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Bike size guide

Buying a bike isn’t as simple as it used to be as there’s so much choice out there. You also have to be aware of the various types of bike available and then you’ll need to check out a bike size guide to work out which bicycle’s the right one for you.
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How to choose the right bike size

Bikes are measured and therefore defined by the length of their seat tube. For the uninitiated, that’s the part of the bike on which the seat post and saddle are mounted. Traditionally this size is given in centimetres for road bikes and inches for mountain bikes, although some firms try and simplify this system by classing their bikes and small, medium and large.

Important measurements

There are three measurements you need to know: your height, your inside leg measurement and your reach. Your inside leg measurement will determine the stand over height you’ll need on the bike. This is the clearance between the top of the bike and your crotch. You should make sure that you allow for at least 2 inches between the top of the bike and your body so you can hop of quickly. If you find a bike that offers this and you can reach the handle bars comfortably, there’s no need to take any other measurements. If not, your reach will need to be considered. You’ll need to work out your “ape index”. This is your arm span minus your height. If your arm span is greater than your height, you have a positive ape index and if you find yourself between sizes of bike, you should go for the larger one. The reverse applies if you have a negative ape index.

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