By Robert Annis
INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Six months after its launch, Zipp’s Vuka Fit app and web software is approaching 5,000 unique users, Zipp officials say.
“One of the biggest selling points of our aero bars is that they have (thousands of) potential adjustments to dial in your fit,” said Zipp spokesman Dan Lee. “But this also can be complex to figure out.”
That’s where the Vuka Fit app (downloadable from Apple’s online App Store or the Zipp website) comes in. Zipp offers two aero bar systems that can be used with the software: the Vuka Stealth: a one-piece carbon bar and stem, and the Vuka Alumina modular cockpit.
After customers choose their preferred product, they are then asked to input their current fit info, including stack and reach height, armrest width and bike length. After analyzing the data, the app walks them through Zipp’s product options, as well as angles and measurements to make the cockpit fit perfectly. Zipp claims the app can dial in a triathlete’s fit down to the millimeter.
“The most important things when determining fit are comfort, power and aerodynamics,” said Zipp engineer Ben Waite, who designed the app with the help of student engineers at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. “Comfort makes up between 70-80 percent of the equation. When a rider finally gets comfortable in his position, that’s when he can put down more power.”
The goal of Vuka Fit was to create a tool “as foolproof as possible,” Waite said. “Looking at a spreadsheet (filled with all the different fit options), that can be a bit overwhelming for most riders.”
So far about 1,000 users have accessed the app through the app store and around 3,500 via the website. The software has driven “higher than forecasted” sales of the cockpits, product manager Nate Schickel claimed, although he declined to provide sales figures.
Both Waite and Schickel said the software would not take the place of a traditional professional bike fit, insisting instead that the software worked best in conjunction with a certified bike fitter.
Schickel said new aero bars may be added to the Vuka Fit app in the future; standard drop bars are a little less likely, at least in the short term, given the additional complexity involved.