How to find the right size - a guide for newbies!
What size of bike should I get? The beginner's bible!
Getting the right size of bike is the most important starting point for a lifetime of cycling happiness.
If you only take 2 points away from this article, remember this:
- A cheaper bike that fits you will give you a far more enjoyable experience than a more expensive bike that doesn't.
- People come in different shapes and sizes, so do bikes.
How are bikes sized?
Your height is a significant factor in choosing the correct bike frame size.
Components such as stems and spacers can be easily swapped to tweak a bike fit, but the frame is the most important factor determining whether the bike will fit.
There is no uniformity in how different bike brands size bikes.
Some use letters (like L), others use words (Medium) and others use numbers (like 57cm). Frustratingly there is no real standardisation between brands - so you might be a 57 in one brand and a 56 in another.
Don't just assume because your old bike is one size, you will automatically be the same size when you come to upgrade.
That's why we created our fit calculator - once we have your height, we do all the calculations for you.
Bikes feel slightly different based on their use case.
A road bike is designed to go fast and be efficient, so aerodynamics play an important part. Bars will likely be low.
A gravel bike will be a bit more upright, as the terrain is rougher than smooth roads.
A City bike will be upright, encouraging a relaxed position that maximises your road awareness.
Bikes can be adjusted!
Choosing the correct frame size is just the beginning. Things like how far the handlebars are from you, or how high they are, can be adjusted by playing around with stems and spacers.
It's not uncommon for your fit on a bike to evolve over the years, and you might want your position on the bike to get more or less aggressive over time.
Modern bikes are designed to be very adjustable.
Bicycle standover height
You may remember some version of this measurement as a kid. Basically, stand over the top tube of the bike, if your feet comfortably touch the ground, and the top tube isn’t jammed up in your groin, that’s the bike for you! Obviously it’s not quite that simple, and standover height is just one part of the equation. But as long as you’re taking several other fit parameters into consideration, standover height isn’t a bad place to start.
If you have a bike that fits well, but it’s time to upgrade, look up the geometry of your current bike. That’s a great starting point for a new bike. Look for something that has the same or similar stack, reach, and top tube length, for starters. If you’ve been riding a bike that doesn’t fit right, or if you’re a beginner, it’s not a bad idea to get a professional bike fit so that you have all the important measurements and a recommendation of what to look for.