What is the right size of bike for me?

What is the right size of bike for me?

This question may not have come up yet, but it is an important question and must be answered before you purchase your bike, or else you will most likely end up with a bike that you do not like, not because the bike is bad, but because it is not perfectly matched to you. It is similar to deciding on a good pair of jeans, but buying wrong size. In covering some terminologies below, we hope to either leave you confident in your search for bicycle, or totally confused that you need to visit a professional bike store so that you are well informed and you make a decision that you will be happy with for a long time. Gone are the days when bikes easy and cheap to buy. Today there are way too many choices and even a cheap bike ends up being an expensive bike if you find one you are not happy with and you have to buy another one. It is better to make the right choice first if possible. We home this write up will help.

Take time to do some research on “bike fitting” and “bike sizing”. Most places do bike sizing, but most professionals require bike fitting!

Common terminologies;

Here are some common terminologies you will hear around town when you hop from one bicycle shop to another, or if you talk to a friend who has done so in Muscat or any other part of  Oman (I would imagine most parts of the world too).

  1. 26, 27.5, 29
    Most customers walk into our showroom and say I want a 29 bike. or I want a 26 bike. This is because they may have heard a bicycle sales man or their friends say this is size 26, or this is 29, etc. But what does that really mean?
    In 99% of cases, that is the size of the wheel… typically measured across from one end of tire to the other (not the rim, but the outer edge of tires). So then the 26″ rim is actually not 26″, but rather 559 mm ~ 22.01″
    bike-wheel-size-measurement
    Question then is, “why should the size matter?” or “does the size matter?”
    The answer is, it should, and it shouldn’t. Most people attribute the size of wheel to mean higher speed. That is in most cases true. However, if the crank on bike frame that holds 29″ wheel is half the size of the one on 27.5″, then 27.5″ wheel bike will be as fast or faster than the 29″ wheel bike. The bigger the crank, the harder the pedaling, the faster the bike! Rather than focusing on wheel size, one should first focus on bike size that fits them… this means that we need to look at frame of the bicycle first, then the wheel size. If 29″ wheels are that important, you may have to take a smaller frame to fit your body size and maybe a size 2″ to 4″ small to accommodate the 29″ wheels.
    mountain-bike-frame-fittingLook at how this mountain bike fitting is done. Lifting the bike like this, and allowing it to clear 2″ or so from the ground means that in case of abrupt stop, when the rider has to get off the seat and have their feet on the ground, he/she will not be hit in their vital parts by the frame. In this case, you can see clearly that even though the wheels are big, the frame is small, and sized for this rider. If the rider is 6.4 feet, then maybe they will require a bigger frame AND larger wheels.
  2. Frame Size;
    Most mountain bikes come in 2 to 3 frame sizes, while road bikes come in any number of sizes from 3 to 9 or more.
    Why the difference?
    In mountain biking, one is expected to spend more time on their feet and off and on, on the seat. While on road biking, one is expected to spend over 95% of time on the seat. Seating position in road bikes and bike fitting is more important than what “brand” of bicycle one buys. IF the bike is not matching your body geometry, then you can kiss the race winning goodbye, in most cases you will need to start looking for a doctor because injuries will be very common and in most cases, bad ones! It is THAT important. Of course not even including future physical problems. So it is very important that if you are buying a bike, the frame and intended wheels have to be of size that will be right for you. In case of road bikes, you may have to spend extra money for professional bike fitting.
    Adult bike frame sizing chartDo a google search on mountain bike frame size or road bike frame size and look at images to get idea.
    In general, mountain bikes are measured in inches (“), while road bikes are measured in centimeters or millimeters. So instead of just Small, Medium, Large, XL, you may want to know the measurements!
    Most reading is from seat post to middle of crank (inseam measurement of pants/legs)
  3. Crank, Derailleurs, Headset, Shifters etc.,!
    bike - bicycle parts
    This is a beautiful image (credit left intact… whycycle). It pretty much tells of all the bicycle part names that any bike user needs to know.  No need for any extra write up. However, there are more bits and pieces that mechanics and a seasoned DIY biker know.

There is much more to be explored, discovered and explained, this write up is simply to introduce the new biker, or wanna be biker to bike terminologies in hopes of helping them do better research and get a bike that they will be happy with in the long run.

-Author
Sam Al-Busaidy
Cycle Omania
February 3rd, 2018

How to buy a bike

So you decided you wanted to buy a bike, but you’re not sure what to do next! There are so many different sizes, shapes, and prices out there.

Don’t worry there are three key questions you can ask yourself that will help you determine which bike is right for you.

1. Where do you plan on riding your bike?

S15PH_80379Generally, bikes are designed to ride on specific terrain and will perform best when riding on the appropriate terrain for the bike. For example, a mountain bike is less efficient on a paved road and road bike would not get you very far on a dirt trail. The good news is, because of all variations in terrain there are many different styles of bikes to match.

For most bicycle purposes there are three categories of terrain to consider when it comes to purchasing a bike:

  • Paved Surfaces: including streets, sidewalks, and bike paths.
  • Mixed Surfaces: including gravel or packed dirt trails.
  • Off-road surfaces: including loose dirt or rocky forest trails.

Each of these terrains correlates to several styles of bikes that are ideally suited for that environment.

  • Paved Surfaces: Road, Urban, or Folding bicycles.
  • Mixed Surfaces: Hybrids, Cruisers, Bike Path bicycles.
  • Off-road Surfaces: Mountain bicycles.

The fact is there are a lot of bike styles and types to choose from. If you aren’t sure what style you are looking for that’s okay. You can learn more about the different types of bike styles that are available by checking out our blog post “Choosing the Right Bike”.

