Choosing a Bicycle

Making the best choice of bicycle style depends on several important points: size, frame and seat height, as well as knowing the type of roads or trails you plan to ride on. Here are some guidelines:

Bicycle Size

In general, smaller bikes are easier to handle than larger bikes. Chances are you can modify a small bike to fit you correctly rather than a bigger bike.

Frame Height

The correct frame height varies with the style of bike and the type of riding you do.

For a bicycle with ‘drop’ handlebars (touring or racing bikes):

When standing flat-footed over the bike, ensure there is between 2 and 5 cm of clearance between you and the top tube.

For a bicycle with ‘flat’ handlebars (mountain bikes):

For on-road use: When standing flat-footed over the bike, ensure there is between 2 and 5 cm of clearance between you and the top tube.

For off-road use: When standing flat-footed over the bike, ensure there is between 7.5 and 10 cm of clearance between you and the top tube.

For all-around riding: When standing flat-footed over the bike, ensure there is between 5 and 7.5 cm of clearance between you and the top tube (this falls between the first two options).

Seat Height

Establish the correct seat height as follows:

Sit on the saddle of the bike with the pedal at the lowest point on its path of travel.

Then place your heel on the pedal of the bike, so that your leg is fully extended in this position. Having the correct seat height means that when you are riding your bike with the balls of your feet on the pedals, there should always be a slight bend in your knees.