Knowing how to determine the right bike size for yourself is what makes the difference between writing off bicycles permanently and developing a new and fantastic hobby. Though, most local bike outfitters usually have the know-how as well as sizing charts to help point you in the right direction; there are some personal questions that you will need to ask yourself first.
· How is your height?
Your answers to these queries will play a critical role in helping you choose the right bike for your body as well as taste. This essentially means that before you seek an outfitter’s help or measure yourself, keep these questions in mind.
Below is a women’s sizing chart for the 3 main types of bicycles.
Women’s Bike Sizing Chart
Understand different bike types and measurements
As mentioned earlier, knowing the kind of bike that appeals to your tasting buds is also crucial to finding the right bike. Sizes and designs vary considerably, between mountain and road bikes. The same applies to individual manufacturers. As such, be familiar with your unique needs and wants before settling on what size is perfect for you.
Also, understand the various bike measurements as well as what they mean. The seat tube length mostly measures cycling machines. The distance in question is from the center of the bolt that connects to the cranks arms or the middle of the base bracket. The frame sizes are usually in inches, but in some cases, especially road bikes, they are in centimeters.
The best way to ascertain which bike size is right for you is to measure your inside leg length. To get the figure, stand next to a wall straight without shoes; place a book in between your legs and measure the distance between the floor and the top of the book.
If you get confused along the process, or you get two different figures, consider other factors like your reach and cycling confidence. If your confidence is a bit low or you are trying a bike after several months or years, it may be wise to opt for the smaller size because it has the highest chance of allowing your feet’ balls to rest conveniently on the ground while sitting on the bike.
On the other hand, to know if you are a long or short reach, you will have to measure your height against your arm span. To do this effectively, stand next to a wall to get your height and put the tip of one of your fingers with the measurement. Then try touching the ground using one of your fingers. If you can’t, then it means you have a slightly lower reach, and it may be best to go for a smaller size.
Understand Bike Frames
One thing to understand is that road bike frames are measured in centimetres, while mountain bike frames are measured in inches – don’t ask us why!
The bicycle frame is measured from the seat post down to the cog, see image below.
While Understanding bike frames play a crucial role in giving you an idea of what the right structure is, it is not the end of the road. It is just an excellent way to know if the frame will be too tall or too short. That said, understanding a framework is pretty straightforward; your height determines everything. If you fall anywhere between 5.6’’ and 5.9’’, chances are a road bicycle frames of between 54-55 centimeters will fit you, 17-18″ for a mountain bike.
Similarly, if you are between 5.9 inches and 6.0 inches, a bike frame of between 56 and 58 centimeters will likely work for you. Those between 6 inches and 6.3 inches will likely be comfortable with frames that range between 58 and 60 centimeteres, 19″ for mountain bikes.
Also, if you plan to purchase from a brick and mortar store, chances are you will find somebody ready to help you along the process of finding the right frame size. Most stores that sell bicycles usually have representatives that measure customers against the bike that they like. There are also some different bike sizes, so you do not have to forego style for size or vice versa. This is usually the case in specialty stores, as there are specialists trained to ensure that you get a bike that will give you the best biking experience possible.
I got my bike fit wrong; what do I do?
As a general rule of thumb, if you have tried two different sizes on hybrid or road bikes, go for the smaller one. For a mountain bike, however, go for the larger one. This will make any changes to the parts easier in the future. Bikes are designed with different individual parts, which can be changed to make the bike fit you well.
Generally, if you experience knee pain at the back of your leg while cycling, it means the saddle is a bit high. If the pain is from the front of the knee, it means the seat is a bit low. Note that these are just cycling guides and not rules set on stone. As such, when setting the saddle, always remember that you can adjust the seat posts as the seat posts supplied can be too long or too small.
If the seat is too low, all you need to do is visit a bike shop to resolve the problem. Similarly, if it is too low, you can hack it off slightly. Always remember to put on a mask when doing this. Also, if the reach is too cramped or too much for the handlebars, move the saddle backward or forward. Check the saddle rails for the maximum positions to where you can adjust. Moving beyond the areas may cause the seat to break.
The takeaway; Try Before You Buy
This is perhaps the most overused and obvious advice you’ve come across anywhere. Nevertheless, it is true! Touching a bike physically, trying it out, and experiencing it is still one of the best ways to know if it is ideal for you. Most bike shops and bicycle brands offer demo events or days to allow clients to test different types of bikes. What’s more, you avoid the hassle of assembling it yourself as well as the potential damage that comes with shipping.