How Big Of A Bike Do I Need? The Full Guide To Choosing The Right Bike Size

bike size

Have you ever wondered how big of a bike you would need? You didn't? Well you're going to read this anyways right? okay good. When it comes to buying a new bike or fixing up an old one for your significant other, finding the right sized bike is no easy task. Even the most basic of bicycles have a lot of parts and pieces to them. From chain rings to spokes and from sprockets to tubes, it can be overwhelming when you're not sure what size bike would be best for your loved ones.

I have put together a guide to aid you in choosing the right size bike. Whether you are looking for a BMX, Mountain Bike, or a Road Bicycle I aim to answer any questions you may have.

  • Find your inseam

  • There are a lot of different kinds of bicycles out there, and they all come in different sizes. There's not an obvious or easy way to figure out what size bike you need. Most bikes these days use the metric system, so everything is measured in millimeters. Inseam is an important measurement that can help you figure out which bike is right for you.

    This is the first thing you should do when determining how big a bike you need. The easiest way to do this is to wear your cycling shorts and shoes and stand with your back against a wall.

    1. Find a measuring tape.
    2. Position the end of the measuring tape on your crotch.
    3. Keep the measuring tape parallel to the floor.
    4. Pull it down to your heel. Read the measurement on the measuring tape.
    5. Now that you know your inseam length, you can choose a bicycle frame size that's right for you.

    The larger number is your height, and the smaller number is your inseam length. Once you have this information, use it to select a bike size using one of the charts above. For example, if you are 5'8", then selecting a road bike with a 54 cm frame will probably be about right for you. If you were 6'2" and had an inseam of 32 inches, then the same bike would be too small for you.

  • Which Bicycle Should You Get For Your Height?

  • Here's a chart showing suggested bicycle frame sizes for adults. This chart assumes that you're buying a bicycle with a standard wheelbase and road tires. If you're looking at a mountain bike or something with a longer wheelbase, then it might be wise to go up one frame size from what the chart suggests. Alternatively, if this is for a child who has shorter legs than average, then it could be going down one size from what's suggested on this chart.

    Adult Bike Sizes

    Height Of Adult Inseam Length Frame Size (Bike)
    6'2" to 6'5" 34.5" to 36" 62 to 64 cm
    6'0" to 6'3" 32.5" to 34" 60 to 62 cm
    5'10" to 6'1" 31.5t" to 33" 58 to 60 cm
    5'8" to 5'11" 30.5" to 32" 56 to 58 cm
    5'6" to 5'9"' 29.5" to 31" 52 to 54 cm
    5'0" 26.5 to 28" 48 to 50 cm
    4'10" to 5'1" 25.5" to 27" 46 to 48 cm
  • Bike Size And Body Position

  • One of the most important factors when choosing a bike is your riding position. If you're going to be riding a lot of miles, it's making sure you're comfortable. The most important thing to get right is the saddle height.

    All the steps needed to adjust your bike's saddle height
    1. Stand beside the bike with one pedal at its lowest point, and measure the distance from your crotch to the top of the seat. This should be about an inch for every two inches of leg length. As an example, if you have a 32-inch inseam, your saddle should be about 16 inches from the ground.
    2. If this measurement is less than 25 percent of your total inseam, you're sitting too far forward on the seat. You'll feel like you're reaching too far to grab the handlebars, and will likely strain your back and shoulders on long rides. A larger seat angle means less weight on your wrists, hands, neck and rear end.
    3. If it's more than 33 percent of your total inseam, you're probably sitting too far back on the seat. You'll feel like you're being pushed forward over the handlebars when climbing hills or during other hard efforts.
  • Bike Size And Cycling Style

  • When it comes to bikes, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are many different styles of riding and as a result, there are countless ways to build a bicycle. For example, if you're looking for a bike that's built for long commutes on roads and paths with smooth surfaces, then you'll likely want something that's different from what someone who wants an off-road mountain bike would get. This makes sense because the two styles of riding are vastly different! With that in mind though, most bikes fall into one of five categories:

  • Bike Size And Frame Materials

  • If you're shopping for a new bicycle, you'll want to know what size frame will best fit your body. The right size bike is not only more comfortable but also easier to ride, so it's taking time to get it right.

    Sizing depends on both height and inseam length (the distance from the crotch to the ground). Sizes also vary based on type of bike and manufacturer. Mountain bikes and road bikes have different frame measurements. Companies also use different methods for sizing (e.g., Small/Medium/Large or inches).

    Bikes are made from aluminum alloy (alloy for short), steel or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the most common material for modern bike frames because it is lightweight but strong. Steel has been used in bikes since time immemorial because it's strong but cheap. Carbon fiber frames are relatively new and are often used in high-end road bikes because they are light and stiff but also very expensive when compared to other frame materials.

