Everyone knows that bike size chart does matter a lot! Selecting the correct bike size is the most crucial thing while talking about bicycle fitting. There is much talk around the topic that only does make this a bit complex. But we also believe that it is quite easy and straightforward. (No, we aren’t crazy at all!)
A few consequences of riding the bicycle too big or too small for you include:
- Low performance
- Knee pain
- Back pain
Nowadays, almost everything might be purchased online—and thus, bikes are also no exception. However, the massive convenience of getting your new bicycle delivered just at your home door comes with a significant drawback, i.e., unless you have had at least one chance to try this out beforehand.
Purchasing in person? That is much simpler, but this still assists in knowing what to search.
Follow the below steps, and you would be quite ready to just hit the trails (or the road) on the suitable bicycle in no time:
Hence, let us see how to select the correct bike size for all bicycle types. We’re about to show you different techniques, so you need not worry about buying anything wrong.
What’s my Bike Size?
Looking for your ideal bike size is necessary for both the enjoyment and comfort of your brand new bike. The bike too big or too small would simply place more stress on the body in places like your back and knees, increasing the chances of injury.
It’s crucial to note that several types of bikes have many sizes, such as your mountain bike will not fit the exact size as your road bike & your BMX will not fit the similar size like your mountain bike.
It’s therefore important to do a lot of research and then look up the particular sizing of a bike you’re after, pay attention to the reviews, use different size-charts & ask different questions on live-chats or online forums if it is possible.
And, the more relevant information you gather, the better.
When purchasing a bicycle in-store, then trying out the bike just before you purchase is the best option. It would let you see if this is the correct fit if it’s comfy and if you like this bike and might experience yourself riding this.
Getting in-store usually does mean that you might make more investment in some professional bike-fit. It permits you for more dimensions and sizing to be correctly measured up while being walked via the whole process. Following are the bike size charts for different categories:
Mountain Bike Size Chart
|Rider height (CM)||Rider height Feet / Inche||Leg inseam (CM)||Leg inseam Inches||Suggested Frame Size||Inches|
|193 to 198 cm||6`1″ to 6`6″||73 to 86 cm||29` to 34`||XXL||19″ +|
|185 to193 cm||6`0″ to 6`3″||71 to 83 cm||28` to 33"||XL||18″ to 19″|
|178 to185 cm||5`9″ to 6`0″||68 to 81 cm||27` to 32"||L||17″ to 18″|
|168 to 178 cm||5`5″ to 5`9″||66 to 78 cm||26 to 31”||M||16” to 17″|
|158 to 168 cm||5`1″ to 5`5″||63 to 76 cm||25 to 30”||S||15” to 16″|
|148 to 158 cm||4`10” to 5`1”||61 to 73 cm||24 to 29”||XS|
Road Bike Size Chart
|Rider height (CM)||Suggested frame size (Feet/Inches)||Size||Centimeters|
|191 to 198 cm||6`3″ to 6`6″||XXL||61 to 63 cm|
|183 to 191 cm||6`0″ to 6`3″||XL||58 to 60 cm|
|175 to 183 cm||5`9″ to 6`0″||L||56 to 58 cm|
|168 to 175 cm||5`6″ to 5`9″||M||54 to 55 cm|
|160 to 168 cm||5`3″ to 5`6″||S||51 to 53 cm|
|152 to 160 cm||5`0″ to 5`3″||XS||49 to 50 cm|
|148 to 152 cm||4`10” to 5`0”||XXS||47 to 48 cm|
Hybrid Bike Size Chart
|Rider height (CM)||Leg inseam Feet/Inches||Suggested Frame Size (CM)||Inches||Size||inseam Inches|
|191 to 198 cm||6`1` to 6`6||73 to 86 cm||19||XXL||29` to 34|
|183 to 191 cm||6`0` to 6`3||71 to 83 cm||18||XL||28` to 33`|
