5 Tips for Picking the Best Sized Bike

We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website. Learn more

For many bike riding is a favorite pastime and for others, it can lead to a professional career at some point. If you don’t manage to pick the best sized bike, you will end up with junk that will only be suitable for parking in the garage.

When you’re buying physically, it’s a lot easier. However, as more and more people are opting to buy bikes online, things can get tricky.

How to Pick the Best Sized Bike

Just follow these tips to get the bicycle that will fit you just right!

1. Stand-Over Height Gives More Accurate Fit

The first thing you need to decide is whether you need a road or mountain bike. If that’s decided, now you can check the stand-over height.

Stand-over height is simply the measurement from the ground to the middle of the top tube of the bicycle. But knowing this isn’t enough.

You need to be sure that you clear the top tube by at least 2 inches, otherwise, the bike will be shorter for you. As a general rule, a slightly larger frame bike will be much better than a shorter one!

2. Wheel Size Matters for a Kid’s Bike

Usually, bikes made for kids are sized by the wheel diameter. In most cases, this provides a close to accurate fit.

The sizing starts from 12 inches and all the way up to 24 inches.

For kids below 4 years, a 12-inch bike will be perfect. When they reach age 7, shift to a 20-inch bike and so on.

Here’s the full kids bike chart:

Wheel SizeAgeHeight
12-inch2-336-39 in
14-inch2-437-44 in
16-inch4-641-48 in
20-inch5-845-54 in
24-inch8-1149-59 in

Between 16 and 20-in, you can also find an 18-inch model which isn’t a lot common like the others. Head over to Smilyparents.com to learn more about 18-in bikes and a lot more.

There’s also a 26-inch bike that’s a bit smaller than a regular adult-sized bike. At this point, you can break into full-frame bikes.

3. Match Your Height with a Bike Height Chart

Probably the easiest way to find the right size bike is to match your height with a bike height chart. Sometimes, it won’t give you an accurate measurement. However, it will act as a guide when you combine this with other methods.

The height chart of road and mountain bikes are completely different. So, you have to consider that as well. The sizing might vary between brands as well by one or two inches.

Here’s a mountain bike height chart:

Your HeightBike Size
4’10” – 5’2”13” – 14”
5’2” – 5’6”15” – 16”
5’6” – 5’10”17” – 18”
5’10” – 6’1”19” -20”
6’1” – 6’4”21” – 22”
6’4”- 6’6”22” – 24”

13” bikes are termed as X-small size and the 24” is termed as XX-large.

4. Leg Inseam Measurement to Find the Right Bike

Inseam is another popular metric often used to get the right fit. All you need to do is to take your inner leg measurement.

There are lots of ways to do it. The easiest way is to place a book between your legs and stand upright. It should be pressed into your crouch snugly. Now, stand close to a wall and mark the top of the book with a pencil. This distance is your inseam measurement.

If you’re into road bikes, then you need to have 2.5-5cm clearance between your crotch and the top tube.

It’s easy and no rocket science!

5. Torso and Arms Measurement Might Be a Good Option

Most newbies overlook this option when they pick the best sized bike. As soon as they get the height right, they take the bike home! After a few days, they realize that the frame is way too long for them and is putting stress on the back.

For the torso, use a tape to measure the distance between the top of your crotch to the top of your breastbone.

And to measure the arms, hold your arm to your side making a fist. Now, measure the end of the collarbone to the middle of the fist. This is your arm length for bike sizing.

If you’re buying online, just make sure that these measurements are close to what the specs say. In some cases, the specs might show these metrics. We recommend you get in touch with the manufacturer or brand representatives!


Assuming you are a newbie, just buying a bicycle isn’t enough. There are a lot of things you need to know to keep your bike in good shape.

Cleaning your bike is one of them! As you take care of your bike, it will remain reliable and will last longer than you expect.

James Mattis

James is a passionate bicyclist who has done about every kind of biking there is. He loves the wind in his hair, the sun over his shoulder and maybe even the bugs in his teeth. No, just kidding about that last item. He isn’t crazy about road burns, either, but acknowledges that to have the good there is the occasional tumble. James feels that his bike is the place where he can unwind, leave troubles alongside the road, meet new people, go new places, and live the life of adventure that he loves. He is ready to share the ride with you.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply