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Velo Fit First Steps


I announced the birth of Velo Fit in early April.  I had my Retül certification.  The Retül equipment and other bike fitting tools had been ordered.  The business had been registered.  The logo was being designed.  I had a location for my fit studio.

There were still things to do.  Design a website for instance.  But I was confident that I would make my target of first appointments in June.

What is it that Robert Burns said about the best laid plans of mice and men?

I opened for business in mid-August.

Here is what happened.  The lease at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. came up for renewal and the expected rental increase was more than Vanessa, Ray and their business partners was willing to bear.  So there was a scramble to complete the renovations at the new premises and to vacate the old shop.  That pushed the availability of space for my studio to mid-July.

Also it took longer than expected to find a carpenter to build a rotating platform.  The platform isn’t an absolutely essential piece of kit, but having it makes a fitter’s life much easier.  Retül customers in the USA get a completed platform as part of their equipment order.  It is a very heavy item though.  Not surprising as it has to support the weight of at least two people, a bicycle, and a turbo trainer.  So international customers get a box of screws, washers, casters and other metal parts, and assembly instructions.

In early August my cousin Yasmin put me in touch with a carpenter who could read plans.  Two weeks later my rotating platform was delivered to the newly-opened Van’s Urban Bicycle Co. shop in Kampung Tunku.

In the meantime I had accumulated the other bits and pieces I needed to equip my studio:  some chairs, a trolley to hold a laptop, a projector, tools etc., and a massage bed for the biomechanical assessments.  I was ready for business.

My first client was Mark.

Mark Lim Fitting

My second client was Marco.  Thank you Mark and Marco for setting me on my way, and bearing through all the teething troubles as I got the equipment, and myself, up to speed.

Marco Bike Fit

As you can see I changed the studio set up as I went along.  Hanging a sheet on the back wall as a screen for the projector was a bad idea.  Here’s the studio as it is today.

Velo Fit Studio

Fortunately there is just enough space for the rotating platform to actually pivot.

I am excited to finally be up and running.  My website at has already generated some appointments.  I am flashing my business card where ever I go.


Friends and family are helping me advertise.  The next few months will tell if this is a good idea.

In closing, here is a suggestion I got for a sticker that could go on each bike that comes through my studio:

Size doesn’t matter, but fit does!

Velo Fit is Born

I mentioned in Bike Fit that I was thinking about starting a bike fitting business in Kuala Lumpur.  The seeds were planted when I decided to become a certified Retül fitter.  Those seeds, to use a spring analogy, are bursting into bloom.

Retul Certified Logo_2013

Not long after I got my certification, I decided to go for it.  I know I will enjoy doing bike fits, and I do see a need for a bike fitting service in Kuala Lumpur.  Encouragement from everyone I spoke to about my proposed venture helped a lot too.

My first step was to think of a name for my business.  All the official steps to set up a business require a business name.  I bounced a few thoughts around with my biker chick.  We settled on Velo Fit.

Last week Retül notified me that I was officially a Retül member.  That gives me access to the Members Zone on the Retül web-site.  I can create a profile that visitors will see when they search for a Retül fitter in Malaysia.  That got me thinking about a logo for Velo Fit.

I briefly entertained the thought of creating my own logo.  Then common sense prevailed and I went looking for professional help.  I started by asking my SIL Delani if she knew any graphics designers.  Delani works in advertising, so the answer of course was “yes.”  I didn’t take her long to come back with some options, and more importantly, costs.  I had no idea what a logo designer charges.  Alot, as it turns out.  Anything from RM1,000 to RM5,000 / USD325 to USD1,625.  One designer offered to select a typeface to suit a an existing logo for the bargain price of RM1,000 / USD325.  I reckon I could do that, even with my limited design skills.

I cast my net further.  I Googled “Malaysian logo designers.”  I spent a few hours looking at on-line portfolios, reading reviews and deciding on a suitable design package.  I dialed two contact numbers to find out if the design revision process would be conducted on-line or it I could speak to the designer.  The end result is that for less than it costs to have someone select a typeface, I will work with a designer from to get a logo that I like.  I will also get designs for business cards, letterheads and envelopes.

Logo Design

Now all I notice are logos!

A few weeks ago I started looking at exactly what I needed to do to register a business.  The Companies Commission of Malaysia, properly known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM), has an excellent website that has all the information a neophyte like myself needs.  My options were to create a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, or a Limited Liability Partnership.


On April Fool’s day I registered Velo Fit as a Limited Liability Partnership, or LLP.  The choice of date was entirely coincidental by the way.

LLPs are new to Malaysia.  The Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2012 became law in February 2012.  Registrations of LLPs began in June 2012.

The advantage of an LLP is that any debts and obligations of the LLP are borne by the assets of the LLP.  In a conventional partnership, the partners are jointly and severally liable with the firm.  In short my biker chick and I, as partners in an LLP, are not at risk of losing all our assets if we are sued.

The registration process is done entirely on-line.  Apart from a visit to an SSM office to activate a MyLLP account.  Once I had an active account it took all of fifteen minutes to confirm that “Velo Fit” was available as a business name, to complete the registration process, and pay the fee to create a new LLP.  The confirmation email from the SSM that my registration was successful came minutes later.

I have also spoken to Ray Ther about using some space at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.  Either in their existing shop or in their upcoming new premises.  Sub letting space is ideal for me as I don’t need much.  Hopefully an arrangement with Van’s will be confirmed soon.

Van's Urban Bike

The big financial commitment to this venture went down last week.  I placed an order for the Retül Vantage system and the Levül Wheel Block.  I also ordered some other pieces of equipment from Purely Custom and Bike Fit.

