Yesterday, I drove down to Waterford to get fitted for a custom Gunnar Sport. I’m helping them out with some copy writing, social media, and website design, and in return, they’re building me a bike. Not a bad deal, I’d say.
I would have been content with a stock geometry bike, but Richard and Johanna talked me into a custom build. The fitting process took about two hours. I brought my Salsa La Cruz, which is the bike the Gunnar will replace. Johanna began by taking some measurements from the Salsa. Then she measured my inseam, my femurs, my torso, and my arms. She entered this data into a computer, which returned a set of recommended frame dimensions.
From there, we went to the Fitmaster, which is a bike-shaped tool that can be adjusted to simulate a wide range of tube lengths and angles. Johanna set it up with my recommended frame geometry, and I rode a bit to see how it felt. The most notable difference was the seat angle. Most bikes (including all of mine) have seat angles of between 72 and 74 degrees. Because of my long torso and short femurs, a 75 degree seat angle was recommended. This put me in a more forward position, which opened up my hip angle and allowed me to stretch out more comfortably.
Most of my time on the Fitmaster was spent tweaking the handlebar position. The Fitmaster had an ergo-bend Profile bar, which has a shallower drop and a more acute bend compared to the Ritchey bar I intend to use on the Gunnar. Ultimately, we focused on the position of the brake hoods instead of the drops, which made for a more meaningful comparison.
Once I was comfortable with the position on the Fitmaster, Johanna went back to the computer to enter the exact dimensions we settled on. Here’s where we ended up:
Head angle: 73
Seat angle: 75
Effective top tube: 565mm
That may not mean much to anyone who hasn’t spent the last few weeks obsessing over frame geometries (the way I have). In a nutshell, this bike will enable me to get in a more powerful and aerodynamic position, with none of the compromises I’ve had to make on my stock-geometry bikes. Additionally, the long front-center dimension will ensure that even with my big feet, I’ll be able to run wide tires and fenders without any toe-overlap.
The Sport itself is a cool bike. It’s got a low bottom bracket, which makes it super-stable, but not at all suited to pedaling through corners. It’s also got clearance for tires as wide as 35mm. It’ll be my first choice for training rides, centuries, and any sort of long-distance ride that may involve brief unpaved excursions. I’m going to build it up with SRAM Rival and a Brooks Swift saddle. Oh, and I’m having braze-ons installed on the fork to allow me to mount a Mark’s Rack from Rivendell, in case I ever make good on my intentions to get into randonneuring.
After we completed the fitting process, Johanna gave me a tour of the Waterford facility. Click here to view my photo gallery.