• Europes biggest bike selection

    Road bike size chart: Your guide to the perfect fit

    Robert Ferri
    Robert Ferri
    May 29, 2024 10 min
    Road bike size chart: Your guide to the perfect fit

    Road bike size chart: how to find the right size for your next road bike? When buying a bike, one of the most important things to take into account is the size. A bike too small for you isn’t going to work well for you, and a bike too large won't be much use either. When it comes to road bikes, it is not easy to get away with a size that does not fit you. 

    An easy solution to this problem is to use a road bike size chart. In this article, we will be discussing how road bikes are measured. We will give you size charts and even discuss sizing up and sizing down. Let’s go!

    Road bike size chart: Why having the right size road bike is crucial

    Road bike size chart
    Having the right size road bike is crucial!

    You may ask yourself "What size bike do I need?". Having the correct size road bike is important, and having the wrong size often results in disaster. Here are my top reasons why it is so important to be on the right size road bike. 

    Comfort: The importance of choosing the correct road bike size

    The wrong-size bike will not offer you the comfort that you deserve when riding. On other types of bikes, such as mountain and hybrid bikes, there is a little more room for error, but not on a road bike.

    Riding the right size road bike: the impact on performance

    If you are not on the correct size bike, performing to the best of your ability will be difficult. Without the body in the correct position, you won’t be very efficient at getting the power down or going around a corner quickly.

    Proper road bike fit

    If you don’t have the correct size bike, it will be difficult to get the correct fit. A bike that is too big or too small, no matter how much you adjust it, can never be perfect and often leads to injury. Another great route to go down is when you get the bike to have a bike fit. This is when a professional will fit you to the bike so you are riding as efficiently as possible. It will heavily reduce injuries and make riding much more comfortable. 

    Understanding road bike sizing: top tube measurements

    Road bike size chart
    Road bikes are measured by the top tube

    Road bikes are measured in a unique way compared to mountain bikes and other types. Understanding how a road bike should fit properly means delving into the ins and outs of sizing and how manufacturers tend to bring it all together.

    How to measure a road bike

    Road bikes are measured by the top tube, but it’s not as simple as just measuring along the bike's top tube. It is actually measured by the center of the seat post horizontally across to the center of the fork steerer tube. The best way to measure this is using a tape measure and a level. You will have to put the tape measure from the center of the seat tube and measure to the center of the fork steerer tube while going across the level.

    The importance of the top tube

    The top tube is used to measure road bikes because it accurately represents how a cyclist will fit it for the typical frame style and the rider's position. Being on a road bike means leaning forward and staying aerodynamic.

    Contrasting with mountain bike sizing

    Road bike size chart
    A mountain bike is measured by the seat tube

    A mountain bike is measured by the seat tube. This is because it’s a better measurement for mountain bikes as you get more from the standover height seat tube size, and it is much better for the overall size as the top tube is often very slack.

    What to consider when sizing a road bike

    Before we show you a road bike frame size chart, it’s important to understand that there is a lot to be careful of when it comes to road bike sizing. Here’s what you need to consider when looking for the right-size bike:

    • Different brands have different sizing: Often, brands size road bikes differently depending on the design of the frame. So, a 54 cm Trek road bike could be made for a medium rider, while another brand could make it for a small rider. This is why it’s important to check the manufacturer's recommendations.
    • Not all bikes are measured the same: People often measure bikes differently. If you are buying a second-hand bike, many people measure directly across the top tube, which isn’t the correct way to do it and often gives an incorrect reading.
    Bike helmet size chart and how to measure for a bike helmet | buycycle Blog
    What is the bike helmet size chart? Learn how to measure for a bike helmet to ensure a perfect fit. Follow our easy steps for maximum safety on your rides!

    Road bike size charts

    When it comes to getting the right-sized road bike for you, there’s a lot to think about, and having a chart to point you in the correct direction goes a long way. Here’s the first chart we are going to show you.

    Road bike frame size chart

    So, let us discuss road bike size charts. We have split these down into mens and womens as bikes often differ greatly between the two depending on who they are designed for. 

    Mens road bike size chart cm / in

    Height (cm / ft in)

    Recommended frame size (cm / in)

    General size 

    147- 152 / 4ft 10” -  5ft

    47 - 49 / 18.5” - 19.5”

    XXS

    152-160 / 5ft -  5ft 3”

    49 - 51 / 19.5” - 20”

    XS

    160-168 / 5ft 3” - 5ft 6”

    51 - 53 / 20” - 21”

    S

    168-175 / 5ft 6” - 5ft 9”

    53 - 55 / 21” - 21.5”

    M

    175-183 / 5’9” - 6ft

    55 - 57 / 21.5” - 22.5”

    L

    183-191 / 6ft - 6ft 3”

    57 - 60 / 22.5” - 23.5”

    X Large

    191-198 / 6ft 3” - 6ft 6”

    60 - 63 / 23.5” - 24.5”

    XX Large

    Womens road bike size chart cm / in

    Height (cm / ft in)

    Recommended frame size (cm / in)

    General size 

    147- 152 / 4ft 10” -  5ft

    44 - 46 / 17.3” - 18.1”

    XXS

    152-160 / 5ft -  5ft 3”

    47 - 49 / 18.5” - 19.3”

    XS

    160-168 / 5ft 3” - 5ft 6”

    50 - 52 / 19.7” - 20.5”

    S

    168-175 / 5ft 6” - 5ft 9”

    53 - 55 / 21” - 21.7”

    M

    175-183 / 5’9” - 6ft

    55 - 57 / 21.7” - 22.4”

    L

    This road bike frame size chart by height will give you a rough idea of your size requirements when buying a road bike, but we always recommend combining this with the manufacturer guidelines, as they will give you a more accurate sizing.

