Have you ever felt shoulder pain or in any other area while riding your bicycle? Chances are that your new bike might be too big for you. You need to know that getting the right-sized bike is important. Without the proper size, how will you be able to ride the bike properly? You might have experienced this yourself but riding an oversized bike can be unsafe, and uncomfortable. I am not just talking about a bike being too big, even if a bike is too small, it can be inefficient and unstable.
May it be a mountain bike, road bike, or any other type of bike, you need to get the perfect bike size for yourself. Yes! I do recognize that in some situations an oversized bike is preferred. Let’s discuss that later. Now, let’s talk about how you can identify if your bike is too big to handle.
6 Huge Signs If Your Bike Is Too Big
Getting the perfect-sized bike for yourself can be very tricky. Here are some huge signs you need to look out for to know if your bike is too big for you.
1. Stand-Over Clearance Isn’t Enough
Let’s start with the stand-over clearance. One of the biggest signs of your bike being too big is that you don’t get enough stand-over clearance. What’s stand-over clearance though? I am glad you asked. This is the distance from the ground to the bike’s top tube (When the bike is in an upright position). This position is important when you are determining the size of your bike. Let me tell you this, you need to be able to stand over the bike with your feet flat on the ground. If you cannot stand over the bike comfortably, then it is because the bike frame is too big for you.
How To Measure The Stand-Over Clearance
How do you measure the stand-over clearance though? First, you need to stand with your back against the wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Standing like this, measure the distance from the ground to your crotch. When you have this measurement, compare it with the stand-over height of the bike, and you will know automatically if the bike is too big or small for you.
2. The Reach Is Too Long
If your bike’s reach is too long then I’m afraid that your bike might be too big for you. What’s the reach? This is the distance from the saddle to the handlebars. If you can easily reach the handlebars while seated on the saddle then it’s well and good, if not then you are going to have a lot of problems. This is what we emphasize to the people who are getting bikes for the first time, you need to take the bikes for a test drive before you make the final decision.
When I bought a bike for the first time, I made the mistake of not checking it out. It was too big for me. I couldn’t reach the handlebars and it made me uncomfortable and stretched out. The feeling was horrible. Make sure that you get a bike that is actually the right size for you, you should be able to reach out to the handlebars easily being seated.
3. The Bike Frame Is Too Big
Since we are talking about the appropriate bike sizing, it is essential that you get the right frame size. Another indication of an oversized bike is the frame, you need to make sure that you get the size right. It cannot be stressed much but the frame size is very essential when choosing a bike for yourself.
However, you can calculate the bike’s frame size from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. How would you know that your bike frame is too big? Well, for starters, you would be very uncomfortable while riding it. There will be a lot of trouble while cornering and stopping the bike.
I suggest you measure the bike’s inseam and then compare it with the bike that you are trying to get. You can use this bike size calculator to find the right frame size.
4. The Saddle Height Is Too High
Most beginner cyclists ignore saddle height, although it plays a critical part in the efficiency of your pedal stroke. You need to make sure that the bike you are going for has an adjustable saddle, otherwise, you will have a lot of trouble. If the saddle height is too high, then you will have a lot of trouble pedaling the bike and might even experience knee pain on top of it. That is not a combination that you should hope for.
How To Check The Saddle Height?
How can you check if the saddle height is okay for you? When seated on the bike, you must place your heel on the pedal. When the pedal is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, the legs must be fully extended. If the legs are not fully extended, then chances are that you have a wrong-sized bike.
5. The Crank Length Is Too Long
You need to be careful about a bike’s crank length, as it affects the leverage while pedaling. Crank length is the distance from the bottom bracket center to the center of the pedal axle. The crank needs to be balanced. If it is too long then you could have a lot of trouble balancing and riding the bike. A longer-than-usual crank length results in excruciating knee pain and you might even find it difficult to pedal!
6. Handlebars Are Too Wide
If your bike handlebar is too wide, then it is a big sign that your bike might be oversized. You could face a lot of problems if your bike has too wide handlebars. Steering would become a literal pain. In smaller bikes, the handlebars are narrower, but in medium-sized bikes they are well-optimized.
Have you heard about the butterfly handlebars?
How To Measure The Handlebar Width?
Measure the distance between your shoulder blades and then add 2-4cm to it, you will have the correct handlebar width. When you have the measurement, compare it with the bike that you have selected.
6. The Bike Stem Is Too Long
If your bike stem is too long, then it is a big indicator that your bike is oversized, this is where you need to be careful. The stem length is the distance between the handlebars and the steerer tube of the fork. If the distance is too long then you will have a lot of trouble with the bike.
You will face problems with the bike’s reach and will also have trouble with the handling. While riding the bike, you will always feel stretched out and there will also be a sharp pain in your neck and shoulders.
