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Bike Size Help?(4 posts)

Bike Size Help?OkiBama
Jun 16, 2003 1:43 PM

I am 6-2", 200Lbs and want to buy my first real road bike. What size bike do you recommend?
Also, could you direct me to a site on the internet that helps size a bike?

Too important to listen to us...cory
Jun 16, 2003 2:01 PM
If I had to guess from here, I'd say try a 62 or 63cm. I imagine most shops would put you on a 58-60, because the trend the last several years has been toward frames once considered too small. I'm 6'4", and I won't look at anything smaller than 64cm.
There's a good sizing guide at (warning--it will put you on a frame at least a size bigger than most, but it worked for me). Also, while I wouldn't usually say to take up a shop's time unless you intend to buy from them, fit is so important that you could try some bikes before you order. Just remember who helped you when you need water bottles, tires and other small things.
A good road oriented LBSjtolleson
Jun 16, 2003 4:03 PM
will be more help than any internet site, and IMHO they owe a purchase of a $700-$4000 item (depending on your taste) the personalized service associated with a proper fitting.

Most bike shops are really good at assisting the $1000+ market with fitting, but I'm always amazed what short shrift some places will do when a buyer is just shopping an entry level bike. Someone buying a Giant OCR3 or Trek 1000 deserves only the "standover test?" Pshaw! Go buy a $700 suit and they'll tailor it for you... why not the damn bike? Especially since you'll probably also be in for some shoes, helmet, pump, etc. and potentially a life-time relationship for maintenance and accessories.

Anyway, I got a little off topic and ranty there, but find a good shop that will work for its money. Worth its weight in gold.
You could do a searchKerry
Jun 16, 2003 4:26 PM
This topic gets covered a couple of times per week.

For adjusting the fit of the bike, there are roughly five starting points:

1. Seat height (top of saddle to center of pedal axle) at 108-110% of inseam.
2. Saddle parallel to ground.
3. Saddle fore/aft adjusted so that a plumb bob from the bony protrusion just below the kneecap passes through the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal. This is known as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
4. Front hub axle obscured by the handlebars when riding in your "regular" position (drops, hoods, or tops).
5. Top of handlebars 1 to 4.5+ inches below the top of the saddle depending on your flexibility and size.

These are all starting points for "average" proportioned people, and many folks like to move away from these starting points as they learn what makes them more comfortable, powerful, or efficient. You want to get the fit of the frame as close as you can, then do minor adjustments with the stem, seat post, saddle position, etc.

A lot of this is personal comfort, and we all tend to adapt to a given position over time. For example, a given stem length may be right for you, but it may feel long at first. I use the "handle bar obscures the front hub" rule for my fit, but others claim better position (for them) with the hub in front of or behind the bar. I'm 6' tall and ride with 11.5 cm drop from saddle to bar, probably more than most people would like but fine for me. Some are suggesting zero drop from saddle to bars - it's about comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamics. The ERGOBIKE calculator is pretty good, but it is not infallible. I would suggest riding some miles (over 100 total, and over 500 would be better) and see if you adapt to the position. There are no hard and fast rules, just general guidelines, when it comes to these things.

Just as important as your size is your flexibility. If you have a stiff lower back, you may not be able to lean over and stretch out as much. If you are very flexible, you may get away with a longer top tube, with the stem in a lower position. Over time on the bike, too, you may become more limber, or at least become accustomed to being lower and stretched out. So, your first 'real' bike may not be anything like what you will want 5 years from now.

Someone new to road riding is highly unlikely to find their ultimate position on the first go. As they become accustomed to the riding position and get some miles in, sometimes over several seasons, people often find their desired position changing. What was "stretched out" now feels OK, or what was "just right" now feels cramped. With time, if you are working on your position along with all your other riding stuff, seat position tends to rise, handlebars tend to be farther below the saddle, saddles tend to move rearward, and handlebars tend to be farther forward from the saddle. You simply cannot say "this is the right position for someone of your body dimensions" because there are too many variables and things that change with time. Get used to your position, and then occasionally make small changes: raise/lower your saddle, move your saddle forward/backward. Ride a while with the changes (a few 100 miles, anyway) and decide if it is better or worse. If it is better, keep moving in that direction. If it is worse, try moving the other direction. If you don't try, you won't find out, but it is a long term process, often taking years, to really dial in your position. And since your strength and flexibility are changing with time, it is reasonable that your position would need to change also.