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Jeff Balton

Bike Size Chart – How To Choose? 5 Easy Methods

Choosing the right size bicycleOrdering bikes online is becoming more and more popular because there are no shop-keeping or warehouse costs making the cost even less!

Don’t worry about the fact that you might think you have to try your bike first because I can assure you it is overrated. And very highly.

Salesmen only tell you this to get more money from you!

You should try your bike first! FALSE

Asking why? It’s because that is only told by salesmen who know that there are decent bikes on the online market. There are many good methods to choose a good bike. I’m gonna show you THREE (actually FIVE!) METHODS if you don’t know, how to measure a bike.

Feeling more confident? Good. There are actually three (now FIVE!) options: you can calculate or use the bike-size charts below. The bike size is measured from where the seat post starts and to the crank. So if you don’t know, what size bike do I need, here are the answers:

Let’s start with the easiest

Method One: Bike Height Chart – The Easiest

Your height / Bike SizeHybrid Bike Size Chart

  • 4’11” – 5’3″ = 13 – 15 inches
  • 5’3″ – 5’7″  = 15 – 16 inches
  • 5’7″ – 5’11” = 16 – 17 inches
  • 6’0″ – 6’2″ = 17 – 19 inches
  • 6’2″ – 6’4″  = 19 – 21 inches
  • 6’4″ and taller  = 21+ inches

Voilà!

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Method Two: Calculating the bike size:

  1. Take off your shoes and stand with your legs about 15-20 cm(6” – 8”) apart. Measure the height from the ground to your crotch.
  2. Be sure of the type of bicycle you want: Mountain bike, city bike or road bike. You can read about the different bike types from here.
  3. Now you can take your calculator and calculate the right size:
    Leg Inseam method

City bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0,685 = Your frame size
Mountain bike –  Leg inseam (cm) x 0,66 = Your frame size
Road bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0,70 = Your frame size

(If your leg inseam is 76cm, then your right mountain bike size is 50 cm (20”), road bike 53cm and city bike 52cm)

or use the the

 

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Third Method: Bike Size Chart (advanced):

Mountain bike size chart

Rider height Leg inseam                                                Suggested Frame Size
Feet/Inches Centimeters Inches Centimeters Inches Size
4`10”-5`1” 148-158 cm 24-29” 61-73 cm < 14″ XS
5`1″-5`5″ 158-168 cm 25-30” 63-76 cm 15” / 16″ S
5`5″-5`9″ 168-178 cm 26-31” 66-78 cm 16” / 17″ M
5`9″-6`0″ 178-185 cm 27`-32` 68-81 cm 17″ / 18″ L
6`0″-6`3″ 185-193 cm 28`-33` 71-83 cm 18″ / 19″ XL
6`1″-6`6″ 193-198 cm 29`-34` 73-86 cm 19″ + XXL

 

City bike (Also commuter/hybrid bikes) size chart

 

Rider height Leg inseam Suggested Frame Size
Feet/Inches Centimeters Inches Centimeters Inches Size
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

Road bike size chart

Rider height Suggested frame size
Feet/Inches Centimeters Centimeters 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 51-52-53 cm S
5`6″-5`9″ 168-175 cm 54-55 cm M
5`9″-6`0″ 175-183 cm 56-57-58 cm L
6`0″-6`3″ 183-191 cm 58-59-60 cm XL
6`3″-6`6″ 191-198 cm 61-62-63 cm XXL

To make it simple – Bicycle Guiders’ bike size graph.

Right size bike - bike size graph by bicycle Guider

Got the right size? Nice! And now go cycling!

Please note that frame sizes from XXS – XXL don’t have the same meaning for every manufacturer. Those sizes (like on clothing) show current model sizes.

BONUS: 

Voilà!


 

The right saddle height Right Saddle Heighthas a very important role. If it’s too low, you won’t have enough power in your feet. In mountain bike racing, I have experienced that when the saddle falls one inch down from normal, I lose about 25-50% of my force. I better stop and let the group go, then fix it and lose 15 seconds but I do catch the group and can even get the next group ahead. So the right saddle height plays a big role!

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The easiest way is to

  1. Lean to the wall with your elbow sitting on the bike (or let someone help you as shown on the picture)
  2. But your leg to lowest point but parallel to the ground.
  3. Move your saddle up or down until you have nice bend behind your knee. It should be something around 30 ° but don’t waste too much energy finding that exact angle.

Go out and ride. Does it feel good? If not, then adjust. Also, you can adjust the seat to front and rear. 

TIP: If you got the right height, mark it down with some sharp object. That’s the best size chart ever 🙂 Some bikes have centimeters marked there, then keep this in mind.

If I Got My Bike Size Wrong?

