Road Bike Sizing and Fit: What You Need to Know

What is the Right Size Road Bike for Me?

Road bike
peepo / Getty Images

When buying a bike, how well it fits you is the most important factor in how much you will enjoy it and how likely you will be to continue riding it regularly.  As such, it’s very important to pay attention to the size of the bike you are considering so that you buy the right one at the start.  A bike that is too small will quickly grow uncomfortable and frustrate you.  A bike that is too big is also uncomfortable to ride and can be dangerous as well if managing its size is a problem.

Use the sizing chart below to find the right sized road bike for you. Knowing your height and inseam measurements, you should be able to determine what size frame will be most comfortable for you. Of the two measurements, height and inseam, inseam is more important.

Road Bike Sizing Guide

Determining Your Road Bike Frame Size
HeightInseam LengthBike Frame Size
4'10" - 5'1"25.5” - 27”46 - 48 cm
5'0" - 5'3"26.5" - 28"48 - 50 cm
5'2" - 5'5"27.5" - 29"50 - 52 cm
5'4" - 5'7"28.5" - 30"52 - 54 cm
5'6" - 5'9"29.5" - 31"54 - 56 cm
5'8" - 5'11"30.5" - 32"56 - 58 cm
5'10" - 6'1"31.5" - 33"58 - 60 cm
6'0" - 6'3"32.5" - 34"60 - 62 cm
6'2" - 6'5"34.5" - 36"62 - 64 cm

 

As you can see from the chart above, road bike frames are measured in centimeters.  Sizing goes from about 46 cm which is what someone on the small size – under five feet tall -- might ride up to 64 cm, which is best suited to a taller rider, someone 6-2 and above.

General Tips

When sitting on the seat, your feet should be comfortable on the pedals and you should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without either being scrunched too close together or being stretched too far out as you lean forward to get them.

Until you feel fairly confident as to what size bike is going to be right for you, trying out a bike in person at your local bike shop is the best way to make sure you are buying a bike that fits you properly.

You’ll be able to try out a range of sizes to see what feels best.  Plus the experts there will be able to tell if the bike you are considering is too little or too big and recommend. And they’ll know ​other adjustments that can be made to improve and fine-tune the fit of the bike even more when you’ve got the right one.  Things like raising or lowering the seat, moving it farther back or more forward, and adjusting the height of the handlebars.

There is nothing more satisfying that zipping around on a bike that fits you perfectly.  It becomes an extension of your own body so it’s definitely worth putting in the time and effort to find the one that is just the right size for you.

Related article: Adjusting Your Bike For Proper Fit