How To Be Sure The Bike You Are Buying Is The Right Size For You

by Amy Garrett

Buying a bicycle or an e-bike for recreation or commuting is an excellent idea, but making sure you get the right bike for your size and weight is essential. Having a bike fitting at a bicycle shop will help you determine the frame size and the style of bike that is best and safe for you to ride while still being comfortable. 

Measuring Up

The first thing you need to know about bike fit is that there are different size recommendations for different bike styles, but some general guidelines can help you get a bike that fits you well in most situations. The way the bike fits you can completely change the way you ride it, so start with finding a bike with a frame that is the right size for you. 

The frame sizes that are the most popular generally fit most people, but there are frames on the market that are larger and smaller than the common ones you see in the local bike shop or sporting goods store. There are size charts that can give you a starting point based on your leg length, so having a bike fitting that takes that into account can help narrow down the frame you need.

People often assume that they should be able to reach the ground from the seat of the bike, but that is incorrect, and if the seat is low enough for that to happen, you will not be able to straighten your leg enough to get the full amount of power in the pedal stroke. You should have to get off the saddle to reach the ground, and when standing flatfooted over the frame, there should be a small amount of clearance between your body and the bike frame. This is called the stand-over height, and it can be precisely calculated with a few measurements that your bike shop can do for you. 

Saddle Height

Just as crucial as the stand-over height, the height of the saddle or seat needs to be correct. When you have a bike fitting done, the bike tech will often adjust the seat height to nearly full extension of your leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

Most shops strive for a slight bend at the knee when you reach the bottom of the pedal stroke. You don't want to go so far as to lock out your knee, but you want the full range of movement to take advantage of the large muscles in your legs and apply as much power as you need for the situation. 

You should also be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without leaning on your wrists while riding. If you are going to spend the money on a new bike, an excellent place to start is with a professional bike fitting to ensure that you get the right size bike to get the most enjoyment from your ride. 

Visit a local store like Plan 7 Coaching for more information.