Philadelphia, PA - So you've been saving up for a mountain bike but do not know which size and fit are right for you? No worries, this article will give you the ultimate guide to getting the best mountain bike fit for you. Mountain bikes are a must-have toy for every adventurous soul, and having the right fit is a great advantage regarding posture and ease of maneuver.
Basic Terms You Should Know When Shopping for the Right Bike
These are some terms you should know before embarking on mountain bike shopping.
It's a connecting rod running from the center of the head tube to the seat post. The length of it is called top tube length. It is paramount for a power peddle's efficiency and comfort. A tall person will need a larger top tube distance for comfortable peddling, while a shorter person will need shorter.
It is a connecting rod from the bracket bottom to the seat post. This length determines how much the saddle can be adjusted and is a critical reference area when determining what height is best for the specific bike due to leg comfortability. It often determines the stand-over clearance, which should be 2 inches.
When buying a 29-inch electric bike, the battery is found in the down tube. This is the length between the centers of the bottom bracket and the bottom head tube. Most manufacturers do not provide the measurement, but you can easily calculate at home by comparing two bikes.
Seat Stay And Seat Angle
The seat stay connects the seat post to the bottom bracket. The angle determines the rider's balance in a sitting position and is considered best at 30°.
The correct saddle height is essential, as your feet will have enough power to peddle. Too short a saddle height will cause the rider to use more energy when paddling, resulting in sore muscles, thus slowing down your cycling speed.
It is typically the distance between the bottom bracket center and the head tube center. This height determines how comfortable a rider will feel when riding the bike.
Stand-over height determines how easily you can get off your bike on a flat surface. This height should include a minimum clearance of 2 inches.
It is the length between the rear axis and the bottom brackets center. A longer chainstay influences better stability at high speeds and vice versa for a shorter chainstay length.
It is the distance(horizontal) between the two rear axles. This distance is essential to note as it tells about the stability of the mountain bike. A long wheelbase will improve control when riding at high speed and stability. It is the opposite of a shorter wheelbase.
It is the distance(horizontal) between the center of the head tube top and the bottom bracket. The reach is crucial when testing a mountain bike as it tells how much motion range you will have when pedaling.
Too large a reach will cause you to lean too forward when pedaling, while too small a distance will cause an overly upright and uncomfortable position as the handlebars are closer to your body. A tall person will require a larger reach than a shorter person.
How to Identify the Perfect Mountain Bike Size for You
The following factors will help you get the right fit when buying a mountain bike.
Use a Manufacturer's Size Chart
Every mountain bike manufacturer has a size chart that you can use as a reference point. The size chart may not always be accurate for everybody, and you might need to look a bit deeper into the details of the bike and even take a test run.
The bike sizes vary. And they include:
- Size XS, which accommodates riders of between 4'9 to 5'1 height
- Size S, which is for riders of height 5'2 to 5'5
- Size M for riders of height 5'6 to 5'8
- Size L for riders between the height of 5'9 to 6',
- Size XL for riders of height between 6'2 to 6'4
- Size XXL for riders of heights between 6'5 to 6'7
Use a Bike Size Calculator
To calculate the right mountain bike size, you need to know your height and measurement from your legs to mid-hip, called leg inseam. To calculate the correct frame size, multiply this figure by a third. It should give you your exact frame size.
Mountain Bike Geometry
Mountain bike geometry will include reach, stand-over clearance, top tube length, wheelbase, saddle height, and many more dimensions. Not all these measurements are included when determining the manufacturer's size chart, and one will need them to choose which bike fits best.
The Wheel Size
There are three main wheel sizes available on the market, and they include 6 inches, 27.5 inches, and 29 inches. A larger wheel size ultimately means better traction and agility, while a smaller wheel guarantees higher speed than the larger wheel size. Using this knowledge, you can choose the right bike aligned with your priorities.
Your Riding Style
If looking at rough bike trails, choose a bike with a larger wheelbase. It will create more stability and better roll-on obstacles. Always have your hands on the break and wear protective gear on expeditions. A shorter wheelbase is ideal in a more relaxed setting.
The Ultimate Bike Fitting Checklist
- A good sitting position. Do not lean too forward or too backward either. Make sure you are comfortable riding in that position.
- Your shoulders should be relaxed to guarantee a good grip when riding.
- Have your elbows slightly bent as well as your knees during the end of stroking.
- Make sure the saddle is well adjusted to suit your comfortability and efficiency.
- Ability to tilt the brake levers and shifters? You should be able to do this with ease.
Problems You Could Encounter Having the Wrong Bike Fitting
- Knee and hip pain due to a poorly adjusted saddle. Either too high or too low
- Back pain is caused by poorly positioned handlebars or reach. Try putting stems up or down or installing back sweep handlebars.
- Neck, shoulder, and arm pain caused by inappropriate reach cause strain on these areas.
Having the right-sized mountain bike makes it much easier to enjoy riding. Many people, however, buy the bike without looking at the different parameters for sizing and fit. This causes a lot of problems down the line.
Always take the bike for a test before purchasing it. Have the seller adjust the mountain bike to suit your every possible need and enjoy the ultimate mountain bike riding experience.