Having a smaller frame can make it difficult to purchase a bike off the rack that will comfortably meet your needs. Proper bike fitting is essential if you are petite and want to achieve the most comfortable ride possible.
Learning to adjust a bike to accommodate a petite frame is a critical skill that petite bikers must develop.
Start by learning your measurements.
Before you can begin looking for a new bike, you need to become familiar with your body measurements. Just because your total height might be on the short side doesn't mean that all of your body proportions are petite.
You might have an average leg length, but be petite because of a short torso. Understanding your body proportions is the first step in finding a bike that will give you the proper fit.
Take the time to test a lot of different bikes.
Once you have determined your body proportions, you need to test out a lot of bikes that fall within the appropriate parameters. Each major bike manufacturer's specifications might vary slightly, and the fit of the bikes these companies produce can be drastically different.
Don't get stuck on gender either; you might find that a men's bike fits your body better as a woman or that a woman's bike is better suited to your frame as a man. Sitting on as many different bikes as possible is the best way to get a better idea of what features and dimensions will help a bike fit your petite frame.
Don't expect perfection with adjustments.
It's almost unheard of for a bike purchased off the rack to fit anyone perfectly. It's inevitable that you will have to make some adjustments to the bike's frame in order to achieve the most comfortable fit. If you have longer legs, look for a seat that offers extended sizing so that you can rise the seat high enough for comfort.
If your legs are short, you might need a bike with a shorter seat shaft that allows the seat to lower completely. You can also try tipping the seat saddle forward or backward on the seat post to accommodate your unique arm length. Being able to make minor adjustments will help you achieve a more comfortable fit no matter how petite your frame may be.
Being a petite biker comes with challenges, but finding the perfect fit doesn't have to be one of them. Know your body dimensions, test out different models, and learn to make minor adjustments so that your next bike fits your petite frame like a glove.