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Mountain Bike Size Chart

Jeff Balton

Mountain Bike Size Chart

What size mountain bike frame do I need? Yes, that’s the big question. 

Ordering bikes online is becoming more and more popular due to there not being any shopkeeping 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 bike 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.

Related: Best Mountain Bikes Of 2022

There are many good methods to choose a good bike. I’m going to highlight SEVEN METHODS to help you measure a bike.

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 6″ – 8″ (15-20 cm) 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:


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”)

Review: Best Gravel Bikes To Buy


#3 – Chart

Rider HeightSuggested Mountain Frame Size
Feet & InchesCentimetresFrame Size (inches)Frame Size (cm)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


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 get all the way to the next group ahead. So the right saddle height plays a 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 a 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.

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.




What 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 try 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



  • Karl says:

    Great article!! It definitely clears out some of my struggle. But still, I have this main concern that is the right range of reach and stack for my height. I am 5″11, 180 cm. I have longer limbs than most people, but super lean, about 68 kg 150 lbs. I am currently riding a L hardtail with 470 reach and 620 stack, I always feel it is too big for me, but every single size chart suggest that the L is perfect size for me. I ended up used mullet wheelset and use the shortest stem that fit- 32mm. Now it feels about right. I am going to purchase my first full sus bike next year, and the 29er enduro bike I am looking at has M(450 reach and 442 chainstay and 630 stack) while L(475 reach, 435 chainstay and 640 stack). I know that the 475 is definately too big for me, but the 450 seem too short too. My most riding condition is XC trails 50%(lot of climb but not too techy), dirt jump park15%, urban freeride 15%(mainly just up and down stairs and bunny hop some curbs) and downhill park 20%. I like doing bunny hops, manual and wheelie, pop some small bump here and there, not a speed seeker but I will use this bike on Whistler bike park so it can’t just be a big full-sus BMX. Since neither size is spot on, and based on my goal, do you think I should go M with a longer stem 50mm+, or gain 15 lbs muscle and get the Large.
    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

    • Karl says:

      Sorry, Correction :Chainstay length is M 435mm, L 442mm. The specific bike I am looking at is the Cannodale jekyll. It is an DH oriented enduro, but I am not going to use it for dh only, so this is another reason why it is tempting to size down.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Karl,
      That is why we always emphasize here the need for a proper bike fit. Sure, the standard size should fit people under that category, but making adjustments with the length of the stem, saddle fore and aft, and sometimes crank length is crucial for general comfort during long rides. And talking about sizing down, the smaller the frame, the more responsive the bike is, but here we still rely on what’s conventional, especially since we cater to the general cycling public and not pro racers. So, in conclusion, you need to follow what you feel is comfortable to you.

  • Craig says:

    I am 6’3 (75 in), inseam is 93 cm. What size mountain bike would you recommend? I’ve been told that my inseam is longer than average person of my height.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Craig,
      I suggest you get the XL just to be on the safe side and do minor tweaks after, for your comfort. Getting a proper bike fit is the safest bet especially when you suspect that your body geometry is unique.

  • Tess says:

    My mistake, my inside leg to floor measurement is 34in

  • Tess says:

    I’m trying to decide what size for REI’s co op 2.1 DRT. There is no info on frame size just reach and stack and I’m unsure what those are?
    I’m female 5’9” 145ish lbs and my legs are a few inches longer than my torso. I’m having a difficult time deciding because I am in between sizes and the Medium comes with 27.5 in tires and Large has 29s. I plan to ride lots of trails in desert and forest areas. I will try both out if possible but any advice would be greatly appreciated! c:

    Medium : 453 reach , 594 stack
    Large : 478 reach , 617 stack

    My inseam: 33in
    My arm length from top of arm to wrist : 26in
    Not sure if this helps lol

    • Editor says:

      Hi Tess,
      Stack is the vertical distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the midpoint at the head tube. Reach is the horizontal distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the middle of the head tube.
      The rule of the thumb is this: find a recommended frame for your size. For example, the medium is a recommended frame size for you. However, there is no perfect fit when it comes to our bodies. That is why bike fit is still important. For people with longer arms then you can make an adjustment in terms of the stem length or your saddle fore and aft etc.

  • Angryhippi says:

    All this info about frame size but not a word on wheel size.
    Example: which is for a taller person, a 19″ frame with 27″ tires or a 20″ frame with 26″ tires.
    To get the right size bike you need to consider both .
    I feel you need to explain the relationship between the two

    • Editor says:

      Hi Angryhippi,
      Thanks for the feedback. We will look into this. However, if you look at all the bike sizes from different websites, the frame is always the standard.

  • Claire says:

    Hey Dave, I’m 5’4″ 31 inch inseam. Everything steers me to a small frame but they just feel so small and compact. The bike I’ve looked at is the Santa Cruz Hightower. Suggestions

    • Editor says:

      Hi Claire,
      You fall on a small frame recommendation. There are other things to consider other than the recommended frame size and this is where bike fit comes into play. For example, you can always adjust the bike fit by getting a longer or shorter stem, the saddle fore & aft, stem height, and also handlebar sweep or angle. So, don’t worry if the frame seem so small. You won’t know if it is comfortable until you try it and get a proper bike fit. In fact a smaller frame (in general) gives you more control of the bike.

  • Rick says:

    Doesn’t make sense. I’m 6’2 so should have a 21 inch mtb but my inseam is 33″ so I should have an 18″-19″ mtb.
    I can never get the right size bike which is comfortable for riding

    • Editor says:

      Hi Rick,
      You are not the only one. The chart can provide you with the standard size for your height but that is not the end of it. You need to make adjustments in terms of saddle fore & aft, crank length, stem length etc. That is why a bike fit is recommended. I once bough a smaller frame that my recommended size but after making changes in the stem, saddle, handlebar etc, no issues felt.

  • Rahul says:

    26frame cycle wheel and 26wheel size

    Then how it’s is medium or large I need make taller

    • Editor says:

      Hi Rahul,
      Do mean to make the bike fit your size? I assume you are taller than the recommended frame, but do correct me if I am wrong. You can make adjustments like increasing the saddle height, moving the saddle back, and increasing your stem length. However, getting a proper bike fit is more effective.

  • Chris M says:

    Thanks for a wonderful article. This is really helpful! I’m 5’5″ in height and cosidering purchasing an RB and MTB. Should I get both small size?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Chris,
      Just choose a frame that’s medium size-for both. Then consider getting a proper bike fit. Good luck! Do let me know what happens.

  • David says:

    Hi Jeff – great article – but I’m still a little confused and stuck between size decision!

    I’m 5′ 9 with a 31 inside leg and I think this means I should be looking for a L mountain bike, however the bike I’m looking at seems a little high from a standover perspective, it’s an On-one Scandal from here:

    Do you think the L will be fine or better with M? The M is 16.5″ and L is 18″.

    • Editor says:

      Hi David,
      A large frame is best suited for you. 18″ is perfect. Do make adjustments on the stem length and saddle fore & aft if you can.

  • Tina Hendricks says:

    I’m 5,7 w/ 30”” inseam. Can I ride a 13” trek navigator 3.0

    • Editor says:

      Hi Tina,
      5’7 belongs to the medium size under the road bike category. I am not sure what you mean about the 13″ but your frame sizes are 54-55 cm.

  • Jakub says:

    Hello, I already ordered Marin Bobcat Trail 3 XL frame size , im 6.13 tall 205lbs.. Do you think it´s gonna be good size for me?
    This size chart make me feel good but im overthinking about that..

    • Editor says:

      Hi Jakub,
      Yes that size can accommodate you because it still falls under your height. Make sure to have a bike fit for those little adjustments that will make your riding experience a comfortable one.

