Bike Sizes | Bike Size Charts by Inseam & Height | Complete Guide

Bikes for adults, just like in children’s, come in different kinds and sizes. Adults tend to be less cautious in picking the right bike for them but fit also matters for safety and comfort. The right size of bicycle for the right kind of activity will save you big time and make your ride more enjoyable as it can well support your body. A bike that fits your body size will also make riding safer. It will be easier to access brakes, move the handlebar and step on the ground for balance when something goes wrong.

With the ease of everything online, buying bikes are also made easier online and prices tend to be less too. Although it can be riskier to end up buying the wrong size, rather than trying it yourself, following some simple steps will help you minimize that risk.

Understanding Bike Size

The most important thing to consider when buying a bike for an adult is the frame size. The frame size is the reference point used for sizes, unlike for kids were wheel sizes are the main consideration.

As with children’s bike, to determine the right bike size for you, you’ll also need the measurement of your inseam (measured from the crotch area, at the position of the saddle unto your foot), arm length (measured from the edge of the shoulders to your fist) and torso (measured from top of the spine just below your neck to the crotch area).

Remember: Inseam length is usually the most important measurement in finding your bike size because it determines your stand-over height. If the bike for has a standover height of 28 inches and your inseam measurement is 30 inches, then you can easily balance on the bike and the crossbar will not injure you in case of a sudden stop.

Bike Size Chart

HeightInseam Length (inches)Bike Frame Size (inches)
4’10” - 5’1”25.5” - 27”18” - 19”
5’0” - 5’3”26.5” - 28”19” - 20”
5’6” - 5’9”29.5” - 31”20” - 21”
5’8” - 5’11”30.5” - 32”22” - 23”
5’10” - 6’1”31.5” - 33”23” - 24”
6’1” - 6’3”33” - 34.5”24” - 24.5”
6’2” - 6’5”34.5” - 36”24.5” - 25”

How to find the right bike size for you

1. Using the Bike-Height Chart

The easiest way to find your bike size is to use a bike-height chart. You just need to know your height (in inches), inseam length and use it to determine the right bike size for you. Use the size chart provided above as a reference.

2. Casual Ride Bike Test

Most adult bikes have wheels measurements around 26 – 29 inches. But frame size tends to be different per bike depending on the type. The feel of the bike also differs from one person to another. To find the right, most comfortable bike for you, it is important to know your inseam size and to actually try to ride it.

If you’re getting the bike for recreational purposes, follow these steps to figure if it suits you:

  • Stand with both your feet flat on the ground.
  • Try to sit or stand with one leg on one side of the bike.
  • Do you feel comfortable? Give an allowance of 1-3 inches between your inseam and the crossbar of the bike.

Remember: It is recommended that you wear the same shoes that you will use for riding
when trying out the bicycle and know where you’ll use the bike (trails, off-road, neighborhood).

3. Compute the Bike Size

Another method to find your bike size is to compute for it using your inseam and specifically for the type of bike that you need. Here’s how:

    • Measure your inseam (taken from the crotch area to your foot or ground).
    • Identify the kind of bike that you want: road bike, city bike or mountain bike depending on your activities.
    • Take a pen, paper, and a calculator to compute.
    • For road bike: Inseam (cm) x 0.70 = frame size
    • For city bike: inseam (cm) x 0.685 = frame size
    • For mountain bike: inseam (cm) x 0.66 = frame size
    • Convert to inches as necessary.

4. Customized Fit

If by any chance, you will be riding the bike for reasons other than exercise or leisure, like health reasons or as advised by physicians, you might need to put serious effort into ensuring your bike fits your needs and the specifications prescribed.

The main thing is to identify the general size of bike that’s suited for you and figure what other add-ons are needed to satisfy your needs. Any kind of pain when riding a bike, for example, is not normal and is rather a sign that your bike doesn’t fit you. A bike that is too small or too large may also be hard to manage. For people who need a customized bike, you may need to visit a local bike shop to have it fitted specifically for your needs.

Remember: The perfect bike for each individual differs from person to person. The right bike for you may be different from the right bike for your parent or spouse due to body size differences.

bike-sizes

Types of bike

There are different types of bikes available in the market depending on your needs. Knowing the specific activities you’ll use it for will make narrowing down bike options easier. Are you the recreational and relax biker? Or are you on the athletic side? Will you use the bike on rough terrains or just cycling on your neighborhood? Knowing these things will ensure you get the best bike tailored for your needs.

    • Recreational or comfort bikes

As the name suggests, recreational bikes are made for comfort and casual biking. Any type of riding that is more relaxed and not a form of any adventurous sport uses this type of bicycle. A cruiser bike is a famous example of recreational bike used for leisure cycling as people become more and more into a healthy lifestyle but not really into intense adventure sports like track cycling or racing. This type of bike is perfect for paved, smoother roads.

    • Mountain bikes

Mountain bikes are built for rough riding in gravel roads or rocky terrains for the adventurous type. This type of bike is very durable and often comes with large tires to cushion the rider from uncomfortable roads. It also has very good brakes and tends to weigh heavier than other types of bikes since it has more safety features to minimize the strain of rough riding in the body.

    • Road bikes

Road bikes are meant for fast riding. They are built lightweight with narrow tires. With the design focusing more on giving it maximum speed, riding with road bikes tend to feel more uncomfortable compared to other bikes. There is usually an option for the handlebars (flat or drop-bar) whatever feels more comfortable for the rider.

    • Hybrid bikes

Hybrid bikes can work on any terrain. It combines some features of both the mountain bike and road bike, with a size and weight that is also not too light like the mountain bike, but not too light like the fast road bike.

Things to remember when choosing the right bike

  • For adult bikes, the frame size is the most important reference point.
  • The ideal frame size for a bike is based on the inseam and torso measurement.
  • The inseam dictates the seat tube size, while the torso is to determine the frame size of the bike.
  • Pay attention to the quality of the bike frame. Choose a stable frame to keep the balance when the road is bumpy.
  • Bike for men and women is the same. The bike size is determined by the body measurement and not gender.

Useful bike add-ons:

The kind of additional accessories to buy for your bike will depend on the type of usage for your bike. In general, helmet and bike lights or reflective bike accessories are the most basic add-ons recommended. In the US, some states also have compulsory helmet laws.

  • Helmet
  • Bike Lights
  • Reflective stickers
  • Lock
  • Multi-tool
  • Pump
  • Bike bell