Does your bike 100% suit you?

Off-road cycling

In previous articles, we have introduced how to adjust our riding posture by adjusting the angles of important joints in our bodies . However, the comfort riding posture is not only related to our physical characteristics but also to the size of bike components. Only consider two parts, a comfortable and safe riding posture can be adjusted. In this article, let’s learn the relationship between the size of bike parts and riding posture.

1. Seat parameters

(1) Saddle height

The height of the saddle mainly affects power output, knee joint angle and ankle joint angle, so a suitable saddle height can not only improve our pedaling efficiency but also ensure our safety.

In addition to adjusting the angle of the knee and ankle joints to adjust the saddle height , you can also use the heel-to-pedal method. When the pedals are at the lowest position, adjust the saddle to the position where your heels just touch the pedals.

Riding posture adjustment

(2)Rearward movement

After determining the saddle height, the appropriate rearward movement can improve pedaling efficiency, avoid unnecessary injuries, and help the rider keep balance. 

The KOPS method (Knee Over Pedal Spindle) can be used in static measurement which adjusting the saddle to ensure the knee is directly above the axis of the pedal. However, riding is a dynamic process. The static adjustment method can be used as a reference, but it is not perfectly suitable for everyone. If you want to achieve customised results, you can adjust it through the Retul system at a professional bike shop.

KOPS adjustment method

2. Handlebar parameters

(1) Handlebar width

The width of the handlebars will affect the stress on the forearms, elbows and triceps. Keeping the riding posture, make sure the outside of the shoulders and the thumb or index finger in the same width. The handlebar width should be the same as that of the shoulders.

Handlebar width

(2) Drop and reach

The drop and reach of the handlebars will strongly affect riding comfort. Riders with long arms can choose the handlebars with a large drop and long reach, which will help reduce air resistance. In contrast, riders with shorter arms can choose a handlebar with a small drop and short reach to avoid making our riding posture too aggressive.

Torso postures with different handlebar
Handlebar parameters

3 Frame size

The following method can be referred to choose the appropriate frame. 

(1) Consult the manufacturer

Use Raymond’s formula to measure the hip height, then multiply it by 0.833 to get the saddle height. Provide the data to the shop staff and let them help you choose the right frame.

(2) Query the relationship between body height and different frame tube length

(3) Collect data from the body and use network testing software for statistical analysis

(4) Conduct a data analysis through BIKE FIT. This method is the most accurate but expensive.

Bike frame

4 Stem length

If the frame size is correct, the stem length is generally 10cm to 12 cm. If it’s too long or too short, our weight will be unevenly distributed, which is not conducive to maintaining balance. It will affect the bike’s controllability. If the stem is too long, the handling performance will be slow. In contrast, it will be sensitive if the stem is too short. If the reach is within 10cm or beyond 14cm, this indicates that our frame size is not suitable.

Effects of different stem lengths

5 Cleat position

A good cleat position benefits to improve the power output. At the 3 o’clock position, align the ball of the metatarsal bone with the center line of the pedal axis, then set the cleat.

Set the cleat

In conclusion, when we adjust the bike size, we can combine it with adjusting the joint angles in our previous articles to achieve a relative balance between the person and the bike.
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[1] Phil Burt & Guang Huai Zhang. BIKE FIT [M]. Beijing: People’s Posts and Telecommunications Press, 2015.7

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