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Bike size chart guide: how to choose the right bike size

What does this article say

If you want to get a bike of your own size, you need to make a lot of preparations. Not only do you need to understand the internal structure of the bike, you also need to match your physical condition with the bike.

The most important reference for choosing a bike of the right size is the bike size chart.

This article will be a complete guide to teach you how to choose the Right Bike Size well through the bike size chart. As we know,choosing the right bike well,you should know bike frame size, wheelsets tire size, bike size. If you want to know the bicycle tire size,please read:

https://icancycling.com/blogs/articles/what-do-the-various-size-specifications-on-bicycle-tires-mean

When buying a new bike or frame, getting the correct size can be a very daunting process, but finding the perfect fit ensures you of a more comfortable and enjoyable ride.

With this guide we want to help you to pick the right sized bike for you.

Table of contents:

  1. The importance of having the right bike size
  2. How are bike frames measured?

2.1 Seat tube length

2.2 Reach and stack

2.3 other measurements

2.4 Bike size for kids

2.5 BMX

  1. What bike size do you need?
    • How do I choose the right bike size?
      • Height
      • Inseam
      • Reach
      • Calculate your bike size
    • Bike fitting
  • Sizing charts
  • Online bike size calculator
  • Conclusion
  1. The importance of having the right bike size

If you’re new to cycling it is normal to feel clueless about your bike size. When planning on buying your first bike, understanding the key measurements of your new bicycle is key for a perfect fit. This is even more relevant in current society where we can order most bikes or frames online.

Riding a bike has, as we all know, it health benefits but if you get the wrong size bike, it will take away your joy of biking. You won’t be as efficient and feel uncomfortable, even to a point where you’ll just want to give up riding. Sitting on a bike that’s too small or too big will never feel quite right, it will affect the way it performs and the way your bike feels. You might even cause an injury from sitting in a position that is simply too tight, you’ll be unable to raise the saddle high enough to allow your full range of motion, limiting the power you can use. Let’s not forget the danger of clipping your toe on the front wheel while steering. On the opposite, if your bike is too long, you won’t be capable of delivering your power efficiently or even handle your bike properly.

 

Depending on the category of bike you choose, there are many different types of bikes that each come with their riding position, you need to consider some general aspects when looking for a bike:

  • Have a slight bend of the knee at the end of your pedal stroke
  • Stand over the top tube with a bit of clearance
  • Must be able to reach your cockpit comfortably

 

  1. How are bike frames measured?

Before reading any further try to take notice that most bikes are measured in metric units, but some manufacturers still size in inches. To have the best consistency we highly recommend you measure only in the metric system. If needed you can always use a converter to inches

2.1 Seat tube length

In recent years manufacturers have tried to simplify the way bike frames are measured, mostly going from a size XS to XL. But others may label them the old fashioned way, with a number going from 48 up to 62. This corresponds to the seat tube length of the bike.

 Seat tube length

You can measure the seat tube length (in cm) starting from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube. However there is no consistency in between brands and how they measure their bikes, you can ride a 56 from one brand this doesn’t mean a 56 from other brands will fit you.

 There are two other measurements you’ll need to take in consideration, that is reach and stack.

2.2 Reach and stack

Reach is the horizontal length measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the headset. Stack is a similar measurement but measured in a vertical way. Perhaps you’ll understand it better with the graphic you can find below:

P9  Reach and stack

To me reach and stack is one of the most important factors of your bike. Every type of bike has different numbers depending on what type of riding the bike is designed for of course. For example a road bike designed for racing in the Giro will have a long reach and low stack but a gravel bike will be a bit shorter and higher, making it more comfortable for a more casual ride.

Although you can still play around a bit with your stack and reach by adapting the stem and the placement of your spacers on your fork, if you need to put more than 3cm of spacers on your fork or you need a 130mm stem just to feel comfortable, you’ll need to change bike size.

