Importance of inseam measurement


Active Member
Ok, so I mentioned in another thread or two..

1. I've ridden a hybrid bike for years
2. The thing was a hand killer!
3. Tried some new bikes to figure out something better
4. Tried a Men's large hybrid frame, and it fit!

I am a 5'7 female. What the heck?

5. Measured my inseam... 32.5-33 inches, depending on which time I measured.

Turns out my inseam is more like that of a 6' tall man!

So, on my med frame, I was putting my saddle really high, tilting my body foreward onto my hands, causing way too much pressure.

Now, I don't get the required inch of clearance over the bar of the large frame, but I feel better everywhere else...

I have to go back to find out exactly what size frame I was on...

So many people are buying bikes based on those size charts... buyers beware!


Active Member
I'm glad you were able to get a bike that fit you better. Bicycle fitting is a bit of a black art... And it all depends on the individual's physique. Personally I can't stand low flat straight bars, perhaps because I broke both wrist a few years ago. The first thing I do to make a bike fit me is to get some bars with more pull back, and a stem with a bit of rise and the correct length. On my Haibike I flipped the stem to get a bit of rise rather than drop, and am using Orgin8 Space Off Road II bars. Very comfortable for me, and I can get plenty of weight over the front wheel in the knarly sections.


Well-Known Member
Yes, a topic that has been on my mind. Both the owner's manual for my regular bike and REI's fit-guide (internet) concurs on the inch of top tube clearance (standing flat footed in shoes straddling the bike). But my Kalkhoff dealer said that is bunk and I should have contact with the top tube when straddling the bike (no clearance basically). He said I should be in the 55 Kalkhoff (he measured my inseam against a different brand's 55). I rode the 55 Trek XM700+ and had to stand tip-toed to clear the top tube. It seemed large apart from my not clearing the top tube but their next size down is a 50 and on paper that seems on the small side (my regular bike is a 52). So I'm pretty confused by the whole thing and it makes me leary to order a bike without trying it first in multiple sizes (further complicating e-bike shopping). To make matters more difficult, all of the manufacturers have ranges of heights for their frame sizes and they tend to overlap by quite a bit. And then their geometries in general vary so much. I learned that with my 52, it took flipping the stem/riser and dialing-in the seat height with a BodyFloat to really make me feel comfortable on the bike (it rides like a dream now but took a lot of playing around with the adjustments).

Another thing I hope to accomplish at the DC Expo: trying the bikes they will have that I am interested in but also getting proper size for those bikes should I decide to buy one of them. The exhibitor page at the DC Expo site lists the makes/models and if accurate promises a pretty wide range of bikes (but doesn't mention having multiple sizes within the same models).


Active Member
I related to the fit issues you folks have mentioned ... I also sat and looked at several bikes and ended up on a women's medium with a trapez frame ... Sort of a unisex type. Fits me well and I have really liked being able to straddle the bike at lights or when loading the back rack with groceries etc. Alot of good bikes these days in all categories it seems ... Took me a year of seeking and looking but was half the fun .

Cheers ... B .


Active Member
What is funny is I was able to sit "heads up" sooo much better in the bigger frame. The handlebars were right in front of me instead of way down it brought my eyes up.

1 caveat is these were rental bikes, so it is possible the comfort was due to adjustments that had been made already to handlebar position, or whatnot.

But, you are right, if a person needs to stop regularly, it is true that a snug topbar isn't a good thing. Chances are, I wouldn't buy that specific bike, but it does give me an idea of the possibilities. When it stops raining, I'll rent it for a while to really get an idea.