Bike Basics

Welcome to Bike Basics 

Your online global index to bikes and riding.

This website does not sell, review or support any bike company.

It is an easy to remember web address that links the international biking community; be it road, mountain, electric, folding, fun or family.

Please feel free to email us your suggestions to add to this website 



 What size bike?

Buying the right size bike is extremely important as the wrong size bike can be dangerous, uncomfortable and an expensive mistake. Riding the wrong size bike can have the following disadvantages:

  • Cause pain and/or injury
  • Inhibit pedalling technique that can result in you being less efficient
  • Is less comfortable and therefore less enjoyable

The table below is a general guideline of the sizes for both Mountain and Road bikes. There are various brands that have different size frames, so for accurate results please ask a professional at any bike store.

 

Bike Size Chart

Road bike frame size (cm) Mountain bike frame size (inches) Category
49-51 14-15 XS
51-55 16-17 S
55-59 18-19 M
59-63 20-21 L
63-67 22-23 XL
67-71 24-25 XXL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The size of the bike is measured from the centre of the chainset (the object the pedal arms are attached to) to the top of the frame at the point where the seat post is inserted. Unfortunately some manufacturers measure their models to the centre of the intersection of the top tube and the seat tube, which can distort some of the sizing a little. The following rules of thumb should be applied when you try a bike for size.


.

Men's Mountain Bikes (Hardtails & Full Suspension)

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Inch / Cm

Size

4' 10" - 5' 2"

148 - 158cm

13 - 14" / 33 - 38cm

XS

5' 2" - 5 '6"

158 - 168cm

15 - 16" / 38 - 43cm

S

5' '6" - 5' 10"

168 - 178cm

17 - 18" / 43 - 48cm

M

5' 10" - 6' 1"

178 - 185cm

19 - 20" / 48 - 53cm

L

6' 1" - 6' 4"

185 - 193cm

21 - 22" / 53 - 58cm

XL

6 '4" - 6' 6"

193 - 198cm

23 - 25" / 58 - 63cm

XXL

Women's Mountain Bikes (Hardtail & Full Suspension)

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Inch / Cm

Size

4' 10" - 5' 2"

148 - 158cm

13 - 14" / 33 - 38cm

XS

5' 2" - 5 '6"

158 - 168cm

15 - 16" / 38 - 43cm

S

5' 6" - 5' 10"

168 - 178cm

17 - 18" / 43 - 48cm

M

5' 10" - 6' 1"

178 - 185cm

19 - 20" / 48 - 53cm

L

 

 

 

 

 


Men’s Road Bikes

 

 

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Cm

Size

4' 10" - 5 '0"

148 - 152cm

47 - 48cm

XXS

5' 0 "- 5' 3"

152 - 160cm

49 - 50cm

XS

5' 3" - 5' 6"

160 - 168cm

51 - 53cm

S

5 6" - 5' 9"

168 - 175cm

54 - 55cm

M

5' 9" - 6' 0"

175 - 183cm

56 - 58cm

L

6' 0" - 6' 3"

183 - 191cm

58 - 60cm

XL

6' 3" - 6' 6"

191 - 198cm

61 - 63cm

XXL

 

 

 

 

Women's Road Bikes

 

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Cm

Size

4' 10" - 5' 1"

147 - 155cm

44 - 46cm

XXS

5' 1" - 5' 3"

155 - 160cm

47 - 49cm

XS

5' 3" - 5' 5"

160 - 165cm

50 - 52cm

S

5' 5" - 5' 8"

165 - 172cm

53 - 55cm

M

5' 8" - 5' 10"

172 - 180cm

56 - 57cm

L

 

 

 

 

 

Triathlon and Time Trial Bikes 

 

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Cm

Size

5' 0" - 5' 3"

152 - 160cm

49 - 50cm

XS

5' 3" - 5' 6"

160 - 168cm

51 - 52cm

S

5' 6" - 5' 9"

168 - 175cm

53 -54cm

M

5' 9" - 6' 0"