2. How much should you spend?

There are a wide range of prices in the bicycle category, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great bike. At the same time, as price goes up, the components of the bike also change. Simply put, higher cost equals lighter weight and a higher grade of components. are additional benefits that can come with higher-priced bikes, but there are also a lot of good bikes that don’t cost as much.

The weight of a bike is most often linked to the materials of the frame, although components also contribute to the overall bike weight. Bike frames generally come in three basic forms:

  • Steel – A steel frame is sturdy and absorbs some vibrations when riding, but is the heaviest of the three.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum frames are the most popular, they are both light and stiff, and are widely used across many bike styles. The trade-off is that you feel a bit more vibration from the terrain.
  • Carbon Fiber – A carbon frame is the lightest of the three materials, but it is also the most expensive.

As mentioned, as the price goes up on your bike the level of components that are on your bike also tend to increase incrementally.

  • Components – Are any mechanism or accessories that are attached to your frame and fork. That means anything from the seat, to the shifters and brakes, to the pedals and rims of your tires are all components.

Components are specified for the style of bike that you choose. This might mean a different style saddle, a certain type of brakes, specific wheels and tires, and even a drivetrain specific for your bike.

If you plan on riding often or increasing your fitness on the bike, it would be a good idea for you to invest a little more up front on your bike, so that it will be able to grow with your experience level. Another option is to buy a bicycle with a frame that you enjoy now, and if you need to, upgrade the components individually later.

3. What kind of rider are you hoping to become?S15PH_80765

The last and arguably most important questions involves some self-reflection. What kind of rider are you hoping to become?  Maybe you just want to ride recreationally, or perhaps you plan on taking your cycling to another level by commuting regularly, training actively or even competing.  By answering this, you will be able to better determine what your goal is in your bicycle journey and what sort of bike will help get you to that goal!

Time to check out the bikes!

Once you have a good idea about where you want to ride your bike, how much you want to spend, and what level you plan on riding at now and in the future, you will be better able to make your way through the bikes at your local bike shop or other store.


Happy Riding!

Samantha C.

Source: Swhinn Bikes

Why bike?

Why bike?

There are many reasons that make biking a beneficial life choice. In fact, if you want to improve several areas of your health biking can be a great way to do that. Biking not only improves your physical health, but also your mental and environmental health as well!

S15PH_82238

Mental and Emotional Health

Riding a bike can greatly improve your emotional or mental health. Exercise has been proven again and again to help boost your mental health and reduce or prevent depression and anxiety. Exercise acts like a natural antidepressant by releasing endorphins which make you feel happy and positive! At the same time exercise is shown to reduce stress, which makes sense. Have you ever been at work up to your elbows in decisions that need to be made, and things that needed to be done,and then gone for a walk, taken a bike ride, or went for a run? Felt better, right? That is because that “happy” effect you get from exercise that takes away the depression, also reduces cortisol levels. Which is good because cortisol equals stress and can wreak havoc on your body if it remains at a high level for a long period of time.¹

Finally, it may seem obvious, but biking is going to make you a fitter, stronger person and that means self-confidence! Self-confidence is the great slayer of insecurity and will help you feel more confident and assured in your life both at home and at work!

Sounds like a lot for just hopping on the bike? Oh wait… there is more.

Physical Health

Biking also grants great physical health attributes as well. Riding your bike can lead to weight loss (stay tuned for a Schwinn Red article about this soon!). It is important to maintain a healthy weight level for overall health. Complications and related disease from obesity kills many people in the United States each year. Having too much fat can also lead to type two diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and more, which is why it is important to make sure that you have a healthy BMI. Exercising, like biking, can help you reduce your BMI number, get you back to a healthy level, and reduce your chances of developing one of the health issues listed above.²

While biking can help reduce heart disease by reducing fat it also provides great cardio health, and since cardio is synonymous with heart, you guessed it, that means a healthy heart!

Exercising has also been shown to reduce the chances of getting colon cancer as well as other cancers according to the National Cancer Institute.

Wow! That is a lot of healthy benefits from just simply getting on the bike, but there is more!

Environmental Health

If you make attempts to replace some of your current transportation by automobile to transportation by bike you can also increase the environmental health of your local community and the global community as well!

We recently talked about how biking reduces your C02, or Carbon Dioxide, footprint. (You can read the full article about green biking and C02 here), but biking also provides many other environmental benefits that are less immediately obvious.

One of these environmental benefits is as simple as reduced congestion. Did you know that anywhere from 6 – 12 or more bikes can fit in the same amount of space in a single parking space as one car? Another way to look at it is by the image below. That image shows what it looks like to transport the same amount of people by bus, car, or bike. Imagine now if just half of your community rode bikes half the time. That would create a lot of traffic congestion reduction.³

carbusbikeAnother seemingly obvious environmental solution is reduced noise pollution. Let’s face it automobiles are noisy. In some cities there are areas designated to be vehicle free for just such reasons. An area with less automobile noise pollution adds to a peaceful atmosphere for community members to enjoy.

Lastly the environment of the community itself can benefit from increased bicycle riding in place of automobiles. United States cities like Portland are seeing healthier citizens, increased local economics, am increased community bond, and much, much more!

Let’s Go!

Samantha C.

Source: Schwinn Bikes

1. Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495

2. The Benefits of Physical Activity. Harvard School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/staying-active-full-story/

3. Bicycle Parking Corrals. Portland Bureau of Transportation. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/250076

4. How Portland Benefits from Bicycle. City of Portland, Portland Bureau of Transportation.  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/371038