Choosing a Bike Size depending on your Height

Like a ring around your finger, a pair of gloves on a medics hands, or a pair of shoes, a bike should come in the right size, and that will determine what size of bike you need. Comfort, efficiency and a reduced risk of injury are fundamental to any cyclist. The right fit of bike caters for comfort, safety, efficiency and an enjoyable cycling experience.

Many new riders want a solid reason to get a breath of fresh, outdoor air in these Coronavirus pandemic times. You have narrowed down the type and brand, but if you have to pay for a bike it will have to be the best fit. Do not spend a fortune before realizing you have the wrong fit of bike size. Kindly read through and discover how.

The right size of the bike is dependent on many factors. Whereas you can make adjustments on saddle height and handlebars, you cannot tamper with frame size. We have undertaken a detailed preview of the types of bikes. Included is a detailed glance at bike size charts and factors to consider while choosing the most appropriate bike size.


  1. Significance Of A Bike Size
  2. Factors To Consider For Perfect Bike Fit
  3. A Bike That fits You
  4. Size Chart As Per Height
  5. Fitting A Bike On The Run
  6. Consequences Of A Wrong Fit
  7. Our Recommendations
  8. Conclusions

Significance Of A Bike Size

To get the most power out of a cycling session, the cyclist must have perfect harmony with the frame size, seat height and the distance between the seat and handlebars (reach). Comfort is key. A perfect size bike equals lesser risk of overuse injuries.

So What Size Bike Do I Need? Well it depends on multiple factors as below:

We have discussed many factors you should consider for a perfect bike fit including;

– Frame size- Saddle flexibility, position and build- Pedal position- Handlebar height, width and orientation- Gender of the bike owner- Wheel size- Suspension and- Physical disposition of the rider.


As many bike brands and types are in the market for your choice. Before making that order or paying for a dream bike, it is necessary to make sure it fits you. Considering their day-to-day use, bikes can fall in categories such as a city (commuter/hybrid), mountain (downhill, trail, cross-country, all-mountain) or road (triathlon, cyclocross, gravel, touring). Kids have their age-specific bikes.

You have a spectrum of factors to consider while going for a bike brand, type and specific fit. The amount of time spent cycling is vital. Your age will determine what two-wheeler you should go for. Your physical body frame is a critical determinant, as well as your inherent flexibility levels. The purpose for which you buy the bike is a crucial factor in defining the most correct fit.

The three broad categories of bikes come in different sizes. You will find that within a bike type, different brands come in variations of size. A bike brand sometimes comes with variant spec levels for the hierarchical capabilities. We did our best to assemble a composite size chart based on your full body height alone.

A Bike That Fits You

Before you sign that cheque to get a dream bicycle, consider whether the bike fits your usage requirements. A city bike, for example, will be treacherous to use for cross-country. You address consumer needs by the different types of bikes. You should go for the one that checks all your “daily use” boxes.

There are three broad categories of bikes according to the terrain or purpose the bike will serve, namely:

i) City bikes

ii) Mountain bikes, and

iii) Road bikes.

Your full body height is the most common determinant for a perfect bike fit. The chart here-below uses height as the sole determinant of bike size. You should, however, note that other individualistic factors may vary the right size suitable for you such as arm and feet length, flexibility levels of the user and their age.

Because many factors are at play while you are atop that coveted saddle, it is advisable to invest in a professional bike fit before making the buy. Due to athletic levels of the end-user, a bike may need customizing right from the build. A professional bike fit will save you the agony of by-the-minute adjustments. It may also be the only thing between you and that dreaded hospital bed.

For the most part, the cyclist is atop the saddle. According to the time spent and the terrain involved, you will find that a perfect bike fit is hard to achieve with the wrong seat. Saddles come in various shapes and sizes. The trim you choose takes guidance from factors such as gender and the intended bike use.

You will get so many of “The Perfect Bike Fit” advice from all over. Until you are experiencing the real bike, not even the most professional fit will help. Try that bike out and listen to your body responding. That is the ultimate fit test. If your body responds with numbness and/or pain, it is time to make adjustments or go for another type of bike.