175 - 183cm

55 - 56cm

L

6' 0" - 6' 3"

183 - 191cm

57 - 58cm

XL

6' 3" - 6' 6"

191 - 198cm

60 - 61cm

XXL

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness and Lifestyle Bikes 

 

 

Rider Height

Frame Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Inch / Cm

Size

4' 10" - 5' 1"

147 - 155cm

13 - 14" / 33 - 38cm

XS

5' 1" - 5' 5"

155 - 165cm

15 - 16" / 38 - 43cm

S

5' 5" - 5' 9"

165 - 175cm

17 - 18" / 43 - 48cm

M

5' 9" - 6' 0"

175 - 183cm

19 - 20" / 48 - 53cm

L

6' 0" - 6' 3"

183 - 191cm

21 - 22" / 53 - 58cm

XL

6' 3" - 6' 6"

191 - 198cm

23 - 25" / 58 - 63cm

XXL

 

 

 

 

 

BMX & Freestyle Bikes 

 

 

Rider Age or Height

Wheel Size

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

Age

Inches

3' 7" - 4' 0"

110 - 122cm

5 - 7 years

16

4' 0" - 4' 10"

122 - 147cm

7 - 11 years

18/20

4' 10" - 6' 4"

147 - 193cm

11+ years

20

 

Children's Bikes 

 

 

 

Rider Age or Height

Wheel Size

Age

Feet & Inches

Centimetres

 

2 - 5 years

2' 10" - 3' 7"

85 - 110cm

Balance bike

2 - 4 years

2' 10" - 3' 4"

85 - 100cm

12 inch wheel

5 - 7 years

3' 4" - 4' 0"

100 - 120cm

16 inch wheel

7 - 9 years

4' 0" - 4' 5"

120 - 135cm

20 inch wheel

9 - 11 years

4' 5" - 4' 9"

135 - 145cm

24 inch wheel

11+ years

4' 9"+

145+cm

26 inch wheel

 

Jump and Trail Bikes

 

Jump and Trail bikes are mostly a one size fits all; catering for people from heights of 148cm - 193cm (4' 10" - 6' 4"). There are a few exceptions to this rule where the front triangle is longer and allows for more space for a taller rider

 

 

Folding Bikes

As a general rule, most folding bikes are one size fits all catering for people from heights of 148cm - 193cm (4' 10" - 6' 4").

 


If you are not able to physically measure the size yourself, the simple calculation below can be used to estimate your required frame size.

  • Take your inside leg measurement to the floor
  • Subtract 5cm for mountain bikes, or 2.5cm for road bikes
  • Subtract 23cm, the average distance from the bottom bracket to the ground

Using these rules will give you the maximum frame size that you will need.

Keep in mind, buying a bike of the correct size is not just about the correct height measurement. As bikes get taller height-wise, they also get longer. The distance from the seat to the handlebars increases, on average, by 2.5cm for every 5cm increment in frame size. Therefore, while you may be able to stand astride a taller framed bike, you must also ensure that you can still comfortably reach the handlebars and manage all the controls. Remember that the seats on all bikes are adjustable by between 10cm and 25cm so the bike can be tailored to fit you.

As we are all built to different shapes, finding the right size bike and getting the right position set up on the bike can be quite difficult. The above information should start you off in the right direction, however advice from a professional who can physically see you on the bike and adjust your position is best.

Having the right size bike and the right position is more important if you are doing long rides (30ks plus) and if you are buying a racing bike. Problems created from a poor position on the bike may be amplified the longer a person is on the bike.

As mountain bikes have a more upright, comfortable position, the ideal position is not as critical. This is why three or four adult sizes can cater for the majority of the population. In contrast, as race bikes demand a less comfortable and more efficient position, the perfect size and position is much more important and is the reason why the size of race bikes can vary by centimetres.

Lastly, buy a good brand. Although what brand you buy often comes down to your budget, the better brand bikes generally have increased performance, are safer and are more durable.

It is recommended that someone who is doing long rides or riding race bikes be fitted by a professional.

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