|175 to 183 cm||5`9" to 6`0"||68 to 81 cm||17||L||27" to 32"|
|165 to 175 cm||5`5` to 5`9||66 to 78 cm||16||M||26 to 31"|
|155 to 165 cm||5`1` to 5`5"||63 to 76 cm||15||S||25 to 30”|
|147 to 155 cm||4`10” to 5`1"||61 to 73 cm||14||XS||24 to 29”|
Bike Size Chart for Kids
|Age||Height (Inch)||Height (cm)||Leg Inseam (Inch)||Leg Inseam (cm)||Bike Tire Size|
|2||2’9″ to 3’1″||85 to 90cm||12″ to 14″||85 to 90cm||10″|
|3 to 4||3’1″ to 3’3″||90 to 100 cm||14″ to 17″||35 to 42cm||12″|
|4 to 5||3’3″ to 3’7″||100 to 110cm||16″ to 20″||40 to 50cm||14″|
|5 to 6||3’7″ to 3-8″||110 to 115cm||18″ to 22″||45 to 50cm||16″|
|6 to 8||3’8″ to 4’0″||115 to 120cm||20″ to 24″||50 to 60cm||18″|
|7 to 9||4’0″ to 4’5″||120 to 135cm||22″ to 25″||55 to 63cm||20″|
|9 to 11||4’5″ to 4’9″||135 to 145cm||24″ to 28″||60 to 72cm||24″|
|11 to 14||5" +||145cm +||28″+||72cm +||26″|
Bike Size Chart for Women
|Height||Inside leg||Women’s Mountain Bike Size||Women’s Road Bike Size||Women’s Hybrid Bike Size|
|172 cm+ or 5’8″+||79cm / 31″||19″ (Large)||56 to 57cm (Large)||19″ (Large)|
|5’5″ to 5’8″ / 165cm to 172cm||76 cm / 30″||17″ to 18” (Medium)||53 to 55cm (Medium)||17″ to 18” (Medium)|
|5’3″ to 5’5″/ 160cm to 165cm||71cm or 28″||15” to 16″ (Small)||50 to 52cm (Small)||15” to 16″ (Small)|
|5’1″ to 5’3″/ 155cm to 160cm||69cm or 27″||13” to 14” (X Small)||47 to 49cm (X Small)||14” to 15” (X Small, Small)|
|4’10″to 5’1″/ 147cm to 55cm||66cm or 26″||13” to 14″ (X Small)||44 to 46cm (XX Small)||13” to 14″ (X Small)|
Personal Sizing Guide
A very fundamental thing that is required while shopping for a bike is the detailed understanding of measurements and size. Ironically, it is the last thing that I basically figured out, as it merely seemed to be a bit boring, i.e., all those numbers and charts.
A bicycle either seemed to fit me or did not exactly. Whilst it worked out quite fine while I was also getting fitted by the others at the bike rental places or bike shops, this system out rightly failed me while trying to buy the bike online.
Also, perusing Craigslist for the bike needed much more bike knowledge as compared to I had that includes a complete understanding of correct sizing.
Also, being the academic I’m, I thought making some ‘detailed research post’ of different sorts may help somebody trying to buy the proper size bike. Unluckily, I found the most results on Google for the said term just pulled up different sizing charts for the mountain bikes (as we do seem to be quite mountain bike dominated people here in America).
It also took more digging for compiling sizing information on the non-sporty bikes or ‘comfort’ bikes. Being a gender scholar, I could not assist but just notice that every size chart was about male. However, that is entirely another post.
For now, here’s my compiled information about how to look for the proper size bicycle for you, be this hybrid bike, a road bike, or a mountain bike.
Bike manufacturers have so much fit information that does go into the frame geometry. Females, on average, are a bit shorter than males, so a female’s bike model generally has short stack heights.
Also, on average, females have short torso lengths; hence females’ bike models usually tend to have short reach lengths.
Just stand on some flat place, upright against the wall with both legs & shoulders back. You need to make sure that you take off your shoes.
Put one pencil on the top of your head and hold this parallel to the flat surface. Now, make one mark on your wall. It’s how to take the measurement of your height exactly.
You know the height measurement. Now just see the bike size chart given above to see the exact size that would be perfect for you.
