When Specialized acquired Retül in 2012 it marked a significant evolution in the brand’s commitment to rider ergonomics. Retül fitting stations are now available in 1,000 locations worldwide with nearly 500 of those added in just the last year. To keep the momentum going Specialized and Retül recently rolled out another high-tech solution called Match. And it’s free.

According to Retül co-founder Todd Carver, Match is not a fitting tool like their comprehensive Vantage Motion Capture system. Match is an advanced measurement platform designed to quickly and consistently collect basic sizing metrics. In as little as fifteen minutes Match gathers rider data and offers precise recommendations for frame size, seat height, saddle width, and shoe size. The suggestions generated are not just offered in raw numbers, but with specific products in the Specialized catalog.

Retul Match offers quick fitting and sizing recommendations to riders in as little as 15 minutes.

For the brick and mortar retailer, Match is another service they can leverage to win dollars away from online sellers. The Match system instantly validates the bike shop experience with a level of individualized attention no website can offer. It’s easy for any shop employee to use and isn’t overwhelming to the customer. The process doesn’t need a bike and only requires the customer to remove their shoes and follow a few simple instructions.

Another important element of the system was outlined by Scott Stroop, the business and marketing manager for Specialized Body Geometry and Retül. “The Match system creates a uniform experience from dealer to dealer and helps introduce new riders to the importance of bike and accessory fit.” It’s that extra step successful shops are looking for to get an edge over their competition, whether it’s on the internet or down the street.

Retul Match offers quick fitting and sizing recommendations to riders in as little as 15 minutes.

Each Match kiosk is built around a large touch-screen interface mounted above Retül’s optical sensor bar. After answering a few basic questions about rider gender, riding style, and general positioning on the bike, the system prompts the user to begin taking measurements with the wireless Zin Wand. Placed on the rider’s ankles, knees, and hips, the location of the Zin Wand is recorded by the optical readers on the kiosk. Those measurements accurately record leg length to establish frame size and seat height.

A pressure sensitive pad mounted on a stool measures sit bone width to help with saddle selection. It’s a non-awkward means of gathering a rather intimate measurement. Foot shape is evaluated in 3D on a dedicated pad and includes analysis of the rider’s arches to assess the need for supportive insoles. All of the measurements quickly pinpoint any asymmetry which might cause issues down the road. In that regard it’s not just new riders who benefit from a run-through of the measurements.

Retul Match offers quick fitting and sizing recommendations to riders in as little as 15 minutes.

With the rider’s metrics and preferences recorded, the shop employee can then drill down to suggested products best suited to meet the customer’s needs. That information is saved on Retül’s Rider Portal database for future reference to help continually guide the customer through the buying process.

Retul Match offers quick fitting and sizing recommendations to riders in as little as 15 minutes.

The advantages of the Match system don’t stop at the store level. Since its inception in 2007, Retül has gathered fit data from more than 20,000 individuals ranging from first-time riders to top level pros. Specialized hopes to integrate the Match program into 50% of their dealers with the goal of sampling 1 million riders by 2020. For a manufacturer like Specialized, data is king. As their database grows the easier it will be for their product developers to refine the fit of their bikes and shoes.

As bike shops struggle to maintain a foothold in an ever shifting marketplace, programs like Retül Match will certainly help tip the balance in their favor.

retul.com

23 COMMENTS

    • That is a hazard of modern journalism, I’ll give you that. I did go through the Match system myself and reported on the mission of the program as outlined by Specialized/Retul. In the future I’ll write things like this in iambic pentameter. 🙂

  1. ATTN ONLINE BUYERS: now you can go to the specialized shop, get sized up & go home and order better, cheaper, non-specialized parts online!

    • You could do this any way with retül systems; my fitter does a bike sizing option where if you pay about $100 he can go through any frame you give him and tell you which frame and size will fit best then when you get the bike he discounts your fit $50 bucks. $350 for about an hour or so’s work is a lot better than some of the margins on bikes even without factoring in the overhead or risk. As far as this tool my guess it will help mitigate the common issue of poorly trained sales staff getting customers in the wrong sizes etc. which is a huge problem in the industry.

  2. You’d think that Specialized would expand Retul locations since it’d bring more customers into Specialized stores. It doesn’t look like they’re doing that. There’s one Retul location in all of Ohio.

    • I think this has to do with what shops/fitters pony up the $$$ for the Retul technology and the training (12-20K) I’m sure Specialized dealers get a discount, however, Retul is operated as an independent brand for the most part.

  3. I wonder if Specialized is putting in the building blocks for online sale of bikes through dealerships e.g. Trek model? Theoretically this would cut back on folks accidentally ordering the wrong sized frame which is probably the biggest profit leak in that whole model. Something to the degree that if this device says the frame you’re buying is too small that Specialized won’t take the bike back if you proceed to order it. It will be interesting to see how this plays out I think it will be very helpful for new riders who really have no clue on how things fit; I had a guy in my office tell me he is buying “bike shoes” but is sizing up 1.5 sizes so they’re comfy, this would be helpful to a rider like this and frankly make the LBS less intimidating. As stated earlier some shop salespeople are great but when it comes to things like frame sizing and fit its a total crapshoot for new riders and I know way too many people who were sold a frame too large or too small to some degree this will put a “bike fitters” eye on the sales floor in busy shops (e.g. shops that can afford to pay 7 grand for a sizing device)

    • Excellent points. I was actually wondering the same thing regarding the move toward online sales. It’s unfortunate there are so many shops with a reputation of not being able to perform basic frame sizing for new customers. The irony in all this is, more than likely any Specialized dealer with an extra 7k to spend on this device has already sent one or more employees to “fit school” at SBCU.

What do you think?