What Size Bicycle is Right for Me?

What Size Bicycle is Right for Me?
Surprising as it may seem, many people ride the wrong size bicycle for their frame. Typically people pick bicycles that are too small, citing comfort and ease-of-use. However, what feels natural is not necessarily what is best for your ride. Having a properly-sized bike can make a huge difference by improving your performance. A well-fitted bike is tailored to the full extension of your leg muscles, allowing for a more efficient ride. Moreover, a well-fitted bike can actually lessen the chance for injuries and keep you from getting sore for longer.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring tape
  • Bicycle
  • Book
Step 1
Measure your inseam. This is one of the most important methods of determining the appropriate bicycle size for you. Begin by squeezing a book between your legs, producing a flat surface from which to measure. With measuring tape, measure from the top of the book to the floor. The goal is to capture the distance between the floor and the bottom of the pubic bone.
Step 2
Pick an appropriate frame size to your inseam. Frame size is usually determined by the length of the top bar. A good way to determine a preliminary frame size is by subtracting nine inches from your inseam.
Step 3
Try the crotch test. Once you've picked a frame that is within your basic inseam parameters, stand over the top of the frame, with fully-inflated tires installed. Ideally there will be less than two inches of clearance between the bicycle and your crotch.
Step 4
Adjust the seat to fit your leg length. While sitting on the bicycle, your leg should extend to its maximum at the very bottom of the pedal's circular arc.
Step 5
Make sure your bike stance is comfortable. While measurements can give you an approximation of size, telling you the range in which to look, ultimately the decision is one of comfort. The key is to have a bicycle that you can ride over long distances, allowing you to not be bunched or coiled, but also one that allows you to compact for smooth downhills. Look for a design where you are canted forward, then determine whether it is the right stance for you.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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