Bikes are serious pieces of equipment, and it’s important that you choose the right size for your body type. If your bike isn’t properly sized to your body type, you may experience uncomfortable riding conditions and even harmful injuries.
We are supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. Learn more. Last update on 1st December 2023 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.
Checking the standover
Standover height is the distance between the top tube and the ground. It’s important because it determines how much you can lean over, which affects your ability to ride.
Standover height also determines how much room you have to put your feet down while riding and stops your feet from hitting pavement or other objects as you pedal.
To check standover height, set yourself or your child up on the bike with both feet flat on the ground and then measure between the top of the hip bone (pelvis) and where you/they would need to put the foot down in order to stop suddenly (for example, in a traffic lane).
Checking the saddle height
Saddle height is one of the most important things to check when you’re buying a new bike, especially for your child. If it’s too high, your kid will have trouble pedaling and may lose their balance. On the other hand, if it’s too low, they might not be able to reach the pedals—or worse yet, get injured!
The saddle of your bicycle should be at the same height as the center of your kneecap. If it’s not, you might need to adjust the saddle or pedals.
The saddle height needs to be measured from the ground up to where it meets the top of your pedal. This part can be tricky if there are different types of pedals on your bike, but it’s worth working out so that you can get comfortable riding around town and longer distances without pain in your knees or legs
To check a saddle height:
- Set up your child on her bike in an area with plenty of space around her (you don’t want any cars or trees nearby). Have her sit down on the seat with both feet flat on the ground while holding onto the handlebars. If she can comfortably let go without falling over backward or tipping forward too far and hitting her knees, then everything is good! Otherwise adjust as needed until she can maintain this position comfortably without assistance from anyone else nearby.
- Note that each brand of bicycle has different specifications so always refer back directly to manufacturer guidelines before making any adjustments yourself just because something feels “off” when riding together in person does not mean anything needs fixing immediately either way!
Checking the reach of a bike
The reach of a bike is the distance from the center of the saddle to the center of the handlebar. You’ll want to measure this with your rider in place on their bike, but it’s important that you measure from the center point of both objects–not from their edges.
To get a good reading for your own body type and needs, sit on your bike and see how far away from you these two points are when they’re at their farthest points relative to each other.
Signs Your Mountain Bike Is Too Small
You can tell if your mountain bike is too small by observing these signs:
- You’re uncomfortable on your bike. If you feel like you don’t have enough room to move your arms, or you feel cramped in the seat of the bike, then it’s probably too small.
- Your knees hurt while riding. This could be a sign that the reach of your handlebars is not right for how tall you are and that they’re causing strain on your knees (especially when pedaling).
- You feel like you’re hunched over or always trying to keep your weight back. If you can’t reach the handlebars, your bike is too small.
- Your crankarm is too short. The crankarm is the part of your frame that connects the pedals to the bottom bracket. It should be long enough so that you can comfortably position your foot on it. If it’s too short, this can cause knee pain and other problems in your legs and feet.
Being properly fit on your bike can help you avoid injuries, perform better, and enjoy riding more. It will also make you safer by helping you be more efficient and comfortable.
You should feel weight only on your sit bones, not on soft tissue around your sit bones.
The sit bones are the two bones you feel when you sit on a chair. Soft tissue is the tissue around the sit bones and shouldn’t be able to bear any weight. If you’re feeling pressure on soft tissue when sitting on your bike, it’s too small for you.
When the saddle is too high, you’ll often feel discomfort in your knees.
If you can’t bend your knees, you’re probably riding a bike that’s too small.
If the saddle is too high and you can’t get your feet on the ground, it’s time to ditch that bike.
If the saddle is too low, but still too high for comfort, consider getting a shorter stem (the part of your bike that attaches to the handlebars). A shorter stem will lower the height at which your handlebars are mounted (and therefore lower where they sit in relation to your saddle), making things more comfortable.
If you’re always cramped up, or can’t move as freely as you would like when riding, consider increasing reach by adding spacers under your stem, or switching to a shorter stem
Reach is a critical component of bike fit and comfort; if you have a short reach and are looking at bikes with high-rise stems (stems that sit more upright than those on road bikes), they may not fit. Conversely, if you have a long reach and like riding in an aggressive position on your drops, then there may be no reason for you to consider switching to an endurance/hybrid style bike.
Here are some things to keep in mind when determining whether or not a certain bike is too small for you:
- If possible, try before buying! This will give you an idea of how comfortable or uncomfortable it feels while riding.
- If purchasing online or without trying before buying isn’t practical for whatever reason (e.g., cost), then check out reviews from others who have ridden that particular model before deciding whether it would work well enough for what’s expected out of such piece of equipment
If all of your reach adjustments are maxed out and you still can’t achieve a proper fit, it may be time to look for a smaller frame size
If your bike is too small, you’ll experience problems with comfort and control. The saddle won’t be in the right place, so you’ll have difficulty achieving a comfortable position on it. Additionally, if your bike is too small for your body type or height, this can cause problems like numbness in hands or feet due to pressure on nerves as well as neck pain from having to hold yourself up while riding. If any of these symptoms sound familiar when riding your current bike (and they’re not caused by another factor), then it may indeed be time for an upgrade!
Small adjustments can improve your bike’s fit without committing to an entirely new frame.
To fine-tune your bike’s fit, you can make small adjustments to the following items:
- Spacers are used under the stem to raise or lower height.
- A shorter stem will lower your handlebars and position them closer to your torso, giving you more control over how you steer and brake. (However, this might cause issues with cornering.)
- Changing the seat height by moving it up or down will alter how much weight is placed on each pedal stroke, making it easier or harder for you to get up hills. If you have a lot of experience riding bikes, then changing seat height may not have that much of an effect on comfort or performance; however if this is your first time getting into cycling then changing seat height could drastically improve the way that you ride!
How Big Is Too Big for A Mountain Bike?
If a bike doesn’t fit you, you may be tempted to buy it anyway and “grow into it.” But that’s not really a good idea: A bike that’s too big for you will make riding uncomfortable, inefficient and dangerous.
If the bike is too large for you, your feet will hang off the pedals when they’re at the bottom (or even worse, hang about an inch above), making it difficult to apply enough power to climb hills or accelerate quickly.
And if your seat is too high on the frame (or vice versa), pedaling will hurt your knees and ankles—not only because of its awkwardness but also because of its impact on your joints.
The best approach is simply to try out different bikes in person until one feels right.
What Can I Do if My Mountain Bike Frame Is Too Big?
Bike fitting is a way to make sure your bike is the right size for you. If you’re on a bike that’s too large, it will be difficult to control, and if it’s too small, it may not fit you well or support your body well. The right size bike will make you feel comfortable and confident when riding—and help you to perform better!
Check the manufacturer’s website for guidance on fitting guidelines. It’s also important to note that sizing can vary depending on where you purchase your bike from.
If after reading this article, you still aren’t sure if your bike is the right size for you or not, consider visiting an expert at a local shop who can take measurements and look at other factors like physical fitness (height) and flexibility as well as riding style (whether they prefer trails over pavement). They can also recommend models based on budget considerations and comfort level preferences so that everyone can enjoy cycling safely without feeling overwhelmed by challenging terrain
Problems that can be caused by the wrong bike size
Pain in the knees and back are often caused by incorrect frame geometry.
- Knee pain: The seat height should be adjusted to allow you to put both feet firmly on the pedals without locking out your knees. If your seat is too high, the front of your legs will have to work hard to support most of your body weight while pedaling uphill or against strong winds. This can cause problems with patellar tendonitis (knee tendonitis) or other forms of tendinopathy in cyclists.
- Back pain: The correct frame size plays a big role in preventing back pain as well; if you have an incorrect fit, then every time you pedal up a hill or over bumps while riding uphill (or even just sitting still), there will be some degree of discomfort from having poor posture due to being too tall for this particular bike.
If you’re experiencing any discomfort while riding, try adjusting the seat height or handlebar position until you feel better. If those adjustments don’t work, consider getting a new bicycle with measurements that fit your body better.