When I was a kid, as long as I could stand over the top tube or pedal without my knees hitting my handlebar, my parents figured that my bike was a good enough fit. These days, I’m a little more picky about my bike fit – sure, it’s still somewhere in the range of clearing the top tube and my knees not hitting the handlebar, but I’ve dialed it in some more. Bike racers are notoriously exact about their bike fits and I’m no exception. Besides having seat height and position, cleat position and stem length to my liking, there’s even more finicky choices to make – brake lever angle, shifter placement…I could go on. While you don’t have to fiddle with every aspect of your bike like an over-attentive racer, it’s definitely a good idea to start with a basic bike fit.
The first step in sizing a bike is walking into your local bike shop and swinging a leg over a few different models and sizes. There are general size charts for both road and mountain bikes and most manufacturer websites have a sizing guide for each model. But the only way to really tell if a bike is right for you is getting on the real thing. Bike size isn’t simply dependent on your height, but more importantly your inseam, arm and torso length, flexibility and preference with regards to bike handling. At White Pine Touring and Jans in Park City, UT, we try to carry a full size run of each bike model to ensure that you can find and try out your ideal size.
After you find a bike that is about the right size, the next step is getting a proper bike fit. Even the most casual bike path pedaler should make sure that their bike fits properly. As Todd Henneman, Jans Bike Buyer, states in the video above, the three most important reasons to get a bike fit are comfort, efficiency and bike handling. A few small adjustments can go a long way towards making your cycling experience that much more enjoyable.
If you ride either a road or mountain bike consistently or are planning some longer bike rides, it’s especially important to make sure your bike fit is dialed in. Proper seat height and cleat position can prevent injuries, especially sore knees and Achilles or IT band related issues. Make sure you’re staying healthy and getting the most out of your bike with one of Jans’ custom bike fits. We offer a Quick Fit for $75 which involves making changes to seat height and position, cleat position as well as cockpit position. Our Expert Fit costs $150 and is a much more detailed, performance-oriented approach to an optimal fit.
It doesn’t matter if your bike is $200 or $2000 – if it doesn’t fit right, riding it won’t be enjoyable. Get the most out of your bike by making sure it’s the right size and fit.
Evelyn Dong, content writer