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Mountain Bike Size Chart

Jeff Balton

Mountain Bike Size ChartWhat Size Mountain Bike Frame Do I Need?

Ordering bikes online is becoming more and more popular due to there not being any shop keeping or warehouse costs, making the prices better.

And don’t worry about the old wisdom of trying a bike before getting it, that is quite definitely overrated. And very highly. Salesmen say this just as a means to get you to invest in a bike. It really doesn’t have to do that much with finding the right size for yourself.

You should try your bike first! FALSE

Another reason is that salesmen know that there are decent bikes on the online market and the option of getting to sit on one gives them an apparent edge over that market, but in actuality, it isn’t by any means necessary to choose a bike with the right size.

There are many good methods to choose a good bike. I’m gonna highlight THREE SEVEN METHODS if you don´t know how to measure a bike.

Related: Best Mountain Bikes Under $1,000

Feeling more confident? Good. There are actually three different ways to pick a size: you can calculate it or use the bike size charts below. Let´s start with the easiest. The bike size is measured from where the seat post starts down to the crank. You can also use the bike height chart.

 


#1 – Mountain Bike Size Chart

What mountain bike frame size do I need?

It’s easy!

Your height / Bike SizeMountain Bike Sizing

  • 4’11” – 5’3″ = 13 – 15 inches
  • 5’3″ – 5’7″  = 15 – 17 inches
  • 5’7″ – 5’11” = 17 – 19 inches
  • 6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 – 21 inches
  • 6’2″ – 6’4″  = 21 – 23 inches
  • 6’4″ and taller  = 23+ inches

Or you can use the mountain bike frame size chart below…

mountain and road bike size graph

Need Professional Fitting Service? Order From Amazon!

Or you can use the…

#2 – Bike Size CalculatorLeg Inseam method

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

Review: Best Gravel Bikes To Buy

Right mountain bike sizing–  Leg inseam (cm) x 0,66 = Your frame size

For example: If your leg inseam is 76cm, then your right mountain bike size is 50 cm (20”)

#3 – Chart

Rider HeightSuggested Mountain Frame Size
Feet & InchesCentimetresFrame Size (inches)Frame Size (cm)Frame Size
4’10” – 5’2″148cm – 158cm13″ – 14″33 – 37X-Small
5’2″ – 5’6″158cm – 168cm15″ – 16″38 – 42Small
5’6″ – 5′ 10″168cm – 178cm17″ – 18″43 – 47Medium
5’10” – 6’1″178cm – 185cm19″ – 20″48 – 52Large
6’1″ – 6’4″185cm – 193cm21″ – 22″53 – 57X-Large
6’4″ – 6’6″193cm – 198cm23″ – 24″58 – 61XX-Large

Source: Evanscycles.com

Voilà!

Extra: Right Saddle Height

Right Saddle Height

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 its normal position, I lose about 25-50% of my force.

Stopping to fix it can cost me my position and about 15 seconds too, but then with the correct saddle height it’s not that hard to catch up with the group and even can get all the way to the next group ahead. So the right saddle height plays huge role!

 

The easiest way to find that height for you is to

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

Go out and ride. Does it feel good? If not, then adjust. Also, you can adjust the seat forward and backward. TIP: When you have found the right position for yourself

Related: Check Out The Best Fat Tire Bikes

Suggested bike by Bicycle GuiderBicycle Guiders’ TIP:

When you have found the right height for yourself, you can use a marker or a sharp object to mark the right position for your saddle as some of them can sink down a bit with time. Some bikes also come with height lines written on the post, that you can check and remember once you’ve found the right one for yourself.

 

EXTRA

 

If I Got My Bike Size Wrong?

Then tell the merchant, who can easily exchange your bike for the right one. If you don’t want to do that, then you can do the following things:

  • move your saddle forward or backward
  • buy a longer or a shorter stem. It will change 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 it in narrow trails or the forest. But I’ve become so familiar with it and can ride with full ease and skill, that when I sit on a 26″ mountain bike it seems so completely ridiculous how tiny it is.

 


If you don’t know, what to buy, then read those reviews below

Mountain Bike Reviews

Hybrid Bike Reviews

Best Road Bikes

Found my work helpful?

P.S. If you find my guides useful, please share my page below. This keeps me motivated to keep the information on this site up to date and accurate.

Cheers,
Jeff

This Article Has 39 Comments

  • Miguel says:

    Hi Jeff, I found out the inseam measurement can be prone to introduce errors depending on how is made…I guess the right way should mimic us sitting in the bike?, some suggest using a book and push it up in between the legs….I initially just loosely measured myself which gave me a strange inseam way off my “proportionate” height ….perhaps adding some guidelines for this may help for consistency. Thanks for the article!.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Miguel, thanks for the recommendation. Yes, the book measurement technique is quite popular, we’ll consider updating this information and explaining it further. 🙂

  • KC Shankar says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for the prompt response.

    I was also leaning towards the BTwin.

    Could you please clarify the pros of the 26 over a 29; besides the easy availability of spares.

