I’ve had my new Kestrel for a week or so and she was getting lonely hanging up in my garage. Today was my fit session with the Retul specialist in the city!
Here is a quick description of the Retul concept and how there system works:
Every cyclist has unique biomechanics, therefore there are no generalizations that apply when truly fitting a rider to a bike. Purchasing a new bike can be both a fun and exciting experience, but riding a bike that is not properly fit can cause frustration, pain or injury, and ultimately causes the rider to put the bike in storage where it starts collecting dust.
Perhaps you already own a bike and your position is not optimized, causing you to underperform. A proper bike fit not only will provide you with the most economic means of expending energy, but will also prevent pain that is common in the knee, hip, and lower back, particularly with riders who are trying to adapt their bodies to the bike they already have purchased.
Retül bike fit technology incorporates three main data points in fit theory:
Bike Fits Must be Dynamic
Most bike fitting specialists fit riders in a static position. This is because the traditional tools of the trade – tape measures and plumb bobs – do not allow accurate measurements while the rider is pedaling. Using motion capture technology, Retül records the rider’s positions in motion, therefore creating the most realistic picture of the rider’s actual pedal strokes and body positions when out on the road and trails.
Measurements Must be Accurate
Measurements made by traditional tools have one thing in common. They are subject to human error and therefore can be devastatingly inaccurate. Even slight inaccuracies can drastically change the rider’s feel after a ride. The Retul system is accurate to within less than a millimeter, creating true objective data which can be utilized by the fitter for the perfect biomechanical fit.
Biomechanics are Best Assessed in Three-Dimensional Space
Fit data collected in a traditional two-dimensional plane (i.e. video-based systems) is fairly limited because the fitter can only look at one view at a time, and those views stand as independent reference points. In order to make the best fit recommendations, the fitter must realize that the front and side views are actually interdependent reference points. In other words, the front and side views must be viewed simultaneously in three dimensions in order to see how all the applicable movements of the body are working together. Retul uses a 3D motion sensor to simultaneously gatherdata on multiple angles of the rider.
It was easy to find a local Retul specialist on their site at www.retul.com. There were a few in the greater San Francisco area and mainly due to responsiveness and availability, I chose to visit with Colin at Studio Velo at VeloSF.
Colin was great and we jumped right into the fit. As with most bikes from the dealer, we needed to trim down the seat tube to fit me. Once that was at a reasonable height, we tackled pushing back my cleats to be more centered to gain more power. Then the heart of the fit started by placing readers on my body to track my movements with the 3D camera. It was interesting to watch it all play out!
The heart of the Retul system is knowing how to read & interpret the data. We spent a lot of time tweaking my ISM Adamo Breakaway Saddle(Same bio-mechanic design and shape of the Adamo Podium. The difference is they added more foam padding and gel to soften the ride). We also replaced my stem bar with a shorter one. The shorter stem bar allowed me to be more compact and not stretched out as much. That small change helped increase my comfort level significantly. My overall back angle went from 17 deg down to 13 deg by the end of the fit. Most importantly, I felt very comfortable in and out of my aero bars! Here’s a quick snapshot of my readouts:
I was also excited to see that my overall stroke has continued to get better over the past few years! This fit was a great experience and I would highly recommend to anyone who’s never had a professional fit or has a new bike like I did. I can’t wait to test her out this week and get comfortable over the next few weeks leading up to Oceanside 70.3!