Choosing a Bike Size: How to Start

Choosing the right bicycle for your body type is best done with the help of an experienced staff member at an established shop.  This article is meant to provide a general introduction to choosing a bike size for those unfamiliar with the process.  Be sure to visit our location for professional guidance before purchasing a bicycle.

There are the basic steps for choosing the right-sized bike for an adult:

  1. While wearing the shoes you plan to use while riding, swing one of your legs over the top tube of the bike (assuming that the tube runs straight across).  While straddling the bicycle, judge the space between your body and the frame.  For general-purpose cycles you want about one inch of clearance; for off-road and mountain bike models, two inches is preferable.
  2. Now judge the seat height.  Your legs should have a slight bend at the knees even when the pedal is at its lowest point.  You might need to adjust the seat to achieve this.
  3. Finally, check the reach to the handlebars.  Your elbows should remain bent slightly to ensure a comfortable ride.

Choosing a bike size for a child or young teen is somewhat different.  Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Youth bikes are measured by the size of their wheels, not their frames.  The most common sizes are 16, 20, and 24 inches.
  2. The rider should be able to comfortably mount the bike and stand with their feet flat on the ground.  Two inches of clearance is a good guide.
  3. Parents sometimes buy a larger bicycle than the rider needs, in hopes that they will grow to fit it.  This is a mistake; it can cause safety hazards while riding, as well as undue stress on knees, wrists, and spine.

Here at Alamo Bike Shop we have the training and expertise to ensure that the cycle you buy is the right one for your height and body type.  Come visit us today; we look forward to serving you.

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