Check out the following tips for fitting and customizing your road bike, but remember it’s all personal. Always make sure the fit feels right to you.
Pose Questions. Ask cyclist friends and bike shop staff for help. You can still buy a used bike, but go to the shop first to collect information. Chances are, you’ll be back to the shop at some point for bits and bobs, so don’t worry about wasting the salesperson’s time.
Memorize this equation. For a general guideline in fitting a frame, try Greg Lemond’s recommended equation. Multiply your inseam by .65 for the correct frame size in centimeters. This is just a ballpark figure. Not only is it designed with men in mind, but everybody is different, so ultimately you’ll have to sit on the saddle to properly size your bike.
Try it on for size. If you find the right fit in the store but decide to buy elsewhere, remember that not all bikes are sized the same. Though all are measured by the length of the seat tube — the vertical tube from the crank to the saddle — how these measurements are taken vary.
Raise the bar. Women often need their handlebars slightly raised because of their longer legs and shorter torsos and arms. While on the bike, make sure your elbows can be slightly bent and feel relaxed. Your shoulders should not feel stretched. If you were to draw a line from your eyes down, they would hit the center of the handlebars and then the center of your front tire. The line would be perfectly straight.
Take it slow. When trying new saddle, cleat or handlebar positions, remember to make slow incremental changes. Adjust no more than one-quarter inch for every three to four rides!