You can also go to some brand-specific bike size chart for your favorite model that you want to buy. You might also need the leg inseam measurements for a few brands’ bike sizing charts.
Whilst using the height as the guide is an easy way to get a complete idea of the frame size, this will not give you an exact fit.
But, it is only an excellent way to see whether the frame is too tall or too short. You should keep this in mind that it is just a general guide. Also, sizing would still vary for different brands.
You do not have to see your weight because weight does not matter at all. However, in case you are more than 230 pounds, it is another matter.
Your Desired Bike Type
First of all, consider what type of bicycle you need. Sizing differs so much between mountain and road bikes, and between women’s and men’s models, as well as between different manufacturers.
You will need to be a bit familiar with your needs and wants before deciding what size is right for you. Different bike makers have their size charts, which would take you in the exact direction.
Things You Should Pay Attention to Measure of a Bike Frame Size
Measuring the standard road bike size is an easy task. For measuring a bike frame size:
- Look for the top of a seat tube (It’s where a seat post is)
- Find the middle of the bottom bracket (It does hold the crank arms)
- Measure the distance correctly between these two points
- Record it in both inch and cm to see the proper frame for yourself
Measurement of the Adult Bike Size
The adult bicycle size is always measured on the height as well as inseam size. The inseam size is usually regarded as an exact measurement. It’s good to measure both of these and then compare to have a right fitting bike.
Measure Kids’ Bike Size
You should keep this in mind that a proper bike size for a kid is crucial. Not only it provides comfort, but it also improves the safety of a bike itself. How do you precisely measure a child’s bicycle size you ask for?
If it is possible, bring your kid into some local store and just allow them to try out several types of bikes. It would let them get a feel for what’s right, safe, and comfortable for them. This process is so much easier as it does allow to consider the safety of a kid first.
However, if buying your bike online, then it is suggested to take a measure of your child’s height beforehand. Just opposite to adult bike size done by the frame, kid’s bike size is always done depending on the wheel diameter.
It, therefore, does mean that measuring your child’s height and matching that to the proper wheel diameter for making sure a secure and perfect fit allows you to sit comfortable.
Make it sure that you are going to invest in the high-quality helmet with your new bike, along with the large variety available in the market you would be quite sure to buy one that does appeal to them.
What Kind of Bike Frame Size do I Require?
Selecting the correct size of a bike frame is always down to personal choice. With several types of bikes that host various riding styles, it’s quite important to see what type of bike you’re looking to buy.
Whether purchasing for an adult or child, there are so many techniques to measure the bike-size even without any need to go in market. These are covered below.
Type of Bicycle You Want to Ride
Relying on the type of bike that you want to ride would determine the size and riding style.
For instance, mountain biking is so much aggressive as compared to road biking. It also might need a small-sized bike for making it maneuverable for different obstacles and terrains.
In contrast, some cross-country racing bike might be a bit larger to permit more speed to generate.
However, bike size is just a personal choice, what does work for you might not work for the others. Hence, it is very much crucial to size one up and simply try different types of bikes before purchasing.
Tips That Can Help You Measure a Bike Size in the Store
Measurement of Road Bikes
The exact measurement given is the distance (that is in cm) from the middle of a bottom bracket up to the top of a seat tube (that is middle of the top of a seat tube). But, a few bike makers measure their bikes a bit differently.
A few would measure the middle of the BB up to the top of a top tube (middle to top). They might measure middle of the BB up to the middle of a top tube (that is middle to the middle).
Also, you should keep this in your mind that there are a lot of different road bikes that contain sloping top tubes. Hence, the measurements might vary – these are usually XL, L, M, and S.
Bike Size Calculator
You can easily calculate the bicycle size. Do you love mathematics? I do a lot. But I could not say I am too good at this.
You do not have to be good at math; simply follow these mathematical formulas for getting the exact bike size:
1. Measure the Leg Inseam.
Whilst standing with the legs either apart or together, you have to take measurement in lengthwise of the leg on its inner side.