  • tim says:

    i have a trek fuel ex 8. large frame. my seat height is just over three inches higher than my handlebars. feels very awkward. all my weight feels like its on my arms. i have a lot of trouble with front tire washing out

    • Editor says:

      Hi Tim,
      Try to lower the seatpost and test the ride. You also need to adjust the saddle angle. Having a perfect horizontal saddle angle will prevent your body weight being pushed to your hands.

  • BRYANT AVES says:

    Hi Jef, I am Bryant 5’3 in height and I’m planning to buy a MERIDA 29ers MTB small frame. Is this the right size for me. Thank You

    • Editor says:

      Hi Bryant,
      There is really no issue with wheel sizes. Only frame sizes. So yes a small frame is suited for you. Do get a bike fit too so you can make changes as to stem length, seat post height, saddle fore and aft etc.

  • Lillian says:

    Say I’m buying a Trek Marlin 7 for someone and they’re 5’10”, will the size L be an alright fit?

  • Taj Augustus says:

    Hello Jeff,
    Seeking a bike for my wife 5’7”
    Probably a hybrid bike. Would a medium frame work for her height?

    Thanks for answering.


  • Waldemar says:

    Hi Jeff. I’m 5’10” -33inseam.What Giant Talon size will be good for me M orL 29 or 27,5 wheel size.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Waldemar,
      A frame size around 17″ / 18″ under the large category is good for you. As for the wheel sizes, they have advantages and disadvantages. Bigger wheel size means less nimble, but good for rock gardens. They also carry a lot of mass. Smaller means easy to control. But it is really up to you and your preferred riding style.

  • Neil Young says:

    Hello jeff. im 5’10 in height and I’m looking for a 29er frame what size should i get?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Neil,
      You should get a frame size around 17″ / 18″ and it’s under the large category.

  • Gem says:

    Hi, Planning to buy Java full suspension MTB. Im 5’9″ (175-176cm), Inside crouch length is 30inch, hip to foot is 40inch.
    Should I go for 18 Large 29er? or 17 27.5tyre?
    Hope to hearing from you brother.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Gem,
      Your height overlaps between medium and large. Your sweet spot is actually 17” with 27.5.

  • Joseph B. says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m planning to buy a trek marlin 7 but I’m not sure what frame size I should get. Some say I should get medium ( 17.5″) or medium large ( 18.5″ ). I’m 5’8 with an inseam of 33″. Which size should I buy?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Joseph,
      You still fall under the Medium category(16” / 17″). If you look at the old school measurement your inseam should fall under the XL category(18.5) hence the confusing results. I’d say you base it on the former and just make seat adjustments like seat height as well as the fore & aft.

  • Hernan says:

    Hello jeff. Im 5’10 in height and using a 17″ or medium 29er mountainbike and it feels like that all my weight is leaning infront of the bike. It feels uncomfortable all the time and hurts my arms and lower back. Should i switch to large 19″ frame? Thanks and rs.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Hernan,
      First let me address the weight going to the front of the bike. You can resolve this by adjusting the saddle tilt. A saddle nose that’s tilted down will push all your body weight to the front resulting in pain. Another issue is the bike size. You fall under the 17″ / 18″ large category. So yes that. An also contribute to the discomfort. 19” is too big for you.

  • Byron says:

    Hi Jeff. im 5’5″ and my current xc bike in size medium trek marlin 7. im planning to buy Nukeproof reactor 27.5. Based from trek, I’m medium but in Nukeproof site I’m small. Can you help me decide what size should i buy?
    thank you

    • Editor says:

      Hi Byron,
      With your height they can overlap. Your sweet spot is a size 16” frame.

  • Vince Artizada says:

    Hi Jeff! Great article! Need your advice please. I’m 5’6 and I believe my MTB frame should be a medium size but I’m checking out Merida bikes online and it appears I should get a small according to their charts. Need your advice please, thank you!

    • Editor says:

      Hi Vince,
      Glad to be of help. Each bike site has its own category and sometimes they overlap. However, do check the frame measurement. As long as you don’t beyond the 16” / 17″ frame sizes then you are ok.

  • Darcio De Paula says:


    I’m a hair short of 5’9, I have had several medium hardtails but don’t like having seat dropper on them. I’m very technical rock garden I have had issues clearing the seat and getting behind it to have a proper position on the bike to tackle such downhill. My last bike that I bought is a small framed 2021 Scott scale 940. I still did not put any seat dropper and even it being a small frame I still have a little of a hard time on very technical downhill and getting behind the seat, but it feels slight better but still not as natural. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Darcio,
      Do whatever works for you. Although seat dropper can be a good upgrade, you need to ensure it works for your kind of riding. I’d say to be able to tackle different terrains using regular seat post makes you cool!

  • Ashley says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m hoping to purchase a trek roscoe 7 (27.5)…I’m 5 foot 4 inches tall and fall between both the small and medium sizing. Which size would be ideal considering I do not have the option to try out both sizes? Thanks!!

    • Editor says:

      Hi Ashley,
      Your safest choice is a small frame:15” / 16″. You can make little adjustments with the stem length and saddle fore/aft.

  • SpriggDude says:

    I’m 6′ 2″, 175 lbs and I would not say I have short torso or short arms. Probably slightly longer in both. Looking to get full suspension for all around trail riding, but also want to do downhill with it. Mainly flow and light jumps. I was looking at a 29er, but was getting advice to go with 18.5 frame over the 21″ for maneuverability. Any thoughts?

    • Editor says:

      Hi SpriggDude,
      A smaller frame will always feel nimble and I understand why your friends will encourage you to pick that one. However, your size chart says:
      6’2″ – 6’4″ = 19 – 21 inches

      If you go smaller, it usually presents problems in terms of comfort. People develop issues when picking a wrong frame size.

  • Paul Willis-Patel says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for the great article.

    I have an inseam of 30cm and I’m 173cm tall. Looking at your article #2 section it would suggest that a 20″ frame is suitable? I’m looking at purchasing a Giant trance X 29er size L (20) but I’m not sure if this will be too large?.

    Many Thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Paul,
      Welcome to the site. Size 20” still falls under the medium category on MTB. Sure that is your size. Hipefully you can get a proper bike fit to insure the components are also within your comfort level.

  • John says:

    Hi Jeff, i am wondering if a 4’7 person can reach a 27.5” MTB with a 16” inch frame since i dont want to spend a new bike for my bike if it gets smaller for him

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi John,
      No, you need a < 14″ XS frame or smaller. However if there is no other way, please give him a proper bike fit to avoid lower back pain. Cheers!

  • Ted says:

    Hi Jef, i am Ted i am 5’4 and i am planning to buy a 27.5 mtb size 17. Is this the right size for me. Thank You

  • Steve says:

    Hey Jeff,
    Awesome article.
    Quick question- I’m 5’10 with a 31” in seam. I’m looking at purchasing a 29” Santa Cruz tall boy but cant decide on a medium or large frame. The Santa Cruz sizing has me at the low end of a large but I’m afraid I may not be able to control it as well as a medium. The medium size has me thinking that the cockpit may be a litttle too compact.. what would be your thoughts?

  • Destin says:

    I have a couple questions that I didn’t see addressed.

    Frame size, relative to MTB, should be much smaller compared to Road or Cruiser bikes, as the MTB is designed to be used more aggressively and allow for much more versatility depending upon riding style, course, etc. For example, Downhillers tend to favor lower seat for lower center of gravity, plus when they hang off the back during steep descents the seat doesn’t impale their sternum. Mostly due to their having to do little pedaling. On uphill and general touring/xc you’ll be full extension for pedal power, right? I’m 6′ and have a 17″ 29er that in most ways fits me well. It has a severely angled top bar that allows me to dismount without injury, lol, but due to that it requires a long seat tube which I realize can be a weak point. Still, the MTB feels really large, like a full-size motorcycle and has even been mistaken for one by someone I was passing by.

