How to size a road bike frame

Written by john michael
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Selecting a road bike that is the correct size and fits you properly is critical to fully enjoying biking. A bike that is too small or large for you can lead to injury, less efficient riding, less enjoyment due to it being uncomfortable and can be unsafe. A simple process of finding your measurements and matching them to the appropriate road bike can make your rides much more enjoyable and productive.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure in centimetres and inches
  • Book
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Measure your inseam, which is the inside part of your leg. Stand against the wall in your bare feet. Take a book and press it up against your pubic bone between your legs and have it touch the wall. Hold the book where it is and step away. Using the tape measure, measure from the top of the book down to the floor. Record that in both centimetres and inches. Most road bikes are measured in centimetres, but some are in inches so it is good to have both so you won't need to repeat this step.

  2. 2

    Multiply the inseam measurement by .65. For example, if your inseam measurement is 90 centimetres then take 90 x .65 = 58.5. In this case you can probably round down to 58 so you would fit a 58 centimetre bike frame that measures centre to centre. There are two ways to measure the frame height of a road bike--centre to centre and centre to top. If the bike you are interested in is centre to top, then multiply by .67, so in this case it would be 90 x .67 = 60.3 or a 60 centimetre frame. The dealer you are purchasing the bike from will be able to tell you how the bike is measured.

  3. 3

    Test ride all bikes before you purchase. Because of differences in manufacturers and bike models, one 58 centimetre bike might feel much different than another 58 centimetre bike. It is very important that a bike not only fits correctly according to the measurements but that it also feels comfortable to you.

Tips and warnings

  • Most bikes are designed for men, so if you are a woman be sure to find a bike that is designated as a woman's bike to ensure a proper fit. Also, positioning of the handlebars can make a big difference in comfort. Make sure the handlebar position is comfortable to you. If not, see if this can be adjusted up or down.

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