Your Best Bike Fit

Mountain Biking
Dec 2013

Enjoying a bike ride can depend a lot on the bike you are riding and how it fits. This is even more the case with a bike rental. There are some basic fit guidelines to follow to stay comfortable. Use these basic bike fitting guidelines to ensure your next pedal, whether road biking in Utah or on a mountain biking trip in Arizona, is your most efficient and comfortable yet! If you’re in doubt or uneasy about getting your correct bike fit consult a mechanic at your local bike shop. When it comes to bike rentals in Phoenix and Scottsdale, we’ve got you covered here.


Find the Right Bike Frame Size

To start, figure out your correct frame size. Keep in mind a properly-sized road bike will differ from a properly-sized mountain bike. Standard bike sizes vary depending on the type of bike. For example, road bikes are typically measured in centimeters, and mountain bikes in inches. When standing over the frame of your bike with your feet flat on the ground, a road bike will allow an inch or two clearance between the top of the frame and your crotch, whereas a mountain bike should have more space – usually the width of your fingers stacked.

Here we typically size our bike rentals based on the charts below.

Road Bike Sizes

Bike Size Height
49cm 5'1"- 5'4"
50cm 5’2″- 5’5″
52cm 5’4″ - 5’7″
54cm 5’6″ - 5’9″
56cm 5’8″ - 6’
58cm 5’11” – 6’2″
60cm 6’2″ - 6’4″
62cm 6'3" - 6'6"

Mountain Bike Sizes

Bike Size Height
X-small 4'10" - 5'3"
Small 5’2″ - 5'6"
Medium 5’5” - 5'10"
Large 5’10” - 6’2”
X-large 6’1” - 6'6"


Adjust the Bike to Fit You

Seat Height

To maximize power transfer and cut down on fatigue, you want the bicycle seat placed at a height that allows your knee to have a slight bend in it at the bottom of your pedal stroke-basically enough bend so that it falls just shy of being fully extended. Bear in mind when adjusting your seat, the bottom of your stroke is when the crankarm is parallel to the seat tube, not perpendicular to the ground. Ever hit the stop signal at a crosswalk and find yourself having to quickly jump off your seat to avoid face-planting? Congratulations, your seat is at the correct height! A common misconception believed by riders, is that they should be able to plant their feet on the ground while still sitting on their seat. If you can do this it means your seat is actually too low for road biking in Phoenix.

Saddle Position

Your seat should be close to level or point down a couple of degrees to ensure the greatest amount of comfort and pedal efficiency. The point of having your saddle in the right position is to cut down on the amount of time (and wasted energy) you have to spend monitoring where you are on the seat. If you constantly feel like you are about to slip off your seat, there is too much forward tilt. Sliding backwards? You guessed it…too much backward angle. You can also move the seat forward or backward to comfortably center your weight on the bike.

Handlebar Reach

This adjustment depends largely on an individual’s flexibility and therefore can vary greatly. The goal is to ride comfortably without placing strain on your back, shoulders or wrists. Here are some general guidelines for both mountain and road bikes:

  • Road bike: The top of the handlebars should be a bit lower than the top of the saddle, usually an inch or two. This allows for a more aerodynamic ride.
  • Mountain bike: The handlebars will often be set even lower, sometimes three to four inches below the saddle, allowing a lower center of gravity and a more balanced body position. This re-distribution of weight comes in handy, particularly for mountain biking trips in Arizona, where riders often come out of their saddle to navigate bumpy trails.

Following these basic guidelines will help on your way to your best bike fit. However, every person is different and needs to find the proper ride to make them most comfortable, seeking out a professional bike fit from professionals at your local bike shop will help you to become a better rider and make it easier to find what you’re looking for when you walk into our Arizona bike rental shop.

Come Ride with Us!

Here, we are passionate about outdoor adventures, biking in the desert, and sharing our adventures through our bike rentals in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Whether you’re interested in renting a mountain bike in Arizona or are in need of ideas to get you out road biking in Phoenix, the staff  here can help! Learn more about our services and guided outdoor trips by calling 866-455-1601 or contacting us online.


 Arizona Bike Rentals