A group of sports scientists have developed a bike fit rig that prioritises physiological data such as power and heart rate over traditional body measurements to find a rider's most efficient and natural cycling position.
Ceri Pritchard, Director of R&D at Apex Bike Performance claims the Fit Bike has the edge over traditional biomechanical fitting programmes such as Retul and Specialized's BG Fit system because it uses power output, cadence and heart rate to help calculate a sweet spot in terms of efficiency of effort and power output.
Pritchard said the Fit Bike had taken 18 months to develop and can measure right/left power balance, cadence, heart rate and torque. It measures power output 64 times a revolution, he added.
Pritchard said: "A lot of positions might get you 90 percent or 95 per cent there, what we're really trying to find is that extra few percent to make it perfect for that individual."
And though he said the system didn't suggest radical position changes, he added: "What we've found is it gives a much higher fidelity position – it's more tuned to the individual."
He said the system would even tailor positions to account for details such as whether a rider predominantly used their quadriceps or gluteal muscles and that the system also allows riders to find the best position for their chosen discipline: track sprinters can sacrifice comfort to access more power and sportive riders can find a position that's more suitable for long hours in the saddle.
Pritchard said the bike is now on its way to be lab-tested in Hamburg in order to have the system's claims scientifically ratified.
At present UK bike shops De Ver Cycles and Maison du Velo are offering fits with the Apex Fit Bike, although Pritchard said there has been strong interest from other fitters to switch to the Apex system.
A similar system called BioBike was developed by an Australian, Stewart Williams, which also utilises physiological data such as power output to optimise cycling positions.