2.3 other measurements

When looking at a bike chart there is a lot of information to be found but not everything has to do with frame sizing. There is information that simply tells you how the bike will handle. Yet to me, you should always look at the headtube length. Certainly if you already own a bike you can compare your current headtube and have a general idea of your positioning on the bars. Lastly, but this will be for the more experienced riders, the seat tube angle. You want your saddle placed in the center of its rails and not put it on its limit forwards or backwards.

When looking for a new bike or frame, these are the measurements that I believe you absolutely have to take in consideration.

2.4 Bike size for kids

For our little riders the correct bike size is even more important! The right bike for your child will provide comfort, safety and gives your child more confidence in its riding skills.

Kid’s bikes are typically measured by age and wheel size. But to have the best fit possible for your child you should always measure their height accurately. As a base rule you need to keep in mind that a child must be able to touch the ground with both feet when seated.

You’ll find a detailed chart further down this article to show the correct size.

2.5 BMX

Although most bike sizes can be calculated with the previously mentioned measurements, for BMX’s sizing is a bit different.

A BMX frame’s size is determined by measuring the top tube length of the frame. The top tube (tt) measurement is taken from the center of the seat tube to the center of the head tube. Based on your height you can find the corresponding bike size. (look for the charts further in this article)

 BMX’s sizing

  1. What bike size do you need?

First of all, the sort of bike will affect your bike size. A mountain bike size will most likely differ from your road bike, even so more depending on your riding style. This shows that bike sizing is personal preference. We can only point out some guidelines for you.

3.1 How do I choose the right bike size?

The most obvious and easiest way to get a great bike fit is a visit to your local bike shop where you can try and have a feel for the bike yourself. After trying out a couple of bikes you’re certain of leaving the shop without the risk of having a wrong sized bike.

Ordering online on the other hand can be a bit more tricky, certainly with different manufacturers using all kind of different sizing systems. Some use a number based sizing going from 1 to 6 while other companies simply use XS to XL sizing. All this can be very confusing, unless you know what to look for… To give you an idea of your ideal size we’ve put together some key body measurements to help you out.

3.1.1 Height

The most simple and effective way to get an idea of your bike size is simply measuring your height. Simply stand straight against a wall and let somebody mark the top of your head. Of all proposed methods this is the least accurate but it can already give you an idea of your bike size.

As mentioned before, for BMX’s it is the only measurement you need.

3.1.2 Inseam

Whilst measuring your height also measure your inseam which will determine your standover height. Inseam is the measurement from the floor to your crotch and is even considered a better value to determine bike size over height, although it doesn’t hurt to have both measurements…

You can measure your inseam pretty easily with a book and the help of your partner or a friend:

  • Stand with your back against the wall with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Put a book between your legs as if it was a bike seat
  • Let the second person measure from the floor to the top of the book

I advise to have at least 2 cm clearance between your top tube and your crotch on a road bike and 4 cm on a mountain bike. So you can hop off your bike quickly in case of emergency.

 

Bike size chart

3.1.3 Reach

In case your height and inseam still putt you in-between two sizes then your upper body will select the best-sized bike for you. To determine if you have a long or short reach you’ll need to calculate your “Ape Index”. This is your armspan minus your height.

  • A positive index means that your armspan is greater than your height (e.g. armspan = 201; height = 186. Ape index: 201 -186 = 15) in this case we suggest you’d take the larger frame
  • A negative index means your height is greater than your armspan (e.g. armspan = 164; height = 172. Ape index: 164 – 172 = -8) here you will feel more comfortable on the smaller frame size

 

In case you’re still not satisfied with the reach of your bike, it is still possible to make minor adjustments by swapping out the stem for a different size, although this may alter the handling on your bike.

