So after the reasoning behind it (in a previous post) the actual bike fitting at Ciclissimo in Brussels, on the basis of the Cyfac postural system. Well I had a day off and decided to do it then. I took an appointment and went there in the afternoon.

The store is located in the back of a courtyard in a street off Montgomery. I does not really look like a store actually, more like an office, with a series of smaller rooms around a corridor. The first room is the office/measuring room, and that is where things start.

We had a chat on type of cycling I do, my training level, age and weight, but also my objectives and general riding style. The next step was the actual measuring. He used the “Cyfac board”, which allows for  standardized measuring. He measured leg length, shoulder width, height to the shoulders, arm length and for the feet, distance between the heel and the first metatarsus.

This data is then entered into a computer program along with the characteristics of the bike and accessories (saddle, pedals, shoes), which then churns out the optimal position. This position is a function of body geometry and type of cycling. It also provides the ideal frame measurements (should you want to buy a new bike or have one made to measure). This is then used to adjust the bike fit.

Any position on the bike will be a compromise between comfort, power transfer efficiency and aero-dynamism. Obviously you only want to sacrifice comfort in so far as necessary to gain the aero-dynamism you need. Secondly, the younger you are and the more you train, the more you will be able to sustain a very flat and elongated position. In short, a racer will need every second he can get and will thus have a very flat and elongated position on the bike. A cyclosportif will be able to afford a slightly more upright position.

So once the data was entered and the result prepared, we went into the second room (pictured above). The second room contains a few models of bikes ciclissimo sells (Passoni, Cyfac, Tommasini).

He lowered my saddle and put it slightly more forward. He also changed the stem for a shorter one. Mine was a 110 cm stem, he replaced it with a 80 cm stem (30 Euro). He also recommended that I buy a wider handlebar (44 cm instead of the 42 cm of the existing handlebar). I waited a bit and bought a Ritchey WCS Logic II on troc-velo.be, which was brand new and cost me 35 Euro (shipping included). Finally, he recommended I buy shorter crank arms when mine would die. He also adjusted my cleats on my cycling shoes.

This means I now have a much more upright position on the bike. It not only feels very comfortable, but also feels much more stable and powerful. I used to get lower back pain during longer rides, which is something I don’t get anymore.

Having now ridden six months with this position, I am very happy I did a bike fitting. Could a cheaper bike fitting have done the trick? Difficult to say. The whole process consists in adding a few millimetres here and removing a few there. The precise nature of the Cyfac postural system helps getting precise results. For me, this worked well.

So I would definitively recommend getting a bike fitting, and ciclissimo is a very good option for that in Brussels.

 

Website: http://www.ciclissimo.be/

Address: 24 rue du Duc. 1150 Bruxelles (behind Montgomery)

Tel: 0486/ 35 25 73

 

From my small experience, this is the mother of all Belgian bike shops: it is really big, it is really cheap and the service is really crap.

You can tell that cycling is the national sport of the northern half of Belgium. This store is about as big as a medium sized supermarket. I went during the sales: it was totally packed, like the H&M on rue Neuve on a Saturday afternoon.

So why go to this shop?

You go there for the choice. They have a huge selection of textiles (Assos, Pearl Izumi, Gore, Bio Racer, Castelli, all the way to the cheaper brands: you name, they got it), helmets, shoes, socks, gloves, underwear, sunglasses, a great selection of bikes and of accessories (wheels, cranks, tools, etc). It really blows your mind.

And you go there for the prices. Just as an example, I was so proud of the deal I got on a set of tires from Probikeshop.fr: Vittoria Rubino Pro for 19€! Well, they have them for 15€ at Van Eyck Sports. You basically have lower prices than on the internet, without having to pay shipping fees and with the possibility to see the goods (and try on the clothes).

But you clearly don’t go there for service. It is not so much that they are not nice (one actually smiled and said hi, and none of them bit me when I spoke french!), but they don’t really have the time to advise you, nor, for some of them, any real competences. You basically have to know what you are looking for. But it’s pretty much the same thing on the internet, no?

