Even for a brief number of miles, an ill-fitting bicycle can prove uncomfortable. Bicycle frame size, bike saddle position and handlebar width -- these are just some of the factors to consider when fitting a bicycle. A proper handlebar width, for instance, allows the arms to remain even with the side of the body. The position improves control and increases efficiency of performance through better breathing.
1. Stand or sit with your shoulders straight back. Ask your friend to measure the distance between the "points" of your shoulder blades.
2. Note the distance in centimeters. Bicycle handlebars are generally sized using this measurement.
3. Determine how the handlebar you're considering is measured. Depending on the manufacture, bicycle handlebars are measured either from one outside edge to the other or from the center of one "drop" to the center of the other. The drop is the lower portion of the handlebar.
4. Add 2 cm to the measured distance of your shoulder blade points, if the handlebar is measured center-to-center -- the center of one drop to the other. For instance, if your shoulder blade measurement is 38 cm, choose a 40-cm center-to-center carbon road bike handlebar.
5. Add 4 cm to the measured distance of your shoulder blade points, if the handlebar is measured from one outside edge to the other. For example, if your shoulder blade measurement is 38 cm, choose a 42-cm outside-to-outside handlebar.