Then ask your merchant, if you can send your bike back to get the right one. If you don’t want to do that, then you can do the following things:

  • Move your saddle to the front or rear
  • Buy a longer or shorter stem. It changes your body position
  • Buy a longer seat post

Give it time to get the feeling right. I remember when I got my first 29er mountain bike. It felt like a ship and seemed difficult to ride in narrow trails of forest. Now I start laughing when I sit on a 26″ mountain bike because it looks so tiny.


Related Bike Reviews:

Mountain Bike Reviews

Hybrid Bike Reviews

Best Road Bikes

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This Article Has 27 Comments

  • Anna Bean says:

    Hi
    I find this very confusing! Also, I’m sure you have noticed that women tend to have much longer legs than men do for the same height, (while men have longer bodies) and your charts are clearly geared towards men. You need separate charts for men and women. Even your chat using inner leg length is way out for me (as a female).

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hi Anna,

      You are right – leg inseam method is not the best for women. Feel free to choose your bike by looking for overall height.

  • Bee says:

    Really helpful and comprehensive information on bike size. It’s to pick the right size for me without trying. However, with this bike size chart, I can easily find the most suitable bike. Already shared it with my friends and bookmarked it. Thank you for making the comprehensive guide and nice infographic Jeff.

  • Vinoth says:

    Information which you have provided are really useful for the all people. Thank you so much for the information.
    But i need to know one thing, Let consider my height is 6.0” but i bought frame size M/L or ( 16” to 19”) frame size bike. Can I adjust the saddle based on my height or that is not recommended. If not recommended please let me know why?

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Yes, you can adjust your saddle to the right height. It’s a final tune to get the right fit.

  • Chris says:

    Hi I’m confused. Your charts have a maximum 22 inch frame. Yet you have a 29 inch, and think 26 is tiny. Are you a giant or am I misunderstanding something here…?

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hi Chris. 26″, 27.5″ & 29″ are bike wheel sizes. 22 is bike FRAME size. We make an update to clarify it 🙂

  • Dawie says:

    Hi Jeff! What is the best place for Christmas pressies? I want to buy a bike for my 2 y/o daughter.

  • Chris says:

    Hi Jeff

    I seem to fall in between frame sizes. I am 6’4 with a 33” inseam. What would you suggest.

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hi Chris,

      Depending on the models. Look the merchant’s size charts. Everything above 19″ and 62cm on road bikes will work.

  • Kay foulds says:

    Hi I need a three wheeler bike for my 5ft daughter will 24″ suit?

  • Erin M says:

    Thank you for this information! One question… how should we factor in wheel sizes? Is there a rule on choosing wheel size?

  • Diane Summers says:

    I have awful trouble with bikes… never seem to quite get the right size.!!!!
    I’m 6ft 3in and a 35in inside leg with size 8 feet and large hands ( I have Marfan syndrome) this means my body is not in proportion !!!! And on top of this….. I’m a woman who loves cycling 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hi Diane,

      Since size graphs are quite standard, you might want to try bikes in your local bike shop. Be ready for some stem and saddle adjusts.
      Happy cycling 🙂

  • Pratap shingte says:

    Hi Jeff

    I am searching a bicycle for my daughter whose overall height is 46 inch and inside leg height is 21 inch. This gonna be her first cycle for learning.
    1) Could you please tell what would be correct frame size, wheel diameter size for her.

    2) Does purchase from online sites like Amazon or flipkart, will land me in trouble by missing some items in package since they are partially assembled.

  • Pratap shingte says:

    She is 6 years old

  • Swapnil Desale says:

    Hi jeff,

    My height is 5”5 & inseam is 70 cm.. I want to buy Roadbike. Should I go for medium size? Is there any specific difference between mediuyand small size? Because one of my friend have medium size and he wants to sell it.

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hello Swapnil, it seems that a Small size would be more suitable for you. However, it depends on the proportions of your body. Since you’re looking to buy a bike from your friend, it’s best to give it a try and see if it fits. If it’s too big, try adjusting the saddle height and using a shorter stem. Cheers! You might want to check the bike fit article.

  • Joel Julian says:

    Hi there

    Does this information also apply to the BMX styles? I’m getting bit by the vintage restoration bug, and my 13yr old son wants an old school BMX. He is roughly 5’5….. just wanting the easiest method for sizing bmx styles- including the bmx style cruisers

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hi Joel, BMX bikes use a slightly different sizing method. The best size for your son would be the so-called Pro frame. It has 20” wheels and a top tube length of 20” – 20.5”.

  • Adriana says:

    Hi Jeff, I also have a lot of trouble finding a good bike for me. I am 1.51cm height, 32-year-old woman, also I am not too good riding and get terrified of falling over. last time I bought a girls’ bike, with 24” wheels, because I wanted to be able to put my feet in the ground. But to be honest, I feel the bike doesn’t quite fit me! I am considering getting a new one. What would you recommend I look for?

    • Jeff - Senior Writer/CEO says:

      Hey Adriana, I think a regular 26” women’s bike with a step-through frame should be good for you. It will fit you well, and it will be easy for you to put your feet on the ground. Good luck!

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