Girls Just Want to Have Fun: Your Handy Women's Road Bike Size Chart

May 19, 2022
womens road bike size chart - Woman placing her bike on a bike rack

Ever wanted to join the cycling revolution? Today, more and more women have begun leaving their four-wheeled gasoline-powered vehicles for the humble and simple bicycle. Aside from reducing the environmental costs of transportation, cycling brings many health benefits, especially for women.

However, finding the right bike size for you can be a real challenge. Bikes are designed differently depending on which type of cycling you prefer. This situation is made worse by the lack of an industry-wide standard for frame sizes and bike sizing. So how can women like you find the right size bike?

Scroll down for a helpful women's bike frame size chart and find out how to find the most appropriate bike for you!

What Are Road Bikes?

Before you go straight to find the correct bike size, you should first settle on the type of bike you need. There are as many kinds of bikes out there as there are types of cyclists. For instance, a mountain bike can get you atop hills and manage steep climbs, making them great for rough terrains. If you enjoy outdoor activities, a mountain bike is perfect for you.

However, most people shift to cycling as a last-mile travel solution. After getting off the bus or a train wagon, they would hop on a bike and pedal their way home. A road bike or a gravel bike would be the most appropriate type of bike in such scenarios as they do exceptionally well on paved surfaces such as roads and sidewalks.

What Do These Numbers Mean?

When shopping for a bike, take your time studying the specifications first. Bike specifications involve different numbers, which may be overwhelming for a first-time buyer like you. This section explains some of the confusing numbers you may encounter as you browse the aisle and online stores for your new bike.

If you are searching for leads, you can also check out our bike buying guides to give yourself a head start.

Rider Height

Have you ever tried riding a kid's bike as an adult? Even imagining such a situation seems silly. Some bikes can be too tall, while others can be too short. If you want a pleasurable and pain-free riding experience, you should consider how tall you are relative to your bike. Bike size charts base their recommendations on rider height.

Your bike height also determines how high or low the handlebars of your bike should be. If you are too tall, certain types of cycles may be too low for you, which will be bad for your overall form and ergonomics. A bike fit to your height will make a difference in riding comfort and safety. Aside from basing your decision on bike size charts, try out the bike yourself.

Leg Inseam

Your leg inseam is another significant number to keep in mind when buying a bike. The leg inseam covers the length between the floor and up to the area of your crotch. Measuring your leg inseam and finding a bike that more or less suits your measurement ensures that you will be comfortable while sitting idle on your bike.

To measure your leg inseam, you have to get a measuring tape and a bubble level. Put the bubble level between your legs as if simulating a bike saddle. Next, get your tape measure and determine the distance between the floor and your bubble level. The value you end up with is your leg inseam measurement.

Top Tube, Seat Tube, and Wheelbase

Bikes exhibit different geometries depending on their type and use case. Some bikes perform better in extreme situations because of their more aggressive geometry. Other bikes feel more comfortable riding for extended periods due to their more relaxed geometry. 

A bike's geometry depends on the combination of its top tube, seat height, saddle height, wheel size, and other measurements present in the bike frame.

For instance, the top tube is the horizontal length between the headtube and the seatpost. If your top tube is sloped, you can use a bubble level and a tape measure to determine the effective top tube length. Meanwhile, the wheelbase determines the weight distribution of the bike. You can measure it by finding the distance between the two wheel axles of the bike.

Frame Size

As mentioned before, the bike manufacturing industry doesn't share a single standard for determining frame sizes or bike sizes. Some bike manufacturers express the frame size using the measurement of the seat tube. Others differ in determining the seat tube length, utilizing either the "center to top" or the "center to center "method.

In most bike size charts, you will find rider height, inseam length, and frame size columns. If you want a fast and easy way to determine adequately-sized bikes for your height, you can rely on such bike size charts. 

However, nothing beats sitting and trying out the bike itself. Do note that bicycle brands don't share the same sizing categories (especially for bike size chart kids), but they do often overlap.

How to Find the Correct Bike Size For Women

womens road bike size chart - Woman on a bike looking back

Compute Your Bike Size

Some bike manufacturers prescribe an inseam length or inside leg measurement for their different bike sizes. Using these values, we may end up with a more appropriately-sized bike. An online bike size calculator can help you compute the frame size after inputting this measurement. So how do you determine this measurement?

First, ensure that you are standing on a flat and level surface. Second, place a bubble level or any object to simulate a bike saddle between your legs. Place it high enough to your crotch area as if you are sitting on a bike. Lastly, measure the distance between the ground and the object you used in place of a saddle.

After converting your inseam length or inside leg measurement into centimeters, multiply the value by 0.66 (for road bikes) to determine your frame size. You can use this value to identify which sizing option for your preferred road bike model will suit you better. 

Use a Women's Bike Size For Height Chart

The simplest and fastest way to determine appropriate bike sizes is by using your height. If you haven't figured out your height, get a tape measure and a pencil. Then, stand against a wall and on a flat surface. Make sure that you are standing straight. Next, grab your pencil and mark the wall at the top of your head. Finally, measure the distance between the floor and your mark.

Once you have your height measured, see the women's bike size table below for your corresponding road bike size:

Women's Road Bikes
Rider HeightCorresponding Frame Size
Feet and InchesCentimetersSize CategoryCentimeters
4”1' to 5”1'147 to 155XXS44 to 46
5”1' to 5”3'155 to 160XS47 to 49
5”3' to 5”5'160 to 165S50 to 52
5”5' to 5”8'165 to 172M53 to 55
5”8' to 5”10'172 to 180L55 to 57

Final Thoughts

Road bikes are tremendously helpful in intra-city and inter-city travel. As long as there are paved roads, you can get anywhere on a road bike. That's why more and more women are hopping on road bikes to get to work or school. 

Getting the right bike size for female riders means doing due diligence before placing an order for a road bike on an online bike shop. To help you out, we shared relevant information that can come in handy as you buy your first bike.

How about complementing your road bike with a bike computer? Discover the best road bike computer to help you navigate through busy city streets here.

Cycle Buddy

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