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How to Choose the Right Fixed Gear Bike Size (2 Methods)

You wont want to screw this one up.

Blue tsunami snm100 single speed bike with drop bars and pedal straps on city streets.
Blue Tsunami Snm100 Single Speed Bike With Drop Bars And Pedal Straps On City Streets. Source: Arif Maulana, Unsplash

If you’re considering buying a fixed gear or single-speed bike online, you might be wondering how to determine your bike size. Fortunately, choosing the proper fixed-gear or single-speed bike is not as difficult as you might think. So, let’s discuss how to choose the right size for your fixed gear bike

To determine the ideal size of your bike, identify your height in inches or centimeters and reference the manufacturer’s sizing chart, typically found on their website. If they don’t have a size chart, take a look at our sizing chart on this page. 

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, in this article, you will learn why choosing the right size bike is so important, how a bike’s size is determined, and how you can choose the bike size that’s right for you.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on October 31, 2021, to include additional information regarding fixed gear bike sizes.

Why is bike size inportant?

You will feel really stretched out if you ride a bike that is too large for you. In the worst-case scenario, you may not even be able to touch the pedals when they are in their lowest position. 

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If you ride a bike that is too small for you, you will likely feel cramped and may be unable to elevate the saddle high enough to pedal effectively.

Additionally, if you start riding with pedal straps, clips, or clip-in pedals, you get locked into position. Therefore sizing becomes critical. When riding clipless, having the wrong bike size may cause discomfort or even long-term damage to your body.

How is a bike’s size determined?

Typically when we talk about bike sizes, we are referring to the dimension of the frame, whether it is the seat tube length or the top tube length. This is why you will often hear bike size and frame size used interchangeably. 

The seat tube length is used to determine its size. Normally, this measurement is taken from the center of the bottom bracket (BB) or the center of the bolt that connects the crank arms. This varies by brand; some measure to the top of the top tube where it joins the seat tube, while others measure to the center of the top tube. 

Mountain bikes are measured in either inches or descriptive sizes (small, medium, etc.). Fixed gear, single-speed, and road bikes are measured in centimeters or descriptive measurements, although hybrid bikes may be any of the three. 

Is there a difference between mens and womens fixed gear bikes?

No. Fixed gear bikes are unisex, meaning there are women’s and woman fixed gear bikes. They’re the same. However, it should be noted that there are distinctions between men and women that should be noted when considering a bike or bike parts.

Women’s torsos are often shorter, necessitating a shorter top tube. This is when “woman-specific” designs enter the picture. These bicycles may be suitable for guys with shorter upper bodies or riders who want a more upright riding stance. Top tube length may be modified to an effective length by employing varied stem sizes, although this might have a size on handling.

Woman casually riding a fixie on the boardwalk.
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Woman casually riding a fixie on the boardwalk.

How to choose the right size bike

If you’re purchasing a bike online and won’t be able to test ride it to get the ideal size, here are some pointers to help you find the right size bike for you.

1. Determine your height

It’s astonishing how many people are unaware of their own height. Knowing your actual height will allow you to make a more accurate bike size selection. This is because most bike manufacturers use height as a key metric when considering riding comfort.

Don’t have a way to measure? Here are a few measuring tapes you can use to help you determine your eight.

2. Check the manufacturers sizing chart

Once you’ve determined your height, find the manufacturer’s sizing chart. Their website should contain this information. That will give you a good indication of what size you need.

If you can not find a proper fixed gear bike sizing chart on the manufacturer’s website, check out our chart below. 

HeightInside LegFrame Size
5’1″ – 5’3″27″ – 29″48cm
5’3″ – 5’5″28″ – 30″50cm
5’5″ – 5’7″29″ – 31″52cm
5’7″ – 5’9″30″ – 32″54cm
5’9″ – 5’11”31″ – 33″56cm
5’11 – 6’2″32″ – 34″58cm
6’1″ – 6’5″33″ – 35″60cm
Fixed gear and single speed bike size guide.

These are clearly estimates, but for most people, they are sufficient for most people.

Keep in mind that not everyone’s size is the same. If you know you want your bike to be a little bigger, choose one size larger than the recommended size (the same goes if you know you want a smaller bike). 

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I’m 5’7 and my 52-inch frame size is absolutely perfect for me. So I can tell you that teh size cart is accurate. 

3. Determine your inseame

If you have access to the specs of the bike, you might be able to determine the ideal height using your inseam measurements and the standover height measurements. This should be used in conjunction with your height when determining your bike size.

The standover height is the distance between the ground and the top tube of the bike. Compare your in-seam (pant leg length) to this measurement. 

The inner seam is measured from the crotch region where the saddle would be to the floor. Multiply this measurement in centimeters by 0.67. For example, suppose your inner seam was 85cm long (85 x 0.67 = 56.95). Your optimal top tube length is 56.95cm. Therefore you should seek a 57cm bike or a size close to that.

The standover height rule is a handy technique to determine your fixie bike size without having to test -ide your new fixed gear bike.

Below is a video that shows you how to determine your top tube length. 

A video called Bike Sizing from Pure Cycles’ YouTube Channel.

Conclusion

It might seem difficult to find the correct bike size. This is especially true if you are accustomed to riding road bike frames and are transitioning to fixed gears. But hopefully, these tips will help you select the size that’s right for you.

In this article, we covered how to determine what size bike you should get when shopping around for a new fixie. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Choosing the right bike size is important for comfort and safety
  • You measure your height and use the bike manufacturer sizing chart
  • Try measuring your inseam and comparing that to the standover height of the bike. This should be located somewhere in the specs of the bike. 
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I ride a 52cm. How about you? Let us know in the comments below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Written by Bradly Knight

As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for over ten years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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