Bike Size Chart By Height- Bike Frame Size Chart (Updated 2021)

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Why do you need a bike size chart? What size bike should I get?

Remember back in the day when you woke up on Christmas day or on your birthday and your parents had a shiny new bike waiting for you? They didn’t have to measure you, did they? They walked into a bike shop, gave your average height and hey presto! They had a bike that was comfortable and fun for you to ride. If the bike didn’t fit they would take it back and exchange it for one in the right size.

If you have tried to buy a bike recently, especially online, you know that it is not that easy anymore. When you Google sites that sell bikes one of the first things that you come across is a bike size chart. What is it and how does it play into buying a bike?

bike size chart

Bike Sizing

Bikes come in different sizes to suit people of different heights. If, for example, you are 6 ft tall, you will not be able to ride comfortably (or maybe at all) if you choose a bike that is designed for someone who is only 5 ft tall.

Buying a bike before the advent of websites like Amazon, E-bay and Craigslist was easy. You’d walk into a brick and mortar bike shop, choose a bike that you thought would be suitable and try it out. If it didn’t fit you’d simply try out the next one and the next one until you found one that you felt comfortable on.

Today, online buying has made bike purchase convenient but you lose the option of being able to try out your purchase before you buy. That is where bike sizing, and more importantly a bike size chart, comes in. It is a compilation of different bike measurements for people of different heights.

The most basic bike frame size chart is easy to understand. It includes measurements of:

  • Inseam length – from your crotch to your foot (if you have ever been measured by a tailor for a pair of pants you are familiar with this measurement).
  • Torso length – from the crotch to the area just below your neck or nape.
  • Arm length – collarbone to the center of your closed fist.

Bike Frame Size Chart (Bike Size Chart)

Here are different bikesize charts for road, mountain and hybrid bikes.

a) Road Bike Size Chart

So what’s the right road bike size? This road bike size chart shows the right bike size chart by height.

Feet & InchesCentimetresFrame Size (cm)
4’10” – 5’0″148cm – 152cmXX-Small (47cm – 48cm)
5’0″ – 5’3″152cm – 160cmX-Small (49cm – 50cm)
5’3″ – 5’6″160cm – 168cmSmall (51cm – 53cm)
5’6″ – 5’9″168cm – 175cmMedium (54cm – 55cm)
5’9″ – 6’0″175cm – 183cmLarge (56cm – 58cm)
6’0″ – 6’3″183cm – 191cmX-Large (58cm – 60cm)
6’3″ – 6’6″191cm – 198cmXX-Large (61cm – 63cm)

b) Mountain Bike Size Chart

If you are looking for a mountain bike, this mountain bike size chart is a good indicator of the right size for you.

Rider Height
Feet & Inches
Rider Height
Centimetres
Frame Size
(inches)
Frame Size (cm)Frame Size
4’10” – 5’2″148cm – 158cm13″ – 14″33 – 37XS
5’2″ – 5’6″158cm – 168cm15″ – 16″38 – 42S
5’6″ – 5′ 10″168cm – 178cm17″ – 18″43 – 47M
5’10” – 6’1″178cm – 185cm19″ – 20″48 – 52L
6’1″ – 6’4″185cm – 193cm21″ – 22″53 – 57XL
6’4″ – 6’6″193cm – 198cm23″ – 24″58 – 61XXL

c) Hybrid Bike Size Chart

Feet & InchesCentimetresFrame Size
(inches)
Frame Size
(cm)
Frame Size
4’10” – 5’2″148cm – 158cm13″ – 14″33 – 37XS
5’2″” – 5’6″”158cm – 168cm15″ – 16″38 – 42S
5’6″ – 5′ 10″168cm – 178cm17″ – 18″43 – 47M
5’10” – 6’1″178cm – 185cm19″ – 20″48 – 52L
6’1″ – 6’4″185cm – 193cm21″ – 22″53 – 57XL
6’4″ – 6’6″193cm – 198cm23″ – 24″58 – 61XXL

Check out Women’s Bike Size Chart

Is this all you need to know in order to buy the right bike size?

Not quite; there are a few exceptions to the rule. The above chart is for buying a bike for everyday use, but if you are looking for something specialized you will need to a different chart.

If you are looking to buy a hybrid bike, a mountain bike, or a brand like BMX you will find that different charts come into play. Do not be fazed – the important thing is to identify the kind of bike that you would like to buy and then find a chart that guides you through the process of finding the bike right size by height.

a) Torso Length

You may be wondering why you need a torso length at all – it is not included in the chart. Here’s the thing; you may find two people who are exactly the same height, but when you look at their torsos they may be completely different. This is especially evident when you compare men and women. Men tend to have shorter legs, so they have a longer torso length.

