto levels for something like $50. I center it on my bottom bracket and it makes it an easy reference for measuring bar and seat positions. Got the idea from my LBS, they used one to measure my old bike before my fit. Probably not quite as accurate, but I figure within a few mm is plenty good.
Why would you need a tool to duplicate a position? First, I set the saddle height (BB to center of saddle), then setback (tip of saddle behind BB). Then get the stem length & height that allows the same reach (tip of saddle to bar) and bar drop or rise (bar below or above saddle top). No (expensive) tools required! (I think that person may be referring to the “feel” of the bike, due to the bike’s geometry — wheel span, seat- & head-tube angles, etc. — causing the bike to handle and corner differently.)
David Bosley says
I have Sidi Carbon Wire’s, which I used to love, but last year my feet started to swell, and I began to get bad pain and blisters using the Wire’s. I tried Bont Vaypors, but no matter how much I heat molded them, they didn’t work for me.
Finally I found Lake, got some standard fit 237’s, and no problem since. In fact, they feel almost a bit roomy.
Now I want a second pair of cycling shoes, so I’m thinking of getting the 402’s, question is, will these be too narrow in standard width? I guess I’ll only really know by trying, but to properly try them, they’ll need to be heat molded.
Thanks in advance!