Understanding Bike Fitting Software
Bike fitting software is a digital tool. No software does the fitting for you, but it can assist a fitter in several ways. The “best” fitting software makes your task easier and is beneficial for your customer because you can do a better job. The key to selecting the right bike fitting software is to understand its functionality, and align this with your needs. As with bicycles, there is no “one size fits” all software, and you many want several pieces of software if you are offering a comprehensive range of fitting services.
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There are two broad applications of bike fitting software:
- To help sell bicycles, that are an appropriate size and geometry for the customer
- To fit a bike for a cyclist, either a newly purchased bike or an existing bike they own (retrofit)
Bike fitting software may perform one or more functions. The four most common functions are:
- Recommending a bike, or selection of bikes for a potential buyer.
- Analyzing a rider’s position, movement patterns, power output or contact point pressure.
- Documenting a “Fit Position”
- Documenting client information relating to a fit session
Some software will primarily focus on one of these functions, while some will incorporate multiple functions.
The software may be in the form of an App to run on a mobile device, or software to run on a computer, and this may either be a subscription based cloud service requiring an internet connection for access or a downloadable file that runs on your computer’s hard drive.
The software may be independent and “stand alone” or integral to the operation of either a piece of fitting technology or a proprietary fitting system.
Cost can range from free to a $10 App, to many thousands of dollars.
Let’s look at some of the options based on their function.
Recommending a Bike
This is the most widely used type of software by bike retailers, and is often referred to as “frame finder” software. It is primarily used as a sales tool to narrow down potential bike choices for a customer.
There are two broad approaches: pre – purchase sizing and pre – purchase fitting.
Pre purchase sizing produces general bike parameters for bike sales staff to interpret, and may or may not be linked to a bike database. The Fit Kit app provides general guidelines but is not linked to a frame finder database.
Pre-purchase fitting seeks to determine a final “fit position” on a bike simulator, and offer a list of suitable bikes that can be adjusted to that position from a bike database. This may include specifications for stem, seatpost bars and saddle, i.e the fit components on a bicycle.
Comparison of pre-purchase sizing and pre-purchase fitting
|Pre Purchase Sizing||Pre – Purchase Fitting|
|Method||Manual measurement or digital scan of the rider’s body and/or bike.||Customer rides a bike simulator (Size cycle / fit bike) which is adjusted until a suitable fit position is achieved.|
|Inputs||Body measurements, or bike measurements from an existing comfortable bike.||Fit Position Co-ordinates once a comfortable position is established.|
|Outputs||General recommendations of suitable bike size and geometry;
May include specific makes and models.
|A list of specific makes and models, possible including a specification for components like stem and bars.|
|Philosophy||Skeletal proportions as a predictor of bike size, modified by riding style and other performance factors.||Riding position and normative body joint angles are factored into the bike recommendations.|
|Fit Kit System (Fit Calculator App, Fit Kit Studio)
VelogicFit Standard System
Velocifit Advanced System
Smartfit Q1, Q4,
|Guru Fit System / Guru Bike Discovery
Purely Custom – Pure Position
Cycling Analysis is about observing the rider in motion and gathering data to assess a range of parameters that may be affecting comfort and performance. It’s to give the fitter additional information on which to make adjustments and recommendations for the cyclist.
Movement Observation and Analysis
The most common software is for movement analysis, which may through direct video capture, motion capture, or a combination of both.
Video can be viewed either as a direct live feed or recorded and played back. Typically the playback is though software with features such as dual screen comparison, slow/fast replay, angle and tracking overlays.
Motion capture adds in the ability to see changes in joint angle ranges and movement patterns dynamically while the cyclist rides (either on their own bike or a simulator), and this provides not only the data for making fit adjustments but the ability to document the fit position digitally.
Computer based products required external hardware in the form of cameras or infrared sensors.
Mobile App products use the devices built in camera for recording, and are the lowest cost, but may or may not offer file saving and exporting functions to aid in documentation.
|For Mobile Apps, generally for Apple products||
|Bikefit||Velogicfit Professional 3D|
|Coach My Video||Retul|
|Simi Move||Simi 2D/3D|
The ability to monitor pressure in the shoes, on the saddle and on the handlebars has provided precise and previously unavailable information to help diagnose and correct not only issues at these direct contact points, but issues along the kinetic chain that may originate at a direct bike contact point.