  • Test ride your bike

  • Sit on the bike's seat and put your foot on top of one pedal, so that the pedal is parallel to the ground. Your knee should be slightly bent like this:

    bent knee on a bike

    If it isn't, raise or lower the seat until you can pedal comfortably with a slight bend in your knee. If you need to raise the seat a lot, or if raising it leaves it too high to mount comfortably, consider buying a different model of bike.

  • Choose the right bike seat

  • Bike riding, like anything else in life, can be uncomfortable for some and a breeze for others. Most people would agree that a comfortable bike seat is the most important part of a bike. There are many different styles out there on the market today and many factors to consider when choosing one.

    Choosing the right seat can be difficult because people have different preferences. One man's comfort might be another man's pain! The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting your seat is where you will be using it. If you are using it for road riding, then you should look for something that will allow freedom of movement and reduce friction since you will be shifting positions often during your rides. A saddle that is too narrow may rub against your legs causing friction burns or chafing. A saddle that is too wide may interfere with pedaling and cause discomfort in your knees or ankles due to improper alignment of the joints during motion.


    Saddles are the typical bike seat. They are usually made of a durable plastic or metal frame covered with foam and fabric. The most popular saddles are made by Selle Italia, Brooks England, and Velo. Some saddles have springs that add cushioning while others don't. Saddles range in width, with wider options being more comfortable to sit on.

    1. Noseless saddles
    2. Noseless saddles have a cutout in the middle so that your weight is dispersed evenly across the seat rather than being focused on your sit bones. This design allows you to lean forward without putting pressure on your perineum (the area between your anus and scrotum/vulva). Noseless saddles may be more comfortable for some people than traditional saddles because they take pressure off sensitive areas.

    3. Full-body support seats
    4. Some seats offer full-body support by covering the entire area you sit on with padding, including the sides of your thighs. These seats may be more comfortable for people with lower back pain or hip problems because they alleviate pressure on your inner thighs and groin.

There are some basic types of bikes: road, mountain, electric, and hybrid. The type of bike you choose will depend on the kind of riding you plan to do.
  • Hybrid Bikes
  • Hybrid bikes are a mix of a mountain bike and a road bike. They have a frame somewhere between the two styles and 700c wheels, like road bikes. They also have knobby tires, upright handlebars and mountain bike-style brakes. Hybrid bikes are a good choice for casual riding around town, commuting to work or school and fitness riding.

  • Mountain Bikes
  • Mountain bikes have flat handlebars, knobby tires, shock absorbers and straight-backed geometry that puts the rider in an upright position with their weight centered over the middle of the bike. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road cycling on dirt paths and trails with obstacles such as roots, rocks, drops and ruts. The fat tires provide traction on loose surfaces that would make a road bike skid out of control. Mountain bikes are also good for casual riding around town if your commute is on unpaved trails or roads with rough surfaces.

  • Road Bikes
  • Road bikes have very thin tires that keep rolling resistance down to help riders maintain speed on paved roads. The skinny tires don't offer much grip when cornering or braking, but they do allow higher for higher speeds to be reached. Road bikes are built for speed, and tend to be lighter than other bike types — making them ideal for long stretches of road riding. Meanwhile, mountain bikes offer a more comfortable riding position, with flat handlebars and wider tires. They're designed for off-road use and feature a wide range of gears to help you scale steep inclines.

  • Electric Bikes
  • An electric bike (also known as an e-bike) is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor that can be used for propulsion. Many kinds of e-bikes are available worldwide, from e-bikes that only have a small motor to assist the rider's pedal-power (i.e., pedelecs) to more powerful e-bikes which are closer to moped-style functionality: all, however, retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider and are therefore not electric motorcycles.

    E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles,[1] while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.


Stay updated with our newsletter


Bikes are generally measured in inches (although they're occasionally measured in centimeters). You can usually find the right bike size by looking at a chart that relates your height to the bike's frame size. However, this is only a general guide. In order to get an accurate reading, you should also take your leg length into account. This can be done using a simple formula: inseam length x 0.66 = recommended frame size (in inches). For example, if you have an inseam of 32 inches, then 32 x 0.66 = 21 inches — that means you'd be most comfortable on a 21-inch frame.

About Author:

image of Kevin Pommells

Hi, I'm Kevin Pommells, a lover of camping and the great outdoors as everyone says nowadays. I'm also a passionate soccer fan and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to helping campers and outdoor enthusiasts make the most of their adventures. With years of experience exploring the wilderness and a deep love for the sport of soccer, I'm always looking for new ways to combine my two passions and share my knowledge with others. Follow me for tips, tricks, and insights on all things camping and outdoor recreation.

Follow Me @ Twitter | Facebook |

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.