BIKE FIT GUIDE
It's very important that the bike you select fits you well.
When many people think about getting the correctly-sized bike, they think only of the frame size. While bike manufacturers do make bikes in a variety of sizes, you should also pay attention to other ways to fit your bicycle to your body including handlebar width, body position, and seat height.
Cycle Path & Paddle's bike technicians are here to assist you and provide valuable advice for any new or used bike that you're looking at renting or purchasing.
(Hover over the bike below for our top five steps to an ideal fit. Guide is best viewed on a laptop/desktop computer.)
STEP 2: Sit on the bike saddle and pedal backwards.
The seat height is very important as it determines how much your leg will bend or stretch when you pedal. When you're seated on the bike and you have one leg extended there should be a slight bend in your knee. You shouldn't have to extend your toe or shift your hip to pedal down. Another way to check this is to sit on the saddle with both legs bent and feet and pedals parallel to the floor. Your knee on your front foot should be centered above the top arch of your foot.
STEP 4: Choose the right saddle.
You don't have to use the saddle (seat!) that came with your bike. Many people buy a saddle that fits them. Men and women have different needs when it comes to saddles because of their differently-shaped pelvises. Getting the right, most comfortable, saddle will make a significant difference when you're riding. Once you install the saddle make sure the nose is pointed forward and the saddle is mostly parallel to the ground, it can be tipped slightly up or down to suit you.
STEP 1: Stand over the frame.
The general guideline is about 1-3 inches for a road bike, or a hybrid bike that you'll be riding around town and on pavement and more clearance for a mountain bike that you'll be using off-road. You should be able to stand over the bike comfortably and be able to lift it up. If you can't decide definitively between two sizes that both seem to fit you well, you should test ride both of them.
STEP 3: Reach for the handlebars while sitting on the bike.
How far are you reaching for your handlebars? Your bike should feel comfortable and part of this is your reach. Do you feel too stretched out? Do you feel too upright? This reach can be adjusted by trading out the handlebar stem for a longer or shorter one. If the reach doesn't feel right, try a shorter or longer stem. A CP&P employee can swap your current stem for a new one. Oftentimes, bikes that are made specifically for women or men with short torsos, have a shorter top-tube, which means a shorter reach.
STEP 5: Measure the handlebar width and compare it with your shoulder width.
These two measurements do not to be exact, but they should be close for most bikes other than cruiser-style bikes that can have wide handlebars. You'll want handlebars that are the right width to prevent soreness in your upper back. They should be about as wide as your shoulders.