Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 5th, 2007 at 4:11 pm
Trek introduced Sylvester and the new “Fit System” at Trek World, their dealer-only trade show back in August.
Sylvester — a 50 year-old yoga teacher and former elite-level cyclocross racer — did private fit consultations and was the bike fit specialist for the Bike Gallery from the late 1980s until he launched his own company, Bicycle Fitting Services, in January of this year. In addition to his private practice, Sylvester conducts fit seminars for bike shop employees around the country.
Highly-regarded both by his clients and throughout the bike industry, Sylvester is also the man behind the Serotta Fit System, which he developed back in 1996.
I spoke with Sylvester about the partnership yesterday and he says working with a company like Trek is like being “a kid in the candy store”.
“My goal has always been… to have the bike industry take fitting as seriously as they take carbon fiber.”
When Sylvester worked with Serotta he says they had an excellent program, but he realized they did not have the size and resources to raise the bike-buying public’s awareness of the value of an expert bike fit.
“My goal has always been to get fitting into every shop and to have the bike industry take fitting as seriously as they take carbon fiber. I think it’s ironic that so many bikes are sold but not much attention is paid to the interface of the body and the bike.”
Sylvester says he’s “been bugging” Trek to create this program for the last six years because, “They have the resources to make a cultural change in the way people think about bike fit.” Trek listened, but wasn’t quite ready to act.
an internal Trek newsletter.
They would send employees to attend his seminars and report back on what they’d seen. Then, about a year ago, one of Trek’s top brass had a layover in a city where Sylvester was teaching. He liked what he saw so much that he invited Sylvester to Trek Headquarters to give the seminar to 20 of their R&D and product managers.
“It was a hardcore seminar” remembers Sylvester, “and they loved it.”
Soon after, they gave Sylvester the “green light” to create his dream fit program.
Trek’s Fit System is still being developed, but Sylvester says in addition to dealer fit seminars, they plan to create an online resource for dealers, create new diagnostic tooling (based on his designs) and offer bike fit certifications.
Sylvester is especially excited for the opportunity to collect data from the fits that will help improve bikes and components. “The idea is to use hard data from the fitting procedure to directly inform design”. Sylvester says he’s already working on a new handlebar.
For Sylvester, it’s all about making a good bike fit mainstream. He hopes his efforts with Trek trickle down to the entire industry and “force everybody else to raise the bar in terms of fitting services.”
Read more about Michael Sylvester in this story I wrote about him last year.