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The Independent Bike Fitter

In Ep. 8 I spoke with Sean Madsen who is the owner of the Denver Fit Loft in Denver Colorado.  After running the Specialized BG Fit program for 5 years and fitting some of the greatest cyclists in the world (Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, and Tom Boonen), Sean decided to embark upon his own project to provide custom bike fitting for Denver area cyclists. After 5 years of running the BG Fit program, he noticed that on average only 10% of the thousands of people he trained implemented fit effectively in their business.  Sean attributes this to the fact that the majority of bike shops’ primary task is to sell bikes and bike-related inventory and provide bike service.  While bike fitting is a service, many of the trained fitters were also managers, owners, mechanics, salespersons…etc.  He expressed that fitting gets “pushed down on the priority list” when a shop needs to pay bills, move inventory and employees have multiple responsibilities.  As a result, he created his own independent bike fitting business to implement the strategies he formerly taught but without the capital investment of bicycles and bicycle equipment.

Sean also spends significant time on the pod defining different types of bike fitting and why it’s important that these exist: foundation fitting, custom fitting, and pre bike purchase sizing.  He also offers advice to bike shops and fitters on finding success with fitting and sizing in the current marketplace.

Of course, we also traverse plenty of other great topics in cycling and fitting.  Take a look at the rundown below:

THE DIVE: Ep. 8 Topics

  • Sean’s background with BG Fit and studying with Dr. Andy Pruitt
  • Why custom fitting is not functioning well in many bike shops
  • The benefits of an independent bike fit studio
  • The appropriate level of fitting at a bike shop
  • Sizing vs. Fitting
  • Pre Bike Purchase Sizing
  • The adjustable bicycle and the adapable human body
  • PTs and bike fitting
  • How often a cyclist should get a bike fit
  • Advice to bike shops to be successful with fitting in the current sales landscape
  • Foundation bike fit vs. custom bike fit
  • The length of a bike fit session
  • How to discern whether someone needs a custom bike fit vs. a foundation bike fit
  • Mountain bike fitting
  • Marketing in bike fitting
  • Fitting is rider education
  • How bike fitting is currently devalued by some who offer it

Fitting is a full customization of the bike to the rider and to get to that true customization you really have to understand the rider.  You’ve got to understand their goals, history, experience, anatomy, range of motion, stability and you have to know how all of those things relate to that rider. It’s only through understanding the rider in total that you’re going to be able to address their issues effectively and precisely.  To get to that level and to really understand the rider takes education, a lot of experience and a lot of practice.

Sean Madsen

Sean Madsen is a world-renown cycling biomechanics expert who has worked with over 12,000 athletes of all abilities during a career spanning 20 years. Early in his career, Sean honed his skills at the prestigious Boulder Center for Sports Medicine where he studied under the founder of modern bike fitting, Dr. Andy Pruitt PA EdD.  Sean then moved to California to create and grow Specialized’s Body Geometry Fit program where he taught thousands of fitters worldwide. He is one of the foremost experts in aerodynamic testing, working with over 200 athletes in the wind tunnel and over 100 more in velodrome validation testing. Sean has worked with some of the best cyclists and triathletes in the world, including Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Boonen, Javier Gomez, and Jan Frodeno. Making the best of the best a little faster is fun, but creating ways to help the everyday rider become a life-long cyclist and enthusiast is the most rewarding. Most of all, Sean is a passionate cyclist who has dedicated his life to showing others how riding a bike can change your life.

You can contact Sean or find out more about his practice by visiting the Denver Fit Loft website.

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