Purely Custom

Bike Fit

One key piece of equipment came from the Ace Hardware shop at Plaza Jelutong.  I stopped there on the way home from last Saturday’s Guthrie Corridor Expressway ride to buy a 120 cm / 47 in box level.  An essential piece of equipment because the bicycle has to be level before readings are taken with the Vantage system.  Otherwise the reported angles will all be wrong.

Ace Hardware

Today I spent time looking at online appointment scheduling software.  The package that looks the most appealing so far is from Acuity Scheduling.  It is customizable, can be embedded into a WordPress blog, sends automatic booking reminders, and can process credit card payments.


Speaking of WordPress, my next task is to craft a Velo Fit blog page.  That is where I will list the services that I offer, take online bookings etc.  If comes through with a good logo I can always use their website design services when I am ready to have a standalone web site.


I plan to take my first Velo Fit appointments in June.  I’ll do a progress report in a month.

Bike Fit

My introduction to the concept of fitting a bike to a rider came via James Flatman.  See Jumping Into the Deep End for details.  What James did on that occasion was a static fit.  So called because all the body measurements are taken while the individual is standing still.  Using a tape measure, a plumb bob and a goniometer.

One year later things had moved on at Alchemy Bicycle Company.  Ryan Cannizzaro, James’ partner in the business at the time, had begun using a dynamic fit methodology.  So called because body measurements are taken while the individual is pedalling a stationary bicycle.  It was a testament to James’ static fit skills that his results of the previous year were identical to the results of the dynamic fit, except for a +5mm change to my saddle height.

The dynamic fit technology that Ryan used was from Retül, a four-year old company based in Boulder, Colorado.  That system uses a series of light-emitting diodes and a motion-capture camera to record measurements in three-dimensional space.  The geek in me was impressed with the technology, and with the range of data it produced.  The system seemed easy enough to use.  I wondered, somewhat abstractly, if the Retül system would catch on.

The topic of bike fitting has come up in conversation since then, but I hadn’t given it much attention.  Not until I got back to Malaysia that is.  Road cycling has become very popular here.  It is not unusual to be in the company of fifty or more cyclists on some of the routes on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.  My experience has been that it is also not unusual to see people that do not look comfortable on their bicycles.  Some people I have ridden with say they get sore backs and knees when they cycle.  Cycling-induced aches and pains are a sure indicator that the cyclist is riding a poorly-fitted bike.

I’ve been looking for things to do to keep me busy in Kuala Lumpur.  Providing Retül bike fits could be an option.  I did a bit of asking around and found that few bike shops in Kuala Lumpur offer a bike fit service.  GH SpeedBikes is a Specialized Concept Store and they offer the BG Fit.  A few others do static fits.  No one in Malaysia offers Retül fits.  The closest certified Retül fitters I can find are in Singapore.

My next step was to do some more research about what I would need to do to become a Retül fitter.  The short answer was to get certified and to buy the equipment.  The equipment isn’t cheap but it isn’t outrageously expensive either.  It made sense to me to do the certification course before deciding whether to invest in the hardware and everything else that comes with setting up a business.

The company has set up the Retül University to provide certification and other bike-fitting related courses in a variety of cities around the world.  The Transition to Dynamic Bike Fit pre-requisite and the Motion Analysis Certification courses were being offered in Brisbane, Australia in February 2013.  Of the cities where Retül offer courses, Brisbane is the closest.  So I signed up for the courses, started doing the pre-work, and booked my flights and accommodation.

Speaking of accommodation I must give airbnb a plug.  My biker chick has used airbnb to find great places to stay in a number of cities around the world. The place she found for me in Brisbane, The Last Resort, was no exception.  The home and the hosts, Paula and Thommo, were excellent.

The courses were conducted by Nick Formosa and Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling.  The class size is limited to five students.  Each of us got lots of personal attention as we worked our way through Fitting Terminology, Mechanics of Motion, and the various parts of the fit process:  the Rider Interview, the Pre-Fit Physical Assessment, the Fit, the Bike Measurement, and Report Generation.

Ryan, Nick and I discussing what the measurements mean.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

By the end of the three-day certification course Nick and Aaron had us doing bike fits for some of their paying customers.  Here Ron and Andrew are fitting eight sticky dots onto Alex Wohler of Team Budget Forklifts.  The light-emitting diodes attach to these dots.  Getting the dots in the correct place on the anatomical points is the most important thing to get right for accurate measurements.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

Alex is wired up and being scanned.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

We must have done well because we all qualified as Retül Certified Fitters.  Nick, me, Andrew, Ryan, Aidan, Ron and Aaron marking the moment.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

Photo courtesy of Aaron Lean at Cadence Performance Cycling

The hardware has been updated since Ryan did my Retül fit in 2011.  The motion-capture equipment is now wireless.  This is the camera.

Retül Vantage

Photo courtesy of Retül

This is the wireless harness and five of the eight light-emitting diodes.

Retül Harness

Photo courtesy of Retül

There is now a wireless tool called the Zin which is used with the motion-capture camera to measure the dimensions of a bike.

Photo courtesy of Retül

Photo courtesy of Retül

The entire base system comes in a carrying case.

Photo courtesy of Retül

Photo courtesy of Retül

A nice-to-have, but definitely an expensive option, is the Müve Dynamic Fit Bike.  This is an easily adjustable fit bike that is used to fit a rider before he or she buys a bike.

Photo courtesy of Retül

Photo courtesy of Retül

I am now a Retül Certified Fitter.  Able to use their system to capture dynamic data, review the results and make adjustments to the bike to help the rider pedal more efficiently, reduce the risk of injury, and increase comfort on the bike.  I now need to decide whether I want to invest the time, effort and money to get into the bike fitting business.

Something to think about on my rides to come.