    Next question includes a suggestion: When setting for primarily flat riding, full extension on pedals like you talk about above… and you end up with a massively sore prostate, indication of bad seat, wrong adjustment or something else? I’ve gotten it with hardtail and rear suspension MTB’s, by the way. That leads to a suggestion, with follow-up question on it. Measuring inseam while wearing your riding shoes. And is there much of a concern measuring bare/socked feet as opposed to wearing regular riding shoes, which for non-professionals are usually sneakers and so should that be factored in for saddle height? I’m guessing thicker bottomed shoes should actually extend the inseam length and therefore less pressure on the crotch? Or vice versa?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Destin,

      Here’s my personal take on these issues. Although there is a certain “standard” when it comes to fit and also position, it is also best to listen to your body. When you feel uncomfortable despite what the measurement says then you can make these changes that suit your needs. Yes a smaller size is always better for handling. Although there is a certain measurement to follow based on your height, you can also choose the smaller one as long as it is within your size range. For example your size can overlap with other range like one below:

      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

      As you can see you have the perfect size which is also your sweet spot. However, the suspension travel can alter the bike geometry beyond 100mm and people will see the bike as something that looks bigger too.

  • Manny says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Greetings from Philippines. I have got Intense Spider 29 Comp 2014 small frame. I’m 5’4 and worried about 29er. Can I put 27er to this frame and looking to put 120mm front travel. Would like to try light trail but more on XC.



    I really appreciate your advise and suggestion before I purchase wheelset and fork.

    Thank you very much.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Manny,
      Just my suggestion, if you are not riding extreme terrain, then a 100mm travel will do. Beyond that will alter the bike geometry. Your frame size is ok for you based on your height. This bike looks great. A 29er is a waste of energy if you are only riding light trail. The 27.5 is the most popular and also safest bet.

  • Colby says:

    Hey Jeff… Great article and thanks for the info. I’m brand new to mountain biking and just purchased a 2021 Trek Roscoe 7. I’m 5’5″ and ride a 52cm Domane and Checkpoint. Based on the automated machine at the shop, I measured a medium, but I was sold a small Roscoe. Since I have no clue how this should “feel” as far as sizing goes, does a small seem like a safe bet? I’m much more concerned about safety and having control of the bike over speed and jumps, etc (I’m 46 and not looking to break anything). Thanks for your help!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Colby,
      Although your belong to the “Medium” category, you also overlap with the “Small” frame size. I think your current frame is a safe choice. The point is, that size is easy to handle especially in terms of technical rides across trail. You will have better control of it compared to having a larger frame. I’d say try to ride it in different tracks. Check if there is a need for you to adjust saddle angle, stem length etc.

  • Ron says:

    im 5’5″ height what size of a bike should a buy 26 or 27 and what frame size too?

  • Terry says:

    Hi Jeff, cool article.
    I’m in-between sizes and really struggling to choose one.
    I’m 5’6” (171 cm) with an inseam of about 82.5 cm.
    I’m looking to buy a Grand Canyon 8 and the website recommends I get a Small, whereas all the measurements I’ve made point me towards a Medium. I don’t know however ist the standover height of the Medium is too big for me and what my optimal reach would be, considering I apparently have rather long legs (so short torso) for my height. Also I don’t know if I should get the unisex bike or the women’s bike.

    Do you know more about this?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Terry,

      Yes you are right. All the bike charts say you belong to the medium category. If there are changes to be made for comfort and also based on your body shape then these can be done through stem length, saddle fore and aft. The bike gender should not matter after these little adjustments. Other than these changes, go for the medium 😉

  • Allen James says:

    Hi Good day iam Allen James from Philippines, my Mountain bike size is 27.5 er x 16″ frame high end MTB and I’m 5’8ft.and 60kg is there any recommendations you could tell to me sir? What adjustments should i do?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Allen,

      That size is good enough. You can make adjustment to the seat angle or handlebar but in terms of size you got the right one.

  • Maidy E Decena says:

    Hi jeff . Im 5’3″ and planning to buy a 27.5er mtb with 16″ frame. Is the mtb size right for me? Thanks a lot…God Bless

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Maidy,

      Sure, it is still within your size range. Don’t forget to get a proper bike fit if you can 😉

  • John Ray says:

    Hi sir jeff, i just bought a merida big 9 300 29er but a small size frame. I am 5’8. Is the size ok for me? Or do i need to change my seatpost and stem. Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi John Rey,
      Actually you need the size : Medium. Yes you can make the necessary changes and it if they can work. Do let me know ok?

  • Guillermo Brillembourg says:

    Hello Jeff:

    How are you? Hope Super.

    Great article, thanks for taking the time to help all of us.

    I have been riding a Canndoel Hard Tail, 29″ Trail 4 for a while and change it for a GIANT Anthem X Carbon 29 size M. Don not feel that comfortable, had to make too many adjustments. Planning to sell.
    Now I want to upgrade and was thinking about either getting a Marin Rift Zone 3, size L or a Canyon Spectral 7 size L. Both have a different geometry. I am 55 years old, intermedia ridding (Can do Balck and dobble Balck trials) 5.11 or 182 cm tall and my inseam is 79 cm, weight around 93kg.
    Which bike of these two you think is the best fit for me. I do not want to spend over $3000.
    Do you have another bike that you will recommend besides these two.?
    How much travel in the rear and in the front should I have?.
    I ride Marham park and Oleta in South Florida.

    I truly appreciate your help since I am not that knowledgeable about geometry and suspension?

    Thanks so much in advance and have a wonderful day.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Guillermo,

      First let me address your question about suspensions. This article will give you an idea.
      As for the bike brands you mentioned, they are all OK. Just make sure you follow the frame size chart for your height:
      5`9″-6`0″ 178-185 cm 27`-32` 68-81 cm 17″ / 18″ Large

      Remember that stem length, saddle fore/aft and angle can affect the riding comfort. A saddle that’s tilted down on the front will put all your weight on the handlebars making your hands ache.

      If you are riding on both trail and pavement then a hardtail is good enough.

  • Elmer manayon says:

    Sir, i want to buy a road bike but i have no idea what size to buy. Im a 27 years old 5’4″. Thank you

  • Mike Carabuena says:

    Hi jeff, I’m from the Philippines. I’m 5’8 in height My current mtb is a 27.5 16inch frame. Is this the right fit for me? What adjust do I need do? Thanks.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Mike,
      Mabuhay to our followers from the Philippines.Yes you are still within the recommended frame size(medium) for your height. The only adjustment you can have would be for the stem length, saddle fore and aft(look that up via YouTube), saddle angle, and seat post height.But as long as you feel comfortable with your current setup then just let it be. As they say, don’t cure something that’s not sick 😉

  • Rico Marapoc says:

    Good day. Im from the Philippines. Im 5’8 height and my current mtb is large frame 29er. Is this the right mtb size for me? Thanks and Godbless

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Rico,
      Mabuhay! Here is your MTB chart:
      5`5″-5`9″ 168-178 cm 26-31” 66-78 cm 16” / 17″ M
      Check if the frame size has the same measurement.

  • JL says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I am 6’0 and purchased a 29er with Medium 17”? frame, to adjust what seatpost and stem size should I have. Have been waiting for a bigger frame since Mar 2020 but have not been able to get one so I settled for the 17” frame. Need help on size of seatpost and stem for me. Thanks!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi JL,
      Here is your chart:
      5`9″-6`0″ 178-185 cm 27`-32` 68-81 cm 17″ / 18″ L
      Note that they can overlap. But the important thing is that you are still covered within the range. It looks OK for your size. I suggest you get a bike fit so you can make adjustments with the stem length(every cm counts).