Which Approach Should You Take? An Expert’s Opinion
I have talked about the various signs that depict your bike might be too big for you. Now let’s address the solutions. The first thing that you should always do is test-drive the bicycle that you have selected. The majority of the bike shops will allow you to try out the bike. This will give you an idea about how the bike will serve you.
If your test drive is comfortable and went smoothly then you should definitely proceed with the purchase. However, if you felt stretched out and cramped during the test drive then you should go for another bike.
Tips and Tricks For an Oversized Bike
Stuck with an oversized bike and don’t know what to do? Here are some tips and tricks from our experts.
Making Adjustments Of Your Own
With an oversized bike, it is never the end, especially when you make adjustments of your own. Start by pushing the stem further down the seat tube. Apart from this, if the saddle height is too high for you, adjust it and bring it down to your level. If you lower the handlebars and remove all the spacers from the seat post then that will help the bike fit better.
Chances are that you could get sore from sitting on the bike seat for a while, I have a suggestion for that. In order to be comfortable, you can go for a bike seat with a hole in it.
Use Shorter Stems
If you have an oversized bike then using a shorter stem might do the trick for you. Apart from that, you can also use an adjustable bike stem. There is a limit to adjustments. So if you cannot adjust further then it is better to get a smaller bike for yourself. You need to keep in mind that not everything can be solved with adjustments.
Should You Ride On A Larger Bike Frame?
In certain situations, larger bike frameworks too. But this is only for specific people. You must keep in mind that not everyone can ride a larger bike frame. If you prefer the unique and lenient handling and upright position offered by a larger bike frame, then you should definitely go for it.
Let’s take the example of leisure bikes such as beach cruisers, they too have larger frames and are perfect for comfort rides. If you don’t plan on doing some fast maneuvers on your bike then it is best that you go for a larger bike. When traveling on windy country roads, you will need to make wider and slower turns, in this situation, an oversized bike might do the trick.
As I said, you cannot always use a large bike. If you plan on doing some road biking or mountain biking, then it will be the right approach to go for a bike of your size.
If you are planning to buy a new bike, it is a good time to check out this guide on road bikes vs mountain bikes to know which one’s better for you!
Is Your Bicycle The Right Size For You? Take The Quiz!
Take this quiz that I have prepared for you to find out if you have the correct bike. Have fun!
|How tall are you?
|What type of riding do you primarily do?
|How does your bike frame size compare to your inseam length?
|When riding, do you experience discomfort or pain in any areas?
|What is your riding experience level?
|Have you ever had a professional bike fitting?
|How often do you ride your bike?
|Under 5 feet
|Commuting and casual rides
|Neck and shoulders
|Rarely or never
|5 feet – 5 feet 5 inches
|Road cycling and long-distance rides
|Hands and wrists
|5 feet 6 inches – 6 feet
|Mountain biking and off-road trails
|About the same
|Several times a week
|Over 6 feet
|Racing and intense training
- For every ‘a’ answer, add 1 point.
- For every ‘b’ answer, add 2 points.
- For every ‘c’ answer, add 3 points.
- For every ‘d’ answer, add 4 points.
- For every ‘e’ answer, add 5 points.
Interpreting Your Score:
- 7-12 points: Your bicycle may be too small for you; consider getting a larger size.
- 13-18 points: Your bicycle size seems adequate, but you could still benefit from adjustments.
- 19-24 points: Your bicycle size is likely a good fit for you.
Secret Clues That Indicate You Bought The Right Bike
Did you buy the correct bike for yourself this time? Take a look at this video to know if you bought the right size bike or not.
Is it better to have a bike too big or too small?
For better control, a smaller bike will outperform a big bike. But it is always better to have a bike that fits your size.
Should my feet touch the ground on a bike?
Yes, your feet should touch the ground while you are seated on a bike.
What is the comfortable position on a bike?
While the most comfortable position depends on the ergonomics, most people find an upright riding position to be comfortable.
Why does my bum hurt after riding a bike?
Your bum might hurt after riding because you may have a poor saddle fit. It is also possible that your bum hurts after riding a bike because of your riding technique.
Why do pros use smaller bike frames?
Many pros use smaller bike frames because they are more aerodynamic and have less weight. This helps them improve their performance.
Riding an oversized bike can increase the threat of having an injury. I have come across people complaining about various neck, shoulder, and knee pain after having a bicycle ride. Guess what? They were riding an oversized bicycle!
A bicycle frame that is too big or small for you will be frustrating. It will restrict you from riding peacefully. You need to be able to use the front wheel grip naturally and not feel stretched out, may it be road bikes or any other type of bike. If you have the option to test drive the bike then I would suggest that you definitely go for it.
Addressing these issues promptly can enhance your riding experience and minimize the risk of injury. Hopefully, by now, you are able to know the difference between a right and wrong-sized bike. Have you experienced riding an oversized bike? Tell me about it!
If you have any concerns regarding your bike size, feel free to reach out to me in the comment section. I will be happy to help. Happy Riding!
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