1:  Cycling should be enjoyable for everyone — regardless of size, shape, weight, objective, experience  — and that proper bike-fit is integral to that objective.  My work with professional cyclists is no more rewarding than resolving a long-standing knee issue for someone who rides 1-2x per month.

2:  The outcome should exceed a client’s expectations and extend beyond changes that simply make a bad position, less-bad.  Any improvement to a bad position is “great”, subjectively, which is probably why many people believe that they have the “best” fitter.  An optimal outcome exists iterations beyond these modest improvements, and cannot be realized entirely without testing (outside).

   3. A “positive outcome” should be guaranteed.  If your fitter is really “the best”, he/she should be able to resolve all “bike-specific” issues — or refer to someone who can.  The problem with this formula is that shops/fitters are typically unwilling to buy and sell product for fitting without profit.  For example, I carry the entire line of Specialized saddles because they work — I buy them retail and sell them retail.  So when companies like Trek say that the entire fit revolves around saddle pressure mapping, I wonder what would happen if Trek manufactured better saddles.

4.  A client should be fit on his or her bicycle.   Fit-Bikes are great for determining proper bike size, but not appropriate for bike fitting.  Ride characteristics differ significantly from an actual bicycle — similar to how ride quality varies between indoor training and going outside.   I was involved with the engineering of an automated fit-bike (Biobike), that never came to market because we realized different outcomes between conditions: fit-bike vs. client’s bike.  And no fit is complete before a client has the opportunity to “test” his/her new position for a few weeks riding outside.

5.  Technology is no substitute for Experience.  I have designed integrated 3d & sEMG bike-fit programs for BTS Bioengineering an online fit-calculators, used Dartfish, Quintic (and other video analysis software) with 120fps HD cameras, lasers, reflective stickers, etc., and NOTHING captures human movement better than another human being.  Our eyes process light, which is superior to a camera’s resolution and/or fps.

6. Relying Video Analysis, Subjective Experience and Pressure Mapping are poor substitutes for a solid education in biomechanics and ongoing research in bike-related kinetics.  Joint angles demonstrate the most base component of kinematic analysis, because in fact muscles are moving these joints. Subjective experience is biased as a component of historical perspective.  Take someone who is accustomed to a very high saddle position.  They will subjectively feel “best” at that setting as a function of familiarity — even if it is outside the range of optimal function.  Pressure Mapping is helpful in the context of fitting, but should not guide the entire process.  The adjustments necessary to make someone “map-well”, might cause problems somewhere else in the kinetic chain.


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