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.

No Comments on “Bike fitting at Corridori Cycle Sport”

  1. 1 Jeremy B said at 9:29 pm on June 4th, 2009:

    Hi Paul,

    I had a similiar (if slightly more expensive) experience at Cyclefit in Covent Garden back in January. They measured all different lengths of limbs, flexibility of joints, muscles, angles that my feet naturally pointed at…then sold me some really expensive shoes,insoles, wedges for my right shoe, stack for my left, suggested a narrower handlebar, moved the saddle back and moved it down a whopping 37mm.
    I’ve got to admit that the shoes (Shimano R310s) are fantastic and genuinely make a difference. The wedges in my right shoe basically re-align my right knee so that it is now perfectly in line between ankle and hip. The stack in my left shoe helps keep my hips more stable so there is less body movement..
    The only downside I found (several months later admittedly) was that although they changed my saddle position so it became more comfortable, it actually resulted in a slight loss of power at a constant heart rate, as at the bottom of the pedal stroke my heel was lower then the pedal. I doubt that you’ll have the same problem though as your saddle is being raised.
    Flexibility is still a problem for me but again is something I’m working on by doing specific stretches daily. My hamstrings in particular are a problem area. I can recommend someone in the local area if your interested as it sounds like you’ve got similiar issues. Drop me an email if you like.

    Anyway, good luck with the marmotte and all that lark !

  2. 2 Paul Nixon said at 7:26 am on June 5th, 2009:

    Jeremy

    Thanks for the comment – it seems like our paths are not set to cross much this year :-) . I’m doing a road race at Edenbridge at the end of this month so maybe then?

    It’s interesting to hear of your experience at CycleFit. I have considered going to those guys but after DaveM’s visit I’ve always had reservations. Specifically

    a) Dave ended up with a really ‘unique’ position on the bike. Bolt upright with straight arms

    b) They recommended a horrible, clunky and expensive adjustable stem

    c) They recommended unnecessarily expensive kit – do you really need save a few grams buying top-of-the-range carbon pedals when you have a steel frame?

    I know there are some reasons for these decisions but it has made me wary of their service.

    I’m amazed that they knocked your saddle down by 37mm. That simply doesn’t sound right. Assuming (ok, big assumption) that my new position is correct, I doubt I could even ride the bike with the saddle 37mm higher. I suspect that the correct position is somewhere in between?

    Power loss – every cyclist’s worst fear, second only to weight gain :-) . You seem very certain that this was down to position but I would think that there might be a couple of confounding factors

    a) if you’re using the TacX to measure power this is not reliable (I have a PowerTap now which I’m assuming is accurate which makes the TacX look very hit and miss). Try doing a test, put a bit more air in the tyres and redoing the test. Or try a different gear. Unfortunately the TacX is not just inconsistent, but inconsistently inconsistent (please disregard me going on if you are using another method of establishing power :-) )

    b) at that time of year, with endurance training, you would expect a bit of a drop in power anyway

    I should probably go see that Jo McRae but I’m worried about getting bogged down in an expensive, long drawn-out process. I’m also very wary about anyone that uses the word holistic in their service. Having said that have you seen DaveC’s position on the bike!? Judged on results she’s good.

    If you have someone that has helped you please plug away!

    Cheers and thanks again

    Paul

  3. 3 Jeremy B said at 8:36 am on June 5th, 2009:

    Weirdly enough I was actually going to suggest seeing Jo. She also runs workshops for small groups at £25 per head for about 2 hours just running through the basics of which muscles to stretch and why. A few people from my other club are sorting something out at the moment so if you like I could see if you can join up as well.
    I did one about a month ago and am starting to feel the benefits. My budget doesnt stretch (geddit ?) to a full personalised programme at the moment so I thought this would be a better option.

    Fully agree with you about the Tacx figures. I’ve got a tacx flow and the figures cannot be trusted. The reason I think that the position that cyclefit gave me is less efficient is because I had a couple tests done at sportstest. One at the end of Jan before the changes and one beginning of April afterwards. Now for the technical bit….efficiency at 180w went from 19.5% to 18.5% and at 240w from 20.3 to 19.5%. (efficiency measured by Oxygen uptake/power). Although other factors may have affected this it shouldnt have made that much of a change. Also they video you if they think there is too much body movement going on so you can compare it to other proper athletes and see where you can improve.
    Cyclefit did give me a comfortable position but maybe one more suited to sportives rather then racing. Also its one thing testing your position on a static bike at 200watts but when you put the hammer down it will yield different results. Not that I’m suggesting for one second that there’s anything wrong with your new position or the job that the guys at corridori did. Sounds like they know what they’re doing and provide a good service. Wish i’d gone there instead ! Seeing as you’ve already got the powertap it should be easy for you to compare the two positions but I’m assuming the main factor for you would be an improvement in comfort over long distances. The last thing you want when going up Ventoux (again) is back pain when it can be avoided.

    See you at Edenbridge, or maybe sooner as I might start doing Palace in a few weeks time.

    J

  4. 4 Hugh G said at 8:29 pm on June 15th, 2009:

    Here’s a link to a Yoga Journal article which offers sports specific postures.

    http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/2727

    Have a look at the cycling section. All simple stuff and not time consuming which is what I imagine you want. With the first posture maybe inhale the arms and gaze up, exhale down. Just holding the posture might create tension in your neck. With the last posture start with both knees bent, extend the working leg but keep the other leg bent for five breaths, then extend the non-active leg away for another five breaths (this will significantly increase the sensation of stretch). Try working each posture for ten breaths, breathing in for four and breathing out for four. Try it for a week and don’t stretch so hard that you hurt yourself (you seem a bit competetive to me). £25 quid saved.

  5. 5 Paul Nixon said at 8:44 pm on June 15th, 2009:

    Hugh

    Thanks for the tips. Alas the £25 is already spent as I’m off to enjoy Jo McRae at the end of this week. And I’ve got a session on stretching :-) .

    However, I’ll take on board the above, see how it goes with Jo and report back.

    “Try it for a week and don’t stretch so hard that you hurt yourself (you seem a bit competetive to me)”

    What? Me? Overdoing something. Surely not!

    Judging by the demonstration pictures, I think running might be a better sport :-) . Golf even.

    Anyway, that’s printed and read. I’ll give it a go.

    Many thanks and hopefully see you soon

    Cheers

    Paul

  6. 6 Paul Nixon said at 8:45 pm on June 15th, 2009:

    I can’t read this without smirking childishly. The author’s surname is McCavitt. Alas not Phil. But you get the idea.

    Next week an article by Ivor Bigun perhaps?

  7. 7 Hugh G said at 12:05 pm on June 16th, 2009:

    Paul, you are a stand-up comedian’s dream (no doubt you find the term stand-up comedian hilarious).