Getting the right bike size is crucial, there’s no doubt about that.
When you are lucky enough to test ride a bike, then the process is quite straightforward – it feels good or it doesn’t. It’s as simple as that.
But what can you do when you’re shopping online (bike shops, marketplace, Craigslist and so on)?
The answer is simple – use bike size charts!
We have various methods on how to find the right bike size based on your height and/or inseam, so let’s take a closer look at these below.
Method One: Bike Height Chart – The Easiest
This method requires your height and provides you with the proper frame size measured in inches. If you need the results in centimeters, then jump to step 2.
Mountain Bike Size Chart
Your height / Frame Size / Marker
- 4’11″ – 5’3″ = 13 – 15 inches = X-Small
- 5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 – 16 inches = Small
- 5’7″ – 5’11” = 16 – 17 inches = Medium
- 6’0″ – 6’2″ = 17 – 19 inches = Large
- 6’2″ – 6’4″ = 19 – 21 inches = X-Large
- 6’4″ and taller = 21+ inches = XX-Large
Road Bike Size Chart
Height / Frame Size (seat tube height) / Marker
4’10”- 5’2” = 47 cm – 48 cm = XX-Small
5’2″- 5’6” = 49 cm – 50 cm = X-Small
5’3”- 5’6” = 51 cm – 53 cm = Small
5’6”- 5’9” = 54 cm – 55 cm = Medium
5’9”- 6’0” = 56 cm – 58 cm = Large
6’0”- 6’3” = 58 cm – 60” cm = X-Large
6’3”- 6’6” = 61 cm – 63 cm = XX-Large
These two are very generic charts, so we recommend always seeking more information from brands that you’re interested in.
Method Two: Calculating the bike size
- Take off your shoes and stand with your legs about 6″ – 8″ (15 – 20 cm) apart. Measure the height from the ground to your crotch.
- 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.
- Now you can take your calculator and calculate the right size:
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 53 cm and city bike 52 cm)
Method Three: Bike Size Chart (Advanced):
Mountain bike size chart
|Rider height||Leg inseam||Suggested Frame 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|
|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|
|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.
Got the right size?
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.
Kids Bike Size Chart
Let’s consider several methods all at once of how to size a bike for a kid with more certainty.
If you want to make sure to choose the right kids’ bike size, you should take into consideration 1) Age, 2) Height, 3) Inseam, and 4) Tire Size.
We tried to gather all of this data into one kids’ bike size chart that you can see below. It should work for most kids, except for some exceptions.
|Age||Height||Leg Inseam||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″|
As a result: You can double-check the results. If you’re satisfied, you can choose the right bike based on these results.
If you find that some numbers don’t match and you’re getting different results based on different criteria, keep in mind that all kids are different. As they get older, the discrepancies between individuals become even larger.
Right Saddle Height (vs Standover Height) For Kids
Choosing the right saddle height is extremely important for all riders, especially for kids. If you place the saddle too low or high, your child is likely to feel a lack of control and lack of confidence.
So, let’s make it clear.
- Fourth Sizing method: Amazon Fit Guide
- Fifth Sizing Calculator: Competitive Cyclist Fit Calculator.
- Sixth – Jenson USA Bike Fit Calculator (Beta)
Read next: How to fit a bike
The right saddle height has 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
- Lean to the wall with your elbow sitting on the bike (or let someone help you as shown on the picture)
- Put your leg to lowest point but parallel to the ground.
- Move your saddle up or down until you have a 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.
But… which brand to buy? See our Best Bike Brands
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.
What 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 the forest. Now I start laughing when I sit on a 26″ mountain bike because it looks so tiny.
I’m 5’9″ with 2’8″ inseam
Is 26 inches tyre size and 18 inches frame size good for me ?
Hey Kluch! That should be the right size for you.
Hi, I’m a bit confused. Looking at the calculation section it says someone with a 76cm inseam should be on a 20″ mountain bike, but then on the Bicycle Guiders table it says that someone with 76cm should be on a 15-16″ mountain bike. So I don’t know what to trust…
I’m about 5ft 7 with an inseam of somewhere between 76-79 cm and looking at a hybrid bike, what range of bikes heights might work for me??
Hi Phi, sorry for the confusion. A 16″-18″ frame size should fit you well. In case the measurements are in centimeters or letters, go for a 54cm or M-size frame.
I don’t understand these tables I see on multiple sites that specify *both* height and leg inseam. You even call it the advanced method as compared to using just either of these on its own. However, listing both doesn’t make sense if they have a 1:1 relationship. I.e. if the table contains only one inseam range for one height range. Because you either match both and then it didn’t add any extra info or you’ll find your height and inseam in two different rows and then what? (Which I think is the case for me: I have pretty long legs for my height.)
Hey Atleta, thanks for your comment! If your height and inseam length match on the table, get the frame size that corresponds to that length.
However, if they don’t match, that’s valuable information as it tells you that you should go one size smaller if your inseam is much longer than your torso (which means that your torso is shorter and you’ll benefit from a shorter reach) and vice versa. Hope this helps!
This guide is super helpful! Thanks for all the information needed to buy a bike!
You’re welcome, Lucie! We’re happy we could help!
Hi Jeff Balton, one of my friends is 159cm height (5’2½) He bought polygon startos s3 S size. One size bigger bike. What adjustments to be done to be comfortable? He changed 90mm stem to 70mm. Still not comfortable.
Hi Dhananjey! It’s typically more difficult to make a larger bike fit a smaller person than vice versa. However, there are a few more things you can try, such as:
– Buying handlebars with a shorter reach.
– Loosen the handlebars and angle them upwards to bring them closer to your hands.
– Buying a stem with a larger angle to bring the handlebars closer to your hands.
– Pushing the saddle forward to shorten the reach (but make sure your knees doesn’t go over the pedal spindle when in 3 o’clock position!)
If none of that works, your next option is to sell that bike and buy one that fits properly. Cheers!
Oops, you made a mistake.
According to the “Road Bike Size Chart”, because I’m 6 foot tall I need a frame that’s 58″. That’s almost 5 foot! Not sure how I’d get a leg over that.
Thank’s for pointing that out, Dave! We’ve now updated the charts. Cheers!
According to your size chart, I should have a frame size of 18 inches. However, I have noticed on various mountain bikes, the length of the frame from seat post to stem can vary. Some frames are longer than others, as much as 2-3 inches.. How would someone also determine which frame length would be ideal for them?
Hey Rick, bikes typically have different lengths based on the overall geometry and what their intended use is. Bikes with a more aggressive geometry that’s intended to put you in a more aerodynamic position will have longer top tubes and thus a longer reach.
That said, you can measure your current bike’s reach and compare it to the reach of the bike you’re interested in buying or use a bike fit calculator to determine the reach you need. Cheers!