Specialized Bicycle Components has just purchased Retül, a 3D data capture and fitting company based in Boulder, Colorado.
The news comes just days before an expected announcement by Specialized's competitor Cannondale of that company's speculated purchase of Guru Cycles, which owns a high-tech Dynamic Fit Unit system.
With its Motion Capture System, Retül (and shops that use the system) can record fit data while a rider rides a stationary bike.
Specialized has its own BG Fit, or Body Geometry Fit program, where Specialized dealers trained through the company fit customers with a variety of tools, including some video capture.
While BG Fit services are only available through Specialized retailers, Retül products are available to any bike shop. Retül co-founder Franko Vatterott said that open availability will remain.
Together, apart, now together again
Retül was founded in 2007 by Vatterott, Cliff Simms and Todd Carver. Carver previously worked for Andy Pruitt at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, which played a large role in the creation of Specialized's Body Geometry Fit. Pruitt also was instrumental in the creation and publicizing of Specialized's Body Geometry shoes.
When Carver split off with Retül, he became a competitor of sorts with his old mentor. Carver also did some work with Giro in the creation of that company's shoe line, further deepening the competitive separation with Specialized.
Last fall, Specialized and Retül collaborated in the sponsorship of triathlete Craig 'Crowie' Alexander, who won the Ironman world championships in Kona.
Now, Carver is back in the fold. All three remain fully onboard and involved in the direction of the company, Vatterott said. "We're still running the company day to day," he said. "Nothing is changing with the business."
LEDs are affixed to a rider's joints, and their 3D positions and movements are recorded by Retül's Motion Capture System
The road ahead
At Interbike, Retül will launch a new wireless software called Vantage that matches the company's Fit Bike.
"We are extremely pleased to collaborate with Retül," said Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard. "We were impressed with the latest technology and their profitable and debt-free business model, and we see this investment enabling them to further expand their impact on the fitting industry."
Another thing in the works is a real-time frame finder program called Retül Now. By putting LEDs on the Fit Bike and pairing it with Retül's frame-finder software, a bike fitter can provide instant information on what frames and components would best fit a rider. "You adjust the bike, and as you adjust it, it’s matching you up with existing frame geometries," Vatterott said. "That’s where fit is going. You get a fit before you buy your bike."
"With the resources that Specialized is putting in, we can go about 10 times faster now," Vatterott said.
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