My experiences with Colby Pearce, bike fitter (January 2019).
Before I found Colby I was urged by a cyclist friend of mine here in Nebraska to go to Colorado for my fit work and find someone with experience. Omaha to Colorado’s Front Range? Where to begin? How to go about this? So many bike shops and fit people there. I started my research with bike shops who are highly regarded for their ability to do fit work. I began searching Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver.
I came across many bike shops that had the latest fit systems in place. I called several bike shops and talked with different people. What drew my eye to Colby Pearce’s studio was his unique position of being a one-man operation. Free to advise as his eye saw rather than the possible encouragement or direction from some overarching body like bike shop management or distributors. I wanted an expert, not a brand. I wanted an experience. I knew this was going to take some time, and it would be important. I had no idea how significant it was going to be.
I placed a call to Colby and left a voicemail. A few days later he called me back, while brushing his teeth. We talked about what I wanted to do and set up an appointment. A few weeks later I drove eight and a half hours to his studio in Boulder from Omaha, Nebraska.
Since then I’ve taken six-bikes out to Colby for fit work, and we’re currently working on a custom bike from Seven Cycles together in which Colby is handling the entire process from initial fit to consult with Seven to all the details of the build with House of Spin.
Having worked in a bike shop before I have had the good fortune to be able to ride nice bikes and good equipment. But I’ve never had a next-level fit done for me even though I was in the business. It’s pretty rare. To be able to work with someone like Colby. Who has such a skill set and breadth of knowledge and experiences to draw from as he focuses on YOU. World record holder, coach, pro, fit specialist, mobility work guru, MTB guy, road guy, track guy, gravel guy, has studied under the greats and continues to learn himself.
It also needs mentioned he’s part tinkerer-customizer. Never quite satisfied and always curious — what if I apply a heat gun to the sole of this shoe? Hmmm. Let’s try it! Marie Kondo is sweeping the nation. The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. With Marie Kondo’s system you have to go through each item in your house and ask ‘Does it spark joy?’ This is your guide to helping you decide if you keep the item or pass it along after saying thank you to it, thus decluttering your life. My wife was helping me go through my cycling shoes. We packed up many pairs to get rid of. She picked up my white and black Bont Vaypors and asked me “What about these? Do these spark joy?” I responded “Those spark extreme joy.” I have Colby to thank. I have a narrow foot and have not once had a pair of cycling shoes that fit me in my 25-years as a cyclist. Thanks to Colby and his heat gun and curiosity and patience and persistence I now have a pair of cycling shoes that I truly love. They spark joy.
I learned Colby’s nickname when I was out in Boulder. Mr. Millimeter. He never seems rushed or preoccupied. I sometimes describe him to cycling friends as “It’s kind of hard to imagine him being ferocious on the bike, he’s just too relaxed it seems.” He’s present. He’s mindful. He’s focused. He’s listening. He’s thinking. He’s wondering. The Mr. Millimeter part you’ll see again and again. A thoroughness that is so unique. Attention to detail with care. It was always remarkable to me that Colby would remember details about fit work we had done together or my life or riding interests/hopes. Why would Colby Pearce care about me? A dude who has won no big races and lives in Omaha, Nebraska? He’s just that kind of guy. I frequently discuss at home with my wife the Colby Pearce model. His way of doing things. Get really good at them, so good that you can carve out more time to do less and then do it really really well. Who wouldn’t want to work with that kind of person?
As a cyclist living in the Midwest we have such varied weather that more than one bike is needed. I had no idea the value of Colby’s fits on multiple bikes when I began working with him. But now I do. If you blindfolded me and put the same handlebars/tape and pedals on all my bikes I’m not sure I’d be able to distinguish which one is which. They all fit so similarly now. Who benefits? My central nervous system, that’s who. Power production is seamless. This really blew my mind in Scotland. When I was there the first time with my mountain bike. Certainly a mountain bike is going to fit you way different than your road racing bike? I couldn’t believe it! The handlebars were different, but my power position was the same! It was a seamless transition to go from riding only road at home to hopping on my mountain bike abroad and never miss a beat! It felt like the same bike! As far as my central nervous system goes it was the same bike! Made for a wonderful trip to be able to transition over to a whole different discipline and feel fantastic. He even made my fat bike feel the same.
Most recently we have been working together on a custom Seven road bike. Why would I go all the way back out to Colorado for this when there are so many fantastic bike shops in the city I live and now so many boutique frame makers on-line that I could go through for a custom bike? Was it Seven that drew me back out to Boulder? It was Colby. There are so many fantastic frame makers. But there’s only one Colby. To be able to begin this process with him and do the fit work together that drew from his wide range of experiences and expertise is what made the project for me. The bike really only comes alive if it fits you to the degree that it becomes an extension of your own self.
Mr. Millimeter. The stone turner. During the process of going back and forth on the custom Seven project I reached a point when I realized I think we’re done. This is great. I sign off on it and let’s let them start building. Nope. Colby wasn’t satisfied yet. He wanted to turn over a few stones again and triple check some things. I was good, Seven was good, but Colby wasn’t good yet. He wanted to go through things again with them and ask a few more questions on frame specs. I had a great conversation with Seven about Colby. They said “He sets us up for success.”
I would say the same. He sets me up for success. Never mind I’m not a pro with a contract or a big name. Colby cares about me and he uses his own personal memory bank for me in Nebraska. Pretty crazy. But dude, you live in Boulder and coach big name riders and set world records yourself, why do you care about me here? He’s a global guy, a holistic guy. I ended up getting way more than just super solid fit work. He’s become part of the experience for me.
I first met Colby as a junior, and he has been more or less kicking my ass (either virtually or literally) ever since. He has been an integral part of my development as an athlete, helping me improve not only physiologically, but also refining my mental and holistic approach to the sport. Once at dinner, Colby and I were asked by a stranger what we were training for. Colby’s instant reply was “the Olympics,” and after the stranger’s brief pause of surprise, he asked how long Colby had been training for them. “Since I was 16,” was Colby’s response. That is the best evidence I can give for Colby’s quality as a coach; cycling is not a mere sport to him, it is an art and a way of life that he has been practicing most of his life. He understands my passions and motivations because his are the same. Colby is one of the most crucial members of my support team and deserves much more credit for my success than a mere paragraph can provide.
-Julian Kyer, Juwi Solar
Its been about 6 weeks or so since the fit and just thought Id let you know everything is feeling great on both bikes. Things are progressing along nicely, Im more comfortable/powerful now and feel like every aspect of the fit is considerably is better than before. Personally I thought changing the spindle lengths made a big difference and was like the last piece to the puzzle. Im experiencing smoother pedaling and am able to sustain a higher cadence with less effort.
I also got a hold of a Thomson x4 110mm 0 degree for the mtn bike. I was a little worried how the bike would handle out on the trail, but to my surprise I thought it was more stable, especially on the climbs and actually handled better overall.
Thanks again for everything. In comparison to previous bike fits; I felt like the thirsty man only getting a half a glass of water, which made me feel a little better, but finally got the full glass I needed with your help and this fit. James S