3.1.4 Calculate your bike size

One last method you can use is by simple mathematics. By now you’ve measured your height and inseam and with the help of some formulas you can also find your ideal bike size:

  • Inseam Length (cm) × 0.685 = Hybrid Bike Size (cm)
  • Inseam Length (cm) × 0.225 = MTB Bike Size (inches)
  • Inseam Length (cm) × 0.665 = Road Bike Size (cm)

1 in = 2.54 cm

1 cm = 0.39 in

Once you get the results do not forget to round up to whole numbers.

3.2 Bike fitting

Of course, all previous methods enable you to find your bike size yourself but there is also the possibility to get fitted with a professional, although for a serious price.

A bike fit can advise the correct bike size, recommend the best possible saddle, set up your shoe cleats accurately or provide guidance on the best possible saddle height, setback or saddle to handlebar drop for your riding style.

You can even have more advanced bike fits which also include the analysis of your cycling position in motion and your pedaling stroke to establish how you can optimize your position for an increased power output or a greater level of comfort on the bike.

  1. Bike Sizing charts

To help you get started you’ll find a couple of sizing charts for different bike types and different sizing methods. It is up to you whichever method you’d like to use.

Road Bike Size Chart 1

Rider Height

Suggested Road Bike Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'0"

148cm - 152cm

XX-Small (47cm - 48cm)

5'0" - 5'3"

152cm - 160cm

X-Small (49cm - 50cm)

5'3" - 5'6"

160cm - 168cm

Small (51cm - 53cm)

5'6" - 5'9"

168cm - 175cm

Medium (54cm - 55cm)

5'9" - 6'0"

175cm - 183cm

Large (56cm - 58cm)

6'0" - 6'3"

183cm - 191cm

X-Large (58cm - 60cm)

6'3" - 6'6"

191cm - 198cm

XX-Large (61cm - 63cm)

Road Bike Size Chart

Inseam (in/cm)

Seat Tube (cm)

Crank Size (mm)

Size

25.0/64

43

165

XXS

25.5/65

44

165

XXS

26.0/66

45

165

XXS

26.5/67

46

165

XXS

27.0/69

47

165

XS

27.5/70

47

165

XS

28.0/71

48

165

XS

28.5/72

49

165-170

XS

29.0/74

50

165-170

S

29.5/75

51

165-170

S

30.0/76

52

170

S

30.5/77

53

170

S

31.0/79

54

170

S

31.5/80

54

170-172.5

M

32.0/81

55

170-172.5

M

32.5/83

56

170-172.5

M/L

33.0/84

57

172.5

M/L

33.5/85

58

172.5

L

34.0/86

59

172.5-175

L

34.5/88

60

172.5-175

XL

35.0/89

60

175

XL

35.5/90

61

175

XL

36.0/91

62

175

XL

36.5/93

63

175

XXL

37.0/94

64

175

XXL

37.5/95

65

175

XXL

38.0/96

66

175

XXL


Women Road Bike Size Chart

Rider Height

Suggested Women's Road Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'1"

147cm - 155cm

XX-Small (44cm - 46cm)

5'1" - 5'3"

155cm - 160cm

X-Small (47cm - 49cm)

5'3" - 5'5"

160cm - 165cm

Small (50cm - 52cm)

5'5" - 5'8"

165cm - 172cm

Medium (53cm - 55cm)

5'8" - 5'10"

172cm - 180cm

Large (56cm - 57cm)

 

MTB Bike Size Chart 1

Rider Height

Suggested Mountain Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (inches)

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'2"

148cm - 158cm

13" - 14"

33 - 37

5'2" - 5'6"

158cm - 168cm

15" - 16"

38 - 42

5'6" - 5' 10"

168cm - 178cm

17" - 18"

43 - 47

5'10" - 6'1"

178cm - 185cm

19" - 20"

48 - 52

6'1" - 6'4"

185cm - 193cm

21" - 22"

53 - 57

6'4" - 6'6"

193cm - 198cm

23" - 24"

58 - 61

 

MTB Bike Size Chart 2

Inseam (in/cm)

Seat Tube (in)

Crank Size (mm)

