PostHeaderIcon Fitting A Road Bike Frame To You

For most of us, hard core but casual bike riders who secretly believe we’re better than we really are, buying a new road bike is the same thing as buying a road bike frame. The frame is what we’re thinking of, something new and shiny and colorful. We might even have the idea that some car drivers will envy our bike when they see us flash through the snarl of traffic. Road bike frames truly are a beautiful thing and part of what we love about cycling.

Fitting A Road BikeWhen you go out looking at new bicycles, though, you definitely want to look at more than the color of a road bike frame and for good reason. When you’re on your way back home from a long Sunday ride and you’re riding your fiftieth km smack into a stiff headwind, you’re not thinking about the color of your bike. The fact that your frame is cobalt blue or even Bianchi green is not going to help you. The fit of your bike, i.e., the length of your seat tube, the length of your top tube and even the angle of the three main tubes all put together is going to help (or hinder) you, but not the color.

If the bicycle isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t fit. If the bicycle fits your body then the investment will last because it will be a joy to ride. Generally, a good fit is determined by your inseam in centimeters, multiplied by .67. This will give you the size seat tube you need in centimeters. A good bike shop sales person will ask that their clients to sit on the bicycle and then will adjust the seat to see where the knee breaks during pedaling. It is not good to overextend your knees. Another measurement that has to be considered is the length of the top tube in relationship to the rider’s arms. Overextending your shoulders can not only be uncomfortable but lead to injuries. The main goal should be comfort and maximum performance.

Fitting A Road BikeWhen shopping at a discount store or even a general purpose sports store, if you get any help in trying to choose a bike that fits you you’re really lucky. If you do get help it will probably consist of a clerk instructing you to stand over the top bar of the frame and see if you can comfortably straddle it with your feet on the floor. This is not particularly helpful, especially if your physique is a little unique, like long legs combined with a short torso. If you have long legs, you can straddle almost any bike, but will your body be able to relax and be comfortable in the stretch between your saddle and the handlebars? The whole geometry of the road bike frame matters a lot to fit. And fit matters a lot to comfort.

Fitting A Road BikeIf you’re a racer, comfort will not be the first consideration. In fact it may be down among the last things you consider. Speed is not usually synonymous with comfort. Road bike frames that promote speed are built with different materials than ones used primarily for recreational riding. They can be made of titanium, carbon fiber, chrome moly, aluminum or steel, and each material has different advantages of weight and strength. Frame geometry varies, also, with touring bikes featuring a longer vertical base and top tube than the pure racing models.

So when you’re shopping for a new road bike, think beyond the paint. Get a frame that fits both you and your purpose. Do your research whether online or in a good bike store. You’ll be glad you took the time.

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