If you’ve had a bike fit, you know it’s tedious, methodical work–plumb bobs are dangled, angles are measured, and parts are moved ever-so-slightly, one millimeter at a time, until it’s in just the right position. A good bike fit takes at least an hour of your time; I’ve had some fitters that block off three hours for making adjustments and swapping out parts. But what if you could skip all of that and instead do your bike fit right in your home? That’s the premise behind MyVeloFit, a virtual bike fitting app that uses AI technology to help cyclists make fit adjustments on their own.
Do-it-yourself bike fittings are nothing new–cyclists and triathletes have been eyeballing their bike fit for as long as bikes have been around. Some do it to save money, others because they don’t have a professional bike fitter in their town, and still others because they don’t see the need for it. In a time when instructions for just about everything can be found online, including YouTube videos on how to do your own bike fit, it’s no surprise more and more people take the DIY route when it comes to bike fit. It’s also no surprise there are a lot of people with bad DIY bike fits hindering their comfort and performance.
Virtual bike fittings are nothing new, either. At the beginning of the pandemic, just about every bike fitter I know offered video consultations. But MyVeloFit is the first to develop a data-based app to take the fitter out of the equation altogether, instead using algorithms based on over ten million data points to systematically analyze the user’s bike fit and bring some guidance to do-it-yourselfers.
Does that mean MyVeloFit is setting out to put professional bike fitters out of business? Hardly. Instead, it might just be the thing to save the DIY crowd from themselves.
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MyVeloFit Review: What We Liked
MyVeloFit currently offers three levels of membership for individual users:
A free, basic bike fit
An “enthusiast” level membership for a one-time detailed fit on a single rider for a single bike ($35)
A “pro” membership with one year of fits for a single rider on multiple bikes ($75)
Those prices are lower than an in-person bike fit–much lower: $35 is not that much money compared to the $100 and more most bike fitters charge for a one-time fitting. For those who live in rural areas or places where good professional fitters are hard to find, there’s also the savings of time, as one does not have to drive to the next city over for a bike fitting appointment. All that’s needed to do the bike fit at home is a phone, a bike, and a stationary trainer. (MyVeloFit also offers monthly membership options for retailers, bike fitters, coaches, and physical therapists to use with multiple clients.)
The free option for the app only generates an extremely straightforward, extremely basic fit analysis. To get a truly customized bike fit, one must pay for the enthusiast or pro membership. There, the user can upload video of specific mobility tests, which the app uses to assess your upper and lower-body mobility.
The app provides very specific instructions for how to record the video, and it’s important to follow those instructions or your video will get kicked back as unreadable by the algorithm. A successful video, however, will generate details on your mobility and flexibility, which it uses to create a custom dataset for the bike fit ahead.
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From there, the user records more video–this time, on the bike. After uploading the video of the rider pedaling away, the algorithm analyzes the data points in your app (I like to imagine thousands of tiny robot bike fitters in my phone, wearing denim aprons and holding plumb bobs, even though I know the reality is just a bunch of computer code). Five minutes later, MyVeloFit generates a detailed analysis of what’s working, what’s not, and what fit fixes need to be made.
In all, my do-it-yourself bike fit with MyVeloFit took about an 90 minutes, mostly because of re-uploading videos and googling for more information (more on that below). Most of the recommendations were simple and specific: “Raise your seat 5 mm” was an instruction I could follow easily. After making adjustments, the user can upload another video for a re-analysis to fine-tune.
The app asks whether the rider’s priority is performance, comfort, or both. The recommendations are based on this preference; a performance fit on a triathlon bike will be more aggressive than a comfort fit. The aforementioned mobility tests also factor in to the algorithm; a fit only works if a rider has the flexibility to move efficiently in that position. That’s where the MyVeloFit excels over most do-it-yourself approaches: instead of making blanket recommendations saying “your leg length is such-and-such, so your seat should be at this height,” the app takes multiple, personalized factors into consideration.
In the end, I emerged with a triathlon bike fit that was more comfortable than what I had originally set up when building my bike (which basically involved standing over my handlebars and shimmying the seat until it looked about right, then wondering why my knee hurt and I kept sliding forward on the saddle during the maiden voyage). There was also a sense of satisfaction from taking the fit into my own hands (literally). In the process of making adjustments, I got to know my new bike a little better and build up my wrench skills a bit, which in turn builds my confidence in being able to handle other bike maintenance tasks.
With a $35 “enthusiast” membership, I have access to my fit profile in MyVeloFit for two weeks, during which time I can upload up to five new videos per day as I refine my fit on my triathlon bike. Those with a $75 “pro” membership can use the app on multiple bikes (road, mountain, hybrid, triathlon, and even spin bikes) over the course of a year, allowing them to return to their fit analysis as they gain more fitness and flexibility as the season goes on.
MyVeloFit Review: What Could Be Better
This was the first time I had done my own bike fit. I’ve always gone to my local bike shop for a pro fitting when I get a new bike, because frankly, if I spend a lot of money on a bike, I want to make sure the fit is dialed in so I can get the most out of it. Though I appreciated the guidance I got from the app, I also left my virtual bike fitting with more questions than answers.
In addition to straightforward instructions like “raise your seat X mm,” the MyVeloFit analysis shows where the rider is within recommended ranges for factors like knee flexion or back angle:
This is where things get confusing for a do-it-yourself fitter. If a measurement is out of a recommended range, the user can click the question mark next to the factor to read more. For instance:
The solutions for getting within the recommended range are so open that it leaves a first-time DIY bike fitter like me confused. Is one adjustment better than the others for resolving this issue? If I decide to opt for raising my handlebars, by how much? The algorithm didn’t answer those questions for me, so I had two options: pay an additional $75 for my question to be escalated to a human (expert bike fitter and MyVeloFit co-founder Jesse Jarjour) or Google for free. In the spirit of doing a true do-it-yourself bike fit for this review, I opted for Google. I still don’t know if I made the right adjustment.
And that’s perhaps the most glaring shortcoming of an AI-powered bike fit: there’s no back-and-forth, no bike fitter asking,”How does that work for ya?” and making adjustments based on human feedback. I’ve ridden a lot of bikes over the years, so I have a general idea of how a bike should feel when it’s fit to my body. I can’t tell an app, “Hey, something doesn’t feel right.” I have to play around and figure it out myself. If you’re someone who is curious and likes to experiment, adjust, and geek out over data points, then the ranges provided in the MyVeloFit analysis can be a lot of fun. If you’re the kind who just wants to finish things up so you can go for a ride, it might be best to book an appointment with someone who knows what they’re doing. It’s also important to note that if you’re a brand-new cyclist (or on a brand-new type of bike, such as going from a road bike to a triathlon bike), a pro bike fit with a human fitter is ideal. MyVeloFit would be great for ongoing adjustments, however.
MyVeloFitReview: The Bottom Line
The MyVeloFit virtual bike fitting app addresses a major gap in the cycling marketplace. Those who don’t want to (or aren’t able to) visit a professional bike fitter now don’t have to fly blind when it comes to a do-it-yourself bike fit. The AI-powered app brings data and rigor to the fitting process, ensuring the user gets the comfort and performance benefits of a properly-fitting bike. Those who want more guidance, though, may still find the best answers lie in human hands.
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