The torso length is what you will use to measure the distance from the saddle to your handle bars. You may use the above chart and find a bike that is perfect for you, but when it arrives you will find that you need to adjust the saddle so that when you sit on it you are comfortable, you can reach the pedals with ease and you have no problem reaching the handlebars. You should also adjust the saddle so that you don’t tire out the small of your back very easily. Your torso length will provide an easy guide for this adjustment.

Check out: Kids Bike Size Chart

b) How to take your measurements

It isn’t every day that you find yourself needing to take your measurements and you might feel a little stuck. If you take your own measurements yourself you are likely to get them wrong, so it is a good idea to get someone else to do it for you.

If you have to do it yourself you should buy a ruler that you can place straight against a wall and then stand up completely straight against it with your feet straight out about a shoulder length apart. Have a piece of chalk handy so that you can make a mark on the wall for your height, torso and inseam measurements.

c) What bike size do I need? – Different types of bikes

Before you ask yourself what size of bike do I need, there is an even more important question that you should answer before that: what type of bike is right for me? There are many different kinds of bikes that you can buy and whatever you choose will depend on what you intend to use your bike for. Here are 3 of the most common bikes in the market.

Mountain bikes

These may be familiar to some as MTB’s. As the name suggests, they are best for people who intend to ride on mountainous terrains, but they are also superb for use in forested areas. If you plan to bike off-road a mountain bike is perfect for you because it has a large tire diameter and it can go into lower gears that are necessary for tackling steep inclines.

The other distinctive features of mountain bikes are that they have a suspension on both frame and fork, heavy-duty wheels and they also have powerful brakes. In a nutshell, if you are not much interested in speed but would like a bike that you can ride on different terrains then a mountain bike is a perfect choice. The mountain bike size chart above will come handly when picking the right bike size.

Bike Size Chart

Road Bikes

These are the best bikes to buy if you will only be riding on tarmac. They are lighter than mountain bikes, they offer higher speeds, have a slimmer frame (including tires) and they are aerodynamic to facilitate a smooth glide.

Because of their lightweight and slimmer build you can ride for longer without getting too tired which makes them perfect for those who commute within cities. The important thing to note about road bikes is that because of their specialized features they often cost more, but there are several good affordable models in the market. The road bike size chart will guide you on the right bike size to get.

Hybrid Bikes

A hybrid bike is a sort of cross between the two bikes that are described above. A mountain bike is great for all sorts of terrains and is even a good option if you have to ride around in a city that has potholes and uneven roads.

A road bike is great for cruising around at high speeds in a city environment. But what if you would like to have a bike that is sturdy, has a good breaking system and can do well both on and off-tarmac? You would be looking for a hybrid bike.

It is a little difficult to nail down the definition of a hybrid bike as there are so many different types. There are some, for example, that have skinny tires while there are those that have slightly thicker ones. However, there are some features that all hybrid bikes have in common: they tend to have flat handle bars, they are made of aluminum because it is light and strong, they have a gear mechanism which can be open or enclosed and they also have powerful brakes.

These are just the most common bikes – there are many more and if you are an enthusiast you may want to explore different types of bikes a little bit further. The important thing to keep in mind when you are choosing a type of bike is what you intend to use it for and how often you plan to use it.

What if you get the wrong bike size?

True, you may have used a bike size calculator and understood how to measure a bike, but sometimes you will find that you do all these calculations and you still get the bike size wrong. Do not panic; buying a bike online is an art, not a science. You may have to fit several different bikes before you can find one that is perfect for you.

The important thing is to make sure that you are dealing with a vendor who is willing to accept returns without too much hassle. You can make it easier on yourself by getting someone who is experienced with bikes to take your measurements.

Bike Size Chart

There are some general rules of thumb that help minimize errors:

  • If you are buying a hybrid or road bike and you measure yourself and find that you fall between two sizes you should go with the smaller size.
  • If you are buying a mountain bike and your size falls between two ranges you are safer picking the larger size.
  • If you ride your bike and experience pain at the back of your knee it usually means that the saddle is too high.
  • If the pain is at the front of the knee it means that the saddle is too low.

You can make adjustments to your bike without doing any damage to it. You can, for example, adjust the saddle and the handle bars. Some adjustments, such as to the saddle and handle bars, are easily made at home, but there are others that require expertise, so you can find an experienced bike shop near you and they will help make your bike an exact fit.

Check out Best ebike under $1000

Summary on Bike Size Charts

Finding the right bike size is important. When you are buying online this may not be very easy, but there are bike size charts that you can use. The important thing is to make sure that you get your measurements right. However, if you use a chart and you still feel that your bike doesn’t fit as well as it should you can make adjustments. Before you attempt to make any changes to your new bike make sure that you will not be returning it as any alterations void the warranty.