E-bike sizing top tips: How to find the right e-bike fit

Finding the correct e-bike frame size is important for comfort and preventing injuries. Here are some top tips to help

Clock11:48, Saturday 30th March 2024
It's important to find the right size when buying an e-bike

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It's important to find the right size when buying an e-bike

Buying an e-bike can be a complex process. For a start, you need to find one that meets your needs, which is no easy task when you take into account the wide number that are now available.

Once you’ve settled on a model, you can then move on to selecting the right size. This is arguably the most important step when choosing any bike, including an e-bike, and is often overlooked. An ill-fitting bike can cause injuries and discomfort, and is a sure-fire way to create a miserable ride, so finding the right size is important.

Here are some pointers and top tips for finding the correct e-bike size.

Why is a proper e-bike fit important?

An e-bike is a great way to exercise or simply enjoy cycling, but things can quickly take a turn down the more uncomfortable side if you have an ill-fitting bike.

It is the leading cause of injuries for cyclists, leading to everything from sore backs and necks to dodgy knees. Most of these injuries develop because the bike fit puts a rider’s body into extreme or unnatural positions. For example, a bike that is too large may cause you to overextend your legs, leading to rocking at the hips.

Then there’s the matter of comfort. Even if you don’t get any injuries, you’ll at least be uncomfortable and this discomfort can materialise in many different ways, from numb hands to the dreaded sore bottom - even chamois cream won’t be enough to defend your bottom against a poor bike fit.

So, the correct bike fit is really important.

What are the key differences between getting a regular and e-bike fit?

As e-bikes are exactly the same as regular bikes, with the addition of a motor, the process of finding the right fit is the same for both types.

The biggest variations occur between the different types of e-bikes. A mountain bike will have a different fit to a road bike, for example.

Remember that parts on a bike can be adjusted to fine-tune the fit too. The saddle can be raised and lowered, while other parts like the stem can be swapped for a different size. The cost of replacing parts will soon rack up, though, so try to get a bike that provides the best fit in the first place.

What if I don’t have the right e-bike size?

If you’ve already made the purchase, don’t give up on an ill-fitting e-bike as it may only take a few adjustments to correct it - it only takes one component to be slightly out for you to experience problems.

Sometimes even minor adjustments can make a huge difference to the fit of a bike, completely altering the feel and your comfort.

The key is to identify what is causing your specific issues. This can sometimes be obvious, while other times it may take a little experimenting. Better still, go to a bike shop where they can help you identify the issues - but more on this later.

This may mean swapping some components, which comes with a hit to your wallet, but it’ll be much cheaper than replacing the e-bike completely.

How to find the right e-bike size

That’s some of the main e-bike-related questions dealt with, but how do you actually go about finding the right e-bike size? Here are some top tips.

Be wary of brand sizes

Choosing a size appears to be easy enough, after all, bikes come in different sizes. However, these sizes can vary per manufacturer and even the same sizes don’t match up across brands.

Some brands use the XS-XL system, and this one specifically can lead to lots of variations from brand to brand. Others use the top tube measurement, in centimetres, while other brands go completely off-piste.

To help narrow things down, brands offer a recommended height range for their different sizes, but this is only a guide and shouldn’t be what defines your decision.

Instead, you should test out a bike in person, with a focus on a couple of key factors.

E-bike saddle height

Saddle height has a big influence on the fit of your bike, affecting your reach to the pedals and handlebars.

When testing out an e-bike, check to make sure you can achieve the right saddle height. While some cyclists know this from feel, most don’t, so play around until you have what feels like a comfortable height. If you can’t achieve a comfortable height, you’ll need to consider a different size. While it’s possible to purchase longer seatposts for some bikes, this usually means that the frame is too small.

If you’re unsure what your correct saddle height is, check out our in-depth guide here.

Reach

Reach is the horizontal distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the top of the head tube. It essentially dictates how far you’ll have to stretch to reach the handlebars, so is an important measurement.

A higher reach will mean that you’re more stretched out, while a lower reach will be more cramped. The idea is to find a nice balance, but this will also depend on the type of bike you have.

For example, road bikes generally have higher reaches as they’re more performance-orientated, but hybrid bikes put riders in a more upright position that is considered more comfortable. A lower reach doesn’t necessarily equal comfort, though, and it will depend on the overall set-up of the bike.

When testing out sizes, you shouldn’t feel cramped or overly stretched out. If possible, try this out on a test ride too, as a bike’s feel can be different stationary compared to when pedalling.

Do I need to get a professional e-bike fitting?

Those are a couple of pointers, but the best way to find the right fit is to recruit expert help. That means making the journey to your local bike shop.

They’ll have the know-how to not only help you find the right type of bike, but to also narrow down the size. Their input will be especially useful if you’re stuck in a quandary between two different bike sizes.

For more tech features and advice, check out the GCN website.

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