picking the right bicycle size is one of the most important things when talking about bike fitting. there’s so much talk around this topic, which only makes it more complicated. however, we believe it’s quite simple and easy. (no, we’re not crazy!)
some consequences of riding a bike too small or too big for you are:
- back pain
- knee pain
- low performance
so, let’s see how to choose the right bike size for every bicycle type. we are going to show you various methods, so you do not need to worry about getting anything wrong.
please note: when using different methods, you will get different sizes. it’s mainly because the leg inseam measure is more accurate.
related in-between two bike sizes – how to choose?
#1 – simple size chart
|your height||bike frame size|
|4-11″ – 5’3″||13 – 15 inches|
|5’3″ – 5’7″||15 – 16 inches|
|5’7″ – 5’11”||16 – 17 inches|
|5’11” – 6’2″||17-19 inches|
|6’2″ – 6’4″||19 – 21inches|
|6’4″ and taller||21+ inches|
#2 – advanced bike size chart
there are different types of bike size charts. let’s take a closer look at all of them.
size chart for mountain bikes
what size mountain bike do i need? let’s see this mountain bike size chart
|height (ft/in)||height (cm)||leg inseam (inches)||leg inseam (cm)||suggested frame size (in)||suggested wheel size|
|4’10 – 5’3″||147-160cm||25 – 28″||62-70 cm||13 – 14″||26″|
|5’4 “- 5’7”||+61404532026cm||25 – 30″||63 – 76 cm||15 – 16″||26″|
|5’5″ – 5’9″||+61404532026cm||26 – 31″||66 – 78 cm||16 – 17″||27.5″|
|5’9″ – 6’0″||+61404532026cm||27 – 32″||68 – 81 cm||17 – 18″||27.5″|
|6’0″ – 6’3″||+61404532026cm||28 – 33″||71 – 83 cm||18 – 19″||29″|
|6’1″ – 6’6″||+61404532026cm||29 – 34″||73 – 86 cm||19″ +||29″|
*never rely solely on bike size marks from xs to xl, because they are not standardized. each bike brand has its individual size recommendation that should be looked up.
size chart for road bikes
what is the right road bike size for me? well, have a look at this bike frame size chart below:
|height (ft/in)||height (cm)||suggested frame size||(size)|
|4`10”-5`0”||148-152 cm||47-48 cm||(xxs)|
|5`0″-5`3″||152-160 cm||49-50 cm||(xs)|
|5`3″-5`6″||160-168 cm||+61404532026 cm||(s)|
|5`6″-5`9″||168-175 cm||54-55 cm||(m)|
|5`9″-6`0″||175-183 cm||+61404532026 cm||(l)|
|6`0″-6`3″||183-191 cm||+61404532026 cm||(xl)|
|6`3″-6`6″||191-198 cm||+61404532026 cm||(xxl)|
*choosing a road bike frame comes down to three factors – leg length, inseam length, and also the reach of the bike.
size chart for hybrid / city bikes
what’s the right hybrid bike size for me? well, check this bike size chart:
|height (ft/in)||height (cm)||leg inseam (in)||leg inseam||frame size (inches)||frame size (marker) *|
|4’10”-5’1”||147-155 cm||24 – 29”||61 – 73 cm||14″||(xs)|
|5’1″-5’5″||155-165 cm||25 – 30”||63 – 76 cm||15″||(s)|
|5’5″-5’9″||165-175 cm||26 – 31”||66 – 78 cm||16″||(m)|
|5’9″-6’0″||175-183 cm||27 – 32″||68 – 81 cm||17″||(l)|
|6’0″-6’3″||183-191 cm||28 – 33″||71 – 83 cm||18″||(xl)|
|6’1″ – 6’6″||191-198 cm||29 – 34″||73 – 86 cm||19″||(xxl)|
kids’ bike sizes
what size bike should i buy for my child? take a look below at bike size chart:
|age||height (inch)||height (cm)||leg inseam (inch)||leg inseam (cm)||bike tire size|
|2||2’9″ – 3’1″||85-90cm||12″ – 14″||85 – 90cm||10″|
|3-4||3’1″ – 3’3″||90-100cm||14″-17″||35-42cm||12″|
|4-5||3’3″ – 3’7″||100-110cm||16″-20″||40-50cm||14″|
|5-6||3’7″ – 3-8″||110-115cm||18″-22″||45-50cm||16″|
|6-8||3’8″ – 4’0″||115-120cm||20″-24″||50-60cm||18″|
|7-9||4’0″ – 4’5″||120-135cm||22″-25″||55-63cm||20″|
|9-11||4’5″ – 4’9″||135-145cm||24″-28″||60-72cm||24″|
#3 – bike size calculator
do you like math? i do. but i can’t say i’m good at it. you don’t need to be good at it, just follow these simple math formulas to get the right bike size:
- measure your leg inseam. while standing with your legs either together or apart, you need to measure the length of your leg on the inner side.
