There are several factors to consider before buying your next bike. It’s essential to understand sizing and how the measurements of the frame will be for you. Did you know that bike sizing varies between manufacturers? That's right, it does differ! This guide will help you through purchasing your highest quality bike without causing any frustration or headaches.
A properly fitted bike is essential so that you can efficiently produce the most power. But the most important reason for a proper bike fit is comfort. The ability to ride longer and at YOUR pace as you want while being comfortable the whole time. It would also help you avoid injuries that occur with improper positioning. The optimal biking position will differ from person to person, depending on factors such as age, riding style, and physical attributes like flexibility.
How to Fit Your eBike Properly
When it comes to bike sizing, there are some basic factors to consider for any bike you buy, but if you're looking for specific performance features, bike sizing may get pretty complicated. In this article, we will focus on entry-level bike fit considerations.
- Fit your bike to your riding style. You may want to imitate the low, long, aerodynamic position of the pros, but it's important to set up the bike to match your current ability. As you improve your strength, flexibility, and stamina, you can then fine-tune your fit.
- Check that your frame is the correct size. If you don't start with the appropriate frame, no matter how many tweaks you make afterwards, you'll have a hard time getting it comfy. Continue reading to learn more about choosing your frame size.
- Existing components can be adjusted easily. Some adjustments, such as seat height, seat angle, and front-and-back seat position, can be made using the bike's existing components.
- Find out which components can be swapped out. A new stem, for example, can shift the position of the handlebars for a more comfortable riding position.
Bike Frame Standover Height
Most bike shops have sizing charts on their websites. Look for the listed standover height and compare it to your inseam. This is most important when buying a bike with a crossbar (many bikes sold as “men’s” bikes include this.) The distance between your inseam and your standing height should be within the target range. This will indicate if you can stand comfortably at a stop. (If you have a 30" inseam, for example, you'll need a bike with a 29" standover height.)
To get your inseam measurement, you need a thick hardcover book, tape measure, and a pencil. With your shoes on, stand against a wall and straddle the book (spine up) as if you were seated on a saddle. Mark the point where the book spine touches the wall using the pencil. Finally, measure the distance between the mark and the ground, this is your inseam.
Bike Fitting: Upper Body Position
Knowing your standover height is not enough to make sure your bike if a great fit. Another thing to consider is the length of the effective top tube or ETT.
Regardless of whether you have a straight top tube or a sloped top tube, ETT refers to the horizontal distance between the head tube and the seat tube of a bicycle. You'll be able to fine-tune your upper body position with tiny modifications later if you have a bike with the right ETT on your bike.
Aim for a riding position that allows you to bend your arms a little to absorb the shock without forcing you to reach too far to activate the brakes. Your arms are in a decent posture if it feels like you could comfortably play piano keys on your handlebar comfortably.
Bike Seat Height
After getting your seat height and position, you now have the best chance of pedaling efficiently with the full power of your major leg muscles.
The proper position should allow your leg to bend slightly at the bottom of the pedal stroke, achieving roughly 80-90 percent full extension with your foot. This is also important when your knees reach the top of the pedal arc. In many cases if you do not allow enough leg extension it can cause knee injury because they are too bent at the top of the stroke. For most riders this means that they will need to lean the bike to one side or get off of the seat at stops.
In case you need to adjust the seat, lift or lower the seatpost as needed by loosening the quick-release lever (or with a tool if there is a binder bolt). The "minimum insertion mark" inscribed on the side of the seatpost should not be raised over it. A new frame size may be required if you need to drastically alter the seat height.)
Before you ride, adjust the quick-release lever or the binder bolt. This is especially important with a carbon-fiber frame and/or seatpost.) (Do not overtighten the binder bolt; use a torque wrench or have a mechanic tighten it to the manufacturer's specifications.)
Bike Seat Fore/Aft Position
You can tell if you have the proper position when your knee is over your forefoot when your right foot is at the 3 o’clock position on the pedal stroke. An arrow drawn from your kneecap's bottom to the ball of your foot's foot and through the pedal's middle should go straight through the pedal's center. When you're in this position, your shin will be slightly tipped forward.
Call the Pros
Riding a bike should be fun and comfortable. If it isn’t, then you should get it properly fitted. Pain, numbness, or tingling, especially in the hands, feet, or buttocks, are indications that something about your bike doesn’t fit you properly. The solution could be simple, but if you've tried the tips above and they aren't working, it's time to call in the professionals.