Bicycle fit is the collection of measurements between different contact points on a bicycle. Some cyclists actually go through a custom fitting in order to adjust different components like the crank length. Bicycle fit is important because it will affect the amount of control the cyclist has over the bike. A good fit also helps to prevent injuries and unnecessary stress on the body. Cyclists should be familiar with four sets of measurements. These numbers will make it easy to choose or adjust a bicycle for maximum control and comfort every time.
The saddle height is important for a proper bicycle fit because it determines a number of other factors that will affect performance, comfort and safety. The saddle height is the distance between the center of the crank and the top center of the seat. The line between these two points does not always follow the frame of the bike. This measurement will help cyclists to adjust the seat on any bicycle to the most comfortable position. The correct saddle height ensures that the maximum amount of power is transferred from the feet to the wheels. It also prevents back pain and shoulder pain that could result from cycling in an uncomfortable position for a long time.
Handlebar measurements are very useful when renting a bicycle, upgrading parts or undergoing a custom fitting. The handlebar measurement is the distance from one side of the handlebars to the other. Most cyclists will want to choose handlebars that have the same measurements as the distance between the shoulder joints. This allows the arms to rest on the handlebars without any extra strain. Riding a bike with handlebars that are too short or too long could cause problems steering especially at high speeds. This directly affects the safety of the cyclist and the other people in the area. The right width also makes it easier to breathe while riding.
Bicycle wheels come in a number of standard sizes. The size of each wheel is usually based on the style of the bicycle although some cyclists replace the tires to increase performance. The size of the wheel is normally printed on the side of the tire. It is best to memorize this measurement since the print will wear away over time. Wheel measurements are important when purchasing repair kits and inner tubes. This measurement also helps when choosing a new bicycle or repairing a bike after an accident.
A bicycle frame has several different measurements although only a few are useful to most cyclists. The stand-over height is the distance from the ground to the top of the tube that sits between the legs. This distance should leave at least one inch of free space between the groin and the tube. The correct stand-over height will improve safety while riding and will increase comfort. Another measurement to know is the center-to-center (C-C) distance. This is the length between the center of the seat tub and the center of the forward tube where the handlebars mount. This distance is important for control of the bike and the comfort of the rider.