Along with giving you a better selection and expert
advice, bike shop personnel can you help you get
fitted to the right size bike. You can get the bike
either too big or too small, which will cause your
enjoyment to suffer. Follow the tips below, and
you’ll have the perfect fit for your mountain bike.
When you check the fitting yourself, the first thing
you want to check is the inseam clearance, or the
standover height. You want to have plenty of room
between yourself and the top tube when you come to
a stop. There should be around four to six inches
of clearance from the top of your inseam to the top
of the top tube.
Leg and feet position
There’s a nifty formula for determining the leg
position for riding a mountain bike. When riding
a mountain bike, the terrain constantly changes,
raising you off the seat constantly, sometimes just
slightly, other times completely off.
Therefore, you’ll need to sit your saddle slightly
lower than you would on any other type of bike.
Be sure you take this slightly lower seat height
position into effect when you factor the size of
The next thing you’ll want to check is the rider
compartment layout (the distance between the saddle
and the handlebars). Once the proper leg extension
has been determined, be sure the handlebar is one
to two inches below the height of the saddle. You
should never have the handlebars higher than the
seat, unless there is some type of upper body
Dual suspension bikes
With suspension being at both ends, you’ll want
your weight more in the middle of the bike so that
your weight is distributed evenly between the front
and rear suspension units, thus allowing the front
and rear suspension to work as a unit.
This can be done quite easily by using either a
higher or shorter stem to raise the hand height,
which will in turn move the upper body up and the
weight towards the rear. The increase in rise
shouldn’t be no more than two inches, then the
decrease in reach shouldn’t be any more than two
Once you have taken all of these steps into account,
go out and test drive the bike. Make sure you
wear a helmet, even if you are going to be testing
for a brief period of time. Be sure that the tires
are set to the right pressure, and the shop has
adjusted the bike for you properly.
You should have a shop employee observe your body
position and ride height while riding, to determine
is any further adjustments need to be made. Ride
the bike around for a bit to get used to its
handling and new equipment. Start off slowly, then
give the bike a bit of time to present its personality.
After a few minutes, you might notice that something
isn’t working correctly or just doesn’t feel right
in general. If this happens, go back to the shop
and have the problem corrected before you rule out
The more you ride bikes, the easier it will be to
tell the difference in the ride types. Keep in mind,
it may take months and even years to appreciate the
way a bike handles. Talk to those who ride, and
ask them if they ride the bikes they sell. This
way, you’ll learn more about the mountain bikes you
love so much!