It has been about 20 years since I bought a new bike for myself; have been riding an old Cannondale road bike with an experimental front head shock (yes, on a road bike). The handlebars are fixed to this odd head shock and have never been adjustable in any meaningful way; I have been joking for some time that if there is any kind of a fit going on for me on that bike it's by complete coincidence.
With my Ironman training this summer I decided to finally get something that would fit me. Bought a Specialized "Tarmac" 56cm bike (in a graphite / black color scheme, not the hideous green - what do those bike manufacturers smoke, anyway? hideous green color. . . front head shock on a road bike. . . ) from the *very* good people at Adventure Cycle and brought it home last week, right before my birthday.
That's right: my birthday. I'm 47 now.
John Barvik at Adventure Cycle did my bike fit - now bear in mind that I have never had a bike properly fit before. He took one look at my old Cannondale (which I had brought in so we could move its pedals onto the new bike) and asked me "Jordan, how did your shoulders feel when you were done with a ride on that bike?"
Answer was that they hurt like hell. I'd have to sit up on that bike every little while and swing my arms around. John explained to me why that bike was so hard on me, and showed me how my new bike would be different. He measured my pelvic bones to make sure that I had the right saddle - used a plumb-bob to adjust my saddle properly (fore and aft, you see) - changed out my handlebar stem and adjusted my cleats on my shoes.
It's an amazing machine. Incredibly responsive. Such cool technology! On my first ride I was on my large chainwheel in front (I have two on this bike) and geared pretty far down in back; the chain was grinding a bit on the front derailleur (how is it that we use the French spelling for that word?) until I discovered that there is a little half-click thing that one can do with that front derailleur that adjusts for just that sort of thing.
I wish that I could tell you that I'm much faster on it; I don't think that the data supports that, yet, though I have been doing pretty hilly stuff lately so that's not the best way to tell - but a three hour ride like today's ("push the hills," per Coach Charo Egan), although thoroughly exhausting, doesn't kill my body in ways unrelated to propelling myself forward.
In other words: the bike fits. I should be able to train longer on it, harder.
I love it.