How to Measure for a Bike & Pick the Correct Sized Bicycle

  Do you have a question? Call on 800 / 692.3943


Bike frame sizes, how to measure and pick the correct size bicycle

You don't have to be an expert or get a professional fitting to determine what bicycle frame size is right for you. There are some quick and easy ways to measure your body and determine the bikes that will work for you.

The quick and easy way: Height and leg length

You probably know your height but do you know your leg length? Leg length plays a larger role in bicycle fitting than height - by far. Leg length can vary greatly between people with the same overall height. It determines how high your seat will be and, more importantly, whether you'll be able to stand over your bike when you get off the saddle.

Let's get started:

  1. Get a tape measure.
  2. Put on the shoes you'll be riding in most often.
  3. Measure from where your heel touches the ground to the base of your leg at the crotch.
  4. This measurement is called your "in-seam" length and is a pretty good measurement of leg length.
The length of your inseam is pretty directly tied to another measurement called "stand over height" which indicates the height of the frame at the point where you would be standing directly over it, as if you've just hopped off the seat. It's very important the your inseam length is at least 1 inch longer than the stand over height of the bicycle you ride. This is to avoid the top tube of the frame hitting you painfully as you jump off your bike - especially if you stop suddenly.

Saddle height - get the most out of your bike:

Set your bike against a wall and sit on it, leaning against the wall. This way you'll be able to simulate a riding position without actually moving. Follow these directions to get the seat at the right height:

  1. Put on the shoes you'll wear when riding.
  2. Sit on the bike.
  3. Rotate one of the pedals so that it's in it's lowest position.
  4. Put your heel on that pedal.
  5. Check if your leg is all the way straight at the knee.
  6. If your heel cannot touch the pedal, your seat is too high. If your heel touches the pedal and your leg is perfectly straight or just a tiny bit bent, your seat is at a good height. If your heel touches the pedal and your leg is really bent then your seat is too low.
  7. Adjust your seat accordingly up or down (or not at all if it's a good match).
  8. Now sit on your bike and put the ball of your foot on the pedal. Your leg should be bent a bit at the knee. This is a good seat height to get the most out of your legs.

Fully adjustable and portable bicycles

Don't want to worry about frame sizes? We carry a variety of folding bikes that have a one-size-fits-all frame. These bikes can be adjusted to accommodate any rider, despite their height. Here are a few models we'd recommend:

Brompton Folding bike animation Most of our folding bikes have a low top tube and an adjustable seat post, so anyone from 5'1" to 6'4" can ride a bike like this. Dahon folding bikes have adjustable seat posts and handlebars, while Brompton folding bikes allow extensions for taller riders. Though folding bikes generally have smaller wheels, they tend to be great commuter bikes because of their compact folded shape, as well as their durable frames.