Fit Ready and Its Implications

There’s a new way to buy a bike and I think it’s going to impress itself upon the bike market. It’s really the first fit-specific helpful thing the bike market has done for us in quite some time.

This new process is called Fit Ready and it’s offered by Quintana Roo on its newly launched triathlon superbike, the V-PR. There are a number of moving parts to this which require consumers – you – to educate yourselves a bit if you want to get the full benefit of a process like this.

It works as follows. You populate a fillable PDF form with values that describe your bike fit. It’s pretty similar to what happens on our Fit Assistance Threads on our Reader Forum. If you go to the thread for Canyon, Quintana Roo, Trek, or Cervelo, there are curators manning each thread who are experts in bike fit. You give these curators certain metrics, and if you don’t know those metrics they’ll walk you through it. If you give them head-scratching metrics they’ll point out to you your suspect metrics and walk you through that as well. Then these curators tell you what size bike to buy, and coach you a bit on how that bike should be set up.

The Fit Ready program works like this except you just tell Quintana Roo directly what your fit coordinates are and you do it via this form. Then – and this is the good part – they’ll build the bike exactly to those specs. There is a $250 cost for this. You might balk at that, because in our fit assistance threads our curators will tell you exactly how to configure the bike to your coordinates and they do this for free. Okay. Fair point. However, think about the bikes you buy for a moment. They tend to come in boxes, assembled by a factory in the Orient. They all are adjustable. What’s typical is for the hydraulic hose and any shift cables to be long enough for the highest, furthest adjustment point. This means that, for most people, once the bike is adjusted there’s now too much hose and cabling. Unless you want housing everywhere you have to cut the hose and housing, new needle, new barb, rebleed.

The Fit Ready program means QR makes the bike your bike, as it's assembled. Hoses the right length. Aerobar extensions the right length, so that the shifters are in your hand, so you don't have to reach out for the shifter when in the aero position.

Two things QR does make this possible. First, it assembles its bikes in its Chattanooga factory. Second – and this is a complementary but standalone service – it can ship the bike to you boxless, completely assembled, white glove delivery to your door. This occurs because of a separate service QR offers that I’ll be writing about soon and you don’t need to invoke the Fit Ready program to get your QR delivered that way. QR brands this service Home.Delivery.Right. Kitzuma is a company providing that service for QR now. Imagine Tri Bike Transport, but instead of your LBS to your IRONMAN, imagine from the manufacturer to you. There are at least two other companies I know of ramping up to offer delivery this same way. This is a coming thing.

I write above that this is “the first fit-specific helpful thing” given us in a while so let me add some flesh to that statement. Many road and gravel bikes now come with handlebar and stem smooshed together into one product. Taking the detachable stem away from us takes away our capacity to adjust our bikes to fit with precision. Also, let's say there's a discrete stem, but the hydraulic lines pass through it. (This is another popular design motif.) This makes it very cumbersome to change that stem. For this reason a lot of people are riding around on bikes badly fit to them because it’s hard or impossible to make the bike conform to their bodies. Ironically, it was your tri bike that might have been hard to adjust a decade ago, or that gave you very few adjustment options. Today, tri bikes are wildly and easily adjustable, and it’s road and gravel that’s taken a step backward in their ability to adjust.

However, the adjustability of tri bikes still requires the hydraulic lines to be sized right, and that’s one reason the Fit Ready program will make sense for some of us. For some folks this is an advantage that QR now has over those in its competitive set. As of now this is just available on the V-PR only.