I bought a hybrid bike from halfords around 6 months ago, however i have only recently had chance to ride it. I have found that the frame is too big, they wont exchange or give me a refund. I was wondering if there was any modifications i could make for it to feel more comfortable?

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    In the future, never buy a bicycle without being fitted on it, and taking it for a ride. Would you buy a pair of jeans without trying them on and then try to return or exchange six months later? Also, try not to buy bicycles from some general store that also sells automotive supplies. Though, to be fair, there are decent looking items in the Halfords online catalogue. However, can they assemble them properly and provide fit and service? They let you walk out with a bicycle that doesn't fit you.
    – Kaz
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 19:35
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    @Kaz bike fit and Halfords are not words that I've ever heard together without a word like "can't" or "useless".
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:33
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    You might consider installing smaller tires. The inner diameter of the tires must remain unchanged, but, for instance, going from a 2.5" wide tire to a 1.5" wide one will reduce the effective bike height a half inch. Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 21:45
  • Sell it as new/lightly-used and buy something else that fits. Right now you're a classic example of "throwing good money after bad" because a poor bike frame fit can only be mitigated, not resolved.
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 1:26
  • In what way is the bike too big? What you need to do will depend on what your problem is. Is the bike too tall? Are the handlebars too far away? Something else? Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 10:02

4 Answers 4


You have a couple of options, lowering the seat and changing the stem, or some combination of both. One other option would be to find someone that has a similar quality bicycle that is slightly small for them and trade! Local co-ops or bike clubs would be a place to start for this.

As for changing the components you may consider an adjustable stem so that you can do the fine tuning your self, rather than buying a 70mm reach stem and realizing it didn't really help.

You will have to decide what needs to change based on what part of your body is uncomfortable. If you feel stretched out like your reaching to far forward a shorter stem will bring your handlebars in a little.

If you legs are being over extended drop the seat post a little and see how it feels.

One other option would be to show up at your local bike shop with a 12 pack and ask for advice. They will charge for a proper fit, but with beer they should be fine with giving some advice and options free of charge. If they are not, find a new shop.

This site has some good information to explain it to beginners.

As does REI


I ride a bike that is a bit too tall for my daily commuter. Everything else is great, but it is a tall bike for me, so that I have to lean it over a bit when I stop at a light, or tip toe if I keep straight up with my butt on the saddle. I'm fine with it and it is still comfortable for my commuting needs. I don't think I would ride it with clips or straps, though! People ride actual double-frame tallbikes, so I don't see a fatal error here.

If you are unwilling to take the comment advice above, and are committed to riding on this frame and modifying things, you could look into moustache handlebars or cruiser handlebars. They are swept back more than the standard hybrid flat bars, which will give you a hand position that is closer to your body, and should make your ride significantly more comfortable. You'll have to redo your whole cockpit with new cables, and I was a little wobbly until I got used to having my hands behind my steerer rather than in line or in front of it, but it has become natural and enjoyable.

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    The way you have to put your foot down doesn't mean the bike is too big for you. It might mean you're lucky that you can just do that with the seat right down. If you can sit on the saddle with your feet flat on the ground, your legs will be pedalling in the wrong bit of their range which is touring and your knees might not like it.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 5:54
  • You are right, but I have to tip it sideways a significant amount so that it doesn't crush my groin when I am off the saddle. It is a slight, but noticable hop up every time I get going. I only have about an inch or two of seatpost showing!
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:05
  • Sounds about right to me.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:34
  • I guess I'm just used to riding bikes that are the next size down, so it is a bit of an adjustment. So, because we can adjust the seat post and the stem, there is some overlap between sizes, when we, ourselves, are somewhat in-between, or on the edge.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 0:08
  • Let me make this very clear: If you can reach the ground with your feet while being on the saddle, your saddle is too low. This is a mistake made by many, who believe that they should be able to reach ground for "safety" reasons. But the effect of a too low saddle is way too detrimental to both your speed and endurance to justify that marginal "safety" benefit. On a correctly fitted bike, you will always hop out of your saddle at the lights (unless you can just grab a lamb post to keep your balance). Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 8:06

If your frame feels large you can get a shorter stem, lower the seat, move the seat forward, get riser bars or 'trekking bars' rather than drop bars.

You change the position of the bars up and down by moving the stem position on the fork steerer tube and altering the number / position of the spacers.

However, saying that try a bike before you buy is better. And putting miles in will tell you what size you are. All people are different / bikes are different. Otherwise you can go for custom bike fitting.

  • The bike is described as a hybrid so it will have flat bars, not drops.And it's probably not a stem with spacers. Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 10:04
  • yes perhaps, although not specified Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 13:07

I just perchased a bike and bought it a little bigger then my size, I might not be able to bounce my by bike when standing over it, but I enjoy the larger ride. Thank you for your answers. A reader Bob D.

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    Hi Bob, I'm flagging this as a non-answer because answers around here should be, well, answers. If you want to provide future readers with an update on what you did (like what you have provided here), you can always add an edit to your question. Just add a line with three minus signs to add a horizontal line, write, Edit: under it, and follow up with your update. No one will object to that. Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 8:11
  • I can convert to a comment, but in a way this does answer the question by saying "if the bike's only a little too big, then try getting used to it." which may work. OP never said how much too big the bike was, and I can imagine a situation where its more "different" than "too big"
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 5, 2019 at 11:00

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