How to fit yourself for a Road Bike
How to fit yourself for a Road Bike

Welcome to part 2 of How to fit yourself for a Road Bike.

You can read the whole How to Fit Yourself for a Road Bike series here: Parts I, II and III.

Now that you have your inseam measurements, you need some more measurements to get it right. This time we’re going to take measurements of your forearm, trunk, sternal notch, arm, lower leg, thigh, seat tube range c-c, seat tube range c-t, top tube range, stem length, saddle-handlebar, saddle setback, bottom bracket saddle position and some other stuff.

If that list seems like a lot, it’s because you’re right. My philosophy is if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time and you won’t have to worry about coming back again to clean up a mess.

Here are some rough formula estimates of how you will calculate your ideal road bike, which is the reason why I had you get your inseam measurements first. Here is a picture of a road bike frame so you will have a point of reference for what I am talking about.

How to fit yourself for a Road Bike

Frame Fitting

Center-to-center seat tube (c-c) – (inseam x 0.65)

Center-to-top seat tube (c-t) – (inseam x 0.67)

Your bottom bracket (bb) saddle height – (inseam x 0.883)

Additionally you will need your torso and your arm length.

Total effective reach = (torso + arm)/2+4

If you don’t know your torso length, you could use your sternal notch: This is your…I mean my, sternal notch = The “V” is the apex

Sternal Notch

Total effective reach = (sternal notch – inseam + arm)/2+4

How to fit yourself for a Road Bike

More measurements time


Since this is partly a health and fitness website, it’s time to do an Iron Chair. If you don’t know what that is, check out my P90X leg workout, it will explain what it is.

While you are in your iron chair, be extra sure that your back is up against the wall hard and place a level on the top of your shoulder and measure all the way down to the bottom of your butt. If you’re lazy, then sit on a stool and do the same thing – this time just measure to the top of the stool. Do both sides and use the average. This is your trunk length.


While you’re still in your iron chair or your lazy ass is sitting in a tool, grab a pencil and measure from the point of the pencil to the edge of your elbow. Do both sides and use the average. This is your forearm length.


Still holding that pencil and holding your arm parallel to the floor, measure from your armpit to the pencil tip. Do both sides and use the average. This is your arm length.

Sternal Notch:

Standing against a wall, put your feet approximately 8″ apart. Your sternal notch is the V in your neck, look at my pictures above. Measure from the apex of the “V” to the floor. This is your Sternal Notch length.


Get back into that iron chair on sit back down in that same stool. Make sure it’s the same stool or it will rain tomorrow ;). Use a level or ruler and place it in front of your knees. Then measure from the ruler/level to the wall. Do both sides and use the average. This is your thigh length.

Lower Leg:

Still sitting down, use the same ruler/level as you just used, straddle the ruler so it is on the insides of your knees at the bottom of your quadriceps muscle. Measure from this point to the floor. Do both sides and use the average. This is your lower leg length.

For now just find out what your measurements are. Part 3 will be the final part in how all these numbers come together in fitting your road bike.

This is part two of How to fit yourself for a Road Bike.

Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd

Self processed fitness missionary and author of most of the ridiculous fitness articles written on Charles Lloyd I am not really a writer, but a workout fiend who happens to have a blog. The single mission of this website is very simple: Get You In Shape. I have been blessed with the gift of good health and want to share it with you. Join Me.

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