Bike fitting at Corridori Cycle Sport

Nice day today.  I decided to try and sort out my position on the bike. 

Last year I was able to ride and ride without hardly a single ache or pain.  This year has been a bit different, not least I suspect as I’ve been working much harder on the bike – not so much in terms of volume, but of a much increased intensity.  Also on long climbs I’ve been finding that my back has been getting really sore.

After a tip-off from PaulS I decided to book myself in for a session at Corridori Cycle Sport, which is out near Epsom.  They are an official Specialized Body Geometry Bike Fit centre and the fitting is based on the ideas of famous cycling doctor Dr Andy Pruitt.

The Shop

I turned up at the shop a little early in the hope that they might be able to give my bike a mini-service as it hasn’t been quite the same after the disassembly and reassembly necessary for the trip to Majorca.  The bike was whisked off and I was offered a cup of tea!  How about that for service?

The shop is owned and staffed by cyclists which is fantastic.  Better still it is staffed by cyclists that know how to provide customer service.  The shop is very modern, has wooden floors, is very neat and organised and they have some good kit.  Specialized is the primary brand sold but Bianchi and Van Nicholas are also in evidence.

The shop is owned by Guy Rowland who has raced with Chris Boardman and is a National Champion on the track in his own right.  The manager, Paul Smith, has been involved in cycling for over 20 years and was going to be doing my ‘fit’.

The Fit

Paul was really friendly and instantly put me at ease.  He went to a lot of trouble explaining how the session would proceed and patiently explained every aspect of the fitting process.  This involved some questions about my cycling history, my goals and existing problems.

Various physical checks were then performed including flexibility and movement tests, the whole time Paul going to great lengths to make sure that I understood what was happening and why.  Despite being a terrible listener and generally disliking being instructed I found it really enjoyable.  Paul’s combination of knowledge, experience and evident enthusiasm made the whole process really enjoyable.

The next stage involved me getting on the bike which had been set up on a turbo.  I pedalled away while Paul went off to make another cup of tea – awesome :-) .  After more close inspection and measurements a few adjustments were made to the bike.  I’d also decided to get myself some proper bling shoes too – how about these bad boys?

Once the saddle and cleats had been set up we worked on the front end of the bike, specifically raising the stem a little and trying different length stems.  It became apparent that I had been over-reaching and needed a shorter stem.  Alas they didn’t have a suitable one in stock but not too worry.

Throughout the fit there was no hard sell, in fact quite the opposite.  If anything I was actively discouraged from ‘treating myself’.

So all done.  If I’ve made this sound like a quick process then that’s a false impression.  The total fit took almost 3 hours!  And only cost £120 – which is outrageously value.  The whole session was really informative and enjoyable and totally unhurried, which is not a reflection of a lack of diligence but instead of care and attention to detail.

Conclusion

In the end the changes that were made were relatively minor, but that is to be expected.   The full report can be downloaded here.

My seat was raised quite a lot, my cleat angled differently and insoles placed into my shoes and I’ve since purchased a shorter stem. The shoes, and I think specifically the insoles, instantly made a tremendous amount of difference.  When I first got out of a saddle to power up a hill I couldn’t believe how much more stable I felt.  I’ve no doubt that raising the saddle will eventually yield considerable advantages once my legs have adjusted to the new position and hopefully the shorter stem and raised bars will help with the sore back.

In the end for every hour on the bike there’s around 5000 pedal revolutions – it only takes something to be slightly wrong for problems to multiply.

In addition I now know how and what to measure on my bike and how to set up my other bikes.  Teach a man to fish and all that.

Could the service offered by Corridori been any better?  Hardly.  It’s ludicrously cheap given the time, care, knowledge and experience invested in the session.  A 10% discount is offered on any products that are purchased in the store.  The mini-service was completed at no cost!

OK – two minor areas of possible improvement.  It would have been great to leave the store fully sorted but there wasn’t much in the way of replacement stems that I needed.  This seems a bit of an odd oversight.  I was not surprised to have confirmed that I have tight hamstrings and it would have been great to have been offered advice on exercises that might help.

Overall I recommend the service to anyone.  Cyclists spend crazy amounts of money to shave a few grams of their bikes.  To not make such a small investment that can make so much difference to the riding experience and give real long term benefits would be nuts.