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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back in November under my former screen name of 'monkeyman' I posted "Is my Karate Monkey Too Small for me ?" In the meanwhile I got with Jared Porter @ Willits bikes and he requested that I email some pics of me on the KM. I did so and on Nov. 22 Jared emailed suggesting that I go to a certified Serotta fit technician. Jared had worked for Serotta and being very familiar with their fit procedure felt we could come up with an optimum frame for me. I am 58 and have been a roadie for 40 some odd years off and on. I never fooled with mountain bikes until July of '06 and since then the road is a thing of the past and I am in love with the trail. Going by standover height I bought the Surly KM and started riding a local trail the 6 days a week that my work schedule allows. I began to develop my skills such as they are but if I wasn't going over backwards on climbs I was going over the bars or off to the side trying to negotiate obstacles.

I didn't waste time and on Nov. 30 I kept an appointment at the Racer's Edge in Boca Raton , FL and got the Serotta fit from John and a lot of great input from Vince who is a confirmed 29er guy . Both know their stuff and really helped me out above and beyond the call. So with those results I got the ball rolling and ordered a Willits Trail King in steel. Jared spent a lot of time on the phone with me asking me about the type of riding I do and the trails I ride on. The fork a to c length , preferences and just about anything you can think of that would effect the final result. I received the frame on Dec. 26 as Willits doesn't fool around and it surpassed all of my expectations.

Here are a couple of pics of the built up frame. The bike is great and I am getting over obstacles and around the singletrack much better then I ever have thanks to riding a bike that fits. I can really feel the steel frame being lively. IT is far lighter then my old Karate Monkey and I have changed my screen name as I am no longer a monkeyman but I will be a tattooed biker as long as I live.;)

Happy trails

<img src= https://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p120/jimmytat2/1w1.jpg>

<img src= https://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p120/jimmytat2/1w2.jpg>
 

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So how do the key measurements (top tube length, seat tube length, chainstay length, bottom bracket height, angles) differ from your Karate Monkey? It'd be interesting to see how the changes solved your problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
el-cid said:
So how do the key measurements (top tube length, seat tube length, chainstay length, bottom bracket height, angles) differ from your Karate Monkey? It'd be interesting to see how the changes solved your problems.
The Karate Monkey was a 16" frame with a 22.7 ETT. The Trail King has a 17.5 seat tube and an ETT of 23.25. The King has a 71.5 head tube angle and a 73 degree seat tube. The Monkey was .71 and 73. I am at work so I can't tell you what the chain stays are but they are nice and short while leaving plenty of FD clearance for the rear tire.

The Serotta fit tech put me on their adjustable stationary bike after setting the angles of the head and seat tube to what they were to be on the Willits. We got the seat height and he then had me clipped in and pedaling and got the knee over spindle with the fore and aft of the seat. Then determined that the stem length would be 100mm. Next came adjustments of drop for the bars from a level line top of seat to top of bars. All of this took over an hour and with a lot of feedback from me as to how the position felt. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference in the dimensions but there is in my comfort and efficiency on the bike.

Point of interest, I also had a friend who owns a bike shop do the fit kit thing for me. If I followed that system I would be on a frame with a 24 to 24.4 ETT with a 120mm stem. I know from years of riding different size road bikes that you can adjust to the wrong size but riding the right size is a world of difference. I am now in the process of selling a few road bikes that are too big for me. I can stand over them but the top tubes are uncomfortably long for me in the drops. I have a couple with shorter TT that are fine and they correspond to the Serotta systems recommendation for my road fit. I did that too while I was at it. I am not knocking the Fit Kit. If it works for some people that is swell but it would have led me to getting too large a frame . I heartily endorse the Serotta fit as it has worked great for me. BTW, I do tattoos for a living and have no connection with any of the folks I have mentioned before I Called Willits to inquire about a frame and started the ball rolling..
 

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tat2niner said:
I heartily endorse the Serotta fit as it has worked great for me.
Interesting. I've been thinking about getting fitted with the Serotta system for a road bike, but was wondering how effective it was when it came to mountain bikes.

It sounds like you've been fitted for both by Serotta, so I'm curious if you think the system is equally effective for both disciplines, and what interplay, if any, there is between the two fits. i.e. I don't see how they could both produce the same reach, but do they opt to keep the pedaling position static?
 

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miles e, tat2niner have only been riding offroad since july 06 as stated in his post.

i assume that there are still a lot of different terrain that he have not tried. if he has, then thats fantastic.

I think your question should be directed at those who have ridden extensively on both road and offroad, and using the serotta fit of course.

and does the mtb serotta fit specify which discipline of mtb? XC? AM? DH?
 

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miles e said:
Interesting. I've been thinking about getting fitted with the Serotta system for a road bike, but was wondering how effective it was when it came to mountain bikes.

It sounds like you've been fitted for both by Serotta, so I'm curious if you think the system is equally effective for both disciplines, and what interplay, if any, there is between the two fits. i.e. I don't see how they could both produce the same reach, but do they opt to keep the pedaling position static?
You should look into the Wobble-Naught fit system. Many of the top mountain bikers (as well as road, tri, TT cyclists) in the country, and the world have been fit with this system.
 

