Bike sizing is one of the most crucial parts of buying an electric bike. Improperly sized bicycles can lead to discomfort, inconvenience, and injury. The worst part about riding a bike that’s the wrong size is that it just isn’t fun. Your electric bike is a big investment, and you should absolutely treat it as such! Knowing the correct bike size before purchase is the best way to ensure the efficiency, longer use, and overall enjoyment. Check out how to correctly size your electric bike below.
What are you using the bike for?
Are you a mountain biker or a commuter? Do you want a upright or aggressive ride? Mountain bikes, road bikes, and hybrid bikes are all sized a bit differently, so before you start trying to size yourself, make sure you know what your main use will be for this bike. You’ve probably put a bit of thought into this already, so this should be an easy part. If you’re not sure, contact us and we’ll walk you through some of the different uses for the bikes in our shop.
Frame size is possibly the most important aspect in bike sizing. Reason being, once the frame size is set, that’s it. There is no turning back from there.
There are few ways that you can find the right size frame. The first way is to measure your inseam. Measuring your inseam can be done in a number of ways, but I find the easiest way is to grab a notebook. Once you’ve got your notebook, you’ll need to stand against a wall. Then, place the notebook in between your upper thighs so you are straddling it (like you would be if you hopped on a bike). Leave the notebook in place on the wall and measure from the top of the notebook to the floor. This measurement is your inseam. It’s generally a good idea to wear the shoes you’ll be cycling in most frequently as this will probably affect the measurement. Once you have the measurement, reference a sizing chart like the ones listed here:
Road Bike Sizing:
|4’10” – 5’1″||25.5” – 27”||46 – 48 cm||18-19|
|5’0″ – 5’3″||26.5″ – 28″||48 – 50 cm||19-19.5|
|5’2″ – 5’5″||27.5″ – 29″||50 – 52 cm||19-20.5|
|5’4″ – 5’7″||28.5″ – 30″||52 – 54 cm||19.5-21|
|5’6″ – 5’9″||29.5″ – 31″||54 – 56 cm||21.5-22|
|5’8″ – 5’11”||30.5″ – 32″||56 – 58 cm||22.5-23|
|5’10” – 6’1″||31.5″ – 33″||58 – 60 cm||23.5-24|
|6’0″ – 6’3″||32.5″ – 34″||60 – 62 cm||24.5-25|
|6’2″ – 6’5″||34.5″ – 36″||62 – 64 cm||24.5-25|
Mountain Bike Sizing:
|4’11” – 5’3″||25” – 27”||13 – 15 inches||33-38|
|5’7″ – 5’11”||29″ – 31″||17 to 19 inches||43-48|
|5’11” – 6’2″||31″ – 33″||19 to 21 inches||48-53|
|6’2″ – 6’4″||33″ – 35″||21 to 23 inches||53-58|
|6’4″ and up||35″ and up||23 inches+||58-64|
As you can see, you can alternatively use your height as the main measurement. It’s really up to you, but the inseam generally is more reliable.
Ideally, the next thing you want to do in terms of frame size is actually hop on the bike, or a similar style. This isn’t always possible, but if you can you’re checking that you can straddle the frame with your feet flat on the floor. If you have a traditional top tube that is parallel to the ground there should be about an inch or two of clearance.
Saddle height is also very important. Too high or too low and you won’t bike as efficiently. To size this properly, take one of your feet and put it on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke (it’s lowest point). There should be a slight bend in your knee. Go for about 80-85% of full extension. When you hop on the bike, your knees shouldn’t be coming up too much past the top tube. I’d recommend getting a quick release for your seat post because if anything moves on you it’s much easier to adjust.
You also want to make sure your saddle tilt is set properly. Generally, the saddle should be flat (parallel to the ground). For cruisers and commuter bikes you might want the saddle tilted back a very little bit for a more upright ride. The opposite is true of mountain bikes. Tilt your seat forward slightly for a more aggressive feel.
Upper Body Position
Your upper body position is very important. If this is off, you could end up with a backache and tired arms. You’ll want a slight bend in your arms on any bike. Your posture will be affected based on the type of bike you’re riding. Comfort is key here. If you hop on the bike and five minutes later you’re already hurting, that’s a problem.
For mountain bikes and true road bikes, you’ll have a more significant bend in the back because they are more aggressive rides. If it is a commuter or urban bike, you should be more upright, almost like you’re sitting in a chair.
Once all you’ve made gotten all these measurements and made the proper adjustments, you’re all set to ride! If you have any questions, it’s always best consult a professional to help you out. Make sure that you don’t slack off on getting the proper measurements! It’s a little bit of work, but it will pay dividends in the long run when you’re biking more efficiently and having more fun doing it.
Check out our blog for more electric bike info! Happy Riding!
Author: Scott Nickley
Scott Nickley is a writer, actor, cyclist, runner, and cafe loiterer living in Los Angeles. You can find his work on the Fly Rides website and find him in the flesh following all cycling laws in your nearest bike lane.