Cycling News: New App May Help To Set New Bike Fitting Standards

Although cycling is considered to be a low-impact sport, many cyclists may still end up with knee pain at some point in their training. With over 47.5 million Americans enjoying the activity in 2017, it is likely that some of these cyclists at some point sought medical attention. In a study by the University of Washington School of Medicine, it was found that physicians should consider medical factors as well as adjusting various components of the bicycle, such as the seat height, when treating a patient who has cycling-induced discomfort. 

In a similar vein, a study investigating the effects of saddle height on knee forces of recreational cyclists have found that a correct bicycle saddle height can help to minimise possible knee injury and pain. Proper bike fit, especially when it comes to saddle height, is vital for the full utilization of leg muscles, a good cycling experience and the prevention of injuries. With this parameter in mind, Double Dog Studios launched an app aimed at reducing and potentially preventing injuries that may stem from incorrect saddle height. 

Point, Tap and Pedal

“Using neural networks and our library of over 190,000 unique bike fitting videos, we built a system to quickly and accurately track key points on a rider’s body without markers or sensors. Using this technology, we then built software to automate the video recording, analysis and recommendation process. The software detects when a rider is on the bike and has established a consistent pedaling rhythm and automatically records a video. After the video recording, the Bike Fast Fit EZ app automatically analyzes the video and prepares the bike fitting results and recommendations by the time the rider is off the bike.” Todd Millard, co-founder of Double Dog Studios, explains. 

Considered to be the first of its kind the app, (Bike Fast Fit EZ), is a markerless, motion tracking, saddle height measurement and adjustment recommendation app. The app aims to make it easy for all bicycle riders and spin trainers to enjoy a more comfortable ride.  

To use the app, users simply need to point their smartphone or tablet at the rider and tap the record button. The rider then pedals until the app beeps.  The user can review key angles, measurements and recommendations. Designed with time efficiency in mind, the app aims to eliminate the hassle associated with traditional bike fitting procedures. 

Why Saddle Height Matters

If the saddle is set too low, the hamstrings may not be properly engaged, forcing the rider to primarily use their quads. This can make pedaling less efficient and tiresome. On the contrary, if the saddle is too high the rider’s hamstrings may overpower the quads at the bottom of the pedal stroke, which may cause a stressful snap in the knee. Low saddle height can lead to possible repetitive stress injury of the knee, but there is a sweet spot where the muscles are balanced and work efficiently together. The sweet spot is notoriously difficult to hit, but research has indicated that an angle between 140 and 150 degrees at maximum knee extension is optimal. For the typical rider this translates to a saddle height within the three quarters of an inch range to achieve an optimal knee angle. 

Apart from knee angle, the foot angle in relation to the pedal should also be considered as changes in the foot angle can directly change knee angle. When the saddle is too high, some riders compensate by pointing their foot which, in turn, increases the foot angle and decreases the knee angle. 

A Quick Look At: Double Dog Studios, LLC

Founded by brothers Todd and Terry Millard in 2010, Double Dog Studios, LLC was created with the focus on using advanced technology to create innovative bike fitting apps. Since 2013, Double Dog Studios have offered two bike fitting apps, namely: Bike Fast Fit and Bike Fast Fit Elite. These apps record slow motion video and provide tools for measuring angles and distances, generating a fitting report aimed at helping users achieve a better bike fit. Their latest app, Bike Fast Fit EZ, combines the brothers’ bike fitting experience with an artificial intelligence system to help make bike fitting more accurate and accessible.

Todd Millard states: “Bike Fast Fit EZ is designed to make professional quality bike fitting information available to all bicycle riders. Our 7-day free trial allows anyone with an iOS device to try it out on their bike, no risk.” 

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