Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Metis Bike Fit Studio

Like a lot of triathletes, I've made the mistake of "fitting myself" before.  I've also made the mistake of going to a fitter who wasn't really sure what they were doing.  I've also made the mistake of purchasing a bike at a shop and getting an "eyeball fit" (which basically was a "Ok, we'll lower the seat and your knee is slightly bent - yup - everything looks good to me!" type of thing).

It's odd to me (although it wasn't at the time) that people would spend upwards to $5k+ on a bike and all of their accessories but balk at getting a bike fit for a couple hundred bucks.

So before I get into my experience here - let me make this clear:  A proper fit is absolutely necessary whenever you purchase a new bike or do anything that dramatically changes your position on the bike.  Again, I've made the mistake of not getting fit on my new bike, or going to someone "on the cheap" who would "fit me" and I ended up with something I could have just guessed at myself.  I've learned that you can do a ton of stuff to your bike to make it one way or the other - but if you don't get properly fit - you're just guesstimating and likely leaving a lot on the table in terms of aerodynamics, power, and comfort.

In any case, after having issues with my bike fit - I opted to ask around with people who I do a group ride with on the weekend and got a recommendation to go see Esteban Gonzales at Metis Bike Fit Systems.  So I reached out to him via phone (from their yelp page) and got in touch.
The banner in his shop - hanging over a handful of bikes.

From there, he gave me the address to his shop and scheduled an appointment with me and I headed over.
Full disclosure:  Since the first fitting (which I paid full freight for), he has brought me on in a sponsorship role - mainly for bike mechanic work, etc.  I wanted to mention this because I am truly happy with the fitting work and mechanic work he has done - which is the driving point for this review.  He has not, in any way shape or form, asked me to do this and will be surprised when he reads this I'm sure.  Again - I paid full freight for this fitting and would highly recommend it even if nothing more came out of it.

I will, however, say this - when I arrived at his shop - I was taken aback a bit.  The address that it directs you to is the guy's house.  That was a bit alarming as my very first thought was "Wow...this is somewhat sketchy" (even though it's a really nice house in a nice neighborhood).  What he's done is setup his garage as a full on bike fit studio and repair shop.  So when you head up his driveway (passing bike racks and other bike related stuff) and the garage opens - any doubts you had on its somewhat unorthodox appearance will instantly fade away.

The fit bike inside the Metis Bike Fit Studio

Tools and mechanic stuff.  Plus a really cool dragon mural.
I was actually pretty impressed with everything once I got settled in.  Esteban is a FIST certified fitter, more information on that certification can be found here: 

The process is simple:  Show up to his studio just like you would if you were going to a ride.  From there, he puts you on the fit bike and gets to work.  Different measurements are taken, compromises are made, analysis is done, and eventually - at the end of it all - you'll be in a better position on the bike than you were when you came in.  All it takes is real feedback from you and he'll handle the rest.

The fit bike Esteban uses.

He has a variety of aerobar options, saddle options, etc that can all have a dramatic effect on your fit - so while a certain position with one saddle may not work, with a different saddle - it might.  Esteban does a great job in being creative to allow you to be more comfortable in your fit.  He guides you through the whole process and listens to your input the entire way until you're done.

He hands you a report, helps you adjust your current bike - and you're off.

But you're not done.  From there - he wants honest feedback from you regarding your position and wants you to be happy with it.  It seemed - to me, at least - that he WANTED me back into his studio to make adjustments that would make me more comfortable on the bike. 

During the fit session, he had me play around with different options to see if they worked for me or not.  This one didn't seem to work well.

He also does road bike fits.  This is someone who was in the studio before me.

All in all - it was a great experience and I couldn't recommend it enough to someone who isn't happy with their current situation on the bike.  It's money well spent and a great experience.  I couldn't be more pleased with how things went.  You can contact Esteban via his Facebook page at Metis Bike Fit Systems.

My bike after he helped with the alterations and fit - and got everything together.

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