Much like every body is unique, every bike has a unique geometry. Most frames will come in Small through Extra Large. I am far from an expert in the engineering behind the sizing and shape of bikes and bike frames, but I can vouch for the importance of a properly fit bike. I recommend everyone get a fitment from your local bike shop, this normally has a cost but is worth the benefits it provides.
I’ve ridden bikes that are both too large and too small, purchased whatever I could find at the the local big box store. For larger riders, one of the most important aspect is ensuring that our knees extend enough to get an efficient power cycle but not over extending your leg. For me, getting the right fitment help with sore knees.
One interesting thing I discovered during my fitting was that I have a wider than normal hip width, which required me to install peddle extenders, allowing for my legs to have a straight profile.
One of the things most new cyclists complain about is a sore bottom. Saddles (seats) that come with bikes are normally hard plastic, and it makes sense to go out and find a big cushion seat that looks like it would be comfortable. Surprisingly, this isn’t how this works. Everyone has a unique sit bone width, and when sitting on the saddle, your sit bones should be supported. This is why seats have different widths in their measurements. Too large of a seat can be less comfortable than a narrow properly fitted firm seat.
A quick Google Search will show multiple DIY ways of measuring your sit bone width but most bike shops have high tech ways of getting accurate readings quickly. Once you find the proper width, the bike fitment mentioned above can help determine the proper placement of the saddle. I ride with a Brooks C17 saddle and wear padded bibs, which I will cover in a future post, and I rarely experience a sore bottom anymore.
In summary, getting the right fitment on your bike is important, and I believe, being a larger rider makes that even more of a valuable investment. Spend the time, find a shop that will help make sure your bike fits like a glove and you’ll be able to spend hours in the saddle!