Road bikes – x 0.70 = frame size (in cm)
Mountain bikes – x 0.685 = frame size (in cm)
City bike – X 0.685 = frame size (in cm)
In case you are, for instance, looking for a proper road bike sizing, and the leg inseam is about 70 centimeters, then the proper size will be 80 x 0.70 = 49 centimeters.
How to Fix Your Incorrect Bicycle Size?
It does seem quite dumb or impossible to do it; however, it sometimes occurs. That is just because there’s a bit room for errors while selecting the accurate bike size.
Also, you might try these techniques, but if a bike still does not feel correct, simply buy the one which does.
The Bike is Too Small
- Saddle Setback – The saddle position is a crucial aspect that does determine your position accurately. Move this back & try to see a comfortable position.
- Longer Stem – As the stem always plays a significant role while determining the position on your bike. And, you need to remember that an angle of the stem always plays a big role too.
- Longer Seat Post – When a saddle is in the highest position, then you might find a long saddle post. Just look for some 350mm longer seat post. You need to ensure that it has the correct diameter.
The Bike is Too Big
- Shorter Stem – You may need to find some shorter stem. Inches always make a considerable difference regarding the right position that will save you from purchasing another bike. Surely worth trying.
- Saddle Forward – If you slide the saddle forward, you will get a good reach to your handlebar. Hence, you will not feel any kind of a pain in the knees.
- Shorter Seat Post – There are a few seat posts that does not go all the way in. So, you may have to see your recent post for making this shorter or get a shorter seat post.
Why must you not depend on markings from XL to XS?
The main reason is that such a bike size system isn’t standardized at all. We have tested this, and following are the results:
Bike Size vs. Sizes Marked by Bike Makers
You can see that one bike maker’s S is the other bike maker’s M. In case you look for the XL frame, then you might simply get some frame too big and vice versa.
You should never rely on the markings from XL to XS, as there is not any strong logic behind these.
What if I’m between two sizes?
When you’re between 2 sizes, then I strongly recommend you to do the following. You need to take the larger size when you are above 5’4″.
In case you’re below this, simply choose smaller size. Inevitably, when you are growing, or you’ve very long arms or legs, you may need to buy the larger frame.
Who are 26” bikes meant for?
There is not anything such as a 26” bike. There’re bikes having 26” wheels that are good for the heights between 5’5″ and 5’0″. Anybody taller than this may need to try out 27,5″ or 29″ mountain bicycle.
How to make a measurement of my leg inseam?
You stand with the feet together or apart. Now you will take the measurement of length from flat surface to the highest crotch. That is all! If required, convert this to inches by just dividing length in centimeter with 2.54.
What’s inseam size?
The inseam size is typically known as the most significant factor while selecting the frame size. The inseam is the measurement from the surface to the top crotch position.
Exact Way to Measure the Inseam
Taking measurements of the inseam could be done quite quickly. It needs only two persons and one book that just take a little time. To start:
- You need to stand straight with the back against a wall & feet positioned six to eight inches apart
- Put your book between the legs, spine-up, raise until your book does mimic some bike seat. It must be between the legs
- Now, get another person for measuring from the top to the ground (in cm). It is the inseam length.
Also, when you are visiting some stores and getting some professional bike-fit, it would be already done for you.
Bike Fitting Guide
When you’re riding your mountain bike or road bike for racing purposes, then it is far good to have your bike fitting just before you ride on your bike.
Because you have to know that if your body is in a proper position on your bike then it is better for the most efficient bike riding.
- Jenson USA Bike Fit Calculator – The bike fit calculator is so much professional. It is trendy among bike riders. Based on the needs, you will better prepare such information before getting ready to calculate the fitting data simply. Like, for instance, foot length, inseam length, arm length, and much more.
- Amazon Bike Fit Guide – This guide will provide you the listing of road bike size charts, mountain bike size charts, and children’s bike size charts. You can also easily find more information on their official site.
- Check some local bike store with the bike fitting services – You can simply search online & look for the bike stores that might offer best bike fitting services, now go and see some perfect fitting date. When you know the local bike wholesales, then you might just contact those. They’ve got a complete list of the bike sizing charts on a lot of bikes. And, thus, they know very well regarding local people’s bicycle size.
