Bike Size Charts – 2 Steps to Find the Right Size Bike

When buying a new bike, you have a wide range of options available to you online. If you’re buying a bike from the website of a retailer or manufacturer, it is especially important to get your sizing right.

Commuter and Hybrid Bikes

For riders looking for a commuter or hybrid style bike, these charts simplify your sizing options.
Commuter and hybrid bikes may be measured in either inches or centimeters:

Men

Height Size Inches Centimeters
4’10” – 5’2″ XXS – XS 13″ – 14″ 33cm – 36cm
5’2″ – 5’6″ XS – S 14″ – 16″ 36cm – 41cm
5’6″ – 5’10” S – M 16″ – 18″ 41cm – 46cm
5’10” – 6’1″ M – L 18″ – 20″ 46cm – 51cm
6’1″ – 6’4″ L – XL 20″ – 22″ 51cm – 56cm
6’4″ – 6’6″ XL – XXL 22″ – 24″ 56cm – 61cm

 
Mountain bikes and road bikes are sized differently.

Road Bikes

Road bike frame sizes are usually measured in centimeters. Sizing differs from mountain and hybrid bikes:

Men

Height Size Centimeters
4’10” – 5’0″ XXS – XS 47cm – 48cm
5’0″ – 5’3″ XS – S 48cm – 50cm
5’3″ – 5’7″ S – M 50cm – 54cm
5’7″ – 5’9″ M 54cm – 55cm
5’9″ – 6’0″ M – L 55cm – 59cm
6’0″ – 6’3″ L – XL 58cm – 60cm
6’3″ – 6’6″ XL – XXL 60cm – 63cm

 
Women

Height Size Centimeters
4’10” – 5’1″ XXS 44cm – 46cm
5’1″ – 5’3″ XXS – XS 46cm – 49cm
5’3″ – 5’5″ XS – S 49cm – 52cm
5’5″ – 5’8″ S – M 52cm – 55cm
5’8″ – 5’10” M – L 55cm – 57cm
5’10” – 6’1″ L – XL 57cm – 59cm

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bike frames are shorter and smaller than road bikes. This improves agility during technical riding.
A low top-tube avoids injury during dismounts.

Height Size Inches
4’8″ – 5’3″ XS 13″ – 15″
4’11” – 5’7″ S 14″ – 16″
5’5″ – 5’11” M 16″ – 18″
5’7″ – 5’11” M – L 17″ – 18″
5’9″ – 6’3″ L 18″ – 20″
5’11” – 6’5″ XL 20″ – 22″
6’3″ – 6’9″ XXL 21″ – 24″

 
That’s all you need to know to quickly and easily choose your bike size. If you want a more precise fit, read on.

Many bike size charts make no mention of inseam measurements, but this may be the most important measurement to consider when fitting a new bike. Read here for details on inseam measurements.

Standardized Sizes

XS, S, M, L and XL are known as ‘standardized sizes’.

Sizing varies between brands. The small (S) size from one brand or model could be equivalent to an XS or M for another brand or model. For these reasons, it isn’t especially useful to think of yourself as a size Medium across all bikes.

On these real retailer sizing charts, one brand’s ‘S‘ is another brand’s ‘XS

Sizing also varies between road, hybrid/commuter and mountain bike types. It also varies between men’s and women’s bikes.

Frame Sizes

Frame sizes are based on the length of a bike’s seat-tube, from its uppermost point to the center of the bottom bracket. Road bikes measure this in centimeters while mountain bikes use inches.

On these real retailer sizing charts, one brand’s ‘S‘ is another brand’s ‘XS

For example, you may suit a ‘55cm’ road bike frame size – or a ‘16 inch’ mountain bike frame.

Frame sizes are more accurate across brands than standardized sizes.

Geometry Charts

Quality brands will display a geometry chart on their bike’s product page. These may seem complicated, but standover height and reach are the main measurements to focus on for sizing.

Useful Measurements

These body measurements will help you achieve an accurate fit:

Height

Your overall height is useful for finding a bike of the correct height, but this should be used in conjunction with your inseam and reach (arm length) measurements.

While two people may be the exact same height, it is likely that their arms and legs will be different lengths.

If you only use your height, it’s still possible to select a bike that will overextend your arms or legs.

