Ergonomic and Biomechanical Analysis: FitLab at Ata Cycle
Advanced Biomechanical Analysis featuring Dartfish software and Retoul Infrared motion capture.
Linda Patch profiles Husam and the FitLab in her Bike Fit Blog Series.
Bike Fit Series, Part 1: Introduction
Bike Fit Series, Part 2: The Laser Jig
Bike Fit Series, Part 3: The Argon 18 Fit Bike
Bike Fit Series, Part 4: Retül Fit System
Bike Fit Series, Part 5: Time Trial Bike Fit, Retül Analysis
Bike Fit Series, Part 6: Time Trial Bike Fit, Final Adjustments
Bike Fit Series, Part 7: Dartfish Video and Frame Discussion
Bike Fit Series, Part 8: Professional Bike Fitting in the U.S.
Bike Fit Series, Part 9: Satisfied Customer Nolan Watts
View Linda Patch's blog:
Introduction to the FitLab
Ata Cycle guarantees a perfect fit between rider and bike whether you bring in your existing machine or purchase a new one. The FitLAb at Ata Cycle is a suite of cutting edge tools and techniques for ensuring proper frame and component selection, and increasing each rider's power, comfort, and control on the bike. While various fitting techniques and tools have been around for a long time, exciting new technologies have increased the potential for well trained and experienced bicycle fit technicians to eliminate guesswork and provide enhanced comfort, power and control for any rider with access to services such as the FitLab provides.
Our fit technicians have measured, advised, and served thousands of riders seeking greater comfort, power and control while out on the road. Some of our customers are leisure riders, others commuters, and still others ride for intense fitness benefits and at high levels of competition, including Jarrod Shoemaker who will represent the United States in the triathlon discipline at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Our system works so well because rider feedback is at the heart of the FitLab process. The documentation produced by the FitLab suite of software provides us with a permanent record of the rider's precise position on the bike at the end of the process. With this amazingly detailed set of data points as reference, our expert fit technicians are able to diagnose and discuss the sensations associated with incremental modifications to the fit geometry. This process takes time, focus, and experience. It works because of the dedication and expertise of our personnel, motivated by the satisfaction of improving the cycling experience of countless customers, friends, and athletes.
At Ata Cycle, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND selecting a bike frame based on the detailed fitting assessment generated by the first two phases of the FitLab process. Selecting a frame based on the brand name, percieved bargain pricing, style, color, or any other factor, prior to receiving a scientific fit assessment, is usually a HUGE mistake. The differences in frame geometry between similarly sized frames can be subtle, but WILL have dramatic consequences on your ability to maximize comfort, POWER and HANDLING thorugh proper fit. Most retailers fit primarily for COMFORT, as that is the shortest route to a sale, but rarely results in a fitting which also optimizes POWER and HANDLING. That is why we developed the FitLab—to establish a detailed, efficient protocol for first SELECTING the proper frame geometry [Phase I and II], and then optimizing ALL aspects of the rider's experience.
Achieving the desired harmony between each individual rider's unique anatomy and their new, or old, bicycle begins with a compehensive data collection session using the widely popular FIT KIT System. This is the first of the three phases which comprise our proprietary FitLab analytical process. Using FIT KIT's handcrafted, wood finished, hydraulic measuring tools, we establish a baseline platform for the ideal bicycle size and geometry to fit the riders's body and athletic requirements. The initial consultation, done in conjunction with precise anatomical measurements, provides the initial set of data points which are converted by the FIT KIT software into a preliminary diagram of your optimal bicycle geometry.
Dynamic Delta Power Analysis
With a preliminary geometry chart in hand, we then move on to phase two: dynamic power testing. This entails the use of a hand tooled laser jig, which allows us to transpose the two dimensional initial geometry parameters into three dimensions quickly and accurately. Specifically, we use the laser jig to duplicate the initial geometry chart on a custom crafted, fully adjustable test bike. Then the rider works out on the stationary test bike, which is also equipped with wattage metering capability.
With your initial position as a reference, a baseline power output and comfort level is established. Fine adjustments to the test bike dimensions can yield dramatic gains in power and comfort. Based on this dynamic power testing analysis, our expert mechanics then assemble and customize the rider's actual bicycle, in exact accordance with the results of their power test.
This is a major point of departure from the approach used by most retailers. We recommend that you ALWAYS start your bike selection process with the fitting, then choose a frame and component group based on the results of the first two phases of the FitLab process. This ensures that you have sufficient information to select a frame which not only fits your body comfortably, but also that will be correctly proportioned to maximize the handling characteristics you are looking for. This difference is KEY! At 95% of the bike shops out there, you will be sold on a bike BRAND, or perceived bargain component package, or frame color- or whatever it is that you respond to initially. While it may be the path of least resistance for you and the retailer, it is exactly the OPPOSITE of how frame and component selection should occur. This semi-random selection of a bike frame rarely results in a perfectly fitting bike for the rider. We have served countless customers who suffered through weeks, months or even years of fit disaster damage control which never solves the underlying frame geometry problem. This is why we feel so strongly about selecting the bike frame to fit the customer perfectly, NOT forcing a fit of the customer to the most conveniently available bike frame!
Ergonomic and Biomechanical Analysis using the Dartfish video technique and Retül infrared motion capture system
The third phase of the FITLAB experience involves real time tracking of your pedaling dynamics while on your newly assembled and customized bike, using video cameras in conjunction with Dartfish software and the RETÜL infrared monitoring system. When complete, this final stage of ergonomic analysis reduces all relevant physiological variables to known quantities. By using two complementary tecniques—the video and infrared systems—we are able to isolate every significant variable in the rider's ergonomic and biomechanical profile. In this context, ergonomic refers to the rider's position on the bike as it relates to balancing of anatomical proportions overall. Biomechanical aspects relate specifically to the rider's pedaling dynamics, and maximizing power output while minimizing strain on joint and connective tissue of the hips, knees and ankles.
The RETÜL technology, utilizing a series of infrared sensors, is an extraordinary tool in that it provides three dimensional imaging of your pedaling dynamics, particularly useful in diagnosing and correcting lateral anomalies in the motion of your knees, hips, and ankles. This data, in turn, facilitates the diagnosis and correction of flaws in the pedal stroke related to any such asymetrical anatomical anomalies. In addition to complex 3-D imaging, The RETÜL processor and software also provides us with a complete ergonomic and biomechanical map of the rider's pedal stroke and position on the bike.
Armed with this crucial data, our fit technicians are able to fine tune every significant parameter of the fit, ensuring that nothing is left to chance, and protecting the rider from unwanted pain and discomfort often experienced when riding an improperly sized and customized bike. This data also serves as a blueprint for future fit adjustments which may be desired due to changes in the rider's range of motion. Range of motion may increase as fitness and performance levels rise, and decrease as a result of injury or reduced training opportunities.
All of the common problems experienced by so many cyclists—including back pain, neck pain, knee pain, and posterior pain—can be solved through the proper application of the sophisticated analytical tools that comprise the FitLab at Ata Cycle.
A Perfect Fit
A perfect fit occurs when your weight is properly distributed on the bike fore and aft, the contact points of feet, saddle and hands are in the correct relationship, and your cleats are positioned such that you are capable of developing maximum power with maximum comfort and optimal handling. This balance can only be achieved though the proper interpretation of the appropriate anatomical and ergonomic data by an experienced bicycle fit technician. At Ata Cycle, regardless of the price of the bike, the FITLAB guarantees that your position on the bike will be customized so that power, comfort and handling are fused into a harmonious whole.