  • Nestor M. Eduque says:

    HiJeff, I would like to have mtb …but the available 29 M…I know I need the 16 size for my size ,5’5″..but there is no available in our area.. I check saddle which is adjustable ..if I cut about ,3-4 inches my footcould reach the ground then..pls adv.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Nestor,
      You will be ok with the 16” / 17″ under medium but no smaller than that. I advise that you need to ride for comfort and stability and not because it looks trendy. If you feel you need to have your toe touch the ground then do so. This is crucial when you are doing trails and a high saddle might cause injury. Get the bike fit but also follow your instinct.

  • Bianca Therese Torres says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Bianca here from the Philippines! I wanted to buy a Giant Xtc Slr 27.5 small frame 16″. My height is 155cm or 5’1″ and inseam is 70cm. Base from the guide im shorter by 3″. Do you think this manageable? I also have short reach.

    This is quite helpful!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Bianca,
      For shorter reach, you need a shorter stem that’s more upright. That frame size is still within your size range. Goodluck and enjoy the ride. And don’t forget to get a bike fit if you can.

  • Chanaka Abeysinghe says:

    Hey Jef! Greetings from Sri Lanka!!
    Wanted to know, I got a used mountain bike and not sure what the grade size is, I’m 6″ft, so according to your chart it should be a frame between 19-22?? How can I find out what the frame size of my bike?

  • Randolf says:

    Hi Im Randolf im planning to buy an mtb.I saw the chart and small is for my height,Is 27.5 will be okay for me?or should i go for a 26?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Randolf,
      Yes that should still be ok. Make sure to get a bike fit for those little adjustments.

  • AIRENE from the Philippines says:

    Hi Jeff!

    Greetings from the Philippines!

    Im 5’3 in height. My brother bought a 27.5 medium frame size bike.Do you think i can use the bike? Even just around in our area. Thanks in advance.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Airene,
      The size you bought is bigger for your recommended frame(small 15” / 16″). Can you get a bike fit to make those small adjustments? Hello to the readers from the Philippines! Make sure to subscribe. Cheers!

  • Eddie says:

    Im thinking about getting the voodoo bantu for my sons christmas. He is 5’5 and 29 inch inseam, will the medium be to big for him? I know he is on the limit of 16″ inch frame, will the 18″ inch be to long?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Eddie,
      Medium is just the right size for him. 16 ” is perfect. And, you are right, 18″ will be too long. In cycling a centimeter can make a difference in terms of comfort.

  • Candice S.J says:

    hi jeff,

    I am 4’11”,I have mtb which is cheaper. I love to do uphill biking, I usually use 27 and I notice I always get left behind, maybe because of the frame, the wheels, or I dunno and recently I switched to 29, because I have been told that the bigger the frame the faster and smoother it rolls haha sorry I don’t know the terms.

    So do you think I deserve 29?

    Hope to hear some advice soon. Thanks!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Not it’s not about your frame or wheel size. It’s probably your gearing and also your cadence. A bigger frame is going to be a disaster for your body as it will create discomfort, pain or even injury. It’s not the bike. It’s the rider.

  • Elle says:

    Hi 🙂

    Looking to buy my first MTB instead of renting all the time.

    I’m 5’0 and usually been riding either 27.5 in 14″/15″ but have seen a 26 with 13″ frame that I like, just worried it might be too small?

    Thanks in advance

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Elle,
      13″ is a little bit too small for you. 26′ IS OK but I suggest you go with a 14″ frame. Can you test the bike? Or perhaps get a proper bike fit.

  • Mike Jay Geffen says:

    Hey Jeff

    Thanks in advance for responding, Just under 6ft in socks. Bought an 18.5 29er race bike. Correct size? IT was that or a 20 and the 20 was way more expensive. Hope I am ok. PS am assuming a 1arger one is easier on hips and 1ower back? Thanks.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Mike,
      It looks like you are still within the recommended range. As for the whither larger is easier on the lower back the answer is no. You tend to stretch with a larger frame and that will cause lower back pain.

  • Chris B says:


    I’m looking into building a rigid 26″ wheel adventure bike, with an early 90s steel mtb frame, but not sure what size to get.

    My current bike is late 90s 15.5″ Orange Gringo with RST 100mm suspension forks (standover height 75cm – 29.5″, which is comfortable). My local routes and style of riding has changed a lot since I bought the bike 20 odd years ago, so no longer need suspension forks nor the backaching low handlebar position.

    Taking into account that the front end will be lower on a rigid bike, I’m wondering what size frame I might need, or can go up to.

    There seems to be lots of nice retro steel mtb frames for sale on ebay but difficult to find anything less than 18″. Going from memory, I think I had a 17.5″ rigid mtb at the end of the 80s, but not certain enough to put the money down for a frame.

    I’m 169cm (5’5″) with an inside leg of 77cm (30″)

    Many thanks in advance.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Chris,
      An 18′ is still closer to your recommended size so you can go for it. I would suggest go with whatever size you’re used to.

  • Andy says:

    Hello, I have a height of 175cm, and weighing around 105KG. I am planning to get MTB with 27.5 tires on it. What is the ideal frame size should I buy?

  • Steve Forman says:

    Hi Jeff. Looking for a mountain bike and not sure of size. My height is 175cm and my inseam is 85.5 cm.

    Thanks so much,


  • mhico says:

    hi jeff,

    im 5’7″ in ht,

    im looking for Giant Talon or Trek Marlin MTB, 27.5 medium size? what is your suggestion? can i go 29er?

  • iano says:

    hi jeff
    may height is 163cm and may inseam is 76cm what best mountain bike frame for me?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Iano,
      This is your measurement: 5`1″-5`5″ 158-168 cm 25-30” 63-76 cm 15” / 16″ Small

  • Remy says:

    Hi! I’m 5’3″ and I’m looking at a secondha d bike that’s a size S/M? Is that okay? Thank you so much!

  • Paul says:

    hello Jeff!

    my height is 189 cm and my inseam is 90cm. what is the right mtb size for me? I look at Giant anthem 29 er XL.
    thanks in advance.

  • manny says:

    hello Jeff!

    my height is 161cm and my inseam is 70cm. what is the right mtb size for me?

    thanks in advance.

  • Shujaat ali says:

    Hi Jeff.
    I am planning to buy a bike i am looking into few bikes which i am posting the links below.
    I am 180cm 5″11 tall and i am looking into 27.5 and 26inch bike.
    Can you please help me in which one should i go with ?



    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Shujaat,
      First of all, get a large frame. Somewhere around 17″ / 18″. 27.5 is better than 26″. I suggest you choose that. The blue one looks striking but that’s just me 😉

  • wouter says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this great website! I am looking at the new Specialized Rockhopper Comp: https://www.specialized.com/nl/nl/rockhopper-comp-29-2x/p/184109?color=291566-184109&searchText=91520-2702

    I am 190 cm inseam 89 cm and not sure if I will need the XL or the XXL. Can you help me out?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Wouter,
      Nice bike! You are within the XL range. Never mind the XXL as it is too big for you.

  • Ella says:

    Hi. I just bought online a 27.5 medium bike a few days ago. I didn’t get to try it when it was delivered as the wheels didn’t have air due to travel restrictions, and I also don’t have an air pump at home. 2 days later, we were able to borrow an air pump from a neighbor, and they also tried riding the bike. They said that the bike is not that stable during the ride. And so when I tried it later, I also felt uncomfortable on the road. Also the saddle was really uncomfortable. My butt still aches to this day. Do you have any suggestions to solve my problems with the bike? Btw I’m a woman, 5’6 tall. I bought the 27.5 bike since I’m planning to share it with my brother who happens to be 5’10 in height. Thank you so much.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Ella,
      The ‘unstable’ nature of the bike could be due to several issues:
      1. Is the rim perfect, or you should have the spokes trued by a bike mechanic? The solution is to let an expert tune your bike up. There are also bike saddles that are designed for men and these can prove to be uncomfortable. In our article, I osted about Best Bikes For Women and that explains what makes bikes comfortable for women. You can look for women saddles online.