Inseam and Standover Height

Your inseam measurement determines whether or not you can comfortably straddle and pedal your bike. When it comes to your leg length, inseam is the most important measurement you can take.

You may need some help to make this measurement. With shoes on, stand upright with your feet flat on the ground. Use a measuring tape to record the distance from the floor to the highest point of your inside leg at your crotch. This is your inseam measurement. If you don’t have someone to help you, use a book to mark the wall behind you.

Every person has different proportions. This chart illustrates the range in inseam lengths:

Height Inseam Height Inseam
4’8″ – 5’0″ 23″ – 29″ 5’0″ – 5’3″ 26″ – 30″
5’3″ – 5’7″ 27″ – 33″ 5’7″ – 5’9″ 30″ – 34″
5’9″ – 6’0″ 31″ – 36″ 6’0″ – 6’3″ 33″ – 37″
6’3″ – 6’6″ 34″ – 39″ 6’6″ – 6’9″ 36″ – 41″

 
Many manufacturers list the ‘standover height’ of their bikes. This is the distance from the floor to the bike’s top-tube. You are seeking a bike with a standover height that is 1” to 2” inches less than your inseam measurement.

The distance between your inseam length and your bike’s standover height is known as ‘clearance‘. This is especially important to consider for off-road cycling.

Reach

Reach relates to how comfortable you are when seated and in contact with your bike’s handlebars. Too much reach and your arms will be overextended, causing you to lean too far forward. This leads to discomfort and a lack of visibility. Too little reach and your arms will feel cramped.

If you already have a bike that fits well, you can measure the reach distances on that bike and compare them to those listed on the manufacturer’s geometry chart.

If you don’t have a bike that fits well, consider the following.

Between Sizes – Solutions

For the average person, the distance between their fingertips with arms outstretched is equal to their height. If you are on the border of two frame sizes and your arms are longer than average, size up. If your reach is shorter, size down.

Are you on the border of mountain bike sizes? If you ride technical trails, choose the smaller option for increased agility. A larger size will stretch you out and will only help for long, fast sections.

If your legs are longer than usual, size up to a bike with increased standover. For shorter legs, size down.

If you are ambitious, fit or athletic you may benefit from a larger frame with a lower profile. For a more casual ride-style, size down.

If you suffer from decreased neck or back flexibility, a smaller size will place you in a more upright position.

Clearance

Clearance is the distance between your bike’s top-tube and the highest point on your inside leg.

More clearance is needed for technical mountain biking, where dismounts are common.

Increased clearance is also beneficial for casual riders in urban areas, where safe stopping can be frequent.

A lack of clearance can lead to painful injuries.

Step-through frames have much more clearance than standard frames. They suit less-flexible cyclists and fit a wider range of rider sizes and heights… and they can be ridden in a dress.

Wheel Size

These are the standard wheel sizes found on these bike types:

Hybrids and Commuters:                             27.5” / 650b and 700c
Road bikes:                                                      700c
Mountain Bikes:                                             27.5” and 29”

Smaller and shorter riders may find a better fit on the same bike type with these smaller wheel sizes:

Hybrids and Commuters:                             26”
Road bikes:                                                      650b and 650c
Mountain Bikes:                                             26” and 27.5”

On some bike models, smaller sizes may use smaller wheels to remain in proportion.

Adjusting Your Bike for a Better Fit

If your bike is slightly mis-sized, don’t fret yet. Here’s how to adjust your reach for a better fit:

• Replace your stem with a longer or shorter option.
• Install an adjustable stem to alter handlebar height and distance.
• Install riser handlebars to increase handlebar height and reduce reach.
• Move your seat forward or backward.
• Replace your straight seatpost with a ‘layback’ seatpost.

The Wrong Size

A mis-sized bike can lead to lower back, shoulder, neck, knee and elbow pain. Mis-sizing results in reduced enjoyment and performance.

The wrong size bike can be unsafe, due to a lack of control and/or visibility.

The Rightsize

Now you can make an informed choice when it comes to selecting the bike size that fits you. Rightsizing is an essential factor in experiencing maximum cycling comfort, performance and enjoyment.

Useful Links

  • See our reviews, for more information on the Best Bikes for you.
  • Have questions about which bike to choose? Ask in our Forum.
  • Want to win a bike instead of buying one? See our bike Giveaway.
  • Find out more about BikeRide.