BICYCLE POSITIONING GOES FAR BEYOND MERE MEASUREMENT
In the world of bike positioning, we have already experienced many different approaches and different ways of measuring ourselves. Not infrequently, different ‘positioning specialists’ produce completely different results for the same rider. A rather strange fact in our opinion, which points to the fact that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the measurements of different specialists. And what especially struck us about positioning measurements we had done over the years with Cyclelive Magazine was the lack of follow-up.
With that information in mind, we went to visit Bikefit Van Staeyen in Schoten near Antwerp. We had already heard from some riders that they do pay attention to follow-up after the measurements. We wanted to find out for ourselves and at the end of August 2021 our guinea pig was subjected to a full Bikefit.
Ex-pro cyclist and bikefit expert
The name Van Staeyen will probably ring a bell with readers. Michael is an ex-pro cyclist and was especially known for his strong sprinting skills.
He had a great career as a professional cyclist for ten years including four years with Cofidis and he finished sixth at the 2020 Belgian pro championships in Halle.
Together with his brother Kevin Van Staeyen, also a former cyclist, he specialized as a Bikefite expert and went in search of what they believe to be the most sophisticated and modern bikefit device on the market.
We let both gentlemen talk about their new bikefit system and the philosophy behind this unique story.
Michael and Kevin why did you start creating a full bikefit department within your father’s bike company?
Michael: “It actually stemmed from my pro cycling career. I’ve always been maniacal about positioning myself and others. Very often I saw on sight that even real riders were not sitting correctly on their bikes. It became an obsession for me to know everything about this and one day become one of the best bikefit experts. The fact that I can then do that together with my brother makes it that much nicer.”
Kevin: “We can safely say that we complement each other and that the sum of us two is not two but three. It is a passion and a challenge to help everyone who comes across the floor here and ultimately put them in their best position. That’s why follow-up is at the heart of our business! You can position the best device in the world, but human adjustment is still needed. Follow-up and possible minor adjustments afterwards is therefore at least as important as the positioning itself. When you then finally manage to help sometimes very difficult cases that have been struggling with injuries for a long time, it gives a great kick.”
Tell us how you work.
Kevin: “During an intake interview we sound out your goals and any pain symptoms. These are discussed in detail and we put them on file. The areas of concern are then already clearly highlighted. Then we will make a 3D scan of your body and collect all your data while you ride on our smartbike. In this way we determine your cycling position to perfection. Finally, we are going to shape the science of the smartbike with our own vision and experience and with your personal points of interest. And then there is our follow-up after the bikefit.”
About that follow-up, we’ll talk a little more later, what’s special about the smartbike?
Michael: “What is very special and unique is the fact that our system does not use markers. That is, our software, recognizes all the joints and analyzes the angles between them every second. In doing so, the bike automatically adjusts as you pedal.”
Kevin: “The 3D body scan improves the measurement accuracy and allows the analysis of movement on 3 anatomical planes. The software automatically recognizes the ‘nodes’ of body joints and determines the length of body parts. The Smart Bike also continuously adjusts itself. The system is thus the very first that actually adapts completely to the test rider himself.”
Michael: “But before we put you on the smartbike we do another positioning of the cleats. The feet are the most important contact point between cyclist and bike. It is therefore of great importance that your cleats are positioned correctly down to the millimeter in order to cycle pain-free. Using a laser and a protractor, we determine the position of your cleats.”
So the measurement can be done for any type of shoes and cleats?
Michael: “The idmatch Cleat Fit has protractors for most types of cleats: Shimano SPD and SPD SL, Look Keo, etc. We also work with Solestar, known as the very best sport – shoe soles, to address issues such as sagging feet and maximize power transfer.”
Tell us a little more about follow-up after positioning….
Kevin: “Well that, in our opinion, is therefore at least as important as the measurement and positioning itself. We make the biggest difference with our after-service. A new position must be closely monitored and, if necessary, adjusted.
We get back in touch with everyone a few weeks after the positioning to evaluate and adjust if necessary. In most cases, everything runs on wheels immediately, but in the most difficult cases it is sometimes necessary to make several adjustments.”
Michael: “It is a challenge for us to ultimately put everyone in the best position and cycling pain-free. That’s why interaction, communication and follow-up are key.”
Bikefit Van Staeyen
Rodeborgstraat 69, 2900 Schoten
0032 479 68 93 01