Many bike shops offer traditional bike fittings to help ensure that riders are properly positioned on their bicycles and to prevent injuries. One of the great challenges with a traditional fitting is that the measurements are taken statically – that is, they are observed at certain points in the pedal stroke while the rider is stopped.
These traditional methods, which utilize tape measures and plumb bobs, cannot account for the slight changes that occur during the dynamic movement of the pedal stoke.
According to Tom Ernst, a bike-fit specialist at Athletes Lounge in Portland, these factors mean traditional methods of a bike fit often fail to adequately assess what a cyclist needs.
A Revolution in Bike Fits
But thanks to exciting new technology from the Ret?l Fit System, dynamic movements can now be measured and analyzed to help riders achieve a more precise fit than has been possible before.
"Ret?l is a great tool to have on hand," explains Ernst. "It measures things that the human eye just can't pick up on and it goes into a little bit more depth than we were able to do prior."
According to Ernst, without this technology, many bike-fitting schools tend to rely strictly on set numbers to determine the correct body angles.
"Others tend to look at the rider as a whole, and take into account flexibility and some injuries that might be out there, and don't necessarily rely strictly on the numbers that may be out there."
How the Ret?l System Works
The one thing that all of these schools have in common is that they measure the rider statically; this is where the Ret?l System differs.
Ernst explains that Ret?l works by placing eight LED markers on prominent locations of the body. Throughout the course of the pedal stroke, these markers capture 15-second snapshots of the rider's pedal stroke and riding style.
Software is then used to analyze these snapshots to provide feedback on the rider's pedal stroke while in motion. "It's a dynamic system that measures while a person is riding and provides more data than we've ever had before," says Ernst. "It really makes for one of the most in-depth, comprehensive bike fits out there."
Team Radio Shack Nissan Trek and Garmin Cervelo both use the Ret?l System to analyze rider positions and to archive changes in bike setup throughout the season.
More information on Ret?l Fit Technology can be found on the company's website, www.retul.com.
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