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I’ve heard many more petite people say they have problems finding spin bikes that fit them in their local gym, and I’ve also seen lots of threads on social media.
Is it possible to be too short for a spinning bike?
Most spin bikes can be accessed by people from 5 feet upwards. Pelotons, for example, require riders to be 4 feet 11 inches. There are some makes of spin bikes that will accommodate riders from 4 feet 6 inches upwards.
In this post, I’ll take a look at:
- The minimum height for different popular spin bikes
- The best spin bikes for shorter people
- How to find spin bikes for shorter people
- Importance of the seat height in a spin bike (and how to adjust)
- How to choose the proper size of indoor bike
- Common indoor bike size problems and how to fix
The Minimum Height For Different Popular Spin Bikes
The majority of spin bikes have a minimum height that is stated in the product guidelines. These height restrictions have been created as a product of scientific testing, and it is wise to stick to these.
If you use a bike that you are not tall enough for, then you will not be in any way covered if you sustain an injury.
In general, anyone over the height of 4 feet 9 inches should be able to find a spin bike that fits them, and the majority of models will fit someone of 5 feet upwards.
Here are the minimum heights for different popular spin bikes on the market:
|Type Of Spin Bike||Minimum Height|
|Schwinn IC2||4′ 9″|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Endurance Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike||5′ 0″|
|Schwinn Indoor Series Bike||4′ 6″|
How To Find The Minimum Height On A Bike
Although the majority of bikes do have a minimum height, they are not often that clear in stating them in the product description.
I’ve found that the best way of finding out the minimum height of a bike on Amazon is to scroll down to the Q and A section, and type ‘minimum height’ in the search box. This normally reveals an answer to the question for most bike models I’ve checked.
If this still does not yield an answer, and there’s no minimum height of rider stated in the product description, the last port of call is to contact the company and ask.
The Best Spin Bikes For Shorter People
Let’s take a look at two brilliant choices of bikes for shorter people:
Schwinn Upright Bike Series – Budget Choice
This would be my first choice for anyone in the shorter rider category.
These bikes are ideal for anyone from 4 feet 6 inches upwards, making them really stand out in the market.
Other features of this bike include:
- 25 different resistance settings
- Heart monitor
- Bluetooth functionality
Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle – High-End Choice
If budget is no barrier, then the Keiser M3 Indoor Cycle is a brilliant choice.
The minimum height for this cycle is 4 feet 10 inches.
Being built for the gyms, but available for homes, these bikes contain high-end technology but are also extremely durable.
How To Set Up A Spin Bike For Your Height In The Gym
The general rule of thumb for ensuring a comfortable fit is to position the seat so that it is level with your hips.
Try to get the front of the seat the same distance from the handlebars as your arm is from your fingertips to your elbow.
When the pedal is at its lowest point of stroke, your knee should only be flexed slightly while seated.
I like to have my knee between 85% to 90% straightened. Anything more than that can lead to hyper-extension (not good!)
Your overall height isn’t the only factor to think about when choosing a bike; the length of your arms, legs, and torso can all have an impact on how well you’re able to get a bike to fit you properly and comfortably.
Importance of Seat Height in a Spin Bike
Finding the optimal seat height is largely a matter of personal preference, yet even if you’re initially comfortable in your chosen posture; it may start to hurt with prolonged use.
If you ever feel pain while spinning, it is often down to either posture or bike set-up.
There are several key things that can cause issues if not addressed:
It’s important to remember how repetitive a cycling session may be.
In a typical cycling session, how many pedal strokes do you estimate you make?
Your knees, hips, and even your ankles can be forced into an unpleasant position throughout the workout if your seat isn’t in the appropriate position.
So try to get it right from the start
For the vast majority of cyclists, knee problems are the most pressing health concern if you get the bike set-up wrong.
Anterior knee soreness can be caused by having a seat that is too close to the pedals, as this position keeps the knees in a flexed position during the ride.
Incorrect positioning of the patella relative to the femur is a common cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).
If your seat is too close to the pedals, your quads will have to work harder than they need to, reducing the efficiency of your pedal strokes.
More effort is required with each pedal stroke, which could lead to quad fatigue more quickly.
The reverse problem would arise if your seat was too far from the pedals. Your knees would probably be extending too much with each stroke instead of flexing too much.
In addition to PFPS, hyperextension can produce inflammation surrounding the joint, which can result in knee pain.
I found a really useful Youtube video that talks through how to make sure your bike is set up just right for you. (This is for an outdoor bike, but the points cross over to an indoor bike):
Tips to Adjust a Spin Bike Seat
- To get the ideal seat height, use your hip bone as a reference. When approaching a bicycle, the first step is to stand next to it. Adjust the top of the bike seat so that it is flush with the protruding bone in your hip.
- Get on a bike and take a look at your knees. More specifically, their degree of bend when pushing the pedal. Your knee should be slightly bent when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. The recommended amount of bend varies from instructor to instructor and studio to studio but is often between 5 and 20 degrees.
- Make sure your knees are directly over your feet after this. Sit on the bike with your hands on the front handlebars, and adjust the position of your knees and feet so that they are both at a 90-degree angle to the ground.
- Hold the handlebars with a light, relaxed grip and focus on your form and posture. Your hands should be resting lightly on the handlebars for balance, and your hips should be pulled back over the saddle. What this means is that your grip should be light but powerful. (Source)
Here is a fantastic video from the Spinning Youtube channel where they show you how to set up your bike correctly:
3 Common Mistakes When Setting Up A Spin Bike
Here are the most common mistakes when setting up a spin bike and how to correct them:
1. The Seat Height Is either Too Low or Too High
Adjusting the seat height is the first thing you’ll do when getting on your bike to go for a spin.
Not only is it crucial, but it’s also the most overlooked.
How to Fix
A common method for determining the ideal seat height is to stand next to the bike. The top of your hip should be level with the top of the saddle.
You can double-check that the seat is set properly after you’re seated on the bike. At the bottom of your pedal stroke, your knee should be slightly bent (between 10% and 20% bent).
2. Too Close or Distant From Handlebars
Both the seat height and the seat distance (the distance between the seat and the handlebars) are adjustable.
You should be able to reach the handlebars while sitting in the saddle with a natural bend in your elbows.
If your arms are completely straight and you feel like you’re reaching for the handlebars, you’re probably too far away from the bike’s position. If your knees are banging up against the bars, you’re probably too close.
How to Fix
A good way to measure [seat distance] is the length of your forearm from your elbow to your middle fingertip.
You can reach the handlebars with your fingertips if you slide your seat forward before you sit on your bike and rest your elbow on the seat.
3. Poorly positioned Handlebars
If they’re set up right, your bike’s handlebars will aid in your riding form and provide you with much-needed support.
If the handlebars are too high or low for your body, you may experience discomfort and even injury. You will experience lower back weariness and pain if your handlebars are too low.
Riding with your shoulders slumped forward is bad form and can cause discomfort from having the handlebars too low.
How to Fix
Adjust the height of your handlebars so that you are not bent over the bike, and your shoulders can drop naturally instead of being tense and drawn up near your ears.
Keep your shoulders back and away from your ears, and maintain a square posture at all times.