How to fit yourself for a Road Bike
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.

If you have followed the first 2 parts then you should have all your measurements written down. This is where it all comes together.

How to fit yourself for a Road Bike

Seat Tube Range Center to Center (C-C)

Most road bikes measure their seat tube height in centimeters (cm) and are usually measured in what is called Center to Center (C-C). This measurement is measured from the center of the bottom bracket to where the seat tube crosses with the top tube. The C-C is the most important measurement on your bike. This measurement is like the heart of the road bike; if you mess this up then everything else will be off, you won’t have a good road bike fit, and you will have just wasted your money. I cannot stress this enough. Get this correct the first time and everything else will fall into place. Also take into consideration that some bikes come in compact frame geometry. In that case, you will use the top tube measurement as the main focus.

Seat Tube Range Center to Top (C-T)

Some manufacturers such as Colnago measure their frames from Center-to-Top. This means that they measure from the cross point of the top of the seat tube with the center of the bottom bracket. This measurement is not better or worse than the traditional C-C as mentioned above, but it’s something you need to pay attention to if you’re interested in a Colnago or a few of the other manufacturers that measure C-T. Just make sure you pay attention to the details.

Top Tube

This measurement is along the top tube, from the midpoint at the seat tube to the midpoint at the head tube. No single piece of frame geometry has a greater impact on comfort than your top tube. If you plan on paying attention to one measurement and one measurement only, make it this one. Keep in mind that we do not measure the actual top tube on bikes with compact frame geometry. Rather, we use an “Effective Top Tube” measurement – an imaginary line drawn parallel to the ground along the length of the top tube.

How to fit yourself for a Road Bike

Stem Length

This length will be your ideal stem length.

Bottom Bracket – Saddle Position

This measurement goes along with the seat tube measurement; it goes from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of your seat. It’s not to be taken as gospel and is only the starting point for your height. Depending on your pedal and cleats, it will vary a few centimeters.

Seat – Handlebar Distance

You use your Seat – Handlebar Distance measurement to be sure you don’t mess up your balance on the bike; you don’t want to be too far forward or aft on your bike. You measure it from the front point or nose of your seat to the closest edge of your handlebar.

Saddle Setback

This measurement is largely for your femur length; the longer it is the further back it needs to be. It’s really hard to describe in words so I’ll just include a picture. saddle_setback_dimension

This is part three 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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