Retul ... really?
Before I forget (as it was a while since I had it done) I thought I’d
better record the day I went for a Retul bike-fit. This may, or may not,
be of benefit to those wondering whether they’re worthwhile. I’ll leave
it to you to decide.
Once upon a time I was young and had to fund my lavish extravagancies
by working for a living. I tried this for somewhere in the region of 32 years
before eventually deciding it just wasn’t for me, Towards the latter end of
my working life, I spent a bit of time at Planet X … which was probably the
final straw as far as I was concerned
It wasn’t all bad though.
While at Planet X I got to try out a lot of nice kit, had a bit of a laugh and
met a few good people, one of who was Andy Sexton. He’d been there
for a while but was getting itchy feet and when he came into a bit of
money decided it was time to move on and invest in something he’d
wanted to do for a while … set up a bike fitting service. Bike Science
was born J
Shortly after Bike Science was up and running, Andy invited me over for a Retul bike fitting session We both thought it would be interesting to see how my own tried and tested tt position compared to the optimum Retul bike-fit set up.
Andy’s premises were easy to find and had ample on-site parking (although I believe he’s moved on to bigger premises since then … so probably best to check if you intend paying him a visit).. It was quite impressive. Squeaky clean with plenty of juicy bits of kit for potential customers to drool over while he set up the fitting kit.
To start with, Andy had me lay on a massage table where he proceeded to push and pull me (a bit) to check on my flexibility and leg lengths etc.
Once the pre-ambles had been completed, I got on the bike and lots of sensors were placed in critical position on my body. The positioning of these is VERY important as they are picked up from a box of tricks and the points transferred to a display on the fitter’s computer. You are heavily relying on the expertise, knowledge and competence of the bike fitter here … so if he appears not to know what he’s doing when you have your fit carried out, he probably doesn’t and your results will be worthless.
I had complete faith in Andy though.
Once everything had been set up (correctly) Andy asked me to warm up then complete a short effort at a certain wattage in the tt position. I was able to monitor the progress on a screen in front of me.
The data was then analysed by Andy and a few tweaks subsequently made to my position. We repeated the procedure several times before Andy came up with the optimal (Retul) bike-fit position for me.
To be fair, I think we were both surprised with the results. My position hasn’t changed THAT much since the introduction of tri-bars in 1990(ish) … a period during which I’d won National CTT Championships and broken RRA records … but a number of tweaks were suggested / recommended nevertheless.
My saddle was (apparently) too low, my stem too long and my front end too low.
We discussed the results and agreed that ‘not everyone is the same’. My preference for a low saddle (for example) is probably as a result of me having had four or five operations ‘down under’ over the years causing discomfort if the saddle is too high.
Others may have flexibility issues meaning the ‘ideal’ Retul fit won’t be ‘spot-on’.
However, we both agreed that from a newbies viewpoint, a Retul fit would be an excellent way to arrive at a position that has been proven to be more or less the ‘ideal’ one (take from that what you will).
Andy’s Bike Science business has expanded somewhat over the last 5 or 6 years with a number of ‘franchises’ cropping up around the country.
Other Retul bike fits are available (RideHarder in East Anglia for example)… all of which I understand undergo training and pretty strict monitoring by Retul to safeguard their good name.