SW: Truthfully I was skeptical too, until I started to use it. Now I find it invaluable. I've seen the technology in action and the benefits the data can provide, make it hard to use anything else.
It boils down to this: dynamic vs. static data capture. Do you want to measure the rider while they're pedaling or stationary? The answer is obvious. Retul is simply a better tool because it allows motion-based rider data capture. I call it a "liquid tape measure" because it provides the ability to capture data accurately and quickly while the rider is pedaling. Hand tools cannot do this. They require the rider to be in a motionless state. The addition of a Fit Bike provides the opportunity to increase accuracy of bike data capture by being able to adjust the position in a dynamic state. The bike on a trainer requires the rider to stop for an adjustment.
What you do with the data is completely dependent on your ability and experience as a fitter. Neither of these tools creates a position for you, they only capture data and allow easy adjustment. You still have to know how to fit someone.
When it comes to the determining the correct position, Retul and Fit Bike don't do it for you. You have to spend time with the client to determine their physical constraints and limitations, so "Hands-on" fitting is still a major part of determining the fitting solution. Personal interaction develops trust and confidence between fitter and the client. No amount of technology will ever replace the human aspect of a fitting.
JH: Bike fitting is a SERVICE, not a technology or a product. While technology can potentially make bike fits more accurate, we both agree that it is still up to the fitter and his or her experience level to determine what to do with the data. This has been a good exchange of thoughts, ideas and views. You have done a great job of expressing your position and you're right—technology is here to stay, but from this exchange I think we're achieving similar results, but taking a slightly different approach to get there.
SW: I would hope that you agree John that looking at this from a broader perspective, that these tools allow fitters to see things they might otherwise miss or take years to spot.
JH: I would acknowledge that it's not realistic to expect everyone to have the depth of experience that we have cultivated. New fitters and those with experience need to understand the importance of accuracy and repeatability, developing a quick diagnostic eye rather than missing details.
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