Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Yesterday, while still off work, after the graveside services, and other things to attend to, I decided to stop by a bike shop I had intended to stop at last week, before my life was so untimely interrupted. I found out recently that this shop carries Felt bikes, something I wasn't finding anywhere else in the area, and a bike brand I have been very interested in. The problem, if there is one, is that this shop caters to mountain bikers, but they do carry a full line of Felts, or as a dealer can order anything one chooses. They also carry Raleigh bikes. My old bike was a Raleigh make (Univega), so I found that a coincidence, since I haven't seen that make in town since I bought my bike back in 2000.

Again, the problem, if there is one, is that this shop does not do bike fits. They feel they can size you up well enough without the "custom" fit, the fit that costs $150 at the shops that offer it.

My ex-brother-in-law works there, which I wasn't sure of anymore, but figured it might be a bonus in maybe getting a discount on something. He whispered to me too that they were having a sale next week, so wait to buy something.
Okay, here's the dilemma. First, do I forego a bike fit to get the bike I really want, meaning a Felt versus a Specialized? Second, do I choose a road bike over a tri bike? The reason I wonder about the road versus tri is that they do not seem to make a women's specific tri bike with 700 cc wheels, something I want. (650 tubes are hard to find around here) I don't understand this, since I was pretty sure I found one online somewhere in the last few months. Now, nothing. Just men's.
And the thing about men's bikes? Well, I just found out that my 47 cm bike I have been using for the last 6 years, the one that never seemed to fit no matter what they did with it, was a men's bike. All this time, I never knew that. I couldn't believe it when they had me stand over a women's road bike, 50 cm. and it felt like a toy. Then a light dawned in my brain. So if this is what a women's bike is like, it is very obvious I had a men's bike before. The difference was plain to see: while I felt like I towered over a 50 cm women's bike, I actually had difficulty standing with my old bike for long. It was one of those things where if I didn't concentrate, I would topple over--easily. Because I was trying to balance on something too big for me. So I'm thinking now too is there any way that "47 cm" bike was really maybe 52 cm? Or is there indeed that much of a difference in men's and women's bikes? According to the bike shop people, there is a huge difference in men's and women's bikes.
So the search continues, and I have to wonder if I really need to spend $150 for that bike fit if all I really need is a women's bike! Your answers quickly please!


Fe-lady said...

What I am finding out with my women's specific tri-bike (Scott Plasma contessa) is that the top tube is shorter and handlebars are smaller. I do believe it has 700 wheels, but I could be all wet there....
I still had to switch out stems (to a smaller one with more rise) and cut back the bars that the shifters are on.
I rode it today...totally different frame geometry than my road bike. Doesn't give me the leg fatigue like my road bike did as I feel I am over the drive train more..or actually in front of it and fell as tho I am pushing back more rather than down and solely using my quads/hamstrings.
If you get a tri bike set up (and get it set up right) you will be able to go faster as you will be in a more aerodynamic position.
This is STILL totally confusing for me too...but hey, I have an idea! Come visit, we will go to trisports, you pick out a bike and they will fit you for free! (I can get you ten percent off...go to their website to see what they offer!) http:/ !!!

Nancy Toby said...

FWIW, I adore my Felt tri-bike.

I buy most of my bike gear online like tubes, which is where you can easily get 650 stuff if you need it rather than locally!

I'm more comfortable in my tri-bike than in my old road bike (my only comparison) because I don't have to lean on my hands exclusively, I can vary between leaning on forearms and several hand positions.

Ellie said...

I've never had a fit done. I do hear it makes a lot of difference. But if you can get he bike you really want, just without the fit, but you feel like it fits you better than your old one.... and it's the one you really want... and if you get fitted it will be for a bike that's not the one you don't really want...

Flo said...

I wish I could provide some words of wisdom but since my bike purchase has been delayed....:::big sigh:::::

What I do know is that the triathletes I know all told me to get a bike fit. They said it was definitely worth it. But as I have no experience I can't tell you the difference....:::big sigh:::::)

Shelley said...

Bike fit is very knew that though. Vickie...unless you intend on doing road races, I would not be looking at a road bike. You're a triathlete, go with the tri-geometry, you won't be dissappointed. If you get a road bike, you'll always be trying to adjust to it to make it more comfortable for tri's..whats the sense in that?? At least this is they way I progressed and found out for myself...I had to ask myslef..if i'm going to continue doing tri's, then I NEED a tri bike..haven't looked back since!!

TriFeist said...

Eventually you'll want to get a bike fit. However, you can ride a bike for a while without a perfect fit. Buy the bike you want and save up for the fit in a few months.

E-Speed said...

If you are going to get a bike fit definitely go somewhere that has the professional fitting, something like FIST certified.

You should be able to buy the bike you want and take it to a different store that will adjust everything a bit better for you.

I would think the store would not give you a bike that wasn't the proper size for you.

Get the bike you want and then if you find you want to be a bit more comfortable and a bit more efficient go and get a professional fitting.

Have fun shopping! I find that you should always go with the bike that you feel the best on. You'll know when you ride it!

WADDLER26.2 said...

I bought a Trek women specific road bike and I love it but I truely wish I had opted for their tri bike. I also believe the fit is important.