Why You Should Choose a Bike Based On Your Body Type

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Everyone knows they should choose a bike based on performance needs. You wouldn’t take a racing bike on a mountain trail and you might struggle with a touring bike at your cyclocross event. But did you know that you should also factor in your body type when selecting your next bicycle? For example, bikes for heavy people are built differently than bikes for short people. By considering your height and weight before you purchase, you can get the right bike for you and enjoy a more comfortable ride.

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Bike Sizes

Bikes are measured differently depending upon the type of bike. Road bikes are measured by their seat tube dimension while the sizing for mountain bikes has changed over the years. While that can be confusing, here are some basic guidelines:

  • Use your height and leg length to determine frame size
  • Frames begin at 19 inches and run to 25 inches
  • Bikes for tall guys should have a frame of at least 22 inches
  • Traditional bike frames have the longest top tube length
  • Compact bike frames have the shortest top tube length and therefore the shortest wheelbase

Once you’ve determined the appropriate frame size, consider the angle of handlebars, the placement of saddle height, and distance to brake levers. While it’s possible to make these adjustments yourself, a quick visit to a bike shop will save you time and ensure that your bike has been adjusted properly.

Bike Tires

If you are looking at a bicycle for short adults, you can choose any tire that fits your riding style. Bigger riders, however, need to pay a little more attention to tires to ensure they get a good ride and don’t end up with endless flats. When choosing your ride, take note of the following:

  1. Bike Tire Width. If possible, get a 28mm tire. It can carry you with less inflation pressure. Certain road bike frames can’t support such a wide wheel. If this is your bike, just go with the widest tire possible.
  2. Bike Tire Inflation. Heavier riders need higher inflation pressures. The psi still needs to be within the acceptable range, so check the tire’s limitations on inflation pressure.
  3. Wheel Strength. The wheels should be the correct width for your tires. Mountain bikers like to use rims thinner than the tires as a bit of fashion statement, but this will not support a heavier rider. Make sure the bike wheel has a minimum of 36 spokes or opt for tandem bike wheels that have 40 or 48 spokes.

Bike Composition

Most modern bikes are made of steel, aluminum, and carbon. Some of the most exclusive racing bikes are also made of titanium. Basic entry-level bikes tend to be made of aluminum, and this should work for you if you are on the average to short side. Bigger and taller riders might want to go with steel for the higher weight limits, particularly if you’ll be carrying cargo.

Check out all your options to find the right bike for you and enjoy the journey.