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Buying a used bike on the internet without taking a test ride might seem scary or even foolish to some people, but it doesn’t have to be. The greatest concern people typically have is “will it fit me?” To help you answer that question, here is your official guide to buying the right size bike on eBay.
One of the biggest determinants of whether a bike fits or doesn’t is the standover height. Standover is pretty basic — you standover the bike and see how much room there is between your crotch and the top tube of the frame. Most bikes online state their standover height, on eBay, many sellers don’t list this measurement, but you can send them a message asking them to. The distance between your inseam and the standover height should fall within one to two inches.
For example, if you have an inseam of 30″, and you’re buying a mountain, urban/commuting or touring bike, you will want a standover height between 25″ and 28″, depending on how aggressively you ride. For a road bike, your preferred standover height would be 28″ or 29″. For a city bike, the right standover height would be in the vicinity of 27″ or 28″.
To measure your inseam:
- Get a hardbound book a tape measure and a pencil.>
- Stand against a wall.
- Wear the shoes you’ll be wearing when you ride.
- Wedge the book between your legs, with the book’s spine parallel to the floor while against your crotch.
- Have a friend measure from the top of the book to the floor —this is your inseam measurement.
This is a general rule to get a bike frame that fits your body. Bike components are adjustable to dial in the fit even closer. For example, the seat post can be raised or lowered and the bike’s stem can be exchanged for a longer or shorter one depending on your arm length. Buying a used bike on eBay doesn’t have to be a scary ordeal, you can make it easier by knowing the right size bike you need and buying one that matches these measurements.
If you have prior experience riding, take note of the size bike you have and how it feels.
- Feel too stretched out? You might need a new stem or get a frame with a shorter top tube.
- Is the seat down as far as possible and you still feel too high? You’re frame is too big, go one or two sizes down.
- Handlebars too wide or narrow? Measure them and then make a note of what size handlebars are on the new bike you’re looking at.
You can also test ride a bike at a local bike shop or REI. Or, borrow a friend’s bike for the day that is similar in height to you and note what you like and what you don’t like.