So if you need advice (and I think that as a noob, you often better get advice), go to another shop. But as far as I can tell, nothing beats Van Eyck Sports on price and choice.

Website: http://www.vaneycksports.com/

Address: Gentsesteenweg 89 – 9300 Aalst (Tel: +32 (0)53 78 12 78)

Address 2: Waterstraat 31 – 2440 Geel (Tel: +32 (0)14 58 93 17)

Address 3: Meensesteenweg 168 – 8890 Dadizele (Tel: +32 (0)56/54 04 40)

Hot Wheelz bike shop

This is probably my favourite bike shop, if only because it is really close to where I live (at La Bascule), and the owners are a very kind and helpful couple. The owner is in his thirdies and opened the store about ten years ago. It became a Specialized concept store in 2008.

Obviously, as a Specialized concept store, they only have Specialized bikes and accessories, except for the odd Garmin GPS or Topeak saddle bag. But besides that limitation, they have a very good choice and everything you might need from mountain/city/road bikes to bidons, gloves, helmets, shoes, tires, etc. They are supposed to have a widest Specialized selection in Belgium.

I bought a bunch of stuff there. I will end up with a Cannondale accessorised with Specialized accessories.

They also have a workshop and are fast and competent. You just need to make an appointment (as with most stores) but they fix all types of bikes, not just Specialized.

So all in all, probably one of the nicest bike shops in Brussels, with a laid back, young and helpful atmosphere. They also speak good english, for the non-francophones out there.

Website: http://www.bikeshop.be/

Address: 744 Chaussée de Waterloo, 1180 Bruxelles (at La Bascule)

Tel: 02 / 647 87 97

This is probably one of the best bike shops around Brussels for road cyclists and mountain bikers. At least of the ones I’ve been to.

They have a good choice of bikes (Eddy Merckx and Scott mainly), in all price ranges (starting just bellow 1000€ all the way to 5000€ and more). They also have a very wide choice of accessories (helmets, shoes, clothes, turbo trainers, etc), again, in all all price ranges.

I went there just before closing times, and so did not have too much time to explore it fully. But I also noted that they were very nice and professional in their advice. I’m definitively going back!

Website: http://www.godeau.com/

Address: Chaussée de Hal 228, 1640 Rhode Saint-Genèse

Tel. : +0032-2 380.19.27
E-mail : rijwielen.godeau@telenet.be

Open every day from 9-12 and 13:30-19, Saturday from 9-18 and closed on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Vainqueur is a new bike shop in Brussels, which opened about a month ago. It tenders to the “Fixie” crowd. Crowd is perhaps not the most appropriate word here, in view of the rather limited number of fixerati we have in Brussels. In any event, they chose a good spot for their store: it is located a hundred meters from the architecture campus of the ULB and Flagey is popular with the art student demographic. Who both have the disposable income (of their parents) and a dress style which allows riding expensive mudguard-less bikes.

They have pretty Cinelli frames and an assortment of stylish fixie-wear, as well as accessories to appropriatly curate your bike and portage your belongings.

Don’t know how long they will hold. Beyond the art student crowd, I am not sure there is a big market for outrageously priced mudguard-less and brake-less bikes with race tires in a rather rainy city where the car driving style is super aggressive and the number of potholes infinite. And potholes is an understatement for the craters you find in Brussels.

On top of that, Vainqueur will have to compete with another fixie store (Fixerati), located about 15 minutes away in Rue du Page. Sure, Fixerati does not sell Cinelli bikes and is more minimalist than Retro Grouch. But still… Well, we’ll see.

While I’m on the subject and for those into fixies, Fixerati houses UNIK, which will create a sur mesure bike for you, on the basis of an old frame. Which, you will notice, is fully in line with the EU Waste Framework Directive which encourages re-use over recycling and disposal of waste.

Personally, I’d rather continue riding my heavy-ass German steel bike and be able to go to work in my suit!

Website: www.vainqueur.be

Address: 32, Place Eugène Flagey, 1050 Ixelles

Tel: 02 502 77 37