Find the Measurements
In order to find the correct size for you, some fundamental measurements are below:
- The torso length (that is from the crotch to the sternum. It is a V-shaped curve just below the neck)
- The leg inseam (that is from the crotch, here your saddle will be, to the foot)
- The arm length (that is from the endpoint of the collarbone to the center of a closed fist)
A Few Basic Formulas
The inseam is a very famous one. There are a lot of bike sizing charts that note stand-over height. It is the inseam along with another one to two inches for the comfortable clearance of a top tube. A few important sources also claim that the road bikes need almost one to two inches clearance whilst the commuter or mountain bikes typically need two to four inches. (In case you have a bike along with the step-through frame. So in this case, reference measurement does not really work as a top tube is always lowered.)
One more formula is the top tube length. As I did use to scoff at all these details however I have now come to appreciate finding the road bike, which is on always the compacter side with the shorter top tube that makes a huge difference for me.
I’ve a short torso; hence the distance between handlebars and saddle might really impact my ride. For figuring out the perfect top tube length, you can simply do the below math:
(Arm length + Torso length) / 2 = x
x – 6 = top tube length
(You will need to add the torso length and the arm length then divide it by 2 and subtract 6). It would give you in inches what a perfect distance will be between handlebars and seat
Trial & Error
Finding some well-fitting bicycle is just like finding a well-fitting dress – just trying this on would tell you about how it does fit you. Like Alan of EcoVelo quite eloquently put this, ‘Bike size is an art and not a science‘.
Trying to figure out a few fundamental math & having some numbers for the reference would surely help you a lot in getting the correct direction. And, this would even permit you for ruling out simply identifiable ‘too small’ or ‘too big’ bike sizes while buying online.
However, nothing would basically confirm that the bike is a right choice for you until you’ll take that for a spin. Also, bike fit might just adjust by moving the height of its seat or its handlebars.
It is simply about experiencing what does feel comfortable and right to you. It is something that may alter over time because you get quite confident on your bike and might even change your bike riding style.
These are only some primary outlines for you when you are procrastinating by looking bikes up on Craigslist & wondering whether they would be a great fit for you or not.
How do You Select the Right Size for Children’s Bike?
Kid’s bikes are sized and measured in a different manner from the adult bikes. They’re also categorized in wheel sizes and age ranges.
Following are a few significant points to always keep in your mind while you are sizing some bike for the kid:
- Do not depend entirely on the age range in order to size some bike for the child because it is simple for guidance. In case your kid is a bit tall for his or her age, then you might require the next bike size up.
- Inside leg and height measurement is yet the most important factor while it comes to sizing. You should also keep this thing in your mind while choosing your kid’s bike.
- This is very common to look for the bike which a kid would grow into; however, this is not always a perfect option. In case a bike is quite big for the kid, it would be tough for him or her to ride with confidence and stability. Decrease the chances of children falling over & also give children an opportunity to learn how to ride with passion and skill by buying a bike that fits appropriately.
Unisex Bikes and Women-Specific Bikes
On average, females have shorter torsos and longer legs as compared to men of similar height, hence women-specific bikes always have a short top tube along with narrow handlebars & women-specific saddles.
But, people aren’t ‘average’; thus a bike must be an ideal fit for you, whether it’s the female-specific fit or the unisex bike.
Generally, in case you are a bit shorter than almost 5ft 5 (165 centimeters) or you are feeling too much stretched on the unisex or men’s bike before, you might be a bit more suited to the women-specific bike which does offer smaller frame size.
When you are in doubt, then you feel free to have an appointment along with a professional expert who might call you back in order to assist you in finding the proper bike size for you.
Ideally, you need to see a bike size chart according to your needs just before you buy a bike. It will make the entire process much simpler, and you would be all ready for success even from the start.
Usually, however, there’re other methods to know in case your setup is not correct.
Knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, and elbow pain might all be indications of an improper fit (along with other problems). Numbness is also a problematic sign. Hence, always follow try before buy rule.