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Blind Faith

Time for a story: about ten years ago I had decided to order a Serotta CSi road bike and wanted their recommendation for a custom fit expert. As luck would have it Ben Serotta himself took my call and named a guy in NorCal, one of the very best in the U.S. he said. How cool is that? Straight from the horse's mouth...I was stoked.

At the fitting session this fellow critiqued the ergos of my existing roadbike, one that seemed to fit me okay but had been just a bit too flexy. Anyway, he made a number of recommendations and backed each one with solid logic. Hey, who am I to argue? He's the expert...

When that new steel CSi frame materialized it was a disaster from the first pedal stroke- slow, heavy, sluggish...and when the test ride is done I'll be writing a very large check for a bike that I hate. While the ergonomic fit seemed fine the frame itself was far too big, with oversized steel tubing making it POUNDS heavier than my previous frame. How ironic that I'd ordered it with a red and silver "warbonnet" paint scheme to resemble an old Santa Fe streamliner because it felt like one from the saddle! Six months later that CSi was on eBay, for far less than it cost me. Just a horrible experience.

A year later I saw Brent Steelman about a new roadbike and told him about my custom ordering jitters. No sooner do I say "Serotta" than he asks if the fit expert's name was _____ and did he spec too large a frame? Amazing...they had done business together before and Brent remembered that guy's take on how bikes should be sized, how it led to controversies and some dissatisfied customers, and why they no longer worked together. Steelman's fitting was spot-on and he did an excellent job of interpreting my desires, building a frame that is still a joy to ride many years later.

I have respect for the Serotta brand and its fit system that has served so well for many, but in my case it was not a formula for success.
 

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Jared Porter, the Production Manager at Willits held the same title at Serotta for years. The measurements gathered from the Serotta fit system are just a bunch of numbers that inform you on a persons body measurements. The system just creates a baseline to work from. Only after doing this thousands of times, mixing in the personal needs of a rider, and then translating all this into years of building know-how, can Jared build the perfect bike. Using the Serotta system alone just spits out raw data. No fit system alone assures a great build.

That being said, the Serotta fit system is one step in our process. Our pre-interview fit form requires the customer to plug in 5 pages worth of questions, needs, dimensions, and even personal photos. Every aspect of the riding experience is considered. There are phone interviews, email correspondence , test rides when possible (on the trail), a demo program, and more to insure all apects are considered. This is all before any tubing is cut, milled or jigged by Wes. Very thorough.

namrita said:
You should look into the Wobble-Naught fit system. Many of the top mountain bikers (as well as road, tri, TT cyclists) in the country, and the world have been fit with this system.
 

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WillitsBrand.com said:
Jared Porter, the Production Manager at Willits held the same title at Serotta for years. The measurements gathered from the Serotta fit system are just a bunch of numbers that inform you on a persons body measurements. The system just creates a baseline to work from. Only after doing this thousands of times, mixing in the personal needs of a rider, and then translating all this into years of building know-how, can Jared build the perfect bike. Using the Serotta system alone just spits out raw data. No fit system alone assures a great build.

That being said, the Serotta fit system is one step in our process. Our pre-interview fit form requires the customer to plug in 5 pages worth of questions, needs, dimensions, and even personal photos. Every aspect of the riding experience is considered. There are phone interviews, email correspondence , test rides when possible (on the trail), a demo program, and more to insure all apects are considered. This is all before any tubing is cut, milled or jigged by Wes. Very thorough.
sorry to the op, however, the last few willits that have been posted have all had lay-back seatposts? i'm curious as to the reasoning behind this? and yes i look at every post with a willits in it:thumbsup: i'm lusting after about 4 of the 4 models you make:D :D
 

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Hi,
Jared from Willits here to weigh in on fit. The Serotta fit system is most relevant when being used to fit all road applications(including tt, track, cross) and in off road application extending from xc racing to trail bikes that allow for full leg extension. DH or free ride bikes where leg extension varies and gravity becomes the propelling force is where the Serotta fit system falls out of relevance. The Serotta Size Cycle is the fitting tool that adjust to any position that a rider might have. It allows them to pedal and feel what it would be like to sit on a bike with that particular fit. The Size Cycle allows the fitter to optimize the rider/bike interface. This assures comfort and the correct biomechanics. This fit also takes into account the riders flexibility, previous injuries. The next part is to ask questions about riding habits, handling issues with previous bikes, terrain, and type of components are going to be used. Serotta's fit system is geared toward road bikes because they primarily sell road bikes. What I have done is take that method and adapt it for 29'ers. Because I have been riding mountain bikes for 20 years and have been building frames of all sorts for the past 10, I have a good idea of what will work and why. This let's me design the right frame for the customer in question, regardless of how long they have been riding. I often find the newbie learns faster than the old salts because they listen to the advice that is being given anyway.

