Competition Bicycle Size/ Proportions Analysis

By Edward C. Zimmermann <>
Basis Systeme netzwerk, Munich

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This program attempts, on the basis of anthropometric measurements, to assist in the determination of ones optimal road bicycle position. The focus of this program is upon competitive models for general road racing. Criterium, cross, mountain, track and other disciplines (and positions such as the Position American popular in triathlon and Time-Trialing) will have different values. Dozens of models from researchers, many coaches and books have been included. Sound like rocket science? Fortunately rocket science has a sounder basis.

For a first look one can also examine average values based upon inseam(metric or english measure) or, even, height (metric or english measure).

In order to correctly complete this form you will need a metric tape measure! An inexpenive pocket model with 2 meters length is sufficent. Measurement should be made within 5mm and acuracy is important so repeat all measurements 3 (three) times to confirm them.

Questions of fit? Try BSn's WWW Bicycle Technology Forum (VeloTech).

Fill out the form below:

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The height (K) is the standard measurement of the distance between ground and the top of ones head. For this measurements and all the mesurements you should be in your socks. Since some of the measurements need to be taken with your riding shorts on you might as well wear them now.

Stand with your legs together near a door and place a book level on you head and against the door. Now measure the distance from the lower edge of the book to the floor.

      |   B  |O                        |
      m------ - -----------------------------
              |\                       |    |
              | \                      |    |
              |  m __________________  K    g
             /-\---------              |    |
            /   \      E          O    |    |
           /_    \_ ___________________|____|

The body height (g) is measured between the ground and the base of the sternal notch-- found directly south of the adams apple, where the bones form a "v". Stand on a level hard surface, legs slightly spread (ankle bones about 5cm apart). Use a water/ruler to make sure that the surface is level. Now measure from the ground to the "v".

Height (K) cm
Weight (Kg) Kg.
Body Height (g) cm
Shoe Size (European "French" measure) pt
Standing (See figure)
The Outseam (O) is the "trochantric height", the distance from the greater trochanter (the bony protrusion at the top of the femur at the hip), through the knee to the ground. You should be able to see (or at least feel) the protrusion. Measure both legs and average. You can't take this measurement without help. Its important to have someone else measure you. You must not move while they measure both sides.

The pubic symphysis height or Inseam (E) is one of the most important measures, primarily because it is considered easy to measure within 5mm. The Outseam, although theoretically a better basis, is difficult to correctly and consistently measure with sufficient accuracy.

Stand in riding shorts and socks on a level hard surface, legs slightly spread (ankle bones about 5cm apart). Use a water/ruler to make sure that the surface is level. Place the ruler horizontally between your legs (hold level) and "firmly" (with the pressure you feel when sitting on a bicycle seat) in your crotch. Hook the end of a tape measure to the upper edge of the ruler and extend it down between your ankles to the floor. Use the measurement where the tape meets the floor. Perform this measurement a few times to check your accuracy. While you are at it you should re-take the body height (g) measurements since the position is the same only the measurement point is different.

Inseam (E) cm
Outseam (O) cm
Chest Width is measured between the two shoulder joints. Place your arms in front and behind you to make sure that you are measuring the joints. Press your finger firmly to where you think the joint is and you will feel it. Many people, mainly tailors, measure to the outside but that measure is not very good since it varies with muscle build. That may be good for suits but it has nothing much to do with reach. cm
(Extended) Arm Length (b): indentation on your shoulder joint (where one measured the chest width) to middle of ones open palms. cm.
Sitting (See Figure below)
       O      =
       -\    /
       | \  A      Sit in a chair, knees bent at 90°. Arms bent
       T  \/       at a 45° angle.

Since the length of the femur and tibia are difficult to measure, we follow Hinault's book and use rough, simplified measures. One sits in a chair sideways with one's back pressed firmly against a wall and measures the distance from the floor to the top of the kneecap (J) and from the front of the knee to the wall (C).

The distance between the seat and the top of the collar bone (T) is used to estimate the upper-body torso length (Hinault's measure). Note: This is a different point than that used for the measurement of body height: Top of collar bone instead of the sternal notch.

Upper leg (measured, knee to buttocks) length (C) cm.
Lower leg (measured ground to knee) length (J) cm.
Upperbody Length (T). cm.
Forearm Length (A): elbow to middle of fist grasping a thick pen or marker. cm.
(Hinault) Arm Length (B) measured from the wall to the middle of ones fist. cm.
Pedal System (Orig. Campa standard was 15mm pedal and 12mm soles)
Pedal Height (axis to cleat) mm
Shoe Sole Thickness (including adapter plate but not cleat) mm

Average Values:
Mens Height (K) [Metric, measured in cm.]:
[150], [151], [152], [153], [154], [155], [156], [157], [158], [159], [160], [161], [162], [163], [164], [165], [166], [167], [168], [169], [170], [171], [172], [173], [174], [175], [176], [177], [178], [179], [180], [181], [182], [183], [184], [185], [186], [187], [188], [189], [190], [191], [192], [193], [194], [195], [196], [197], [198], [199]

Mens Inseam (E) [measured in cm.]:
[72], [72½], [73], [73½], [74], [74½], [75], [75½], [76], [76½], [77], [77½], [78], [78½], [79], [79½], [80], [80½], [81], [81½], [82], [82½], [83], [83½], [84], [84½], [85], [85½], [86], [86½], [87], [87½], [88], [88½], [89], [89½], [90], [90½], [91], [91½], [92], [92½], [93], [93½], [94], [94½], [95], [95½], [96], [96½] [97]

Mens Lower-leg (J) [measured in cm.]:
[45], [45½], [46], [46½], [47], [47½], [48], [48½], [49], [49½], [50], [50½], [51], [51½], [52], [52½], [53], [53½], [54], [54½], [55], [55½], [56], [56½], [57], [57½], [58], [58½], [59], [59½], [60], [60½], [61], [61½], [62], [62½], [63]

Mens Height (K) [English Measure]:
[5'0"], [5'0½"], [5'1"], [5'1½"], [5'2"], [5'2½"], [5'3"], [5'3½"], [5'4"], [5'4½"], [5'5"], [5'5½"], [5'6"], [5'6½"], [5'7"], [5'7½"], [5'8"], [5'8½"], [5'9"], [5'9½"], [5'10"], [5'10½"], [5'11"], [5'11½"], [6'0"], [6'0½"], [6'1"], [6'1½"], [6'2"], [6'2½"], [6'3"], [6'3½"], [6'4"], [6'4½"], [6'5"], [6'5½"], [6'6"], [6'6½"]

Mens Inseam (E) [measured in in.]:
[28"], [28½"], [29"], [29½"], [30"], [30½"], [31"], [31½"], [32"], [32½"], [33"], [33½"], [34"], [34½"], [35"], [35½"], [36"], [36½"], [37"], [37½"], [38"], [38½"]

Mens Lower-leg (J) [measured in in.]:
[17"], [17½"], [18"], [18½"], [19"], [19½"], [20"], [20½"], [21"], [21½"], [22"], [22½"], [23"], [23½"], [24"], [24½"], [25"]


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