Size

25.0/64

13

170

XXS

25.5/65

13

170

XXS

26.0/66

14

170

XXS

26.5/67

14

170

XXS

27.0/69

14

170

XS

27.5/70

15

170

S

28.0/71

15

170

S

28.5/72

15

170-175

S

29.0/74

16

170-175

S

29.5/75

16

170-175

S

30.0/76

16

175

S

30.5/77

17

175

M

31.0/79

17

175

M

31.5/80

17

175

M

32.0/81

18

175

M

32.5/83

18

175

M

33.0/84

19

175

L

33.5/85

19

175-180

L

34.0/86

19

175-180

L

34.5/88

20

180

L

35.0/89

20

180

L

35.5/90

20

180

L

36.0/91

21

180

XL

36.5/93

21

180

XL

37.0/94

21

180

XL

37.5/95

22

180

XL

38.0/96

22

180

XL

 

Women MTB Size Chart

Rider Height

Suggested Women's Mountain Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (inches)

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'2"

148cm - 158cm

13" - 14"

33 - 37

5'2" - 5'6"

158cm - 168cm

15" - 16"

38 - 42

5'7" - 5'9"

168cm - 178cm

17" - 18"

43 - 47

5'10" - 6'1"

178cm - 185cm

19"+

48 +

 

Kids Bike Size Chart

Rider Height

Suggested size

Feet & Inches

Cms

Inside Leg (min)

Age Range

Suggested Wheel

up to 3"

up to 90cm

              34cm

under 2 years

Balance bike

3' - 3'5"

90cm - 105cm

40cm

2 - 4 years

12"

3'5" - 3'9"

105cm - 118cm

46cm

4 - 7 years

14-16"

3'9" - 4'5"

118cm - 135cm

53cm

7 - 10 years

18-20"

4'5" - 5'

135cm - 150cm

62cm

10 - 13 years

24"

5'+

150cm+

69cm

13 years +

26-27.5" & 700c

 

BMX SIZE CHART

SUGGESTED FRAME SIZE CHART

SIZE

TOP TUBE

HEIGHT

MICRO MINI

15.25" to 16.50"

UP TO 4'

MINI

16.75" to 17.50"

4' to 4' 4"

JUNIOR

17.75" to 18.50"

4' 3" to 4' 7"

EXPERT

18.75" to 19.50"

4' 6" to 5' 5"

PRO

19.75" to 20.50"

5' 4" to 5' 8"

PRO XL

20.75" to 21.50"

5' 8" & UP

 

BMX SIZE CHART 2

Height (ft&in/cm)

Top Tube (in)

Crank Size (mm)

4'/122

15.0

150

4'1"/124

15.0-15.5

150-155

4'2"/127

15.0-16.0

150-160

4'3"/130

15.5-16.0

155-160

4'4"/132

16.0-16.5

155-160

4'5"/135

16.0-16.5

155-160

4'6"/137

16.5-17.0

160-165

4'7"/140

17.0-17.5

160-165

4'8"/142

17.0-17.5

160-165

4'9"/145

17.5-18.0

165-170

4'10"/147

17.5-18.0

165-170

4'11"/150

18.0-18.5

165-170

5'/152

18.5-19.0

170-175

5'1"/155

18.5-19.0

170-175

5'2"/157

19.0-19.5

170-175

5'3"/160

19.5-20.0

175-180

5'4"/163

19.5-20.0

175-180

5'5"/165

20.0-20.5

175-180

5'6"/168

20.0-20.5

175-180

5'7"/170

20.5-21.0

175-180

5'8"/173

21.5-21.5

180-185

5'9"/175

21.5-21.5

180-185

5'10"/178

21.5-22.0

180-185

5'11"/180

22

185

6'/183

22

185

 

Hybrid Bike/City Bike Size Chart

Rider Height

Suggested Hybrid Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (inches)

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'2"

148cm - 158cm

13" - 14"

33 - 37

5'2"" - 5'6""

