I used a road-bike (gearless) and its height was even not reaching to my waist and I was becoming very tired even after 10 min. of cycling (in city). I remember I have read somewhere that angle of legs position affect the amount of effort.

Does height matter? If yes than how to get the best bike (in terms of height)

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    FIT matters. Height is one of the factors in fit. Among other things, the seat must be at a height where you get nearly full extension of your leg at the bottom of the stroke. Dec 30 '13 at 4:15
  • And unless you're in pretty good shape you will find a single-speed (that's designed for the open road) tiring to ride in a city, with stop and go. Dec 30 '13 at 4:21
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    This post is tagged with fixed-gear. Is it a fixed gear (if the rear wheel is turning, the cranks are turning) or a single speed with freewheeling (you can have the rear wheel turning with the cranks not turning)?
    – Batman
    Dec 30 '13 at 4:39

Short answer: Height does matter (in fact, there are multiple "heights" which you can find out about in the long answer's links), but there are a ton of other factors (e.g. top tube length which is probably more important). The bike's geometry is what determines how well it works for you.

Long answer: What you need is a bike fit (which can be done at most bike shops). Proper bike fitting makes your power delivery good and avoids potential injuries / pain. The handlebars, brake hoods, stem length, saddle height, saddle width, possibly cranks (though unlikely unless you're on the extreme side of heights),etc. will be adjusted based on your proportions (primarily your inseam as well as your reach) provided the bike can be fit to you. This is highly dependent as well on your riding style (racers don't ride the same way people going on cross country tours do, typically) and feel. Height and inseam are not sufficient (hence why they publish a ton of measurements per bike). I personally prefer a larger size than most people with my height (though I have longer arms + inseam than most people of my height)... See the links below for more details. The most common mistake people make is putting the seat too low (which correspondingly screws up everything else), but you really should start with a bike fit (or if this isn't possible due to financial constraints or something, surveying videos on youtube or something (but I will not link any, since this should be done with a LBS, and test rides)). As the KOPS link below shows, these systems aren't used as an exact science, so the experience of the fitter helps a lot in getting a good fit (the numbers plugged into formulas aren't everything), and it may take a few tries to get something that really works for you.

A good look on the problems with fit and why its left to the pros at your LBS is http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

As for what you read, it may have been KOPS: http://sheldonbrown.com/kops.html

There are multiple theories as to how you should setup your bike for "best" cycling. Once you get a fit, you'll end up tweaking it to better suit yourself and changing riding styles.

Getting tired also depends on how fit you are, and how efficient you are in using your gears - if you start in top gear on a racing bike, chances are you're going to get tired really quickly if you're not pretty fit. It sounds like you have a single speed, which means you have to compromise on one gear for the whole range of riding you do (unless you fit something like a Surly Dingle), so you may need to pick a different gearing combo, though typically these are set with a decent gearing which isn't too hard to start and easy to cruise in (like a 42t/17t on the Surly Crosscheck SS). If you have a fixie, your legs are always moving, so in this case, you may want a flip flop hub which allows you to flip the wheel and let you freewheel a bit when you're tired. Having multiple speeds may help with tired-ness depending on the terrain (hills make you want multiple speeds).

Getting a bike fit reduces the bike setup part of riding and makes your physical fitness the next problem (and possibly gearing). You may find that the particular bike you have cannot be tweaked to work with your riding needs! (For example, a lot of racing bikes don't work as tourers/commuters).

  • Thanks to answer. I forgot to add it's gearless bike. I have added it now. In this bike I need to lean my back to hold the handle (while I'm just walking with bike) Should we able to keep our back straight while we just walking with bike? Is that a correct height? Dec 30 '13 at 3:42
  • I updated the answer with single speed-ness. As for the leaning back for walking the bike, that depends on your proportions and the height is something you'll figure out when you get a bike fit. Note that you buy a bike to ride it around, not to walk it around, so the leaning back is largely irrelevant - FWIW, I don't need to lean when moving any of my bikes though.
    – Batman
    Dec 30 '13 at 3:50
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    +1 Great answer! Yes, bike fit makes a huge difference. Not every LBS can do it properly though. As you say, there are different ways of doing it.
    – andy256
    Dec 30 '13 at 4:09
  • @JitendraVyas - I know I find it quite awkward and uncomfortable to walk my bike any distance, yet it's a pretty good fit. How it feels to walk the bike is a poor predictor of how it will be to ride. Dec 30 '13 at 4:17
  • @andy256 - Good point. It should be presented more as an art than a science, IMO (just because you have some numbers doesn't mean they have a rigorous interpretation to them). Furthermore, while the results of a fit are bike specific to some extent (e.g. mtb fits don't translate to road bike fits), some people will provide you with more useful fits than others - I haven't bought a new bike in a while, but I've heard some manufacturer uses a "color" system which makes the insights completely useless. Asking around should give you a shop which can fit you properly.
    – Batman
    Dec 30 '13 at 4:17

Yea, baby, fit and geometry make all the difference on a bike. Without being too scientific here, the height of the saddle must be such that your leg is ALMOST but not quite fully extended when your pedal is at bottom of the stroke; there should be a very minor flex in the knee when your pedal is at bottom stroke and your ankle should be in a mid-flex position. Neither your knee or your ankle should be fully extended when your pedal hits bottom stroke. Any difference from that criterion, and your riding is inefficient. If you try to ride serious with a poor-fitting bike, all kinds of aches, pains, and tiredness will take over and destroy the fun of the ride. Interesting too, how you phrased the title of your question: "Does the height of the bicycle affect the energy we put into the ride?" You can have a perfectly fit bicycle, and your riding will be somewhat frustrated unless you wear cycling shoes. When you pedal in street shoes, those shoes are flexing up, down, and all sorts of micro-contortions on every downstroke, and lots of muscle energy is expended uselessly by the flexing of the street shoes. Result? Quicker exhaustion, lots of sweat, and fewer miles of riding. Cycling shoes have stiff, non-flexible soles that don't flex. A non-flexing shoe means your foot becomes "one" with the pedal, and much more muscle effort is transferred to the pedal! There is no energy lost in the flexing of the shoe. The result is a stronger pedal stroke, a bike that is pushed farther with the same muscle effort, more miles of riding, and more fun in riding. You don't have to buy cycling shoes with cleats, however. You can buy non-cleated cycling shoes--such as I have, and use a strapless pedal (non-cleated pedal). These are pedals with a toe-in stop that allows you to push down harder on the down-stroke AND PULL UP ON THE OTHER PEDAL ON THE UPSTROKE. Result is much more propulsion per stroke without cleats. Yea, baby, fit, geometry, and cycling shoes really matter.

  • @dugsbunny- Thanks for the answer. How can we find a good bicycle according to our height? Jan 4 '14 at 6:46

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