Bike Setup Tips For Smaller Cyclists | Emma's Bike Fit Guide

Published on November 5th 2018


Emma gets a lot of questions from viewers about bike setup for smaller cyclists and how you can optimise your bike for this. In this video, Emma runs you through a number of factors to look at in order to get a comfortable riding position if you're on the shorter side.

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Now reach really is the key parameter for smaller riders! Saddle height is not normally the problem. And just because you can, just about, reach the handlebars does not mean that the reach is ok. If you are stretched out and leaning forward just to get your hands to the hoods, you risk hurting your back and neck and rocking your pelvis on the saddle in a way that increases saddle problems. The various bike brands do have major differences in top tube length of their smallest frames - look for a frame where the reach is short.

With 700c wheels, you might simply have to put up with a certain amount of toe crossover. The way some frame manufacturers reduce the toe overlap is by making the seatpost steeper - but that means your weight is further forward compared to the bottom bracket, which can make the bike less stable to ride.

Crank length might sound like a minor detail but it’s absolutely crucial for smaller cyclists. Shorter legs mean you have less range of motion, in absolute terms than long legs. Think about it this way: longer cranks means a bigger circle that the pedal turns. So to reach the bottom of the circle, you’ll have to have your saddle lower. But at the top of your pedal stroke, your pedal will actually be HIGHER than with a short crank - so your knee comes higher.

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Music: Epidemic Sound
Matt Large - Everyday Hustle

Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto /

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