Measurements You'll Need
When you begin to look for a road bike, you will need the following measurements so you can compare frames: top tube length, standover, chain stay, crank, seat tube angle and head tube angle. To get these measurements, schedule a fitting with a professional. When scheduling the fitting, ask exactly what you can expect from the fit session, because bike shops vary.
How to be Measured
Most bike shops offer fitting services free or for a fee, which can run from $75 to $200. A basic fitting, which usually is free, is best for the purely recreational rider. If you plan to do a lot of biking, it might be worth it to pay for a more extensive fitting that allows you to better compare bike frames and find the best one for you.
Bike frames are now made in unisex and women's-specific designs. Women's designs often come with shorter top tubes, shorter seat tubes and smaller seat tube angles. They also often have handlebars with a shorter drop and seats with anatomical cutouts for enhanced comfort. The designs are made to fit women, and frames are available in smaller sizes than traditional unisex models.
During your fit, be sure to consider your riding style. If you're a recreational rider as opposed to someone interested in racing, your bike frame should have a more relaxed fit as opposed to a more aggressive design. Be sure to indicate to your fit professional your predominant riding style, so he can position you appropriately during your fit session.
Final Fit Results
Your final fit results should yield you plenty of measurements so that you can compare frames from different manufacturers. You should test ride any bike, regardless of whether it's the right size according to your fit. There are nuances that make each bike unique, so don't miss the opportunity for a test spin on a prospective ride.