  • Iggy mon says:

    I cant believe this blog’s updated. This is a big help. Pls. Continue doing this. Kudos!

  • Jess says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Im planning to buy a XC MTB with 27.5 tyre. I am 5’5 tall with inside leg measurement of 29.5 inches/(75cm). What frame size fits me? Small or medium? 15, 16 or 17 inches? Thanks!

  • Francis says:

    Hi Im 5’2 im planning to buy specialized pitch 27.5 medium frame, my previous bike is 26er small frame which i feel smaller. I want to upgrade to 27.5, is there anything I can do on the seatpost or saddle adjustment? is the bike will fit in to me? thank you, more power

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Francis,
      Anything based on the chart is good enough. As for the tires, 27.5 is better in terms of ride quality. For the saddle, pay attention to the fore and aft position of the saddle and not just the angle. Make small incremental changes if you must. A saddle angle that’s tilted down on the tip will move the weight to the handlebars. This will create pain on your arms, shoulders and hands during long rides.

  • Irvin says:

    Hi im 5’5 1/2 and i prefer a 29. What size fits me? Small or medium?

  • Edmar Dizon says:

    Hi I am 5’7″ what should I look for right frame size to get comfortable I have Small size when ride I feel sore in back it is the frame size or saddle height?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Edmar,

      You are getting a sore back because it’s a wrong size for you. You better get something around 16” / 17″ which is Medium.

  • Mox says:

    I am 5’7 and I don’t know if I go for 27.5 or 29er for mtb hehe

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Mox,
      It really depends on your riding preference. I know people your size who like 29ers because they’re ‘hip’ these days. Just take note that smaller wheels mean faster acceleration and they are easier to maneuver than bigger ones. Bigger ones make riding on rock gardens smoother. The choice is yours.

  • Abel says:

    Hello, I’m 5’ 6”. I was looking for a 27.5 in a medium size but I can’t find any right now. Is a 29er on a sm frame the equivalent to a 27.5 medium

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Abel,
      You recommended frame size is between 16” / 17″ which falls under Medium. You need to get the right frame size. Wheel size only impacts riding quality.

  • Archie from Philippines says:

    Hi Jeff Im 5’5 1/2″ am looking at Trek X-Caliber 8 29er Medium is it a good size for me or better opt with the small one thanks…

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Archie,

      You should be ok with a Medium frame. Somewhere around 16” / 17″. So yes, stick with that one. Cheers!

  • Francis says:

    hi Jeff, Im 6’0, am looking at Trek marlin 7, which size should fit best for me, my inseam is 34, thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Francis,

      Good brand of MTB! For your height, you should be ok with frame sizes 18″ / 19″. These are all categorized under XL.

  • Emmanuel Lopez says:

    Im 5’6 1/2 what size of MTB shold fit for me?

  • Bryan Smith says:

    Hello Jeff. I am thinking about about buying a hardtail for trail riding, flow tracks, and jumping. I am 5’10” and have an inseam of 31″. Thinking about the Vitus Nucleus VRS 27.5, but all that geometry throws me off. It is a direct to consumer bike, so I can’t try the sizes out and since all the geometry for every bike is a little different, I wanted to ask you you opinion…it looks like from their chart on their website, I am right between a medium and a large, but don’t know for sure. Thank you for your opinion. Bryan

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Bryan,
      You should check out this bike review because it’s interesting. That is a good brand. You fall around the Large category so make sure you get 17″ / 18″ frame sizes.

  • Jayson from Philippines says:

    Im planning to buy a bike 27.5er online with 16-17 frame. My height is only 5’5 do you think its a good fit?

  • Karan says:

    I’m 5’8.Looking for montra backbeat.Can you tell me which frame,tyre size would be good for me?Montra backbeat comes in 2 frames M & L with 27.5 & 29er tyres. Personally i love 29er bikes cuz of its looks & road presence.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Karan,

      That’s a cool looking bike. You still fall under Medium. A 16” / 17″ frame size is still ok for you. Yes 29 is common these days and good for trail.

  • Nemanja Limanovic says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m 184cm hight and 83cm, inside leg is 83 cm. Looking at Bulls copperhead 3 but cannit determine the size. Ciuld you please advise.
    Thanks, Nemanja

  • Andrew Mikolinacz says:

    Hello I am a 6’1″ 340lbs what kind of mountain bike should I get

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Andrew,
      First of all I recommend that you get a frame size that’s around 19″ + under the XXL category. Now, for your question about the kind of bike to get, it really depends on your kind of riding. If you do lots of offroad, gravel and also road riding, then you get a hardtail MTB. These are lighter than full suspension MTB and they are more practical especially when you also ride on paved roads. If you are into highways and paved roads then get a road bike. If you do urban commuting then get an urban bike or hybrid bike. Let me know what kind of riding you prefer.

  • Giedrius says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I am 188cm and I was thinking to buy fatbike. On description it says 26″ wheels 19″ frame with recommended height 180-190, but it also says frame size M. Wouldn’t that be too small for me.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Giedrius,
      Here’s your measurement:
      6`0″-6`3″ 185-193 cm 28`-33` 71-83 cm 18″ / 19″ XL

      as you can see, that frame size is under XL. Do let me know if this helps. Cheers!

  • Annette Harris says:

    Hi Jeff great article ,l am 5ft 2in and l purchased a nishiki pueblo. Is it a good bike? The frame is a 15in an 26in wheel is it a good fit for trails and for me ,thanks Annette.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Annette,
      Yes it is a good entry level bike and does what it’s supposed to do at its price range. The frame is also within your body size recommendation. Enjoy!

  • Preet says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Found your article very interesting and informative…I want your suggestion as I’m looking for my 1st mtb….I’m 6 feet 1 inch and inseam of 90cm…Should I go for 29″ with 18.5 frame or should I go for 27.5t with Xlarge frame? Kindly guide…Also should I go for btwin ROCKRIDER st520 or Frog snow leopard?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Preet,
      That frame size is ok for your size. There is nothing really wrong if you go either 27.5″ or 29.” The only difference is that the 29″ rolls better on rocky surfaces. Those brands are both good. Just choose what feels right 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I am 5’2″ and looking to buy a Cannondale Tango. It says I’m not sure whether a x-small and a small would suit me best. What do you recommend?

    Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jessica,
      You can get frame sizes between 15” to 16″. These are under the ‘small’ category. I hope you get the bike of your choice.

  • Brandon Hightree says:

    Great information Jeff, thanks for posting. I’m a beginner rider in a rural town. Not a lot of bike shops or used bike options period. I’m 6’0.75″ tall 220 lbs. A 2015 Trek Marlin 7 29er with a 17.5″ frame is for sale, and is virtually brand new. Would it be worth it, or should I wait for a larger frame to become available? Thanks in advance.


    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Brandon,

      Actually, your sweet spot is an 18″ frame. 17.5″ is not so bad in my opinion. You can make little modifications like the stem length and seat post height. Would you be able to try it on before purchasing?

  • Derek says:

    Hi Jeff, I test rode a norco trail bike today in L (seat tube 17.7″). I always thought large was my size and wanted a more agile bike for the trails if I was overlapping in sizes however checking the charts in the article since my height is 6’1″ with a 34-34.5″ inseem I should be in a XL frame

    On the norco sizing chart it says I’m XL (no overlap with L). They didn’t have any bikes in XL for my to try out.

    Would I be pushing it too small to go with a L? The seat tube on the XL is 19.3″.

    My current bike is a 57cm cross bike which feels perfect so not sure how that would translate into my first MTB. I’m stuck on this! Maybe best to wait until more stock comes in perhaps best to try another brands?


    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Derek,
      As long as the frame size don’t go below 19″ then you should be ok. It looks like there is one there that is 19.3″

  • Jamaal Waith says:

    Ok so just making sure… Jeff ur doing a A Great Service Here Bro! So I’m 6’1-2 I’ve found 26’s if I get a longer seat post I should be fine? Post is what really matters

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Jamaal,
      Yes, getting a longer seat post can compensate for a smaller wheel size. Be sure to get a frame that’s 19″ + XXL.

