In order to be fit, healthy, and lead a good lifestyle, you need to be physically active. Research shows that physical activity enhances people’s happiness and overall well-being. A fun way to exercise and get all those benefits of it is cycling. But, you need to find the perfect road bike size to make your biking experience more enjoyable.
This step is crucial—the wrong bike size will make you feel uncomfortable, reduce your riding efficiency, and even cause short or long-term injuries (such as back pain, wrist pain, fatigue, etc.) from being too cramped or stretched out.
But, don’t worry. We will help you have the most pleasant riding experience by explaining everything you need to know about finding the perfect road bike size. So, let’s get to it!
Why Does Bike Size Matter?
Bike size is essential, especially if you are planning on riding regularly. The size of your bike impacts the riding comfort, agility, and speed.
At the same time, riding the wrong bike size for your body can lead to injuries such as back pain, fatigue, and wrist pain. Even worse, you put yourself at a higher risk of crashing with an incorrect bike size as you don’t have much control over your bike.
You may be saying, ‘umm, okay, I got that, but what should I do next?’ The best practice is to familiarize yourself with the standard bike size measurements, so you can make an informed decision when buying a bike.
Important Road Bike Measurements
The key measurements to get right when purchasing a road bike are stand-over height and saddle position. If you pay attention to these measurements, you will quickly tell if a bike is the right fit for you.
Read on to learn more about them.
The stand-over height is the measurement of the distance between the ground and the top of the tube. Compare the stand-over height to the inseam measurement to make sure that both of your feet are stabilized on the floor while standing over your bicycle. There should be enough room above the top tube when you stand on your feet.
Reach and stack
You’ve probably heard about the importance of getting the right reach and stack dimensions, and doing that will allow you the best riding position for you. But, what exactly are they?
Reach is the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the central point at the top of the head tube, and the stack is the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the central point at the top of the head tube. But, remember, their dimensions can vary between manufacturers.
For a given reach, a greater stack will put you into a more upright position, and your hands will be positioned more upwards, and your posture will rise towards the vertical. If the stack’s position does not change but the reach increases, you will have a longer riding posture, your hands will go more forwards, and you will be more stretched out.
It is best to try different sizes and see which one gives you a more comfortable position or the position you prefer. If you want speed, then we would recommend buying a bike with a longer reach and a lower stack to have an aerodynamic advantage, but if you prefer comfort and endurance, then go for a shorter reach and a higher stack.
The three key things to consider for a good saddle position are saddle height, fore/aft, and tilt.
Start by determining the saddle height. You can do that with the heel method. Get on the bike and put your heel on the pedal, and pedal slowly. Now notice if you’re having any troubles pedaling; if you cannot pedal smoothly, your leg is too straight, or you have to move your hips to reach the pedals, then you should lower the saddle until you can pedal smoothly.
On the other hand, if you find that your legs are too bent, it means that the saddle is too low, so raise the saddle a few centimeters up and then try it out again.
Road Bike Size Chart
Road bike size charts are a helpful guide for finding the perfect bike size for you. The size charts vary for men and women.
The road bike size chart for women:
And here is the road bike size chart for men:
Bottom Line: What Size Road Bike Do I Need
So, the final question: What size road bike do you need? To find that out, you need to know your height and the length of your inside leg. To measure your height, stand upright against a wall, with your shoulders and legs together. Take a pencil and hold it parallel to the floor mark the wall just above your head; measure the distance between the floor and your mark. And that’s it, that’s your height.
Next, measure the inside of your leg. Stand upright with your back against the wall, and place a ruler between your legs, level with your crotch. Finally, measure from the floor to the top of the ruler, and you get the length of your leg. If you can, get someone to help you with this.
And finally, use the road bike size charts and match your measurements to the manufacturers’ recommended bike size. And voila, you found the perfect road bike size for you. But, in case you are in between sizes, we recommend that you go for the smaller size because you can always adjust the saddle.
We hope this article helped you choose the best road bike size for you. Until next time, happy cycling!