Getting a cyclist’s reach right is more personal preference and riding style. But it does help to also know the measurements if buying a bike or changing bike frame. The reason is that knowing the reach and stack as knowing the reach is an important measurement for assessing the size of a bike. So, how to measure reach on a bicycle?
To find the length of the reach and stack. There are 2 measurements you need to take with a measuring tape. You need to measure the reach which is the horizontal line from the handlebar to the intersection point of the stack which is a vertical line from the bottom bracket. This is how to measure the reach.
In this post, we will go through how to measure reach on a bicycle. Let’s get started!
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What Is Handlebar Reach?
Simply, the handlebar reach is the distance between saddle and handlebars. And how far you can move the handlebars move forwards and backward.
It is typically measured in millimeters or inches with an approximate measurement of the distance from the center of the handlebar stem to the rider’s centerline.
What Is Meant By Stack And Reach On A Bicycle?
In terms of bicycle design, the term ‘stack and reach’ refers to the bike frame geometry. Stack and reach refer to the distance from the center of the bottom bracket (the crank axle) to the fork steer tube (or steerer tube) at full extension.
Where these two lines intersect at a point. The distance between this point and the bottom bracket is the stack and the distance between this point and the top of the head tube is the reach.
It is a measurement taken parallel to the bottom bracket and measured from level with the ground or a sitting height, depending on what is more convenient.
Stack and reach are two terms that are commonly used within bicycles but can be confusing if you are not familiar with them or if you do not know how they differ from other measurements.
What Should My Bike Reach Be?
It is important to choose a bicycle frame with a reach measurement appropriate for your height. It is really a personal preference and depends on your biking style. Some cyclists prefer a longer reach to achieve a low aerodynamic position.
While some cyclists prefer a shorter reach for a more upright position especially if going biking on a trail. On the other hand, other riders may find that a bike with an unusually long reach is uncomfortable and awkward to ride.
Is My Bike Reach Too Long?
It is difficult to say whether you have the perfect reach length without trying out different bikes and trying out different riding positions. If you have difficulty changing gears or having the right strength to brake effectively, your height may be too long.
You need to try out the different sizes of the bike frame. A good frame with a good fit will make the difference in how your ride goes, so it is important to get this part right.
Typically, a small or medium bike normally has a shorter reach. A large or extra-large bike has a longer reach. You might be able to fit onto either of these sizes, but this would depend on your height, strength, and personal preference.
A small person can easily ride a bike with a high reach. But they may find it difficult to handle and control in tight situations. Likewise, an average height person may find the low reaching bike easier to ride if they struggle with strength problems or have limited flexibility in their wrists or shoulders.
How To Measure Reach On A Bike?
Taking the measurement to find the reach length is fairly straightforward. All you need is a measuring tape to take 2 measurements. You need to find the length of the reach and stack. You need to measure the reach which is the horizontal line from the handlebar to the intersection point of the stack which is the vertical line from the bottom bracket.
If these measurements match with the new bike frame you are looking at, it is easier for you to set up the new bike. And that the frame size is suitable.
Remember that if you measure from the center of the stem, this will not be a complete or accurate measurement. For example, if you measure from the center of the stem and add 2 centimeters to each side, it will give an inaccurate reading.
Also, remember to hold the handlebars at either end. And then note where your hand grips are on the stem to get a more accurate measure. The measurement from there to the center of the stem will give you an accurate readout of how far reach your bike has.
Finally, to find the length of the reach and stack. There are 2 measurements you need to take with a measuring tape. You need to measure the reach which is the horizontal line from the handlebar to the intersection point of the stack which is a vertical line from the bottom bracket. This is how to measure the reach.
And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on how to measure reach on a bicycle was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.