  • Karen F. says:

    My son wants a mountain bike and I’m completely new to the bike world. Your guide answered many questions. According to your guide, he would need a 16-17” frame. However, how does wheel size play into the bike size?
    I don’t want to make a huge investment, if he decides biking isn’t his interest. Any suggestions?

  • Ismael Duarte says:

    Hi Jeff!

    I’m 6’0” and found a good deal on a Trek Marlin 6 that’s 18.5” frame. According to the charts, I should be in a Large or 19-20” frame. Do you think this will be okay in the long run since it’s only 0.5” shy?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Ismael,
      Yes it is fine. These numbers are just ranges recommended for particular sizes but they do overlap. Note that, saddle and stem length can have huge impact on handling and comfort too.

  • Ruby says:

    Hi Jeff, I’m a 5’ tall female and I recently encountered a deal for a (2015?) Giant XTC Jr 24” that I’d rather not pass up, but I am worried it won’t fit me. I have an older Huffy Cranbrook that I can ride and I can touch my tip toes with one foot and another 24” bike that I can’t fit on well at all that is taller. I tried a bike with 20” tires but it’s small unless I put the seat up and then my tip toes will touch on either side but my stand over height is skewed. Wondering if the Giant will fit me or if I should go with a smaller 20” tire bike due to the smaller frame and just higher the seat. Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Ruby,
      Just adjust the saddle height. It is best if you can try both bikes while doing saddle height adjustments. If it is too high, then lower the seatpost. If it is too low, then extend the seatpost 😉

  • Greg says:

    Hi Jeff, I recently bought a used gt aggressor with a 14.5 inch to center frame. I’m 5’7 is that to small and if so how do I make it a better ride?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Greg,

      Yes, you need a ‘medium’ frame for your height. You can try getting a longer stem and also getting a layback seatpost. Let me know if they made a difference. If not, then getting a bike with a 16” / 17″ frame should remove the issue.

  • Leon Alexander says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m planning to build my first mtb and I’m having a hard time choosing which tire size I’ll be getting. My height is 5’3″ and I know I’ll be picking a 15″ frame. Right now I’m using a 17″ frame with 26er wheels. I want to know if getting a 29er wheels will be too high for me even though I’ll be having a 15″ frame. Do I play safe and go for the 27.5″ or the 29er?
    Thanks so much!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Leon,
      Getting a 29 has pros and cons:
      -You can easily navigate through rock gardens
      -More traction due to wheel diameter
      -Pedaling through obstacles has least resistance due to size
      -More momentum

      -Built for tall riders
      -Theoretically, they are not strong as 26 inch wheels
      -They require more energy when climbing due to their weight
      -Not easy to maneuver compared to 27.5 and 26
      Having these in mind I am sure you can make a better choice.

  • Leon Alexander says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m planning to build my first mtb and my height is 5’3″, I know I’ll be buying a small frame but is it ideal for me to have a 29er instead of a 27.5″ wheels? Most people are saying 29er is the way to go but I’m afraid that the bike will be a wee bit too high for my height. Thanks so much!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      You are better off with a smaller wheel. Having a bigger one will decrease your riding pleasure.

  • Nayeem says:

    Hi jeff,

    I’m 6′ and I have bought a 17.5″ as I did not have much knowledge about it! What problems will I face?

    Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Nayeem,
      Problems? Nothing that I can think of. Just ensure you adjust your saddle height, angle and also your handle bar angle. You can compensate for the slightly shorter frame, with a longer stem.

  • Divyanshu Gautam says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I am 5’9″ high and inseam is 85cm. I have shortlisted two bikes.

    Hero Octane Albastross and Merida big nine 300 2020

    Please suggest bike size i should prefer: M or L.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Divyanshu,

      You need a large category. Choose either 17″ or 18″. Cheers!

  • Ved Kulkarni says:

    Hey Jeff, I’m quite torn between 15″ and 17″ frames since I feel that both fit me. My height is 5’6″-5’7″ and my inseam is 30″. What do you think I should go for? Thank you!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Ved,
      I suggest you get 16” / 17″. You are under the Medium category. I’d say get the 17″ since it is available.

  • Eric Poupart says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Just discovered your Website. Very Nice!!

    I am 189cm and have an inseam of 92cm. I am always wondering if I should go for the Large or the Extra large Bike since I fall at the end of one at the start of the other… Some Shops tell me XL is better other say Large is best.

    Do you have pro’s and con’s for each? What are your toughts?


    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Eric,
      Glad to know! Thank you. You need a frame size between 53 – 57 cm. Large is going to be uncomfortable for you. Go with XL. There is no pros with Large, just cons 😉

  • Nathan says:

    I just got a really good deal on a used 19 trek roscoe 7. I am 5’9.5 and the roscoe frame is a medium. The dropper isnt locking so i have to figure that one out. But do you think i should try to sell the bike and move up to a M/L? I have not tried a any other size. This is my first mountain bike.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Nathan,

      Just go with medium. We are talking about frames ranging from 43 – 47 cm which are ok for your size. Large will create discomfort for you.

  • Varun Sharma says:

    hi jeff
    recently bought trek marlin 6….i am 169cm…and the frame size i bought is 15.5 my inseam is around 28…but when i rode my friends marlin 7 which is 17.5 it felt better than 15.5….what should i do to make my 15.5 bike frame size a bit more comfortable.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Varun,
      That’s because the 15.5 is too small for you. The 17.5 is the right size for you. You can try getting a longer stem and also adjust the fore & aft of your saddle. But other than these, there is nothing that you can do. The frame is way too small for you.

  • Steven Thibodeau says:

    Truly appreciated your fast answer! A medium even if on Giant website they said small?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Steven,
      5’5 can be a tricky height on any bike because it is between Small and Medium. You can still make adjustments that will make your riding comfortable. For example in our chart the range for you is between 5`3″-5`6″. I’d go with small if it says that way on their website. And you better get a bike fit because no two bodies are the same.

  • Steven Thibodeau says:

    Hi Jeff, I’m 5’5 and 28″1/2 inseam. I hesitate between a small or medium mountain bike, probably a Giant! Thank you!

  • Steven says:

    Hi Jeff! Thank you for all your answer! I’m a male,5’5 and 29″ inseam. Looking for a Trance advanced 2020 and i’m not sure between a small or medium size! Thank you!!

  • Nikki says:

    Thanks for a great article that I managed to stumble upon. I used to MTB quite a bit before suffering a nasty head-on collision on a blind corner. Took a break for many years but slowly starting to ride more with my husband again. He rides a 29er, I’m still on my old 26”. The funny thing is that I’m fitter than him and do leg strengthening but for the life of me cannot keep up. Could it be the wheel size difference? I’ve read that Incorrect frame size can also make an impact. My other question: is my frame the correct size? – 26” small frame Orbea Lanza (possibly 2007/8). I am 5.6ft, inseam +-80-81cm. I had to put spacers under the handlebars as it always felt too low.
    Thanks so much.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Nikki,

      So glad to know you are back on riding again. Your frame size should be ok for your height(medium). I suggest you do a little adjustment on your saddle angle, height and also fore & aft. Yes it can also be about the wheel size. Your stem length can also add an impact to your riding experience. A bike fit is the answer.

  • Josh O says:

    Hi Jeff –

    Your articles and advice has been really helpful in bike shopping (especially when I can’t get to the store to actually try one out). Wondering if you could weigh in on a bike I’m considering. Found a lightly used Trek mountain bike, 17.5” frame. I’m 5’-8” tall with a 29.5” inseam. Getting various frame suggestions depending on which chart/calculator I use. I have an old heavy steel framed bike that I’ve never loved (admittedly, I never got fitted properly on it) That I bought for cheap in college. It was an 18.5” frame. From all I’m reading, the Trek should fit and likely be an improvement over my previous bike. Your thoughts?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Josh,
      Yes the Trek frame is closer to your size. The 18.5 is too big and will cause discomfort in the long run. Above all, Trek is trendy these days.

