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#1 Bike Sizing Chart of 2023 | Everything You Need to Know about Bike Sizing

Contrary to what many people may believe, bicycles are not designed to be "one size fits all."

No, you can't merely adjust the seat to ensure the rider's feet reach the pedals. Bike sizing is, in fact, a whole lot more complicated than that. In this post, we're going to cover everything you need to know about bike sizing - from the importance of proper sizing to health issues that could result from poor sizing to how to properly get a new bike sized for your height, weight and body type. Read on to learn more about bike sizing and learn about some of the key metrics that dictate sizing.

The Importance of Sizing Your Bike

There are several key reasons why riding a properly sized bicycle is important. For instance:

  • A properly sized bike is more comfortable for the rider.
  • A properly sized bike is more ergonomic and can help riders avoid short and long-term injuries (more on this later on in the post).
  • A properly sized bike simply allows for a better overall riding experience.

Think of bike sizing like this: The position of your body on the bike is dependent on the size of the bike. Hence, if you're riding a bike that's either too big or too small for your body, the bike isn't going to "fit" you right and your body is not going to be aligned correctly as you're pedaling it. That's where issues can arise, both in the near term and over the long term - and not just in terms of your overall health and comfortability, but also in terms of how well you're able to control the bike. In the next section, we'll cover some of the issues that can result from incorrectly sized bikes.

Issues That May Result from Incorrectly-Sized Bikes

We've discussed the importance of properly sizing a bike before and some of the short and long-term health consequences that could come as a result. Here's a closer look at some of the problems that could arise as a result of a poor fit:

  • Back pain: Poor posture with anything is going to lead to problems. Unfortunately, riding a bike that isn't sized correctly is likely to amplify problems with poor posture just based on the nature of bike riding. A frame that's sized incorrectly is going to eventually lead to back pain from poor riding posture. Like we said in the opening, simply adjusting the seat or tweaking the handlebars isn't going to make a difference. It's the greater bike frame that has more to do with proper riding posture than anything - and it's why it's so important to get frame sizing right.
  • Fatigue: You might not initially associate fatigue with bad riding posture, but think about it in terms of pedaling efficiency. If you're not riding a bike that's properly sized for your body type, then you're likely going to be working harder than you otherwise would. On the contrary, if the bike is properly sized for your body, then you're riding with the proper leg positioning to get the most out of your efforts.
  • Wrist pain: Poor ergonomics isn't just likely to make your back sore, but your wrists as well. Because your body won't be aligned right on a bike that isn't sized properly, more pressure will also be placed on the wrists. For example, if you're on a bike frame that's too large, you'll have to reach further to the handlebars. If you're on a bike that's too small, you'll have to reach in to grip the handlebars. It can all add up to sore wrists - and that's likely in addition to a sore back.

In addition to fatigue and wrist and back pain, an improperly sized bike is also likely to result in a higher risk of a bike crash. That's because you're not going to have as good control over a bike that doesn't fit your body well compared to riding a bike that's optimized for you. So, in addition to promoting good ergonomics, a bike that's properly sized for your body type will also promote good riding safety.

How to Get Sized for Your Next Bike

Now that we've touched on the importance of a properly sized bike and some of the consequences of pedaling one that's either too large or too small, let's touch on some information about bike sizing in general and what you can do to ensure you have the proper fit.

To start, it's important to note that not all bikes are sized the same way. In fact, bike size largely depends on the type of bike that you're looking at. Road bikes, for instance, are usually available in small, medium and large sizes. Some may also come in numerical sizes to better hone in on body type, but that tends to be more brand specific and sizes also often vary by brand. Mountain bikes tend to be more consistent in size across different brands and typically come in small, medium and large sizes. Hybrid and electric bikes tend to vary by manufacturer as well.

Visit a Bike Shop for a Professional Sizing

While not always convenient, one way to ensure you are properly fitted for a bike is to visit a bike shop in person and have a professional take your measurements and talk to you about what size of bike would be best. In some cases, the bike shop may charge you for this professional sizing assessment or only do it for you if you're purchasing a bike directly from the company, each of which can be deterring factors from going this route for your sizing.

