Size Does Matter- Bike Size Guide
Author: Tim Date Posted:29 January 2020
Rider/Bike Size Guide
Understanding which bike is right for you can be something you might not have ever thought about before, but like a well-fitting pair of 501’s each BMX bike geometry has been put together based on the size, weight, age and more importantly the height of the rider. Smaller bikes have become more popular in the past years with several companies getting into the balance bike market. At the other end of the spectrum, for the riders out there that are just “too tall” for BMX, there is another option available with 22” and 24” BMX bikes becoming more available. Regardless of what size bike you ride it’s important, you understand why. Having the right size bike will change the way the bike rides, does tricks and feels when your cruising. A bike that’s too small will feel less stable for a taller rider, where a bike that’s too big will be far more difficult to ride and lift for the smaller rider. As mentioned in the Frame Buyers Guide, BMX bike frames are built to fit different heights of riders and different geometries will consequently have different effects. This article will summarize some things to consider when choosing the right bike size for you and highlight some advantages of using the correct size bike that will make every ride a banger!
How to Find the Correct Size
You may not have ever thought about the size of your body impacting how your bike feels, but that’s exactly how bike mechanics find the perfect size of bike for you. The table below gives a rough idea of how big of a bike you will need at the corresponding heights of the rider. Furthering this if your interested to know which bike fits you properly here’s how you can. First; you will need to measure yourself, once you have this number measure the distance from the floor to the inside of your groin now you have your height and your leg height. After this, you will need to measure your reach. Reach can be found by measuring the distance from your armpits to your fingertips. Once you have all these numbers you will need to find your ape index (or your height less your reach) If you have a positive ape index then go for the larger size bike, or if you have a negative ape index go for a smaller size.
Distribution of Height and Wheel Size
The table below shows the recommended bike wheel size for the corresponding height of the rider.
|Wheel size (Inches)||12"||14"||16"||18"||20"||22"||24"|
|Rider Height (cm||70-90||90-110||100-140||134-160||160+||170+||170+|
Getting your Kids into BMX can be the best decision you ever make as a parent, but choosing the right BMX bike it’s as easy. For the kids 1-4 yrs that are showing some interest in things other than putting stuff in their mouth, you have the 12inch balance bikes and BMX bikes. These bikes have made dramatic improvements using parts from 20” BMX bikes these little bikes are truly incredible and have made the transition from walking to riding seamless. Since this bike is built to improve balance it’s important that the child’s feet can touch the ground when sitting over the bike. The next thing to look at is the distance between the handlebars and the rider’s chest. If the rider is unable to comfortably hold the bars because they are too far away then the bike is too big (or) may need to have the bars adjusted. This distance will make riding the bike easier or more difficult depending on the length of the rider’s arms and how much pull the rider can make on the bars.
The next step up from the 12inch Balance Bike is the 14inch BMX bike. These bikes are designed to fit children that stand between 90-110cm tall. These bikes are kitted out with Alloy frames and bridge from the 12inch to the substantially taller 16-inch bike nicely. 14 inch BMX bikes offer children a bike slightly bigger, heavier and more durable than the 12inch. These 14-inch bikes are perfect to start learning tricks and becoming more confident on larger ramps. Thankfully in 2020 Buying a 14inch BMX bike doesn’t have to be so hard with many companies including Kink, DK and many more starting to offer 14inch bikes for our younger generation. These 14ich BMX bikes pack a high quality, ready to ride a complete bike that will allow your child to comfortably learn to ride their BMX Bike safely and comfortably.
The next step up is the 16ich Bike. 16-inch bikes have been popular over the years in freestyle BMX with several companies offering a 16-inch option before most were offering 12 and 14-inch options. 16-inch bikes offer Chromoly frames, sealed bearings, 3 piece cranks, and normal 20-inch BMX hubs. Building a 16inch bike from scratch can be an expensive process however 2020 has made it more affordable with many companies offering 16-inch complete bikes. These bikes have been designed for riders at are between 100-140cm or 5-9 yrs old. At this height, a 16-inch bike will fit the rider correctly.
18-inch bikes are built for the riders that are ready for a 20inch but are still a little vertically challenged. These bikes are built to last usually costing similar to a 20-inch bike of similar quality. 18-inch bikes are best suited for riders that stand between 135cm and 160cm or 7-13yrs old. These bikes are a great transition for all riders going from a 16 to a 20inch. Coming in under 10kilos, most of the 18inches available in 2020 are a lightweight, versatile bike ready for the young shredders to make the jump to the 20-inch. With many brands including Colony, Wethepeople, Cult manufacturing 18inch BMX bikes the hard part is choosing the right ride for you.
What most people think of when the word BMX is thrown into their head, the 20inch BMX frame is the original BMX frame. Over the years this frame has been made in a variety of sizes ranging from 19.8-21.75inches, with variations to the chainstays, head tube angles, and seat tube angles, the 20inch BMX frame has been through a lot, however, one thing has remained the same, the riders. The correct fit for a flat 20inch BMX Bike would be a rider that stands 160+cm. BMX frames come in such a variety that choosing the perfect frame can take a little personal preference, as the size of the bike can dictate the style of riding. Like peas in a pod taller riders fit longer bikes, shorter riders fit shorter bikes. However, like freestyle having no rules, some riders prefer their bike a little longer or shorter than “recommended”.
For the taller rider that has had enough of a sore lower back and trying to locate the longest BMX frames available are the 22-inch and 24-inch options. These Bikes are built for both cruising but can handle the regular abuse of BMX. 22Inch bikes are built for riders 170+cm and offer high-quality parts throughout the array of completes that are available in 2020. This bike is longer and therefore requires more reach, 22-inch BMX bikes are obviously a little heavier, this needs to be considered when purchasing a 22inch since they can be more difficult to do tricks on. Similarly, the 24-inch Bikes offer a more comfortable, commuter style bike while still keeping the essence of BMX in the design. With current graphics and BMX parts throughout, these cruisers are built for just about anything and suit best to the riders that stand over 170cm tall.
To sum all of this up, BMX bikes come in many shapes and sizes and choosing the right one for you (or someone else) can be the difference in having epic sessions and not really feeling comfortable on your new BMX BIKE. Finally, if you are unsure about the size of the bike you're about to buy, then pull into your local bike shop and ask the question.