It’s not uncommon for the Fit Kit System to be dismissed as a “formula fit” by people who themselves are advocates and users of bike fitting data, measurements, calculations, numbers, and yes, formulas. Mathematics has been a tool for solving many mysteries of the planet and universe and in engineering remarkable accomplishments for centuries.
Numbers, formulas, averages and equations have a role to play in predicting a bike purchase or fit position and they may be applied to frame geometry eg stack and reach; bike set up e.g. saddle and handlebar X/Y; or body position e.g. leg angles. Bike fitting has become very mathematical, aided by video and motion capture analysis, and Excel spreadsheets of trigonometric relationships.
The math serves a role to inform, educate, estimate, advise and communicate. But here’s the thing. A bike sizing or fitting is not about the numbers, it’s about the rider’s experience. It’s about the human experience – with each other, with a bike, with the sensation of riding on a road or trail, in congested traffic or in serene surrounds.
The science of fitting involves numbers, because numbers are a language of science. But the art of fitting involves connecting with our customers as fellow cyclists, understanding their pleasure and pain, and guiding them to favorable experiences on their bike.
If you are using the Fit Kit System to help sell a bike, you are using it to do more than create a sales transaction. You are using it to create a dialogue, a conversation, a relationship. The measurements and projections are a vehicle for this. It’s a lot more than a formula.
If you are using the Fit Kit System in a bike fitting situation, it should be just one of many tools, because the Fit Kit System itself provides just a slice of data, not the full equation. You also need to understand and connect with your customer, observe, ask questions, engage in dialogue. And you will probably be taking other measurements as well.
Bike sizing and fitting is a process, that follows a method. It’s not a formula, even though a formula may be a part of the process. Bike sizing and fitting is a personal service that requires skills. Those skills include using information and technology. The technology can be low tech and analog like the Fit Kit System, or hi-tech and digital like the Retul or Guru systems. But many other skills are also needed. A bike fitting system is a useful resource, but systems and formulas don’t do the fitting. Skilled people do. The great pyramids weren’t built by mathematicians, but they couldn’t have been built without them either.