Retul / 3D bike fit - advantages?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by mvcap

Have just spent a year riding a bike I bought new last summer. Initial shop fit was hop on trainer, make some adjustments to saddle, bars, etc. Took about 30mins.

Since then, I have ridden with zero pain whatsoever. Is this common? I'm 41 and fit, but a repetitive motion with a poor position would lead to problems anyway, I'm quite sure. I think the guy who set me up was good, so I don't doubt him.


I have seen a local fitter specializing in Retul fits, and I wonder, what is the advantage, realistically? Is it stupid to look into 3D fits when I am pain-free to begin with? Can it make me faster? More efficient? What kinds of gains are offered through the more in-depth fits?

I'd love to hear from some of you more experienced riders on this, especially if you have been in a similar position to mine.

It's just a matter of curiosity and wondering if it can accelerate my improvement. And I do understand most of the gains I will make are going to come from just sweat and heavy breathing :)


by Weenie

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by canoas

If you feel comfortable, do not feel any pain or back pain after long rides, then stick with it. Unless you feel a better position would help in races, example sprints.

I have been Retul fitted and the system worked for me after a long bike fit absence, one thing the Retul won't take into account is flexibility, how you body adapts over the years depending what form you in etc, how fit you are, if you are exercising/stretching. These types of adjustments need to be made with a human eye.

An example, all pros have there stems slammed, depending on bike manufacturer they may need to stick a 2.5mm spacer but generally slammed, reason they are very flexible this enables them to be in a better position for a sprint or an attack on a climb. I went to a pro race in Spain last year every single bike I saw (which was a lot, was slammed, generally with the lowest cap after the tube i.e. - flat!) this mostly included a very long stem 130-140mm, climbers were 110-130mm (Nibali 130mm). Pierre Rolland (climber) is the same height as me, saw his bike at the Tour in 2011, same brand bike as me, same size as me but his stem was 130mm mine 120mm, they are so flexible.

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by wwnick

my advice, no need for retul if you are not hurting.
for efficiency improvements you can experiment yourself, if it doesnt work out you have a pain free reference point to go back to.
if you can slam your stem, try it, I found with slammed stem , that, handling was much better.
also narrower bars, i read recently 2cm narrower bars will outweigh any 2-4000e aero-frame upgrade... see here ... ars-199446
whilst still on subject of bars, unwrap the top half of tape and make micro adjustments to brifter posutions until you get it just right, i spent 10 days until i found perfect position.
lastly, try moving saddle forward for more power.

one change at a time and fall back to reference point if needed.

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by Vermu

I had a 3d fit, and while I don't race it really didn't give such an insight I would've hoped for.
IMO it all comes down to fitter. Even without 3d it can be done right.
I reckon that 3d fitting with shimanos system (which I had) is good for amateurs getting into racing or racers without support like WT guys have. For those the power distribution whilst pedaling and left right difference can give info on how to change position.
When talking about a person who has been riding for a few years - not seeing the benefit.

And you'll adapt. Flexibility comes to some extent to all of us, who actively train/ride. So the fit you're having now, might not be the same after a few years.

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by Mep

I was in the same boat myself not long ago. Can you post a photo of your current fit?

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by mellowJohnny

I think you answered your own question - if you are pain free and happy I don't see a reason. In my experience a good bike fitter is all that's usually required for a recreational athlete. I had been battling with pain on one side of my body (just right sit bone) for years. Tried to fix it with shims (according to my chiro I have a leg length discrepancy). Bike fitter immediately said "It could just be the width of your seat" - I ended up moving to a 155mm and problem solved. And it was only talking with an experienced bike fitter that I found the solution.

Ignore the "Fear Of Missing Out" - sounds like you are good.

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by antonioiglesius


I'm thinking there's something wrong with what your fitter suggested. It's known you have a leg length issue, and shimming does seem like the right solution. It is not clear why saddle width matters, but it feels like the wrong approach. Even if it feels ok at the moment, it can have bad consequences in the long run. This is the problem I have with fitters: suggestions like these feel like pseudo-science, a bit like snake oil. They seem to depend on luck to solve problems, and it should not be this way. The right way is to figure out what the root cause is, and fix that.

by Weenie

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by Fiery

There is very little solid science on anything related to biomechanics in general, and especially related to bike fitting. There is very rarely a single, definitive "root cause" for any problem, and a lot of suspected problems are often misdiagnosed (for example leg length differences). It always boils down to more or less educated guesswork in the end.

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