Before purchasing a bike and riding your way towards a stress-less and healthy lifestyle, the very first question you should ask is that “what size bike do I need for my height?”. Even before you decide what type, what company and what bike make you should go for, this basic decision that what bike size is suitable for you, must be made first.
Life is full of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental problems. As much as it comes as a surprise, but the truth is that life is stressful because of our daily routine. You heard me right! Many studies have shown that a lot almost 75% of mental illnesses are caused due to stressful work life instead of personal life issues.
But no matter what the cause is, the cure is only one, relieving the stress instead of letting it accumulate inside you and make you more hollow from inside day after day after day. Many researchers have suggested that the best way to release stress is by performing healthy cardio exercises.
A person could perform different cardio exercises at home or they could practice just one exercise that is a combination of multiple cardio exercises, that is, “CYCLING”.
Whether you are a parent looking for a bike to surprise your kid on Christmas, a person trying to turn their life around and live healthily, or want to get into the sports of cycling as a professional? The first thing before you can buy your dream bike is to consider that what size will fit best according to your height.
How Are Bikes Measured?
Before we can choose the right size bike, we must understand how sizing is done? Because choosing the bike size doesn’t completely depend upon the rider’s height. Many of the manufacturers label their bikes as a small, medium, or large and some will use the numbers to label the bike’s size, these numbers generally start from 48 to 62 and are measured in the unit of centimeters.
Three Ways Of Measuring Your Bike
As there is no consistent or standard way decided globally when it comes to measuring bikes. Therefore, one size of any two brands will never be considered the same and therefore you just cannot go on and buy a bike based on the size of your previous bike.
But this doesn’t mean that you have to go to the shop and try out every bike you came across to find the best match, there are of course some ways for selecting the right bike for yourself, which are discussed below:
- Effective seat tube length: One way to check the bike size is to measure the seat tube length. Seat tube length is measured from the bottom bracket (which is situated at the center of the chain wheel) to the top of the top tube (which is situated at the bottom of the seat tube.)
- Measuring bike’s “REACH”: Measuring a bike’s reach is an international standard for figuring out bike size. REACH of the bike is measured with a centerline from the bottom bracket (situated at the center of the chain wheel) to the centerline of the head tube.
- Measuring bike’s “STACK”: Measuring stack is quite similar to measuring the reach of the bike but it also includes the height of the bike, in other words, STACK is measured from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.
How To Find Correct Saddle Height
Although the saddle height can be adjusted by adjusting the seat post length in almost every make of the bike but adjusting the height of the saddle will affect the performance of the cycle so, it is recommended that a bike whose saddle size is best for you.
Method To Find Your Saddle Height:
- Find a straight wall, and place the bike next to it.
- Get on the bike and place your hands on handlebars.
- Place one paddle all the way down to six o’clock and put your heel on the paddle, this will put your leg in a straight position.
- Now put the paddle back into the normal position and this will put a slight bend in your leg.
- Keep on repeating this process and trying to pout different bikes until a bent informed in the leg, when bent is formed then this is the correct saddle height for you.
Choosing Correct “REACH”
When it comes to saddle height because of the adjustable seat post, adjusting the saddle is not really that big of an issue but when it comes to setting your REACH, the adjustments are much more restricted. Correct REACH is very essential for a comfortable bike and therefore it must be chosen wisely and according to your comfort.
REACH of different bikes will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from brand to band. It also depends on the type of riding the bike is designed for but also on the size of the bike you are riding. Racing bikes will be manufactured in a way that they will be longer in length and shorter in height, whereas gravel bikes are taller in height and shorter in length. Now, the numbers that represent the height and length of the bike are called REACH and STACK of the bike.
How To Adjust The REACH
As discussed earlier the REACH of a bike is measured from the lower bracket to the centerline of the head tube (situated in handlebars) therefore the reach of the bike can be adjusted by adjusting the handlebars. So, on what factors does the position of the handlebar depends?
- Rider’s posture: Rider’s posture plays an important role in deciding the position of handlebars and adjusting the REACH of the bike. If you have a long arm and longer back then you can choose a bike that is longer and lower and vice versa is true if you have a shorter arm and back.
- Type of riding: If you are a racer that of course, you will prefer a bike that is longer and shorter in length but if you are a mountaineer or looking for a more comfortable experience then you will go for gravel bikes which are taller in height and comparatively smaller in length as compared to racing bikes.
General Rule To Adjust The Handlebars
If all of the above talks about measurements, types, and difficult terminologies are making your head spin then forget all of that and just remember this golden and general rule for correct handle bar’s adjustment.
If the saddle is in the correct position (that is, its height is adjusted properly) then after sitting on the bike and placing your hands on the handle, the angle between you’re your shoulder and hip should be roughly between 40 to 45 degrees and the angle between your arms and torso should be 80 to 90 degrees.
So, in short, keeps these two angles in mind and try to choose a bike that will give you these ideal angles right off the bat or requires very little bar handle adjustments to provide you with these hip, shoulder, and torso angles.
In the end, it’s all about comfort
You have finally found the correct saddle height and REACH size for yourself and now you are ready to buy the bike, but even though all the measurements are according to your height, you still feel that something is missing. Well, that missing piece of the puzzle is comfort.
No matter how thoroughly we check the saddle size or REACH and STACK. If the rider after sitting on the bike is not feeling comfortable then the bike is not correct for him. This happens often because of the type of riding you are going to use your bike for. Are you going to use it just for normal speed, occasional cycling, or are you planning to use it as a race bike?
Mostly, the rider must trade-off between the comfort and size of the bike. Well, you must be thinking then what is the reason to find the size of the bike if you are trading off comfort? Well, the answer is simple, you find the correct size to get the maximum performance out of the bike.
So, in short choosing, the correct size will help you reach the maximum potential of your bike and you can cycle more with less effort with a correct sized bike. So, hopefully, the question that, “what size bike do I need for my height?” has now been answered.
Now, you can finally stop relying on the charts available on the internet that tries to give you a guess on what bike size will be suitable for you depending on your height and now you can actually measure the suitable saddle height and RAECH for yourself and go for a bike that provides you with those options.