The perfect fit bike has a frame material that can support your full weight. Any dealership or bike shop will enquire or take your weight before advising on the best brand. You do not wish to have your bike snap in two a few moments into its inaugural test run.

Size Charts For Bize Size Calculation

Rider Full HeightMountain Bike SizeRoad Bike SizeSize Description
4’10”-5’2”13”-14”47-49 cmX-Small
5’2”-5’6” 15”-16”49-51 cmSmall
5’6”-5’10”17”-18”51-56 cmMedium
5’10”-6’1”19”-20”56-58 cmLarge
6’1”-6’4”21”-22”58-61 cmX-Large
6’4”-6’6” 22”-24”62+ cmXX-Large

Bike Size Chart

Source: Lagler, Christa. 2020 Oct 15. A Quick Guide to Sizing Your Bike Frame.

Fitting A Bike On The Run

Whereas all the specs check, there is an inevitable need to twitch a few elements of your bike every now and then. Certain parts are adjustable at home. Some technical adjustments and overhauls are best done by a trained technician. Tuning a bike for specific use may mean the design and engineering will change. Such major engineering considerations can only take place at the factory level. High-end athletes have their bikes customized from scratch.

Technical repairs, tuning and complete customization, however, do not mean adjustments on the run are not needed. Evolution of new parts such as pedals or saddles may require a few do-it-yourself adjustments upon installation. Not all adjustments warrant a trip to the town garage. Some minor adjustments such as saddle height or handlebar angle need not take you there.

Consequences Of A Wrong Fit

Getting the wrong size of a bike is only comparable to wearing a shoe off your size. Too small and it pinches. Too big and you cannot walk in it.

Whereas all other aspects of a bike are adjustable, the frame size is not. You will have to go for the right frame size. Adjustments are for greatest comfort while on the bike. Women, due to their narrow shoulders and long legs, may have to buy bikes engineered with them in mind. If you are buying a kid a bike they will grow into, keep adjusting the saddle height with time.

The wrong choice on size will result in injury. You will experience lower back pain, knee pains, intensive calf pains, wrist pains or neck pains if the size of the bike is off. With prolonged use of the wrong size of bike, you risk permanent damage to tissue and/or joints.

A bike of inappropriate size is very hard to control. You will experience many more crashes compared to other cyclists with a fitting bike size. The risk of running into a serious accident increase tenfold with a wrongly sized bike.

Whenever you take the bike for fine-tuning to compensate for proper size, it will cost you. You may have to ditch a bike that is off-size and buy another altogether. All these costs are avoidable from the onset with correct sizing.


When you go out shopping for a bike, we recommend you first make it to the local mechanic and have a conversation. They know a great deal about bikes, and their recommendations come in handy. We suggest you explain to them your usage pattern. Do not ignore expert advice. Once you have settled down on the type, we urge you to test-ride three or more models from within the type.

We beseech you to ask for experience from previous owners of that bike brand. We are sure they will get you common problem areas with the bike, as well as opinionated suggestions for maintenance. We also insist that you check to ensure all necessary accessories are readily available in your locality, or that they come as a package with the bike.


The right size of your favourite bike is as vital as any other component of your ride. You deserve to enjoy your bike, so go on and buy one of a fitting size. You will have chosen the right bike for your purposed use. You have consulted a known bike technician who takes you through the available brands. You have the cash ready for the purchase. Now, go get the size right. Because it will finally come down to that: size.

When making the all-important decision on the right choice of bike, size is at the very top of things to consider. The right type of bike (based on individual usage needs) comes in second. The cost you are ready to put up matters, as well as specs and availability of adjustable features. You will want to buy a bike whose spares and parts, as well as franchise technicians, are readily available in your locality. And when all the boxes tick, go for a test ride. It will reveal much more to you!

Fun Outdoors Team

The FunOutdoors team is comprised of seasoned writers and editors with a passion for outdoor living. 

Happy trails!

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