When purchasing a new bicycle for either sex, comfort should be the foremost consideration. Without comfort, a new ride can quickly become a nightmare, leading to pain in the cyclist’s groin, wrists, back, neck, and knees. Cycling should be a pleasurable activity. Selecting a proper frame size for a girl is just a matter of taking a few careful measurements. With these, you can avoid the hazards of poor fit, and ensure a comfortable ride.
Things You’ll Need:
- Measuring tape
Put on your cycling shoes. These are the shoes you’ll be wearing when riding your bike, whether they’re patented cycling shoes or basic tennis shoes. It’s important that the full length of your inseam, from groin to shoe, be taken into consideration when fitting yourself for a frame.
Determine which type of bike you’re interested in. An ideal fit will vary slightly depending on whether the bicycle is a road or a mountain bike model. In either case, while wearing your cycling shoes, stand over of the bike at its midsection.
If using a road bike, note whether the top tube is traditional or sloping. A traditional tube will run parallel with the ground, while a sloping tube will slant toward the ground. If the tube is traditional, there should be about 1″ clearance between the tube and your groin. If the tube is sloping, around 2″ of clearance is normal. If there is not enough clearance, the bike is too large. If there is too much clearance, the bike may be too small.
The vast majority of mountain bikes today feature sloping top tube technology. Once again, while standing over the bike, check the clearance between the tube and the groin. Lift the bike toward the groin. Is there approximately 2″ of clearance between the tire and the ground? If the bike includes suspension, consider slightly less clearance, as the suspension will contract when under load.
If you’re purchasing a bike online, have someone measure your inseam, from groin to the floor. Again, wear cycling shoes. Online bike models will include a sizing chart. Check the model’s standover height. For mountain and traditional comfort bikes, the difference between your inseam and the bike’s standover height should be about 2″. For road bikes, this will be about 1″.
Tips & Warnings
- Most bicycle shops offer custom fitting. Even if you’re not purchasing a bike at a shop, consider contracting this service. While frame size is important, the ideal bicycle fit will take into account further variables, such as reach and hand size, further dialing in your perfect ride.
- While not always possible, it’s best to physically fit a bike before purchasing it. Test riding a bike is the ultimate measure of comfort and ride quality.