To make riding as comfortable as possible, bike size has to be right. Making sure the bike is the right size, is probably the most important thing to do before buying a new bike. What you should do is to take necessary dimensions of yourself to find out what size bike is fit for you. And as you might have guessed, it is not that simple.
Size of the bike varies
Most of the bike manufacturers offer sizing guides on their websites and so do the online retailers. And to make it more confusing, different manufacturers recommend different sizes for people with certain dimensions. Don't get it wrong, the recommended size is the right size, but it means that you cant use only one sizing guide while searching for a bike. We how ever recommend on using independent calculator to have one more opinion.
To find a bike that is 100% fit for you is impossible unless you are a professional athlete. So don't be too skeptical about it, because you can do a number of things after buying the bike to make it fit better. Few years ago i bought a bike with 56 cm frame. Suggestion is that it's good for 175-183 cm driver, and it was.
If you have had problems on buying a bike that is on paper fit for you, you should use some extra time on searching. And perhaps measure those extra dimensions of your body to find a good bike.
Fast and directive sizing guides can be found every where. Easiest and simplest offer the height of a cyclist and the frame size of a bike. More advanced guides want to know also your leg inseam. Few handy guides can be found here. To take more measures in consideration here is long guide about almost everything.
Directive bike size chart for mountain bikes
Height: Frame Size
147 – 152cm 33cm or 13″
152 – 160cm 36-38cm or 14″ – 15″
163 – 170cm 41-43cm or 16″ -17″
173 – 175cm 46-48cm or 18″ -19″
178 – 180cm 51cm or 20″
183 – 188cm 53cm or 21″
188 – 193cm 56cm or 22″
Directive size chart for road bikes
Height: Frame Size:
160 – 165cm 50cm tai 19,75″
165 – 170cm 52cm tai 20,5″
170 – 175cm 54cm tai 21,25″
175 – 180cm 56cm tai 22″
180 – 185cm 58cm tai 22,75″
185 – 193cm 60cm tai 23.75″
If possible, always use more accurate size chart. Salesclerk will always help you to choose the right size. Even on online store.
Height of a bike
Height is the most important measure of a bike. If the bike is too high, its uncomfortable to ride and the pleasant driving position is almost impossible to attain. If the bike is too small, riding still is quite hard but you can compensate it by lifting the saddle.
Height is measured from the seat tube. And there is of course exceptions, for example on full suspension mountain bikes, where there might not even be a tube of that kind.
On the top of the head tube, where stem begins, you can adjust height with spacers.
Length of a bike
Another important measure is the length of top tube. If the cyclist is tall, he / she can adjust the saddle to meet the right height. But if the top tube is too short or too long, getting the right driving position might be hard. Luckily there is some solutions to this problem too:
- You can adjust saddle back and forth few centimeters
- Stem can be changed to gain or lose few centimeters between saddle and handlebar
- With changing the handlebar type you can also gain or lose few centimeters. For example changing the straight bar to a drop bar you can adjust your driving position.
Adjustments might not be enough
Bear in mind that even if you can adjust your driving position with these little changes, wrong sized bike is always a problem. These little changes mentioned above help you to fine adjust the bike to fit your body. If you have to make too much adjustments it might cause some injuries in the long run because driving position can be too funky. Always try to buy right size bike and then make these fine adjustments. Even from second hand market.