Stack and Reach are the new standards for describing bicycle sizes.  Gone are the days of “Small”, “Medium”, and “Large”. Also gone are “52”, “54” and “56”.  Today, Stack tells you the height of the bike and Reach tells you the length.  And you use these numbers to determine which bike is a best fit for you.

What is Stack and Reach?

Stack is the vertical distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube.  Reach is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the head tube.  Simply, Stack is the height of the bike and Reach is the length of the bike.

As an example, here are the Stack and Reach numbers for a Cannondale








51 49.4 37.1 48.2 40.5
54 50.9 39.8 51.2 41.8
56 52.9 40.7 53.1 42.9
58 54.8 41.7 55.0 44.0

Why is Stack and Reach important?

Clearly, you can see that Cannondale and Cervelo  are sized differently for the same “Size”. Buying a bike that is too big will impact comfort and performance.  A bike too small can be made to fit, but it is not ideal and you may sacrifice bike handling.

In most bike shops, they will do a good job of picking out the bike that best fits your body.  They will generally make adjustments to the stem and seat  post to get the bike to work for you.  But, if you are planning to buy a high performance bike (more than $1500), you should let Stack and Reach guide you.  The bike will fit better and handle better when ou are riding it.

How do you get your Stack and Reach?

Find a bike fitter that has fit specific bike.  If you are spending more than $1000 on a bike, spend $90-$150 to get your Stack and Reach.

Stack and Reach