Offering a bike fitting service can benefit your business on many fronts, from increasing customer engagement, to driving more bike sales and P&A sales, and of course increasing revenue from the fitting service itself. Below we profile Velogicfit, the brainchild and success story of David Bowden.
David Bowden, tell us a bit about yourself? Where are you from, and what do you do?
I’m based in Cambridge, New Zealand with easy access to quiet country roads and some good MTB parks not too far away. I’m the technical director for velogicfit – essentially I come up with the product ideas and manage them through the development process. Additionally I consult to Profile Design for aerobars/handlebars so that I can get fit focussed products out into the market with worldwide distribution.
What’s your background in cycling?
I started road cycling and triathlon in High School and have never stopped. I never wanted to pursue cycling or triathlon as a career but have managed to get to a decent level domestically. I do enjoy mountainbiking but am not fearless enough to race. and have done plenty of bike touring including an eight countries trip around Europe with my wife. Apart from that I have dabbled in some single speed, cx and track.
How and why did you get into bike fitting?
While at University I worked at a bike shop and started taking an interest in fixing my own comfort problems, then helping others to be comfortable. Once in the corporate world I kept doing bike fits as a hobby and progressing my understanding, until I decided to open a fit studio and focus on bike fit. I still have the passion for making sure that people are comfortable on their bikes so that they can ride further, longer, faster and enjoy the sport. Now I am helping more people by training other fitters to use our software.
The system is now in 14 countries, to what do you attribute the success of the business?
We offer the widest range of fit software, from basic sizing through to 3D Aero and Motion capture. So there is something for all kinds of stores. Additionally, by carefully choosing the equipment and smart software design we’ve been able to bring high precision systems to a lower price point than was previously available.
What is the unique selling proposition of Velogicfit?
Each of our systems is simpler to use with an enhanced feature set compared to other options in the market. We are passionate about having more people riding bikes comfortably, the world over, so we have made products to assist retailers in achieving this overall mission.
What are the five most important benefits of the Velogicfit system for a bike store?
- Accuracy – we don’t use harnesses or draw on lines manually; every aspect of our development is focussed on providing the most repeatedly accurate products. Manual measurements or visual assessment simply can’t match the precision of the data we generate.
- Cost effectiveness – we have always challenged our developers and ourselves to make our products compelling for bicycle retailers, which means they need to add value to the ROI of bike fit for the store, not become an overhead. We have achieved this by running a lean, smart development process to keep costs down without compromising the level of innovation and quality of the products.
- Wow factor – the feedback from customers to our stores is always fantastic. Riders love seeing themselves on the screen and understanding why changes have been made to their position because of the information they can see (and feel). Having the right tools improves the customers perception of the service and justifies the expense of seeing a professional.
- Easy to use – the fit systems have been designed by bike fitters for bike fitters, they are intuitive and help you to speed up the fit while providing a professional service. With training to understand the data provided, our products are an easy way to raise the calibre of your bike fitting service.
- Training – every course that Velogicfit has delivered around the world has received positive feedback from attendees. They walk away from the courses with a greater understanding of bike fit, as well as the specific skills to use Velogicfit products effectively. Finally, we cover how to generate revenue by doing a good job, rather than by foisting products on the customer.
How does Velogicfit differ from other systems in the market?
Our bike finder is the only such system that gives a single best match, rather than calculating how you could fit on every size (as most of our competitors do because it is an easy calculation). It's also the only finder that can calculate the fit with aerobars at all, let alone to the level of precision that we achieve.
2D Motion is the only dynamic 2D motion capture system on the market. We have competitors trying to do the same thing so it remains to be seen how much of our process they manage to copy.
3D Motion is the only bike specific mocap system that uses flat passive markers for greater accuracy. And the only one that draws the wireframe on the rider, rather than not being able to see the rider in the video.
3D Aero is the only 3D based frontal area measurement tool – which means it doesn’t require a specific background (like a green screen) or colour ID process – it just works.
3D Sizer is the only system that can scan a customer with no input from a member of staff and produce a list of matching bikes from an array of brands.
Is there any universally recognised formal qualification for bike fitters?
No. The International Bike Fitting Institute (IBFI) is trying to establish levels of certification but they’re just based on how many courses you’ve attended or the equipment you’ve invested in – rather than a level of competence. It’s something the fit industry struggles with – trying to have a consistent level of service regardless of who you visit.
We’ve developed our training based on the core competencies needed to perform fits well, as a result the courses are a lot more intensive than most.