I just finished a double fit session (road + tri bikes) with Smiley, and I cannot recommend him strongly enough. I went into the fits with 3 years of 100-250 mpw of cycling behind me, so this was no initial fit for my first bikes. I knew my fit was wrong because I was having problems recruiting my hamstrings effectively on my TT bike, which was resulting in dramatic muscle fatigue while trying to run off the bike.
The fit for the TT bike was pretty basic, which involved moving my saddle back on the rails, repositioning my cleats, and some minor adjustments on the cockpit. I was skeptical at first since the original position never created any "issues" but I also never had a proper fit done, so I knew I was past due. The result in performance was noticeable immediately on my training rides, and I have been able to sustain a 10% wattage increase within the same HR zones I had previously been training within. To say this fitting was a success would be a gross understatement.
The road bike fit was quite drastic compared to the TT bike. I went into the fitting with a 58cm frame I had picked up at a considerable discount and set up in a similar fashion to my TT bike. Smiley made some initial changes, but ultimately determined that the frame was too small to be setup effectively. After some deliberation, I sold the bike on craigslist and began shopping for frames more suitable to my body type. After finding a few options, Smiley was generous enough to set up the mock-up geometries on his custom sizing bike and let me “test” the sizing. I purchased the new bike recently, and adjusted it to the pre-determined sizing. I knew the second I boarded the new rig that it was perfect.
As with most changes to form or positioning, whether on a bike setup, running form, or swim stroke, an adjustment period is sure to follow. Corrections to an improper bike fit will reveal muscular imbalances, and can expose you to injury risk in the immediate adjustment period. However, continuing to ride an improperly fit bicycle will only hinder your long term progress. I suggest going into any fitting process with an open mind and an understanding that a custom bike builder probably knows a thing or two that you don’t about how the human body interacts with a bicycle. I made the decision to go with Smiley over a bike shop because I wanted the additional interaction without the strict time cutoff that comes with a “1 hour bike fit”. I am completely satisfied with the experience and consider the costs to be money well spent.
If anyone has questions, just PM me.
Based on the positive reviews from the forum, I decided to get my first bike fitting from Smiley. I am new to triathlons so before investing in a bicycle, I took my brother's hand-me-down. I wasn't sure how Smiley would react to this significantly out-of-date TT bike and my complete lack of experience. He was fantastic. He told me what to upgrade and recommended quality yet inexpensive solutions to the seat and pedals. He walked me through the entire process and corrected things that the bike shop here that assembled the bike should have noticed. The bike rides great. I can't recommend Smiley enough.
I'm long overdue on posting this and must sing Smiley's praises as well. I am a difficult fit; my lower back gives me tremendous trouble, and most of my rides involve a suspect amount of painkillers and at least one stop to lay (lie?) on the ground. I went to see Smiley after a particularly terrible ride in May, and he has been working with me ever since. I was particularly frustrated with my (two) bike store fits; the adjustments were minimal and the message was that I just had to deal with it. Smiley, though, has been interested in making the fit better, and he's been creative about it. He's emailed me suggestions, let me test out equipment, and encouraged me to talk to my PT about the best basic position for me. I appreciate that he has been so careful and interested in helping me. A fit with him is most definitely worth the time and price.
I have on to pile on to the positive reports on Smiley. I have known him for a long time and know him to be extremely meticulous, conscientious and basically brilliant around bikes. He has fitted two bikes for me in the last two years and on each, the improvements were amazing.
The first was a road bike that I was using for triathlons. I did a race on that bike pre-fit and another a few weeks later post-fit. The difference was incredible. Not only did I improve my bike time significantly from one race to the next but I felt great after the bike and went into the run much stronger than before.
The second fitting was a few weeks ago on a new tt bike. I took it straight from the shop to Smiley. He made a bunch of adjustments, some big and others just little tweaks. I did the VTS Giant Acorn (international distance) last week and improved my bike time by over 8% from the year before. Furthermore, because of the perfect positioning from Smiley, I also improved my run by 10%.
I can't recommend Smiley enough.
I wanted to take a minute and “chime in” about the bike fit I received from Smiley. As a sports chiropractor I see a ton of swimmers, runners, and cyclists. I know how a poor bike fit can wreak havoc on the body, especially the knees, hips, and low back. On several occasions I have referred my patients to Smiley when it became clear their condition was exacerbated by a poor bike fit or no bike fit at all (shame!). 100% of those cyclists I sent to Smiley returned to me ecstatic and also got better much more quickly than if I hadn’t sent them for a good bike fit. So when it came time for my own bike fit, Smiley was my only choice.
Smiley is an engineer (with a master’s degree) by training so you would be hard pressed to find another bike fitter who better understands a Q-angle, levers, moment arms, vectors, etc. and how all these relate to a proper bike fit. He didn’t take a weekend seminar on how to do a bike fit, he lives and breathes this stuff as a professional engineer. He is also an avid cyclist, as is his wife and seems like most of his friends…basically, Smiley knows bikes. He was doing bike fits when most of the bike fitters in this area were learning to ride their first bike!
I came to him with a hard case, as many do. That is, with a bike that I shouldn’t have purchased because it was the wrong bike for my body type (long and lanky). I had neck pain and low back pain, and despite a decent core I knew I was propping myself up on my handlebars too much. Throw in wrist pain, finger numbness, and tight shoulders. Any of these sound familiar?
So I showed up at Smiley’s home workshop and got to experience, first hand, the magic of Smiley’s method. He relies on science and physics and even the “human condition.” By this I mean, he doesn’t simply rely on watts to determine if the fit is good or bad. Anyone can crank out higher watts at a given time, but maintain that for a few hours without pain? That’s another story and a story I hear (and probably he hears) too often. I’ll spare you the details of what he does and how he does it, but it works. I had to come back one more time after I got the parts he asked me to (and he even provided website links for each part that he knows to be the least expensive). When I ride now I have zero pain anywhere and it is like riding a completely different bike. Absolutely amazing.
One thing that I don’t believe anyone as touched on is using Smiley as a resource for determining what type of bike you should buy. A bike fit should really be minor tweaks to perfect the fit that the bike is already. A Trek or Cervelo isn’t for everyone! Smiley knows every dang bike ever made, I think, and he knows who should be riding these and who shouldn’t. He’ll take your height, weight, arm length, etc. into consideration and tell you what bike is best for you and why. DO NOT RELY ON BIKE STORE STAFF to tell you what bike you should get because I guarantee you that they have that bike in stock! Smiley also has a custom bike building business so, believe me, he knows EXACTLY how to fit you perfectly. By the way, these custom jobs are comparable in price to off the shelf bikes that will then have to be tweaked, so my next bike will be built by Smiley.
From a personal perspective, I can’t say enough great things about Smiley and what he does. From a professional point of view I have the highest regard for Smiley and how he is able to make lemonade from lemons (poor bike fits)! If you’ve specific questions about him or his services, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to reply.
I know Smiley's info is somewhere on the forum, but will someone be kind enough to re-post here? Thanks a bunch!
The best way to reach the wonderful Smiley is via email--
magoo252 (at) comcast.net
Let me know if you have any trouble reaching him. He's the best!