    I have ridden similar terrains on both a 700c Hybrid & 29er (in fact it was a Trek X Cal | XL). But that was first time on a MTB, so don’t have a proper perspective.

    Thanks again.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      One of the benefits is that 26″ wheels are usually stronger because of significantly shorter spokes. There’s much less torsion in them. If you plan to pack heavily, that’s a good reason to go with 26″.

      You can also fit wider tires because of more tire clearance, which can come in handy when riding in the Himalayan Mountains. They’re a bit slower than 29ers, but you’ll be more stable thanks to a lower balance point.

      Feel free to send us a few photos when you’re back and share some impressions. 🙂

  • KC Shankar says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Extremely helpful post. I needed some advise regarding frame & tire sizing.

    I’m 5ft 11.5 inches | 182 cm with an inseam of 33.5 inches. I currently ride a Road bike | 56 inch frame with a 40mm stem & it still feels slightly stretched.

    Looking to buy a used MTB for multi-day touring in the Himalayan Mountains.

    Found two options:

    1. Trek X Caliber 8 | XL | 21.5 inches | 29″ wheels | Shimano Deore
    brakeset | Shimano M395 hydraulic disc brakes | chainset Shimano M522, 42/32/24 | rear derailleur Shimano SLX | SR Suntour XCR-RL 100mm

    2. BTWIN RAFAL 740 | M | 18 inches | 26″ wheels | SRAM X9 (rear) and SRAM X7 (front) | 160 mm AVID DB3 brakes | SRAM X7 PUSH PULL type shifters | 100 mm Marvel Manitou PRO

    Please Advise! Thanks in advance!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Well, size-wise, neither of the two is perfect. Trek (XL) is one size too big, whereas BTWIN (M) is one size too small. It’s a decision you’ll have to make. Considering you’ll be traveling in the Himalayan Mountains, I’d go with BTWIN. 26″ wheels and tires are much easier to find and service there, which is a big consideration when you’re out and exposed. Also, a one-size smaller frame is a better choice in this case since you say you feel stretched out even on a 56 cm road bike frame. Have fun on your trip! 🙂

  • Atara says:

    Hello your article is very helpful but I am confused. I’m 5’4 and my inseam is 30″ should I go with 26 or 27.5. I’m really confused.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      You can ride either of the two, depending on the specific bike you’re considering. If the standover clearance on the 27.5″ model is suitable for your inseam length, you’ll have no other problems. Just make sure you get the right frame size.

  • Eric King says:

    Hey Jeff, 5’7 height, inseam is 28”, is 17-19 inches ok for me? What do you recommend in terms of a bike with disc brakes, hard tail or full suspension? Plan to use the bike for casual riding as well as some trail riding. Looking to get back into the biking world. Thanks!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Eric, a 17″ frame would be a good fit for you. I recommend getting a hardtail as it’s more versatile and it’s more affordable as well, considering you’re only just getting back into the cycling world. Have fun! 🙂

  • Sonia says:

    Hi, we are looking for a bike for my son.he is 6.6 but has a 34-36in inseam. He has tried a friends large and xl. Both fit. We’ve had a couple folks say xxl. Now my real question is where do we measure the bike to get that 21cm or more frame size cause some folks tell us numbers and some general size (like trying on clothing…aaagh). Most folks in the used in just put 26 but I know that tire and that doesn’t help.
    Muchas gracias

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Sonia, mountain bikes are measured in inches. So, ideally, your son would need a 21″-23″ bike to fit him well. You need to measure the seat tube from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. A 29er would be a good choice for him as well. 🙂

  • Adel says:

    Hi Jeff. Thanks for the article.
    I am 5’11 and I was looking at the first chart and gives me 18”-19” but when I saw the second chart I found my self at large frame.
    Right now I found an used bike frame 18.5” and the owner size is 5.9” and I don’t know what to follow here. You help us very appreciate.
    Thank you.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Adel, you are just in-between sizes there. An 18.5″ frame could be just right for you, but it could also be slightly too small. Check the manufacturer’s size charts to make sure it fits you.

  • Abraham Kimani says:

    I am 6ft and weigh 90kgs candi ride a 27.5er?

  • What do you recommend for a bosh system Mt ebike full suspension under $4K?

  • alfredo says:

    I bought a road bike size 50 and im 5’6. Does this size fit me?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Alfredo,

      50cm might be too small for you. 52cm would have been a better choice. However, you can maybe make it work with a longer stem and a proper bike fit. Happy riding 🙂

  • Arief says:

    My inseam is 76 cm. If I follow the first chart from Bicycle Guider, I’ll need 15″-16″ frame. But if I follow the second one (with calculator), I’ll need 50 cm/19″ frame. so which is true?

    I’m 5’7″ btw.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Arief, there’s a disparity in sizes relative to rider’s body proportions. In my opinion, the best size for you would be 17″. Happy riding 🙂

  • Gary says:

    Got a Specialized Evo. Measured end of seat tube to center of crank axel
    16 inches, I’m 5’8″ with inseam of 29 according to most all charts that’s a proper frame size. I HAVE NO STANDOVWR ROOM . I have 29″ wheels. Is that making the bile too tall. Should I drop down to 27 or 26???

