HOW TO SELECT
Selecting a fitter is just as important as
the decision to get fitted.
Many fitters use the same or similar
technology, making the matter of the operator the
crucial difference. Like in any profession, there are service
providers who are more experienced, more talented and better
equipped or just willing to try harder. You have experienced
this at many places of business. That's why you patronize some
and not others.
Fitters are more common these days. Bike fitting is not something reserved for
the Pros anymore. As the price of technology has come down to
affordable levels and the knowledge of bike fitting is no longer
confined in the secretive circles of Pro teams, the benefits of
a proper relationship with the bike are now available to the
everyday cyclists. The number of bike fitting centers has grown
and so did the numbers of those who call themselves bike
But that created in itself a set of problems:
with so many individuals, how do you choose? How can you know
one is better than the other - or
if one is even qualified to fit you?
To help you make a good decision, here we share
some guidelines for selecting your bike fitting service provider.
1) Technology of choice. The
technology used in your fitting is crucial and speaks to the
investment a fitting center has made into its customers. The
quality of results and even the ability to address specific
issues are directly related to the technology used. Retül 3D
motion capture has established itself as the reference,
state-of-the-art technology. This is the only motion capture
system capable of fitting you while in live motion. It's
expensive technology that requires a high level of knowledge to
operate. It's not to say other technologies - even if less
advanced- can't be used with varying degrees of success. But if
the fitter uses old-school technology and charges Retül motion
capture pricing, maybe you are better off looking elsewhere.
2) Fitter Certification. This
is very important. A certificate from an accredited organization
usually speaks to the basic skill set of a fitter. Just having a
certificate is not enough to know if the fitter will be capable,
but it's a starting point. Some fitters take all their
certification courses at once, with little to no real-life
experience. Book smarts are required, but not sufficient to
attest to the ability of a fitter. So, while you want to look
for the accreditation, the next point is even more important.
3) Experience. Like in anything
in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it.
For fitting this is even more true. The more individuals a
fitter is exposed to - and their peculiar situations- the better
the book of knowledge from which to build upon your fit. It is
hard to judge experience. Some people can talk up a big game,
but come short during the actual performance. The only way to
evaluate the ability of a fitter to work with your individual
situation is to ask around. Talk to people who might have your
same situation and find how they resolved it. And this brings us
to the next point.
4) Word of mouth. If people are
talking about a fitter in positive terms, then it's likely the
fitter is a good one. You know how to spot good word of mouth:
in a casual conversation, people mention having been fitted and
how that has improved some aspect of their cycling experience.
The name of a fitter keeps coming up - and in different circles
or from unrelated individuals. Beware of the well-meaning
marketing friends of the fitter. Some people just push for their
friend's business. It's only when you overhear genuine
conversations or ask someone for specific advise or they share
their experience that the word-of-mouth works. And hearing it
from more than one person is also a good indication - especially
if from different environments.
5) Look up their web site. A
web site can tell a lot about a fitter. If it's poorly done,
chances are that this service provider cares about you just as
much as its own image. There are exceptions, for sure. But a
well-done web site with the right amount of information may be a
good indication that the fitting service provider is solid. Just
a Facebook page is not enough. Everyone can make a FB page. But
a web site? It's an investment. It can also be a predictor of
longevity. A well-done web site is a sign of someone who plans
to stay in business for a while. You may need to return to your
fitter over the years, so longevity is a good thing. However,
beware of flashy-looking sites with little information and all
the markings of a site-in-a-can.
6) Facebook page. Look up the
fitter Facebook page and check out the reviews. If the main page
is full of nothing but meaningless information (like re-posting
of cycling news, or a ton of race results), it's likely that the
fitter has nothing to say (or do). Does the main page show
useful information? Does it show riders getting fitted? That
could be a good sign. Facebook reviews can be a good guideline
to get a feel for the fitter. But beware of reviews made by
people with questionable profiles. Those could be paid bots or
fakes to boost the business. Looking at the dates of the reviews
and noticing a rapid succession of reviews usually is a sign of
a fake. Look for a good spread of dates over months and years.
7) Accolades. Awards and
recognition for accomplishments are always a good indication of
a fitter's abilities. Does your prospective fitter publish
articles or case studies? Being able to access the results of
past activities may be what you need to see if the fitter fits
you. Especially if you have specific needs. Has your situation
been encountered before by your fitter? Check out what the
fitter has to say and what people say about him/her.
7) Involvement. If the fitter
is an active part of the local cycling community, chances are
there is a genuinely solid and well-rounded cycling background.
Some fitters are current or ex-racers. They are known in that
environment only and they specialize in fast, skinny guys. That
may or may not work for you. Involvement in local activities
(from charity ride events, to trail maintenance, to
volunteering at local bike collectives, etc.) speaks to the reach of a fitter and,
usually, to the ability to handle a diversity of riders.
8) Reach out. Give the fitter a
call. Get a feel for the person who will be working for you. Ask
to speak with the fitter directly - not the scheduling
individual. Ask for the credentials and certifications. Some
fitting centers operate without a certified fitter -it's all too
common. Make sure you take the time to ask about your specific
situation too. If the fitter takes the time to listen to you and
your needs, it's a good indication. If the fitter pushes for you
to schedule immediately or for upgrading to more expensive
services (without cause), then walk away.
You are an experienced shopper. These
guidelines will help you sharpen further your consumer skills in
the bike fitting industry.
We hope they help you in your quest - and
most certainly, we hope you choose us. And if you want to know
more, read about: