ERIK'S BIKE SIZING GUIDE

This article will help you figure out the right size of bike. If you are looking for info on Kids Bike Sizing, please click here to jump to that section of the article. If you want to learn more about the different types of bikes we sell, check out our Bicycle Buying Guide.

Adult Bike Sizing

The size of your bike is incredibly important as it affects comfort, safety, and pedaling efficiency. A bike that fits you well will let you enjoy your ride and get the most out of it, while an ill-fitting bike can lead to discomfort that will ultimately lead you to not want to ride.

The first step is to look at our Bicycle Sizing Chart and based off of your inseam and height, select the appropriate size.

Bike Frame Sizing Chart

*A handy way to measure your inseam is to stand up against a wall with a hardcover book, square up the hardcover book with the wall and your inseam, and measure from the top of the book.

  • Standover clearance is an important safety consideration, so when you are standing over the top tube of your new bike, you should have at least one inch of clearance.
  • Next, you’ll want to set the saddle height. Get a friend to hold your bike while you get on the bike. Place your heels on the pedals and move your foot to the bottom of the pedal stroke. With your heel on the pedal, your knee should just lock out without you having to reach for the pedal. Then when you pedal normally, with the ball of your foot on the pedal, you should have a slight bend in your knee. When adjusting the seat post, watch out for a line on it that indicates the maximum the seat can be raised. For safety purposes, the post should never be sticking up past that minimum insertion line. Riding a seat beyond this point is dangerous and could result in a malfunction of the bike frame. If you’re having to raise the seat post past this point, you should probably be on a larger size bike. *If you’ve got your inseam measurement from above, you can take that number times .883 to get a good starting point for your saddle height.
  • Lastly, you should be able to easily reach the handlebars in a way that’s comfortable and that allows you to control the bike. If the bike is too small, you’re likely to feel cramped on the bike, and if the bike is too large, you’ll feel like you’re stretching to reach the bars. If you have to stretch to reach the handlebars, you won’t be able to control the bike.

How are bikes sized?

Different styles and brands of bikes will be sized differently.

  • Road and dropbar-style bike sizes are listed in centimeters (cm)
  • Mountain bikes are typically listed in standard sizes (S, M, L), or sometimes inches (in)
  • Most other adult bikes will come in standard (S, M, L) or inches (in)
  • Kids bike sizing is based on the wheel size. The smallest bikes usually start with a 12” wheel size (some balance bikes may have a 10” wheel). The largest kids’ bikes will have 24” wheels

Kids' Bike Sizing

Kids’ bikes are sized differently than adult bikes. Unlike adult bikes, which are sized off of the frame, kids’ bike sizing is based on the wheel size. The smallest bikes usually start with a 12” wheel size (some balance bikes may have a 10” wheel). The largest kids’ bikes will have 24” wheels. After that, kids begin to move into small sized adult bikes.

Kids' Bike Sizing Chart

Balance bikes are also known as 'run bikes' or 'strider bikes.' They come in two sizes - 10 inches and 12 inches (wheel diameter) - and are suggested for kids 2-5 years old. This bike has no pedals, so a child uses their feet to push the bike along. This is a great way for them to learn one of the hardest parts of riding a bike - how to balance on two wheels.

After the balance bike, it is time to upgrade to a bike with pedals. Picking the next size bike is going to depend on your child's height. When picking a kid’s bike size, safety should be the number one priority. While it might be tempting to buy a bike a child can grow into, a bike that is too large won’t be safe or fun for a child to ride.

  • You always want a kids’ feet to comfortably reach the ground when they’re sitting on the seat. For some children, comfortably will mean tip-toes, and for others, it may mean flat on the ground. This means that when they come to a stop, they can have complete control over the bike.
  • It’s also important that the standover height is correct. With the child standing over the top tube of the bike and their feet flat on the ground, there should be room between the top tube and the child. If the child is resting on the top tube, you should consider the next size down.
  • Lastly, your child needs to be able to easily reach the handlebars in a way that allows them to control the bike. If they have to stretch to reach the handlebars, they won’t be able to control the bike.

As your child grows, you'll need to raise the bicycle seat. Make sure to pay attention to where the minimum insertion line is on their seat post. Their seat post should have a line that indicates how far up the seat can be raised. For safety purposes, the post should never be sticking up past that minimum insertion line. Riding a seat beyond this point is dangerous and could result in a malfunction of the bike frame.

Parents often ask us about buying a size up since their child is growing. We understand that you want to get as much use of the bike as possible, but we encourage you to consider the safety issues that come with buying a bike that's too big. Especially if the child is new to biking, riding an oversized bike can be hard to balance and difficult to stop.

A better option is ERIK'S Half-Back Trade-In Program. At ERIK'S, we want to make upgrading easier! This program makes upgrading to a new bike easy and cost-effective. Buy a bike at ERIK'S and within 2-years of the original purchase trade it in to get 50% of the original purchase price in store credit. For more details, see our Half-Back Trade-In Program Information page.

Learn more about buying a Kids' Bikes here and Adult Bikes here.