How to Measure for the Right Size Bicycle

How to Measure for the Right Size Bicycle
Selecting the right bicycle height is imperative to a rider's comfort and technique, particularly for long rides and racing. Unfortunately most people tend to select bikes that are too short for them. This leads to raising the handle bars and the seat, which creates an uncomfortable ride. Accurately measuring your inseam length is the first step to finding a bike that perfectly fits you.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Cycling shoes
Step 1
Put on your shoes as these will affect your measuring for saddle height.
Step 2
Get a friend to help you with the tape measurement.
Step 3
Stand up straight with your feet approximately shoulder width apart.
Step 4
Use the ruler as a stable, solid base for taking your measurement. Hang the end of the tape measure on the ruler and lower the tape measure to the floor.
Step 5
Place the ruler between your legs, holding it with one hand in front and one in back. Raise the ruler up until it sits against your pubic bone.
Step 6
Take the measurement. Have your friend bring the tape measure all the way to the floor, be sure you are not rising up on your toes, and record the measurement.
Step 7
From this measurement, subtract 10 cm. This is the approximate saddle height you will want to start with. Then from the saddle height subtract another 15 cm to get your bike frame size if you prefer a larger frame and 16 cm if you prefer one smaller. This is roughly equivalent to 10 inches.

Tips & Warnings

You will likely not be very comfortable standing over any bike frame. This is normal. An appropriately sized bike will be comfortable when you ride it, not when you stand over it.
This is one method among many methods, but it is important to see a professional as leg length as well as foot length, how you pedal (i.e., flat versus pointed), shoe sole thickness, pedal systems and pedal types are involved.

Article Written By Beau Prichard

Beau Prichard has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He specializes in fiction, travel and writing coaching. He has traveled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico and Australia. Prichard grew up in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from George Fox University.

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