    As you can see, these are general charts for road bikes. The smaller sizes are generally designed for women, and the taller sizes are for men. Bike brands often make bikes to suit both genders, but some are women’s specific.

    Road bike size chart: differences between men’s and women's road bikes

    Road bike size chart
    What are the differences between men’s and women's road bikes?

    When bikes are designed for women they come with a few differences compared to men’s bikes. You will typically find them with a low standover height, a shorter headtube, and also a slacker top tube.

    You will also get women’s specific saddles, closer reach on the brakes, and a shorter drop on the handlebars. There’s much more to a women’s bike than meets the eye but they are very subtle differences. 

    Some very small women's bikes, such as an XS or XXS, can often come with 650c wheels, which are much smaller and just keep the bike in proportion. These are great, but tires are much harder to find and not commonly kept on bike shop shelves.

    🚲
    You will find a wide range of great road bikes for both men and women on buycycle! Feel free to check out what we have!

    Can women ride men’s bikes?

    Most men’s bikes are made unisex, so they are generally fine for women to ride. Women’s bikes are just aimed at women. If you are a woman going for a women's brand such as Liv, you can give yourself a better experience with all the little adjustments made for women.

    Road bike sizing charts: What other essential are there?

    Road bike crank length size chart

    Bike size

    Inseam

    Crank length 

    XS

    69 - 75

    165 mm

    S

    74 - 80

    170 mm

    M

    79 - 85

    172.5 mm

    L

    84 - 90

    175 mm

    XL

    89 - 95

    175 mm

    XXL

    94 and above

    177.5 mm +

    Another interesting consideration is crank length on a road bike frame size chart by height. The correct crank length helps you pedal more efficiently, adds to comfort, and reduces fatigue. It’s a very important measurement for road bikes

    Although this is what most manufacturers recommend, many bike fitters generally find that they put their clients on smaller cranks as with modern gearing, and on modern bikes, it’s a better fit. You will see many tall professionals on smaller cranks than they should be.

    Road bike handlebar size chart

    Road bike size chart
    Road bike handlebar size chart

    Bike size

    Shoulder width cm

    Handlebar width cm

    XS

    36 - 38

    36 cm

    S

    38 - 40

    38 cm

    M

    40 - 42

    40 cm

    L

    42 - 44

    42 cm

    XL

    44 - 46

    44 cm

    XXL

    46 +

    46 cm

    An important measurement to discuss is handlebar sizing. Larger bikes generally come with larger handlebars to suit the rider. So, the wider the road bike rider's shoulders, the wider the road bike handlebar width recommended.

    Like crank length, many riders aim to use smaller bars on road bikes. If they are looking for aerodynamics and speed, a smaller bar can offer this, but it can make the bike's control more different, and comfort can be jeopardized. 

    Always personalize your road bike sizing choice!

    Sizing up or sizing down

    Now that you have seen the road bike size chart, you might find yourself between two sizes. This is a very common thing to happen, and with small, medium, and large being the most popular sizes and having a wider range compared to others, many find themselves in this bracket. 

    In this situation, should you size up or down? Well, it depends more on the type of riding you wish to do than anything else. For many cyclists, here’s what they do to ensure that although the bike size may not be perfect, it suits them. 

    BMC Roadmachine 01 TWO Review | buycycle Blog
    Let’s review the new Roadmachine 01 TWOv - “Speed. Comfort. Endurance. Versatility.” - that is how BMC promotes it. Is this true? Let’s find out together!

    Road cyclists who are looking to race and want performance will more than likely size down. The smaller the frame, the lighter it is, the more aggressive the rider's position, and the more agile the bike feels. All great for racing. 

    Long-distance cyclists often take the size up. It offers much more comfortable geometry, is often easier to adjust to a smaller size, and the longer the bike, the more stability it offers. It often feels much nicer to ride than a race-ready machine. 

    What about bike charts by brand?

    We often get asked about bike size charts by brand, such as where to get a Specialized road bike size chart, Trek road bike size chart, Giant road bike size chart, Cannondale road bike size chart, and more.

    Quite often, brands don’t do these charts as they make unique charts depending on the bike model itself. A general Canyon road bike size chart or a Scott road bike size chart does not exist, but you will have a chart for a Canyon Grail or a Scott Speedster. 

    Which road bike size is for you?

    When it comes to choosing a road bike size, I would start by looking at a general chart and then looking at different bikes of that size. When you have found the bike you like the look of and are considering buying, you will want to go to the manufacturer's website and confirm that their chart matches your size and height.

    You can search by size on buycycle using the filter, and we have a wide range of sizes to choose from. Make sure to check out the amazing range of different road bikes available!

    💡
    Want to learn more about sizing, road bikes to find your perfect dream bike?
    - Wheel bike size chart
    - Where to buy a bike: what are the options?
    - Are Craigslist bikes or Pinkbike good options to buy a road bike?
    - Best road bikes under 2.000 dollars in 2024
    - Top 5 aluminium road bikes
    - Top 5 Aero road bikes