Use a Bike Chart to Determine Bike Sizing

One of the best ways to, at a minimum, get an idea of what size bike you'll need and at a maximum really zero in on the right bike, is to use a bike sizing chart. Sizing charts are incredibly easy to use and only require some basic information to pair you with the right frame size. Here's a look at some of the factors a sizing chart will take into consideration:

  • Inseam: This is the length from the underside of your groin to the bottom side of your ankle. Simply use a tape measurer to determine it. Knowing your inseam will help you determine the bike frame standover height, which is measured from the middle top of the bike frame tube. This measurement helps ensure that your legs are properly aligned to interact with the pedals.
  • Height: You'll also need to know your height. Height tends to be broken up into buckets of two to three inches on most bike sizing charts to help determine the proper bike frame size. For instance, 5-foot to 5-foot 3-inches are usually grouped together in one bucket, and so on all the way up to the maximum height the bike frame can accommodate.
  • Weight: Your overall weight isn't so much of a determining factor when it comes to sizing a bike as it is selecting a bike model. For instance, while cycling is for everyone, some bikes are only designed to withstand a certain amount of weight. There are various bike models designed for people of all different heights and body sizes, so it's important to consider how much weight the bike can support while also factoring in any cargo that you may be carrying on your rides when selecting a bicycle. Again, weight doesn't so much determine how a bike is sized, but what specific bike model is best for a rider.
  • Gender: Again, there are both men's and women's bikes. Some bikes are also designed so that they can be pedaled by both men and women. By knowing your inseam and your height, you can determine the bike frame size that would work best with your body type. From there, it's all about selecting the right bike - men's, women's or unisex - that you like the best.

Most bike sizing charts only ask you to find your inseam and your height. Once you do that, you'll line up the appropriate columns to find the frame size that best suits you. Once you have an idea of frame size, you can shop for bike models that you like and assess some of the other key attributes of a bicycle. We'll get into some of the other key body type considerations later on in this post.

Take an Online Fitting Assessment

The final way to assess your proper bike fit is to let an automated system, such as the one offered at SixThreeZero, do it for you. All you have to do is enter a few simple measurements and SixThreeZero's automated fit system will do the rest for you. It will even pair you with the type of bike that you're most interested in. Here's a look at the data you'll need to enter to be fitted at SixThreeZero:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Type of bike gender (i.e., men's, women's or unisex)
  • Type of bike (i.e., standard bike, electric bike or either)
  • Two-wheel bike or tricycle bike
  • Length of your arms (i.e., short, average, long)
  • Length of your legs (i.e., short, average, long)
  • How often you ride a bike (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Reasons for riding a bike (i.e., commuting, recreation, exercise)
  • The surface that you tend to ride on (i.e., paved, trails, both)
  • Number of miles you anticipate traveling on each ride
  • Whether you prefer speed or comfort
  • Seat preference
  • Whether you have or are recovering from any type of injury

While you typically only need to know your inseam and height to get sized for a bike, SixThreeZero's platform takes things to the next level with a comprehensive fit guide. Log on to today to get fit tested for yourself.

Other Bike Factors to Take Note of

Aside from ensuring you have the right fit, there are a number of other factors that you'll want to pay attention to that can help improve the comfort and performance of your bike ride. Some of these features include:

  • Maximum riding weight: Many bikes have a maximum riding weight of at least 300 pounds.
  • Battery life: If you're shopping for an electric bike, make sure you know how many miles it's expected to last before a recharge is necessary - on both pedal assist and full throttle electric mode. On a similar note, take note of the top speeds the bike can reach in each mode if speed is an important selection factor for you.
  • Frame type: Riders can select from step-through frames and step-over frames. The former is when the central bar is low on the bike, making the bike easier to mount and dismount. The step-over frame is where the central bar is higher on the bike. Step-over frames tend to help bikes with their strength. Bikes with step-over frames also tend to be lighter overall.
  • Tire size: Larger tires can offer more stability and better traction on various terrains.
  • Seat size and comfort
  • Handlebar grip comfort

Beyond some of these key features, it's also important to have a bike that you like and are proud of. So, beyond fit and features, make sure you're selecting a bike style that you like as well.

Contact SixThreeZero Today

At SixThreeZero, we firmly believe that cycling is for everyone - and we have bikes that are designed for all people, regardless of their height, weight, inseam, arm length or bike style preference. We're also proud to have one of the most robust online fitting assessments in the cycling industry.

Visit today to browse our range of bike options - from hybrid to electric to mountain bikes to beach cruisers to tricycle bikes. And then check out any bike sizing chart or take our online fit assessment to determine which bike size would best suit your body type. Contact us today or visit us online to learn more.


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