    • josh o says:

      Thanks Jeff – I committed to the 17.5 and will pick it up later this week. the shop has a reputation for being reasonable and willing to work with customers on trades/returns if the fit is wrong, so if all else fails i can swap it for something different if it doesnt work. I took my old 18.5 for a spin this morning and have to say, i’m looking forward to not being on that bike anymore!

      Next up, reading up on new helmets. thanks again for all the info and helpful guides!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Josh,

      It’s always a pleasure to help out. Just remember that it is not just the frame size that can add comfort to your rides. You need to check your saddle fore & aft, saddle height, and also stem length. Cheers!

  • Bruce says:

    Hello Jeff wonderful article with helpful info. I am currently looking to upgrade to a Trek Slash 8 and I have been looking at every website possible to find the right size. My dilemma is that I am 5’10.5″ and I am right at the awkward height where I am in-between sizes. I believe the medium frame would be to small, but I have a feeling the large would be to tall as my inseam is around 31″. Trek on the website offers a M/L frame size but I currently have steal on PinkBike for just the large frame. Just would like an experts opinion for some reassurance. Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Recommended sizes for you is between 16″ – 18″ inches. That medium to large so that is ok. Other factors like saddle height and stem length can be adjusted to add comfort. Get that bike!

  • Mark says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for your article. I am thinking of purchasing online a Rocky Mountain Vertex Carbon 70 2018 17″/medium.

    I am 5’11 and 32″ inseam. I have a road bike that is 56cm but I have to have a really short stem. I have a cyclo that is 54, and feel better at downsizing. I am 50 and so don’t want a bike with a super-aggressive reach.

    So you think the m will fit me? Maybe with a longer stem? Thanks, Mark

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Mark,

      56 is too big for you. The range of sizes for you are 48 – 52 cm frame. These fall under the “large” category. Medium will cause discomfort. Remember that other factors like seat fore & aft, height, stem length etc can influence your riding comfort.

  • Michelle Kelly says:

    I Jeff, I’m having trouble finding a good fit mountain bike. I am a Mom 5’2”. I was told 24” tire would be good for me – but confused which frame size and some of the 24s I see come up as youth. Does the youth vs adult matter when looking? Also I just tried 2 yesterday, but my knees felt too close to front for clearance … appreciate any recommendations !!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Michelle,

      As year go by, mountain bike trend also evolves. Now, people go with 27′ as THE standard as opposed to the 26.’ Your height falls under the 38 – 42 Small category. Please read my post regarding Mountain Bike Sizing chart here: Mountain Bike Size Chart

  • Brice says:

    Hi Jeff,

    My 9 yr old has really gotten in to trail riding. I have been riding a 24″ hybrid and it is killing me! I ordered a Mongoose Impasse, 29″ wheels/18″ frame. I’m 6’3″, 228 lbs, 35″ (crotch to floor, bare feet). Please tell me this bike will fit me!!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      It should fit you decently well for some shorter rides, but if you decide to ride it for longer, you might have to tweak the position a bit to get more comfortable. 🙂

  • Joseph Brown says:

    Hi Jeff. Please help me with the following situation. I have two young daughters that I want to purchase mountain bikes for. They have been out on light trails and are really interested in pursuing this further so I want to purchase them either a Specialized Pitch 27.5 (what my wife rides) or a Specialized Rockhopper 27.5 (what I ride in the 29er version).

    They are still young but they are tall. I am 6’4″ and my wife is 5’8″. My daughters are currently 11 years old and 12 and a half years old so they will grow more in the next few years but I am hoping to not have to buy new bikes again if I don’t have to.

    What size bikes do you recommend? Also do you have any advice as to which may be better for them the Pitch or the Rockhopper? And finally would it really make a difference for them if they get a men’s bike versus a women’s bike if the stand over height is good for them?

    They have long legs like me. I have a 34″ inseam The 11 y.o. is 5’1″ with a 29″ inseam. Based on method #1 height she requires a 13″-16″. Based on method #2 she needs a 19″ and based on method #3 it would be an x-small, or 13″-15″. From what I gather she may be at a Specialized small, but is close to a medium.

    The 12 y.o. is five 5’5″ with a 31″ inseam. Based on method #1 height she requires a 15″-17″ or 16″-17″ based on inseam. Based on method #2 she needs a 20″ and based on method #3 it would be a small, or 15″-16″, but is an inch in height away from a medium or 16″-17″.

    When they get on my wife’s medium men’s pitch 27.5 with the saddle adjusted as shown on your site, they can both stand over it and my 11 y.o. feels good except she thinks the handle bars are a bit to far forward for her. My 12 y.o. says she feels good on it but feels it’s a bit too small for her legs.

    I was originally thinking of purchasing a medium and a large. Hope you can help sort all this out. Thank you in advance for your time!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Joseph, it’s very difficult to choose the right size for kids at that age, because as you mentioned, they will grow more in the future and you wouldn’t like to have to buy new bikes again soon. Still, you can’t buy a bike that’s too big because they wouldn’t be able to enjoy them right now.

      The difference between the Rockhopper and the Pitch is minimal, so either one would be a good choice — whichever they like better, basically. 🙂

      As for the size, they’re lucky they can try your bikes, so you can choose the size based on that. I think you’ve already answered your questions, actually.

      You can tweak the Pitch by installing a shorter handlebar, which would technically shorten the reach a bit for your daughter. As for the Large frame, it seems a bit too big for a 5’5″ rider, but if you can tweak it a bit and you expect your daughter to grow a few inches soon, you can go for it. 🙂

  • Miguel Vargas says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I want to buy the remedy 9.7 from trek. I am a roadie and I ride a 52cm. I am 5’7 but with short legs, 28.4 inseam. I did a lot of research and thinking and I think if the bike existed I am a 16-inch frame. The issue I have is that, the remedy only comes in 15.5 or 17.5. So basically in road terms I am between a 50cm and a 54cm, and I know one is too small and the other is too big. I have been saving for that bike for a while and I now have to pick from the 15.5 or the 17.5. What would you do? Other info, I am a climber (5’7, 150 pounds) on the road. I am cat 3. I am getting the remedy to basically do XC events and I picked the remedy because I hope the geometry helps build confidence descending, I also want to try some mini jumps. I am in my 30’s and never did anything crazy so I mostly would ride the bike as an XC bike.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Miguel, I’d go for a 17.5″ size frame, I think a 15.5″ frame would be too small for you. With shoes on, the standover clearance will be just right as well. You can also try to compare the stack and reach measurements on your road bike with Trek Remedy and see whether the 15.5″ or 17.5″ frame is more similar to it in this regard. Good luck!

  • Pj pellegrino says:

    I found this helpful! But still could use a bit of help if you’re up to it! I’m 5’10” and mostly limbs (34″ inseam) I got a cruiser off Craigslist and changed out the seat and handlebars and while it’s more comfortable it’s not fantastic. My roommate also got a cruiser and his is fantastic.. the reach is 4″ longer than mine and it’s what I need. But I’m not totally sure how to go about finding a bike with that- I know most/all your info is for road and mountain bike so forgive me if cruisers are totally different and out of your wheelhouse. I’ve been up and down the internet and feel a bit defeated 🙁

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Pj, all you need to do is measure your roommate’s bike’s reach and find a bike with the same reach. 🙂 You have some excellent tutorials on YouTube on how to do that, so check them out. You can usually find the reach of the bike in the geometry charts.