Jared
 

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Wish I Were Riding said:
Do you know any people who have done the $80 self fitting?
Actually, yes. Send a PM to Harvey, I believe he posts in the Endurance Racing and Passion forums as IF_Harvey. He has been fit with Wobble-naught and ended up buying his wife the $80 self fitting. I have not yet heard his thoughts on it...but I'm sure he'd be happy to talk to you about it. I think there is also a thread on this topic in the Endurance Racing forum...not sure if there are posts about the self-fitting on there, I haven't had a chance to read through it yet.

Namrita
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
miles e said:
Interesting. I've been thinking about getting fitted with the Serotta system for a road bike, but was wondering how effective it was when it came to mountain bikes.

It sounds like you've been fitted for both by Serotta, so I'm curious if you think the system is equally effective for both disciplines, and what interplay, if any, there is between the two fits. i.e. I don't see how they could both produce the same reach, but do they opt to keep the pedaling position static?
The road position has a higher saddle height then the mountain and the saddle is further back. I haven't ridden a road bike since the fit but going by the suggested TT length the two road bikes that I have that correspond with those dimensions are very comfortable. I have a couple that have longer TT and they have me too stretched out . The TT variation between the comfortable and the uncomfortable is 1.5 cm which doesn't seem like much but it makes a heck of a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
WarPigs said:
miles e, tat2niner have only been riding offroad since july 06 as stated in his post.

i assume that there are still a lot of different terrain that he have not tried. if he has, then thats fantastic.

I think your question should be directed at those who have ridden extensively on both road and offroad, and using the serotta fit of course.

and does the mtb serotta fit specify which discipline of mtb? XC? AM? DH?
That is correct , only 6 months. I come from an era when bike fit was judged by having an inch of clearance when you stood over the frame. That is why I have 4 road bikes that are too big and luckily 2 that fit.:) I don't claim to be an expert at mountain biking or bike fit . Merely giving my personal experience in hopes that it may help the next guy. As in most of the stuff we read in web forums YMMV. As far as which discipline my personal fit was applied to ..... John @ Racer's Edge has ridden some of the same local trails and knows the terrain I ride on. Cross country would be the classification if I am not mistaken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
j porter said:
Hi,
(snip)
I often find the newbie learns faster than the old salts because they listen to the advice that is being given anyway.

Jared
I am going to tell on myself in this one. I received the Trail King frame and took it and my Karate Monkey to my LBS. The owner is a friend and is kind enough to allow me to use one of his work stations and tools to work on my bikes. I buy 95% of my parts etc through him although I could get them cheaper on the web. If we don't support our LBS we won't have them but that is another story. So I swapped the parts from the KM to the Trail King. I got out on the trail and did a couple of laps and I didn't feel right on the bike. I felt like it didn't fit. Needless to say I was pissed. I was cussing Jared and the local guy who did the fit. Obviously they were incompetent. The next day I went over to the Racer's Edge with the Trail King and a slight attitude. I told John and Vince that it seems like this Serotta fit ain't what it is cracked up to be. John took a look at the set up on the Trail King and the paper work from my fit and pointed out that the stem was a 120 not a 100, the bar was a riser not a flat, the saddle was too far back and too low and that the seatpost was a straight not set back as in the original fit. So I took my Trail King and my attitude home and set it up as the fit specified and low and behold it fit like a glove. I went back to the Racer's Edge feeling like a jerk to tell those guys that there is no fool like an old fool. In my business I get people who don't follow written instructions and then come in complaining when they have problems so I know what it is. It was surprising to me how seemingly slight nuances of component adjustment can make so much of a difference in the ride but there you have it. That is my experience.......... YMMV.
 

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Just curious why you started out with a defined STA on the size cycle? Also related, why a custom frame with a setback seatpost? I would have thought that they would determine your optimum position on the saddle, then take seatpost preference into consideration and work out ideal STA from there? Just curious.

Sam
 

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Hey there. Just checked in with Jared on this point. Willits uses this STA based on it being in the sweet-spot for front derailleur clearance and chainstay length. Keep in mind, however, you can get it steeper or slacker if you wish.

Singular said:
Just curious why you started out with a defined STA on the size cycle? Also related, why a custom frame with a setback seatpost? I would have thought that they would determine your optimum position on the saddle, then take seatpost preference into consideration and work out ideal STA from there? Just curious.

Sam
 

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Did you try other stems?

tat2niner said:
The road position has a higher saddle height then the mountain and the saddle is further back. I haven't ridden a road bike since the fit but going by the suggested TT length the two road bikes that I have that correspond with those dimensions are very comfortable. I have a couple that have longer TT and they have me too stretched out . The TT variation between the comfortable and the uncomfortable is 1.5 cm which doesn't seem like much but it makes a heck of a difference.
I understand how a difference in TT length &/or stem can change a bikes handling, but I'm not sure I follow how a 15mm difference in TT can mean the difference between a frame that fits perfect and a frame that is too big. Just curious if you have tried alternative stems (shorter) & spacers on the bikes that are too big. Do they just not handle the way you want when you are positioned properly? You went from a 120mm stem to a 100mm on the Willits, and that was a bigger jump than 15mm.
 
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