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Using the traditional method 9 to 10 inches is deducted from the inside leg measurement taken in stocking feet (This is not trouser inside leg!!). For example an inside leg measurement of 30 inches would have 9 or 10 inches deducted so a frame of 20 or 21 inches would be recommended (NB - When we refer to frame size, we refer to the British sizing method, which is the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket shell, to the very top of the seat tube).10 inches would be deducted, when the seat tube finishes level with the top tube and is measured to this point. 9 inches would be deducted, when the seat tube extends above the top tube by an inch or so as it does with many current frames.

As a very rough guide the following sizes apply:-

5'3" to 5'5" 19 to 20 inch
5'5" to 5'7" 20 to 21 inch
5'7" to 5'9" 21 to 22 inch
5'9" to 5'11" 22 to 23 inch
5'11" to 6'1" 23 to 24 inch
6'1" & over 24 to 25 inch


An additional 3 to 4 inches are deducted from the above figures for ATB frames



Set one crank (If your legs are different lengths, use the crank for the shorter leg) vertical so that the pedal is in the lowest position, then place the shoed heel of your foot on that pedal. The saddle should be adjusted up or down till there is a slight bend at the knee. It should be possible to place both heels on the pedals and pedal backwards without rocking from side to side on the saddle.

NB Knee problems may be caused by having a top of saddle to pedal dimension of more than 110 % of the rider's inside leg measurement (Again this is not the trouser inside leg).


Set the cranks horizontal, while sitting properly on the saddle, then place one shoed foot on the forward pedal so that the ball of that foot is on the pedal spindle centre line. A plumb line held just behind the knee cap should pass through the pedal spindle centre line. The saddle should be loosened & moved backwards or forwards to achieve this position. The top of the saddle should always remain horizontal. This check must be carried out on a level surface. This represents the best position for riding on flat roads. Easing forward in the saddle when going uphill & backwards when going downhill is possible & gives the rider an acceptable level of stability.


The stem needs to place the handlebars 1 to 2 inches below the top of the saddle & 1 to 2 inches, plus the forearm, with extended fingers, from the nose of the saddle. To do this place the elbow against the nose of the saddle & extend the forearm & fingers parallel to the top tube towards the handlebars. A gap of between 1 & 2 inches should exist between your fingers & the handlebar. 1 inch gives a general riding position & 2 inches a more competitive position.

The position you have achieved is a good starting point.

Tourists tend to sit further back, lower down & with the handlebars up a little.

Sprinters generally sit higher & further forward with handlebars down a bit.


For general riding, a position where the handlebar grips are placed 1 inch below the top of the saddle & 1 inch in front of the extended fingers suits most people. See section above for Road Bike Handlebars for details.

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