Digital Bike Fitting

In September I attended Interbike, the largest bicycle industry tradeshow in the USA, which included for the first time a bike fitting symposium. The main focus of the Fit Symposium was highlighting the use of digital fitting tools. That basically means computers and software to gather and record data, which is obtained through video capture, motion capture, pressure mapping and/or the use of a connected size cycle which feeds bike position into the software.
There are definitely some pluses to this technology, including being able to see things the human eye cannot naturally see, and being able to precisely record fit co-ordinates (bike position and body joint angles). There is also wow factor to impress clients with, because high tech means leading edge which means it must be better. Right?
The downsides are cost – to both the bike fitter, and the customer – who will be paying a lot more for a bike fit; and potentially distraction by data overload.
My concern is that digital fitters can spend too much time looking at a screen during the fit process, and not enough time interacting with and observing the cyclist.
I think it is important to note that digital tools don’t perform the fitting, although some desire that this be so. Tools are tools. They still need an operator, and they still need to be used in the context of a fitting process. As cycling requires both a machine (bike) and human (rider), so too does a bike fitting. What’s important is selecting the right tools for the job, and using them well.

Posted in Bike Fitting.

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