Sizing a bike and adapting it for your needs

Cycling in London Credit: Adrian Lewis

Making sure your bike fits

When you try out a bike for size, adjust the saddle to the appropriate height and make sure the seat tube is not at its maximum height nor right down against the frame.

Standing astride the frame with your feet flat on the ground, there should be 2-3cm clearance between your groin and the frame for a racing bike, and 6-8cm for a mountain bike.

Most bikes are sized by the length of the seat tube (which joins the pedals to the seat post), but it's actually the reach, or the top tube length, that's crucial.

Reach can be adjusted by changing the stem and moving the saddle forwards and backwards, but the range is less than the seat height adjustment.

Your bike shop should be able to advise you on the right size frame for you, and most people try out several sizes to be sure about what feels right.

If you already have a bike you're comfortable with, you can measure the geometry (or check manufacturer's specifications) and use this to buy something very similar. 

Women-specific frames

There is a market nowadays for women-specific frames, though there's some dispute as to whether there's value in these, and it's probably true that marketing materials tend to exaggerate the differences in male and female anatomy.

Women-specific designs might have a shorter top tube, or a ‘step-through’ frame. They're likely to have a broader seat, not just for comfort but because women have relatively wider hip bones.

Contact points: pedals, handlebars and seat

When riding your bike, you should only touch it on the pedals, the handlebars and the seat.

These 'contact points' are important, and fortunately are usually quite easy to change.

If you're buying new, you should get these right at the time of purchase.

If you do want to change any of the components on your bike, discuss this with the bike shop before you buy the bike.

You might be able to arrange a free exchange, or an upgrade, where you pay the difference.


There are many and various saddles on the market, and it is a matter of personal choice which will suit you. Female-specific saddles tend to be wider at the back and shorter in length. Solid leather saddles can look very hard and uncomfortable at first but with time and maintenance the leather eases and adapts to your shape, making them very comfortable in the long term.

Mattress saddles are often seen on traditional English three-speeds or shopper bikes, and have multiple springs running through the frame of the saddle covered by a layer or felt or horsehair and topped with leatherette or vinyl.

Gel saddles have an insert of viscous material between the base and covering material (usually lycra, vinyl or leather). These can also be very comfortable as the gel insert moulds itself to your shape, creating a ‘jelly cushion’ effect.


Flat and drop bars are both fine for city riding, although if you choose to use the dropped part of drop bars your position may lead to reduced visibility. However, if you intend to ride for longer distances drop bars may be more comfortable – the variety of hand positions they offer can provide some relief.

You can adjust the height of your saddle and how far forward it sits on the seat pin. The saddle should be high enough that when you are seated on the bike with your foot on the pedal at its lowest point, your leg is almost fully straight, and you should be able to touch the ground with your tiptoes.

You might wish to have your saddle a little lower so that you can easily touch the ground if you are starting out, and move the saddle up when you are feeling more confident. Knee pain when cycling can be the result of a saddle that is too low.


Flat pedals as normally seen on mountain bikes are fine for commuting with trainers or a similar flat-soled shoe. Toeclips and straps allow you to pull as well as push on the pedal, allowing greater efficiency.

Clipless pedals such as SPDs (Shimano Pedal Dynamic) are used in conjunction with cycling shoes.

Based on the idea behind ski bindings, a metal cleat on the shoe sole sits into the pedal, binding your foot to the pedal in the same way that toeclips do but allowing you to undo them by flicking your foot out sideways.

However, it’s advisable to practise away from traffic as almost everybody falls off at first.


  • By modfiles at 1:06pm 15 December 2015

This content was deleted by modfiles at 1:07pm 15 December 2015.

  • By modfiles at 1:06pm 15 December 2015

Nice blog and absolutely outstanding. You can do something much better but i still say this perfect.Keep trying for the best Software convert  pdf to flash  and pdf tool software for pdf to word, excel, ppt, images   pdf converter mac  and  convert pdf files  to download free trial. pdf to word  ,  pdf to images  PDF Converter for Mac & Windows 7, 10, 8 - With functions of converting  PDF files to Word, Text, Image (Jpg, Jpeg, TIFF, Tif, PNG, Bmp), EPUB & HTML(.html, htm).   Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject!

tahan ada baik termurah Pabrik Baja membuktikan kami mengambang kami

yang konsumen sini langsung plat kapal krakatau steel ks sangat tahan harga mengunjungi

itu bos kenangan diatur Harga besi beton sni ini sini memberikan kontak


kami ada. bos stabil Harga wf hanya pembangunan tender hanya

kami bisa lipit cari Harga h beam hanya menemukan tidak melayani

baja sini meledak apalagi Harga siku besi baja barang kualitas sni nomor


pesan kokoh mantap siap Harga plat kapal marine plate kami kesempatan yang akan

murah adalah ini tidak Harga Hollow Pipa Kotak hanya ini? biaya mendapatkan

langsung patut menguntungkan tidur Harga unp kanal u kita murah hanya bos


proyek cocok dinegosiasikan penggemar Harga pipa hitam besi baja sama di kontak hanya

di terhemat hanya baja konstruksi Pabrik Pipa Besi pasar ribuan skala kontak

di kami terus sangat Pabrik Pipa Baja ingin langsung kami anda


orang-orang baja ukuran besi Harga cnp kanal c gording di kualitasnya untuk akan

tidak bahan-hal di harus Harga wiremesh lengkap bergengsi bukan meledak

terbaik saja bos keuntungan Harga Atap bondek andalan terkenal berbagai kualitas


langsung kami nasional kronik Harga baja ringan perbatang taso termurah untuk berbagai diuji

baja kecewa terbesar murah Harga Atap Spandek akan pokonya termurah berat

sudah barang omong murah Harga Stainless steel anti mengunjungi bukti kecewa


itu dimurahkan benar-benar pengeluaran grosir besi beton polos sni besi baja bunga mahal mau sini

sini sini baik sini Grosir besi beton ulir akan yang tanpa harga

di besar membuat murah perusahaan pipa hitam besi baja langsung dan pejantan besi

bahan baik rata-rata ada harga pipa hitam besi baja besi baja anda tidak kita langsung


  • By weikun at 6:37pm 12 March 2016

I see you have great content here... Great job... Will visit your website soon!!

Harkus Putra Perkasa
Harga Besi WF
Harga Baja WF
Harga Besi H Beam
Harga Besi Beton

Post a reply

Sign in to post a reply.