The size of a mountain bike impacts how well you can ride it. Choose one that’s too big or too small, and you’ll get nowhere near the kind of ride you want. So, before you drop by Bike Vortex to find your bike, it’s important to understand how your height and body shape can lead to choosing the correct size.
A bike that suits your measurements not only makes riding a joy; it can also provide a safe and more comfortable riding experience. That said, what size is right for you? Let’s find that out today to know what a fulfilling bike ride is truly like.
The Bike for Your Needs
You might question why a companion who rides the same bike model feels so at ease riding their bike while you’re not having as good of a time. That’s because even bikes with the same features on paper can ride and feel differently depending on the person riding them.
Most of the time, what sets these experiences apart is the frame size. You might simply have chosen a bike that’s too small or too big, which is so often the case for first-time buyers. That’s perfectly understandable, though. Not only is the whole frame-size business commonly overlooked, but it is also pretty confusing.
Traditional Method for Listing Frame Size
The size of your mountain bike mainly has to do with its seat tube length, though this can also vary due to the different means of obtaining the said measurement. Some measure all the way to the top, while others stop in the middle of where the seat tube and top tube are conjoined.
Generally, frame-size measurements are listed as S, M, and L. Most manufacturers will also occasionally throw in an XL or XS, depending on the model.
A more modern way of listing bike sizes is through “reach” measurements. So, instead of the top and seat tube lengths being the main bases, the rider’s reach becomes the main factor.
That means some bikes have longer top tubes, wheelbases, and reach figures and lower and shorter stack heights and seat tube lengths. It also means that bikes with small seat tubes can accommodate shorter individuals comfortably due to their adjustable seat height.
Top Tube and Seat Tube
That said, top tube and seat tube lengths are still major considerations for choosing a mountain bike. The lowest you can adjust the saddle is determined by the seat tube. The farthest the rider can stretch out is dictated by the top tube.
Mountain Bike Size Frame Chart
What is the frame size for you? You will quickly realize that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution where mountain bikes are concerned. Why so? That’s for the simple reason that many riders consider a not-so-perfect-fit good enough for riding.
Still, there are benefits to considering manufacturer size charts, which are as close to 100 percent accurate as you can get. Below is a general list indicating the suggested user height for a particular bike frame size.
|5’ to 5’4”||13 inches to 14 inches (XS)|
|5’ 5” to 5’7”||14 inches to 16 inches (S)|
|5’ 8” to 5’10”||16 inches to 18 inches (M)|
|5’ 11” to 6’1”||18 inches to 20 inches (L)|
|Above 6’1”||20 inches to 22 inches (XL)|
Some Terms To Keep in Mind
Mountain bikes are as individual as people, so you want to understand terms that specifically relate to the size of the bike.
1. Length of the Seat Tube
This determines how high or low you can adjust the bike’s saddle. In other words, it tells you how far you can stretch out your legs and still be able to paddle effectively.
2. Height of the Stack
The stack height shows how the bars at their lowest adjustment relate to the bottom bracket. Therefore, it influences the reach of a particular bike.
3. Length of the Top Tube
This is the distance between the middle of the bike’s seat to the top of its head tube when they’re adjusted to be level.
4. Length of the Down Tube
While you typically won’t see down tube length in any size chart, it’s a measurement easy to figure out at home. Just measure the length between the center of the down tube’s lower section and the middle of the bottom bracket.
Why You Shouldn’t Get the Wrong Size Mountain Bike
With all the confusion surrounding bike frame size, you might be tempted to forego everything and just work with what you know. We strongly advise against that since it could become a recipe for disaster. Getting the wrong size bike not only makes for a less-than-stellar biking experience, but it could also very well result in an accident or injury.