- calculate! mountain bikes – x 0.685 = your frame size (in centimeters) road bikes – x 0.70 = your frame size (in centimeters) city bike – x 0.685 = your frame size (in centimeters)
for example, if you are looking for the right road bike size, and your leg inseam is 70cm, the right size would be 70 x 0.70 = 49cm
#4 – ask your local merchant
seriously, if they want to sell more bikes, it’s their
work to make things clear. i notice way too often that merchants want to sell bikes but they don’t have size guides. how is it possible? when doing research, i often ask for additional details and in most cases, they are very keen to help me (and you as well).
ideally, what you want to find is something like this:
as you can see, it can be quite easy to determine the right size, just by checking the suggested rider’s height. if you need a more advanced fitting, you can also consider different bike measurements, such as the seat tube length, standover height, top tube length, stack, reach, head tube length, and many more. however, in most cases, you don’t need those numbers.
how to fix wrong bike size?
it seems impossible or dumb to do it, but sometimes it happens. that’s because there is little room for error when choosing the right bike size. you can try these methods, but if the bike still doesn’t feel right, just get the one that does.
bike too small
- longer seat post – if your saddle is in its highest position, you can try to find a longer saddle post. look for a 350mm long seat post. just make sure it has the right diameter.
- longer stem – the stem plays an important role in determining your position on the bike. also, keep in mind the angle of the stem, which plays a huge role as well.
- saddle set-back – saddle position is the next aspect that determines your position. move it back and try to find a better position.
bike too big
- shorter seat post – some seat posts don’t go all the way in. therefore, you might want to cut off your current post to make it shorter or buy a shorter one.
- saddle forward – by sliding your saddle forward, you’ll get a better reach to the handlebar. by doing that, you should feel no pain in your knees.
- shorter stem – you might want to look for a shorter stem. inches here and there make a big difference in the position, which can save you from buying a new bike. definitely worth trying.
for additional information, visit ilovecycling.com
setting the saddle height
image credit: ride1up
people also ask:
why you should not rely on markings from xs to xl?
the reason is simple – this bike size system is not standardized. we tested it and here are the results:
Read more: 27.5 x 2.5
bike size vs size marked by manufacturers
as you can see, one manufacturer’s s is another manufacturer’s m. if you are looking for an xl frame, you can easily get a frame too big, or vice versa. never rely on markings from xs to xl, because there is no logic behind them.
what if i am between two sizes?
read full article – between two bike sizes – which one to choose?
ape index – when you fall in between two bike sizes, it is recommended to go for a size larger when your arm span is longer than your height. this means you have longer arms that are better on a size larger frame. if your ape index is shorter than your height go for a size smaller. in mountain bike world – getting a size larger bike is only better when going on straight lines in faster speeds, while a size smaller is better for technical tracks.
if you are between two sizes i recommend doing the following. take the bigger size if you are over 5’4″. if you are below that, take the smaller size. of course, if you are still growing or you have very long legs or arms, you might want to take the larger frame.
who are 26-inch bikes meant for?
*cruiser bikes use 26″ wheels.
actually, there is no such thing as a 26-inch bike. there are bikes with 26- inch wheels, which are suitable for heights between 5’0″ and 5’5″. anyone taller than that might want to look for a bike with 700c, 27,5″ (same as 650b) or a 29″ wheel bike.
what size bike do i need? how to size a bike?
if you’re asking what size bike do i need, then the answer is simple. depending on your preferred bike type, take a look above. it’s easier than you thought, all you need to do is measure your leg inseam.
how to measure my leg inseam?
stand with your feet apart or together and measure the length from the ground to your crotch. that’s it! if needed, convert it to inches by dividing the length in cm with 2.54.
have a question about bike sizing? write to us: sam (at) bikexchange (dot) com
best hybrid bikes of 2021
best electric bikes under $1,000
different types of bikes