158cm - 168cm

15" - 16"

38 - 42

5'6" - 5' 10"

168cm - 178cm

17" - 18"

43 - 47

5'10" - 6'1"

178cm - 185cm

19" - 20"

48 - 52

6'1" - 6'4"

185cm - 193cm

21" - 22"

53 - 57

6'4" - 6'6"

193cm - 198cm

23" - 24"

58 - 61


Hybrid Bike/City Bike Size Chart 2

Inseam (in/cm)

Seat Tube (cm)

Crank Size (mm)

Size

25.0/64

43

165

XXS

25.5/65

44

165

XXS

26.0/66

45

165

XXS

26.5/67

46

165

XXS

27.0/69

47

165

XS

27.5/70

47

165

XS

28.0/71

48

165

XS

28.5/72

49

165-170

XS

29.0/74

50

165-170

S

29.5/75

51

165-170

S

30.0/76

52

170

S

30.5/77

53

170

S

31.0/79

54

170

S

31.5/80

54

170-172.5

M

32.0/81

55

170-172.5

M

32.5/83

56

170-172.5

M/L

33.0/84

57

172.5

M/L

33.5/85

58

172.5

L

34.0/86

59

172.5-175

L

34.5/88

60

172.5-175

XL

35.0/89

60

175

XL

35.5/90

61

175

XL

36.0/91

62

175

XL

36.5/93

63

175

XXL

37.0/94

64

175

XXL

37.5/95

65

175

XXL

38.0/96

66

175

XXL

 

Women Hybrid Bike/City Bike size Chart

Rider Height

Suggested Women's Hybrid Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (inches)

Frame Size (cm)

4'10" - 5'2"

148cm - 158cm

13" - 14"

31 - 35

5'2"" - 5'6""

158cm - 168cm

15" - 16"

36 - 40

5'6" - 5' 10"

168cm - 178cm

17" - 18"

41 - 45

5'10" - 6'1"

178cm - 185cm

19"+

46 - 50

 

Time Trial Bike Size chart

Rider Height

Suggested Triathlon Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Frame Size (cm)

Frame Size

4'10" - 5'0"

148cm - 152cm

47cm - 48cm

XX-Small

5'0" - 5'3"

152cm - 160cm

49cm - 50cm

X-Small

5'3" - 5'6"

160cm - 168cm

51cm - 53cm

Small

5'6" - 5'9"

168cm - 175cm

54cm - 55cm

Medium

5'9" - 6'0"

175cm - 183cm

56cm - 58cm

Large

6'0" - 6'3"

183cm - 191cm

58cm - 60cm

X-Large

6'3" - 6'6"

191cm - 198cm

61cm - 63cm

XX-Large

 

  1. Online bike size calculator

In this modern age it is only normal to look for any information on the world wide web. Nowadays there are loads of tools that will instantly calculate your frame size. Some manufacturers, like Canyon, even integrate a bike size calculator on their website so you can order the correct frame size.

You can also find something as simple as Amazon’s bike chart and get a nearly perfect fit. For further detail look on their website: Amazon: Bike Buying Guide: Sports & Outdoors

Or you can even find sites with a bike size calculator. We recommend cyclisthub’s tool as it is easy to use. You just need to put in the necessary measurement and in a blink of an eye your result shows on screen.

You can go to the calculator with this link:

Bike Size Chart – 3 Methods to Choose the Right Bike Size

These can not replace a bike fit at your local bike shop or a professional bike fit but they will get you close and I’m sure you can find other calculators online with even more options to get the best result possible.

  1. Conclusion

Finding the correct bike size is not rocket science, you don’t need to be a genius to understand one of the methods explained in this article. And there is even much more online help at your disposition than ever before. But yet again, I can only emphasize on the fact that this article are mere guidelines. Every person is different, has different needs and different riding styles. Even so, if you are not sure which size to take feel free to contact us and we’ll gladly help you.

  • Jun 09, 2021
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0