How To Properly Fit Your Bicycle To Your Body

Cycling comfort and effeciency begins with a bike that fits right. There are four things you need to be aware of when attempting to fit your bicycle to your personal body dimensions:

  • Proper frame size
  • Seat (saddle) height
  • Seat (saddle) position
  • Stem length

These simple adjustments are the key to fitting your bike.

To ensure that your frame is the right size, start by wearing the shoes you’ll be riding in the most. When standing over the top tube and lifting the bike, you want approximately one inch of clearance between the ground and the tire. For a mountain bike it will be more like two or three inches. The recommended amount of clearance is the same for men and women.

Once you have the right frame size, adjust your seat height so that at the bottom of your pedal-stroke you have a slight bend in your knee. You need to come within 80-90% of full extension. This adjustment will maximize the power and efficiency of each pedal-stroke.

The next thing to adjust is your front to back seat position. When your crank arm is parallel to the ground a plumb line extended from your knee cap goes through the ball of your foot. This means most riders will pedal with their shins and ankles slightly forward.

Lastly, your stem length determines the angle of your back and the bend in your arms. Ideally, your back is at a 45 degree angle and your arms are slightly bent in order to absorb shock. Remember: you still have to reach your shifters and your brakes.

With a properly fitted frame, and your seat and handlebars adjusted correctly for your body, riding further is easier and more comfortable.

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