1) Does the bike fit you well? Despite being the most important aspect of any bike purchase, most bike purchases are made with little to no consideration of this aspect. At Fit Werx, we fit over 500 people annually and we see a number of people who have new expensive bikes they have recently bought somewhere that have to make significant compromises on their bike set-up in order to get comfortable and to ride as efficiently as possible. These compromises can severely impact the stability, handling and the ride quality of the bike.
There is absolutely no reason why anyone spending thousands on a new bike should have to compromise regarding fit. By developing your optimal riding position first and then using that information to find frames that fit you well, you eliminate the guesswork and you can choose with confidence knowing that you have found a good match for you as an individual. Let your riding position choose your bike and not the other way around! (Note to those previously fit by Fit Werx: We have your positioning numbers and can use them to find good matches for your body. This applies to any brand you are considering, regardless of whether we carry it or not. At $100, this service offers cheap insurance and if you purchase a bike through Fit Werx, we will credit the entire $100 back towards your purchase.)
2) Does the bike you are considering set-up in the middle of what it is capable of or near the end? Part of a well matched frame fit is that it will allow you room to adjust your riding position as needed, while still being well within its reasonable range of adjustment. If you start out with a bike set-up at the edge of what it is capable of, you may not be able to address your needs down the road.
3) Consider the specialty brands. If it weren’t for specialty brands, many of the geometry and design advances of the past decade may never have happened. When it comes to fitting options, component specifications, ride characteristics and their understanding of the road/tri market, many specialty brands offer more than the big companies. Each brand Fit Werx carries was chosen based on its fitting options, quality of materials and manufacturing, and their focus and comprehension of the needs of road and triathlon cyclists. And, if you have your heart set on something, we have access to many other brands that we do not stock and will be glad to give you our opinion.
4) Getting a bike that fits and rides optimally does not have to cost a lot. Fit Werx carries stock bikes starting at $1250 and custom bikes that are completely free of fit compromises starting a little over $2000. Regardless of what you spend, remember that the only expensive bike is the one that does not fit well and thus does not ride well…
5) Focus on the frame and wheels first and the components second. The frame and wheels have more to do with the fit and ride quality of the bike than any other variables. An Ultegra or 105 equipped bike with a great frame and nice wheels will always ride better, faster, and last longer than a Dura Ace equipped bike with a basic frame and/or wheels. It is also much less involved and expensive to upgrade a crank or brakes than it is to change a frame.