Why should you invest in a professional bike fit?

Why should you invest in a professional bike fit?

Technician Jake Yarranton explains the importance and benefits of offering bike fit services in-store.

It surprises me when I talk to people who are avid cyclists and have been for a long time just how unaware the public is of the many benefits of bike fitting. Many people don’t even know that this process is available. Business owners and cyclists alike should understand the importance and positive benefits of bike fitting, and offering bike fitting services in-store.

For many amateur riders, a bike fit won’t represent a marginal gain, but potentially it’ll give them the maximum improvement they need; a lot won’t understand this until they are sat with your technician and they start discussing what they are feeling and start making changes.

An off-the-shelf bike will regularly need changes to make sure that the risk of injury is minimised and comfort is enhanced whilst ensuring the setup matches the individuals’ appropriate cycling goals. For the novice cyclist who has just been welcomed into the cycling world, the best possible way to start making progress is through a bike fit. This doesn’t have to be the selling point; a simple introduction to the bike fit technician is generally enough to help create a good relationship.

A bike fit isn’t just about improving performance, although, for some riders this is going to be all they want to achieve. I always concentrate on three main factors when working with someone during their bike fit. These are power production, aerodynamics, and comfort. The priority will be identified when the fitter and cyclist have a detailed conversation about what the cyclist realistically wants to achieve. To address these three factors effectively, it is not unusual for certain parts
to be recommended for change, such as the
saddle and stem.

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Being in the position to offer your customers a bike fit for any bike will immediately make them feel as though you and your staff have their best interest in mind. Whether you are looking out for a regular customer or you are attracting new customers who have seen the service advertised, you are suddenly capturing a market that was completely missed when fitting was unavailable.

Throughout the bike fit process, a lot of opportunity arises to sell extras to the customer; it may just be a stem for one but may be a full bike for another. On more than one occasion, I have had to tell someone their bike is the incorrect size and almost instantly we are talking about what bike we are going to order and what date we are going to finish the bike fit on! Outside of extreme circumstances, almost every fit will require an extra purchase here or there.

As cyclists, we should not have to just ‘accept’ that we are wriggling around on the saddle to be comfortable, putting up with numbness, or suffering pain in our backs, knees and feet. A bike fit will help these issues and you will increase our enjoyment and performance, whilst avoiding injury and riding many more miles. So, lets offer it to all cyclists.

Now, I appreciate this is a lot of information, and you’re probably asking yourself whether you really do need to hire a bike fit technician in-store full-time. The answer is yes. When I’m not fitting, I will pull my weight on the sales floor, workshop or wherever else might need that extra hand. I started as a sales assistant and have worked my way up. Look around your business and have a think – can you utilise a staff member from inside rather than bringing someone in?

The answer again, is most likely to be yes.
Ideally, everyone should be booking themselves in for a bike fit every year. The customer may think that’s excessive, but a lot can change within that year. The more the customer has ridden, the more the body will change and adapt. They may also have suffered injuries and setbacks throughout the year. Most technicians and businesses will offer a discounted rate for the annual appointment, still charging enough to make money but
making the customer feel as though they are being looked after and that their best interest is in mind. This is a great way to improve repeat custom and make the customer, who has no loyalty to an LBS, loyal.

I’ve completed a large number of bike fits and everyone I’ve worked with has experienced some degree of benefit. To invest in having a professional bike fit technician working inside your store will not only be financial beneficial, it also offers that little bit extra for all your customers. It’s a key service that the online industry cannot compete against!

Tags: Jake Yarranton , editorial

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