Long Eaton Cycles Logo

How to size your bike

Buying a bike which is the right size is probably the most important part of choosing your new cycle. It's important that you make the correct choice therefore we have compiled a few notes that should help guide you during the selection process.

We are here to help

If following the review of this guide you are still not confident that you have chosen the correct size for you or your child please email us at info@tsbikes.co.uk and let us have all the information you can and we will respond with our recommendation within 24hrs.

Balance Bikes – for Children between 1 and 3 years of Age.

Balance bikes are relatively new to the market and are designed to develop your child's confidence and balance from a very early age. They have no pedals or chain and the child straddles the bike and scoots along without the aid of stabilizers. The use of a balance bike is likely to negate the requirement for your child to need the support of stabilizers.

Pavement Bikes – for Children between 2 and 8 Years of Age.

If the bike is for a child, they generally fall into age categories based on the average size of a child of a specific age. There is no hard and fast rule to what size bike fits what age of child however the table below provides a guide based on the average heights of children at the various ages. It is safe to assume that if your child is above average height for their age it is safe to assume they can move up to the next size bike.

  • 12" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 2½ to 4
  • 14" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 3 to 5
  • 16" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 5 to 7
  • 18" Wheel Cycles – Suitable for ages 6 to 7

All 12" and 14" wheel bikes come fitted with stabilizer wheels as standard equipment. Some manufactures fit stabilizer wheels to 16" wheel bikes but not all. If you are choosing a bike with 16" wheels for a child that cannot yet ride on two wheels (not unusual) please check the specification to ensure stabilizers are included.

Children's Bikes –for Children between 6 and 11 years of age.

It gets much easier to size bikes for children who are able to ride without the help of stabilizers because they are generally much more confident and experienced at bike handling. All you need to look out for here is that some manufacturers make 20" and 24" wheel bikes in two frame sizes. 20" wheel bikes can be available in either 11" or 13" frames and 24" wheel bikes can be available in either 12" or 14" frame sizes. The general guide here is to that if your child is below average height at the age of 6 years old they will be safer and happier on a bike with an 11" frame and 20" wheels and if they are above average height at the age of 6 they will be better with a 13" frame.

  • 20" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 6 to 8
  • 24" Wheel Cycles - Suitable for ages 9 to 11
IMPORTANT – When making your choice please consider your child's confidence and safety by not selection a bike that may be too big.

BMX Bikes – Size Guide

BMX bikes can are available with 16" 18" 20" and 24" inch wheels but the size most associated with these bikes is 20" wheel and accounts for around 97% of sales, therefore if someone uses the term BMX they are almost certainly referring to 20"wheel.

20" wheel BMX bikes are ridden by children and adults of all sizes but the minimum age for this style of bike would be between 7 and 8 years.

Because BMX is very much a fashion / sports bike you will find that your son or daughter will generally know what they are looking for but if you would like further information on this category please email us at info@tsbikes.co.uk

Adult Bikes – Size Guide

Once you are into 26" wheel bicycles (road bikes have 700c wheels), then size is only determined by Frame Size. The size of the frame is measured from the top of the frame at the point where the seat post is inserted, down to the centre of the axle carrying the pedal arms (bottom bracket). In the UK and USA this is measured in inches, in Europe it is often in centimetres. Unfortunately some manufacturers measure their models to the centre of the intersection of the top tube and the seat tube, which can throw some of the sizing out a little. The following rules of thumb should be applied when you try a bike for size:

Racing Bikes:

Standing flat footed on the ground, you should have a minimum of 1" clearance between yourself and the top tube(cross bar) of the frame

Mountain Bikes:

Standing flatfooted on the ground; you should have a minimum of 3" clearance between yourself and the top tube(cross bar) of the frame.

TSBIKES Recommends

The chart below offers you a basic guide to the frame size against inside leg measurements. The correct way to measure your inside leg is from your crotch to the floor making sure that your feet are flat on the ground.

Frame Size Chart - Imperial

Frame Size Inside Leg Range

Frame Size Chart - Metric

Frame Size Inside Leg Range
We have placed cookies on your browsing device to enable this website to function correctly.
Further usage of this website indicates you are happy for us to do this..
Find out about the cookies we have set and how we use them.