  • Christina Zonia says:

    What would I do in my case I am 4’9″ I just miss the XSmall frame size? Is there such a thing as an Xtra Xtra Small? Or would I have to go to the Boys or Girls Bikes?

  • AT-ATL says:

    Good day. I am planning to buy a trail bike (haven’t ridden since my teens). If I measured correctly using the inseam method you suggest, my ground up to crotch is 30″ (no shoes) and 31″ (with shoes). I’m a male, 5 ft. 5.5 inches +/-. If I did the math correctly in your article, it seems I would need a Large frame based on my inseam measurements? My neighbor, who is a hard core cyclist, suggested that I need a small frame. I am considering the REI Co-Op Cycle DRT 1.1 or 1.2 in a small frame (https://www.rei.com/CompareProduct/User). Any guidance? Thank you so much, and sorry for my lack of knowledge in this area.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Yes, a small frame would be a good choice for you, you should use several methods and consider several factors when deciding on the size of the frame. 🙂

  • Jana P. says:

    Hi Jeff,
    I am 5’9″tall woman, inseam 33″. Just purchased 18″ mountain bike with 29″ wheels. Still questioning myself if I didn’t buy a small bike. I took it for a ride and my wrists and low back were uncomfortable/hurting.
    Lastly, the handlebars are 32″ wide. Is there a recommendation for a handlebar width?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Jana, that bike should not be too small for you according to most charts and projections. Those handlebars could very well be the culprit, they might be stretching you out too much. I’d try with a narrower one.

  • Tamia Parker says:

    Hello, I’m 5’9 and about 3/4 my inseam is measuring between 88cm and 89cm. I found a 26in’ women’s MGX mountain bike online.
    I really need a bike for the trails and riding around with my daughter I’m so confused. Is that bike an ideal size for me?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Tamia. 26″ refers to the size of the wheels. You need a bike with an 18″ size frame. The wheels can be 26″, 27.5″, or 29″. But I recommend 27.5″ wheels.

  • Mare says:

    I’m 182 cm tall and I have 78 cm high between my lags.
    I’m looking this bike in the link and they have size frame 48 or 53 cm. Which size do you suggest. Thank you for your answer.

  • Gary Baath says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I wanna buy a mountain bike. I’m 5’9” and 31.5” inseam. Do you think i should get a 17” or 19”. I’m posting the link to both the bikes i was considering. Thank you in advance.



    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Gary, considering this bike has 26″ wheels, I recommend choosing the 19″ frame.

  • Michel Garcia says:

    Great article with the quarantine going on not being able to go into a store I turned to the internet. I figured I would ask a professional I found a used Jamis Highpoint A2 19” Frame with 29” wheels Online I am 5’8” with a 32/33” inseam. I am not really sure if this bike would be too big or if I should give it a try what would your recommendation be?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Michel, thanks! I would say it isn’t ideal, especially because the standover height is 32.90″ on the 19″ size frame. However, you could give it a try if you really like it. It might work.

  • kim bisognin says:

    Hi. I am 5ft. Girl. I just want to ask if I can put a 26inch tire on a 13″ frame?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Kim, it depends on the amount of clearance the frame and the fork have. You need to measure things out and figure it out. But I suppose it should not be a problem. 🙂

  • Allen says:

    I am looking at getting a new full suspension mountain bike with 29″ wheels. I current ride a hardtail 16″ frame with 26″ wheels. I am 5’6″ with a 28″ inseam. My hardtail seems a bit small, but give me a comfortable amount of standover. The bike I am looking at has a fit chart and like most charts puts me on a small at the high end of the range and a medium at the low end of the range. My main concern is stand over. This is a mail order bike so I can’t go sit on one. The mail order dealer said either would be fine with my past riding experience. What do you recommend? Remember, I am looking at getting a 29″ wheeled bike. Thanks in advance

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Allen, you should look at the geometry charts and make sure that the standover height is lower than your inseam length. From my experience, Medium is usually a better choice for a 5’6″ man, but I can’t say with certainty without knowing more.

  • Carl Anderson says:

    Hi Jeff

    I am looking for a good mountain bike really prefer huffy/schwinn. I stand at 6’3″ & weigh about 280lbs. What would be a good fit for my size?

    I used to bike around 60 miles a week would like to get back into biking like that. Just have always rode mountain bikes on the highest gear for more strength for my legs.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Carl, a 21″ or a 22″ would be a good fit for you. 🙂 By the way, you might want to reconsider pedaling only in the highest gear as it can be harmful to your knees. Try to find an optimal pedaling cadence, somewhere between 80-90 rpm.

  • Erik says:

    The article states:
    You should try your bike first! FALSE

    It does imply that you should not try a bike before buying it. I would always try one first.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Erik, when possible and you have a chance to do so, you should definitely try the bike. However, many people purchase bikes online, so they can’t do that. What I wanted to state is that it is not absolutely necessary to try a bike in order to get the right size, if you know your measurements and the bike’s geometry.

      So if you can try the bike — try it. If you can’t, there are other ways to get the right fit.

  • Aaron says:

    Great info here. I might have one to stump you. I’m looking into buying a large (19.5) All-City Electric Queen. I’m going to build it with 650b wheels instead of the 29” wheels so am I right to think that will lower the stand over height?
    I’m 5’8” with a 31 inseam and usually ride a 54cm road bike and a 17” mt bike. Will this All-City be too large for me?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Interesting question. 650b wheels will lower standover height, but you’re still left with an oversized frame where the reach stays the same. You might feel too stretched out regardless of smaller diameter wheels. 🙂

  • Veronica says:

    Hi! My name is Veronica I am 5,5 30in inseam. I am looking to buy the 26 in hyper e ride mountain electric bike. It says on their website the bike is 26in aluminum frame but I don’t see how that’s possible if most frames don’t go over 24”. Would this bike be the right fit for my size? Thanks so much for the help

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Veronica, 26″ in this case refers to the size of the wheels. I can’t find a size chart for this bike, so I can’t give you any additional information. Perhaps it’s a one-size-fits-all model.

  • G & W says:

    Hi , me and my husband are looking to buy mountain bikes for us. I’m 5ft 5″/165 cm tall, with an inside leg of 30″/76cm. My husband is around 5ft 11″/181cm tall, with an inside leg of 28″/71cm. However i’m not sure of what frame size to get for both of us, so any suggestions would be welcome please and thankyou.

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hello! I recommend a 16″ frame for you and a 17″ frame for your husband. Have fun! 🙂

  • Jen says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’m looking to buy a new mountain bike. I am a woman, 5’7″ tall, but with a 33″ inside leg, which means I don’t fit with the charts as I’m supposed to have shorter legs for my height according to them! I currently have a 19.5″ men’s Mongoose Sycamore mountain bike, with 26″ wheels, much loved, which I’ve owned for 25 years, which is a bit knackered and I’m looking to replace it. I have the saddle height very close to the lowest setting, though. I’d be looking for a men’s bike again as I can’t stand the somewhat sexist girly colours and styling of the women’s bikes and most only seem to go up to 18″. Trouble is, most bikes nowadays seem to come in either 18″ or 20″, and 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. Due to the current situation, I need to buy online as I can’t try bikes out. What size do I go for, and what size wheels?! I’d be riding on a combination of roads and off-road tracks and grassland, but not doing any serious mountainy stuff!

    Also, what brands are good, looking to spend about £500?



    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hey Jen! Considering you have a much longer inseam length than average for your height, I’d recommend going for a slightly smaller frame size that would accommodate your upper body. I believe an 18″ MTB with 27.5 wheels would be a good choice.

      As for the brands and specific bike recommendations, we wrote about cheap mountain bikes here and here.

      Check it out and you might find something you like. 🙂

  • 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?

  • Grant Rudolph says:

    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?


    • 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.

  • Robert Hilton says:

    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. 🙂

  • JR. BATISTA says:

    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. 🙂

    • David Hoskins says:

      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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