What Size Road Bike Do I Need?

Your local bike shop will tell you that sizing a road bike is part science part art.  Further, a slick-selling local bike shop will try to convince you that road bike fitting is more art than science; forcing you to trust the shop’s “years of experience” and unique fitting process. Given the steep discounts on road bikes online, the local bike shops are desperately perpetuating the frame fitting mystery in hopes that consumers are too afraid to go it alone on the ‘net.


Fear not.  At Road Bike Mike, we could write a book on what size road bike to buy.  But why bother?  Books have been written and if you had infinite time and extreme focus, you could probably read them all and become an ‘expert’ on road bike fit.  To save you time (and save us from having to sit down and write a book), we suggest all of our readers refer to the one online calculator that we believe is the most precise, thorough and trusted road bike fit calculators on the internet.


Competitive Cyclist Fit Calculator

Utilizing 8 core pieces of information in order to calculate your optimum frame size and initial position, the Competitive Cyclist’s Fit Calculator will arm you with the proper frame size and geometry to fit your body. You’ll need the assistance of another person to make the most accurate measurements possible. Take your time, be meticulous and don’t be afraid to take each measurement 2 or 3 times and average the measurements together.   Above all, rest easy knowing that at the end of the process you’ll have a more accurate measure and road bike fit than the “fit artist” at your local bike shop will provide as he shoehorns you into last year’s closeout Trek demo bike and tells you how great you look on it.


Based on the outputs provided by the Competitive Cyclist calculator, you can freely compare the ideal geometry and size to bikes in your price range.  Whether your budget is $600, $1,000, or $1,500 you can take this fit and trust that the bike that arrives will be a proper fit.  Don’t feel guilty about saving thousands of dollars and buying the best road bike for the buck!


Whether you assemble the online bike purchase yourself or drop it off at the local bike shop, we recommend setting an appointment with the local fit tech to tweak the setup to best fit your body.  This fitting won’t cost much in terms of money or time but will get you on the road with the right saddle position and bar position.


Once set, we recommend logging a few hundred miles on the road bike. After getting familiar with your new bike, revisit the fit tech and discuss any hot spots, sore areas of other points of discomfort.  Chances are, the biggest change you’ll have to make will be a slight tweak to the stem, saddle or handlebars.  Under no circumstances will you discover that your frame is the wrong size.  Trust us!