Home generalMeasure frame height: How to determine your optimal frame height

Measure frame height: How to determine your optimal frame height

  • Calculate your frame height
    • Calculate stride length
    • Bicycle type factor
  • Definition: stride length and bicycle type
  • Tips for matching frame height
  • Measure frame height

For a pleasant ride on the bike, the right frame size is very important. In our guide you will learn how to measure your frame height.

Maybe you know the feeling - or have you ever seen it with another person: you're sitting on the bike almost like a kraken. The legs almost hit the handlebars and it seems like you could tip over at any moment. In this case, the frame height of the bike is simply too small. It also happens that one has to stretch the legs completely while pedaling - then the height of the frame exceeds the adequate measure. To avoid such scenarios at least in the future, it is best to read our article. We provide instructions and tips on how to measure your frame height.

Calculate your frame height

You need this:

  • normal-sized, fat book *
  • tape measure
  • Paper / notes
  • pen
  • our factors table

* Alternatively, a spirit level is also possible, if you have such a home.

Calculate stride length

Step 1: Take off your trousers, skirt or gown as well as your socks or tights. You should only wear underpants at the bottom and be barefoot for a correct test result.

Step 2: Stand against a wall with the book (or spirit level) in your hand, making sure the floor is flat and level.

Step 3: Clamp the book (or spirit level) with the top edge up between your legs. Push the utensil up until it gets slightly uncomfortable.

Note: The "contact pressure" simulates sitting on a bicycle saddle.

Step 4: Use the tape measure to measure the distance from the floor to the top of the book (or spirit level).

Step 5: Record the result in centimeters.

Tip: In order to achieve the most precise result possible, it makes sense to have the measurement done by a second person. If you carry out the act on your own, you can hardly avoid minor measurement errors.

Bicycle type factor

Step 1: Answer the question which type of bike you want to buy / borrow.

Step 2: Find out the required multiplication factor from the following table:

type of bikemultiplication factor
racer0, 665
mountain bike0.226
Trekking Bike0.66
City Bike0.66
cross bike0.61
Sport Touring Bike0.61
Full Suspension Bike0.225

Step 3: Multiply your stride length in centimeters by the required factor. The result of the calculation is (usually) your optimal frame size in centimeters.

Example: Person X has a stride length of 85 centimeters and wants to buy or borrow a cool city bike. Thus, it multiplies 85 by 0.66. The result is 56.1 - and is an inch measure. To convert the result to inches, divide the centimeter by the factor 2.54 (one inch equals 2.54 centimeters). In our example, the value in inches is 22.09. In short: The ideal base height of Person X for a city bike is 22.09 inches or 56.1 centimeters.

Note: For mountain bikes and fullsuspension bikes, the formulas are slightly different (this can already be clearly recognized by the significantly lower factors).

Formulas for road bike, trekking bike, city bike, fitness bike, cross bike and sport touring bike:

  • Value in cm: step length x factor
  • Value in inches: first step length x factor, then result: 2.54

Formulas for mountain bikes and fullsuspension bikes:

  • Value in cm: first step length x factor, then result x 2.54
  • Value in inches: step length x factor

Example: Person X has a stride of 85 centimeters and wants to buy or rent a mountain bike. Thus, it multiplies 85 by 0.266. The result is 19.21 - and is here as inch measure. To convert the result to centimeters, multiply the inch by 2.54. In the example, the value in centimeters is 48.79. In short, the ideal base height of Person X for a mountain bike is 19.21 inches or 48.79 centimeters.

Tip: On some pages on the Internet, it is recommended to use the factor 0.57 in centimeters for the calculation of the mountain bike frame height (without the additional multiplication by 2.54). The results of both variants are similar, but not identical. Most professionals choose the slightly more complicated formula.

Definition: stride length and bicycle type


The stride length is the length of the inside of your legs. It is the most important criterion when it comes to measuring the frame height.

Attention: The height is not or only partly decisive. After all, not all little people have very short and all big people very long legs. Especially for tall people, there are also those with relatively short legs (and a particularly long upper body). Therefore, adolescents and adults should only use the stride length in person-specific traits if they want to find out their frame size.

type of bike

In order to determine the appropriate frame size, in addition to the stride length also requires the information about the type of bike. Mountain bike, trekking bike, sport touring bike or road bike: Each "genus" is built differently - there are also differences in terms of the frame. Although the differences are often small, they should not be ignored. Due to the varying multiplication factors the differences are taken into account.

Excursus: Why are there different multiplication values ​​">

Riding a mountain bike requires more freedom of step. Why "> Tips for the right frame height

  • If the result of your individual calculation lies between two frame sizes, choose the smaller frame as a sporty ambitious driver. Are you looking for more comfortable bike rides, give preference to the larger frame.
  • If you would like to buy a bicycle with a spring-loaded seat post, subtract four centimeters from the calculated frame size (in centimeters).
  • In general, it is advisable, despite all calculations, to thoroughly test to determine the perfect model - if only because the frame geometry for the same types of bicycles can vary depending on the manufacturer.

Measure frame height

Note: This tip refers to the purchase of a bicycle on site. On the Internet, the frame height is usually part of the product description (commonly in inches) - otherwise ask the manufacturer or dealer.

The frame size is often not noted on the frame of the bike. But you have the possibility to measure the frame height. Just take a tape measure into the shop and determine the distance between the end of the seat tube and the center of the bottom bracket.

How an incorrect frame height affects driving and health
If you choose a bike with too small a frame height, you sit too far in front of the bottom bracket while driving and have the unpleasant sensation of traveling with a children's bike. If the frame height is too small, you will never really get power on the pedals.

Take a bike with too large a frame, make handling difficult and are always under the impression that you can not get a grip on the bike. Especially in very demanding terrain, this often leads to excessive demands.

With both "wrong decisions", the risk of falling off the bike and injuring oneself is greatly increased. In addition, you can deal with a wheel, the frame is too small, over time, bad back problems. So do not forget to measure your individual frame height before buying or lending a bike!

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