It's not about sales - it's about optimizing our clients.
Our fit process is very dynamic, and one that's been developed over several years. We don't believe in taking measurements and then relying on math equations, or packaged software, to tell us how a person should fit to a bike, nor do we believe that every person should be fit to their bike exactly the same way. We believe the human body works within certain bio-mechanical parameters and wants to work properly. Its an amazing machine - adaptive to a degree with its skeletal structure, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all able to perform well within ranges of motion. There is no one saddle height that's correct, no specific measurement for handlebar reach or height, no single cleat position for every foot. Rather, there are "ranges" we work within to place our clients properly based on their individual needs, abilities, physical history, body makeup, and goals.
We believe bike fit should be a combination of science, technology, and art. Science tells us how the body works, technology is utilized to make sure the body is performing correctly, and the art of bike fit comes from the ability to communicate, instruct, and understand that sometimes the "rules" have to be broken, or at least bent a little, to allow for the uniqueness of each client. The art of bike fit cannot be taught - only experience can turn a bike fitter into an artisan.
The term "Dynamic Fitting" has become popular of late. We're excited to hear that, because we have always believed in, and conducted, dynamic fits, and now the rest of the bicycle world is figuring it out too! By dynamic, we mean that a fitting should take place while you're on the bike and pedaling. We gather your ride data while you're riding, and in 3D, which is far more accurate than a static measurement using tools like a tape measure, plumb bob, or even video analysis. To us, Dynamic also means complete interaction between the fitter and the client, allowing for a bit of diversity based on body make-up, history of injuries, goals, and type of riding you may want to do. Again, you are a unique individual, and should be treated as such during your session.
Injuries, Pain, & Discomfort
Injuries and Pain. At ERO, we enjoy quite the reputation for helping cyclists who are experiencing pain, numbness, or discomfort on their bikes. In order to provide such help, a fitter must be able to understand the client's history with a particular issue, identify the causation, and develop a strategy for successfully correcting the fit issue contributing to the problem. Through anatomical and physiological education, study of issues relating specifically to cycling, and experience, our clients have come to trust that they're in safe hands when they bring pain or discomfort issues to us.
Some of the most common pain and discomfort issues are knee pain, lower back pain, hand numbness, foot numbness, and hot feet. When the cause of such issues is determined to be fit-related, there are usually some very straightforward and positive steps we can take to relieve the symptoms and keep them from becoming chronic.
Saddle discomfort is another biggie. Issues with saddles can be both fit and saddle related. Fit has a lot to do with how you sit on a saddle, and how your weight is distributed across the saddle. For instance, pain or numbness can occur if you have too much weight on the front of the saddle, usually due to (but not solely limited to) improper reach or fore/aft position. Saddle shape, size, and padding can also create, or cure, discomfort. Typically, its a combination of both fit and saddle choice that makes for a happy cyclist, and our job is to help you find both.
A Word of Warning
We don't believe bike fit should be about selling products. We are not retailers; we have nothing to sell to you. There are a lot of people and shops conducting bike fits these days. Some are better than others, very few devote themselves solely to bike fitting. Manufacturers, in an attempt to use bike fitting as a sales tool, have now begun placing fit systems in stores. They give their systems a cool name, provide a handful of employees at the shop a couple of days training, and then pronounce them "Expert" or even "Master" fitters. For the consumer, this can be confusing - who do you trust to provide you with the best fit possible? The answers aren't always clear, and we certainly don't claim to be the only bike fitter around capable of providing this type of service.
However, it's a very concerning trend that bike fit is now being viewed as means of selling product to customers, and the lack of knowledge and experience by the fitters in shops is resulting in some poor positions and recommendations of bikes and related products. Bike fit should be about comfort, power, and proper bio-mechanics. It should most certainly not be about how much a bike shop can sell you! Don't be fooled by pretty bells and whistles. Marketing does not make a good bike fit.
Keep the following in mind: Many of the fit "systems" you see in bike shops these days, especially those centered around a particular manufacturer, simply tell an inexperienced salesperson what bike, currently on the sales floor, will fit, or come close enough to fitting, whomever they're trying to sell a bike to at any particular moment. It's not necessarily the best bike for you, it's just what they need to sell. Cycling shoes, saddles, handlebars, etc., not surprisingly made by the manufacturer the salesperson is representing, are also sold this way. Even when the products are quite good, and we frequently recommend them to our customers, we feel this type of marketing is just wrong, and does a dis-service to anyone looking to enjoy this great sport. As we like to point out: It's hard to buy a bad bike these days, but it's easy to buy a bike that's bad for you.
We make sure you get a bike that's not only great, but perfect for you and your cycling needs. It's not about up-selling, it's about making sure you spend your money wisely and get the most out of your investment. Because of our unique business model, there's no benefit to us recommending any particular brand of bike or bike part - we simply want the best for you.