How to Size a Road Bike Frame

How to Size a Road Bike Frame
Choosing the right size bicycle frame, particularly for road cycling which focuses on speed and duration, is imperative. An inappropriate frame size can not only cause reduced cycling performance, but discomfort, fatigue, and even pain. It is a simple process to select the proper size bicycle frame and it can greatly improve your cycling experience.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • A tape measure
  • A thin hardback book or a ruler
  • Your cycling shoes
Step 1
Measure your pubic bone height. You will need the help of a friend. Put on your cycling shoes, if you have a pair, and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hook the metal end of the tape measure over your index finger and pinch it in place with your middle finger. Then place these fingers between your legs, pressing up into your body. Stand up straight and have your friend pull the tape measure to the ground and give you the measurement. Don't forget to add the inches for the body of the tape measure. The resulting number will be an inch or two more than your inseam and is the measurement you need to determine your proper cycle frame size.
Step 2
Calculate your approximate frame size. This will help you look for the right frames when you start shopping for and comparing cycle frames. Subtract 10 inches from the measurement you took above. You will look for bicycle frames within an inch of this measurement. Bicycle frames are measured from the base to the top tube, so it does not include the height of the wheels.
Step 3
Learn what the right size for you feels like. If your leg measurement was 30 inches, start with a frame that is around 20 inches. Don't forget your cycling shoes. If the bike feels a little bit too high, its probably just about right. You don't spend much time standing over your bike frame, so your comfort in that position should not be your priority. If you can stand over the frame on your toes, but not really flat-footed, you're in the ballpark.
Step 4
Take it for a spin. Once you find a few frames that are the right size, try them out. Standing over the frame will give you an idea of the sizing, but you also need to match the frame to the way you ride. For example, if you have a short torso, a bike that is "just the right height" might be too long. If you favor a more upright cycling stance, a shorter frame will again be necessary.

Tips & Warnings

When it comes to performance, the higher the better. Focus on your comfort riding rather than your comfort standing.

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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