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Gary, yes, 29″ wheels definitely make the bike taller, try the bike with a pair of 27.5″ wheels (borrow them from someone if you can) and see how it fits then.

  • Bob Wise says:

    Bought a ProFlex used mountain bike. Sticker on the bike says it is an 18″ frame. I’m 5′ 10″. The chart says i should have an 18 inch mountain bike. Bike feels small for me. Seat post is short (about 4 inches). The stem also seems pretty short. My inseam measurement is 33.5 inches. Couple of Q’s.
    1. How is the 18 measurement made? From the center of the crank axle to the top of the seat tube?
    2. Do you think I can get a satisfactory fit with a longer seat post and possibly a longer stem? Or, should i be looking at getting a bike with a larger frame?

    Thanks,
    Bob

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Bob,

      18″ should feel good for you in theory. You can try changing the stem and the seat post and see how it works since those are not expensive parts to change. If you still feel cramped, I’d advise getting a bigger bike instead.

  • Rayne Vandergriff says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Thanks for the helpful charts on how to choose the right size bike. I’m 46 years young now and just getting into mountain biking. I’ve been running on the trails this past year and met many people biking and they said they LOVE it! So I’m going to buy a bike and start riding. Do you think it matters if I buy a cheap used 200$ bike or a new 1200$ bike? I will be mainly riding mainly on trails around the lake that are not very technical. Thanks!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Rayne,

      You’re welcome. I’m glad that you’re taking up mountain biking! 🙂 It all depends on how often you plan to ride. If you intend to do a couple of easy-going rides per month, a $200 bike will suffice. But what if you like it and decide to do more? A new $1,200 bike might be overkill, but a mid-priced model with disc brakes, a decent fork, and mid-range Shimano or SRAM components would be a safer choice. A better bike means more comfort and less maintenance, so you should think about that as well.

  • I want to get back into riding again. Im 50 now and my back is a possible issue with a road bike. I use to ride long distance and I know it will take some time to relax back into it. Any suggestions on bike types? Don’t really want an old man beach cruiser. Thanks

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Robert, you have several choices, depending on how much trouble your back is giving you. You can start with a hybrid bike or a road bike with a more relaxed geometry, avoid racing road bikes because they will put a lot of strain on your back. If you have more serious back issues, you could also consider recumbents. They look good, in my opinion, and will save you from a lot of pain. 🙂

  • Jeff thanks for this information it’s going to help me with my purchase of a new bike. Simple cut& dry. Glad to come across this guide.

  • Joe Bike Tech says:

    Don’t try out your bike before buying it? What??? I couldn’t read past that, cause that’s clearly BS, from someone in the pocket of online retailers.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Joe, there’s no such sentence in the text. When buying a bike, it’s not always NECESSARY to try it out first. You can get the right size by using size charts even if you do not give it a spin around the block first. But, of course, if possible, you should always try the bike out and see how it fits, I’ve mentioned this a lot of times before. 🙂

  • EP says:

    your inseam chart is’nt much good either …

    my inside leg is 30 inches (76.2 cm) according to your chart I need to be on a 15 – 16″ bike – total nonsense

    I ride a 19″ I used to be 5’8″ but think I ve shrunk to 5′ 7″ stand over height is (midway) 30 inches

    • Jeff Balton says:

      According to the charts on the page, the correct size for your height is 19″, just as you say. However, everyone differs when it comes to body proportions. Some people have short legs and long torsos, others have long legs and short torsos. That’s why you should always use different charts and sources to find the right size. Happy riding. 🙂

    • This is where I’m at. 5’9 and 30″ inseam. Height points to 18.5 mountain bike but went to test one today and really couldn’t get the seat quite low enough. This is a seat with a built in dropper. We pretty much shoved it down as low as it could go and with the dropper extended fully I wasn’t reaching the pedals quite enough. :-/ . Going to try a 17.5 tomorrow. This is a 2020 bike so all they had was the 18.5 today. Depressing. I didn’t think I had short legs but if you go by all these charts? I don’t see too many 5’5 people with 32″ inseams but all these charts suggest they exist. Not just this site. Heck, I’m trying to buy a Trek Fuel EX 8 and height wise I should be on an 18.5. Inseam 17.5. I just worry a tad as I don’t want the reach and everything else to be undersized for me. :-/ . Why can’t I be normal.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Unfortunately, the cycling industry cannot make bikes that fit everyone perfectly. They make bikes that fit the average person well. So, if you have “uncommon” body proportions, you will have problems finding the right size. It’s just how it is sadly. These charts are made to reflect the industry standards.

  • Clinton Cridick says:

    Very inciteful…tremendous guide for me as a novice,looking to buy my 1st Mtn bike.A lot of teaching,helpful information.Glad I found this site and it helped me become very knowledgeable in deciding what suits my needs.

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