Gebiomized are the primary supplier of this technology.
Power Output and Pedaling Mechanics
Computrainer resistance units and their associated software for measuring power output and pedaling efficiency is possibly the most popular options, but power output can also be obtained from any of the stationary trainer manufacturers that supply that option Eg Kurt Kinetic, Cycleops, Wahoo Fitness
You need more than software for that. You need a wind tunnel facility as well!
Record keeping is a recommended part of the fitting process and can be done on paper or digitally.
The level of documentation you keep is going to depend on the services you offer, business requirements and customer expectations.
If you are selling bikes and are providing bike recommendations, you may want to keep basic customer contact information, bike and body measurements, a list of recommended bicycles for your customer., and their fit position if that is generated. These features will typically be included in the software for these systems.
For fitting on a bike the customer is or will be riding, it is useful to have additional notes and information that included pre-fit interview information, physical assessment, bike details and current fit position, observations and adjustments made, and the final fit position. Some capability to store this information may be included with cycling analysis software. Motion capture software may digitally determine bike and body fit parameters, and auto enter that information, or it may need to be manually measured and entered in the software.
Fit Kit Studio is primarily documentation software that includes the Fit Kit System sizing system and calculator, but also fields for comprehensive fitting notes, both quantitative and qualitative to be entered.
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Bike fitting software from Fit Kit Systems and Velogicfit.
Fit Kit Systems
The Fit Calculator is an app alternative to the Fit Kit frame finder slide chart or colored numbers tables, and for use with the Quick Fit Kit measuring tools.
Developed for both Apple and Android, users input the 4 basis body measurements, and 4 modifiers to get a recommended frame size, top tube, stem length and saddle height. The outputs are recommendations for recommending a suitable frame size.
More information and screen shots here.
A new web based software application for retailers and fitters is currently under development.
FitKit Studio is designed to be fit system agnostic. It is a fit system and bike brand neutral application for use by bicycle retailers, fitters and frame builders to document and store customer information.
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This is not a digital fitting tool with built in analytics, but a way to track customer, bike and fit data.
- Contact details
- Pre fit interview
- Pre fit physical assessment
- Existing bike measurements
- Existing fit measurements
- Sizing calculator, using either Fit Kit Systems tools, or DIY measures
- Frame and initial set up projections
- Actual fit measurements and co-ordinates for bike and body
- Reporting functions
Got a feature or field you would like to see included? Contact us now while it is still being developed.
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Fit Kit Pro software for Windows and PC was introduced in the early 1990’s, as a digital sizing calculator, frame finder and customer fit record keeper.
Support and development for this standalone installation was discontinued after the release of version 5.2 and further development to maintain function with recent operating systems is not planned.
It is being replaced by FitKit Studio, above.
If you are using FitKit pro and need help, start with the FAQ’s here.
Advanced Bike Finder
The Velogicfit Advanced Bike Finder uses either bike or rider measurements, along with the client’s preferences, to specify a target position and find precisely matching bikes. Ideal for shops and fitters looking for a digital tool with a comprehensive frame finder / comparison function. Size Cycle not required. This software is an excellent upgrade if you already own the Fit Kit tools for body measurement, and are looking for a digital interface requiring a lower skill level to interpret the numbers and propose a short list of suitable bikes.
The Velogicfit 3D Motion system uses advanced imaging technology to measure body angles simultaneously, generating and industry leading interactive fit report. Use with the customers own bike, or with a size cycle of any type.
Our system requires the latest version of the Microsoft Kinect camera which is a significant upgrade over the original Kinect, as used by the Guru system. The Kinect V2 combines HD 1080p video with infrared sensing to provide both 2D and 3D data, and skeletal recognition of 25 different joints. Skeletal joint recognition is further enhanced through using colored dots landmarked onto the cyclist’s body.
3D motion capture technology offers the highest level of information around rider pedaling action and interaction with the bike. Our cycling specific system is designed to simplify the process while enhancing the outcome with detailed metrics driving fit decisions.