What size bike should I buy? It's a common question that women have when considering a new bike. That's why we've created a simple women's frame sizing guide, which is divided into tables for road bikes, mountain bikes and hybrid bikes.
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When bike shops and brands talk about bike size, what they're specifically referring to is the size of the frame, so bike size and frame size are often used interchangeably.
Choosing the correct frame size can be confusing, especially since recommended frame sizes vary between manufacturers, models and disciplines. There is no standard for sizing bikes.
Bike frame sizes can be listed in inches (e.g. 17in, 19in), centimetres (e.g. 48cm, 54cm) and in sizes such as small, medium and large.
What size bike do I need?
As a general starting point, bike sizes are determined by the height of the rider. Use this to decide what size to try using our charts below. If you sit between sizes, it’s worth trying both out and seeing which one fits you better.
Most bike manufacturers will also have their own size guides for each of the bikes they stock, again using rider height to determine the right size. It’s a good idea to check this too when you’ve decided what bike you want.
Your local bike shop will be able to help guide you through what you need to look out for and to find what size bike fits you best.
Some will also offer a bike fitting service. This is particularly important for road bikes, and will help fine tune the fit to ensure it’s personalised to you and as comfortable and efficient as it can be.
Online only sellers, such as Canyon, will take you through a guided set of measurements you need to take of your body, for example arm length, which are designed to ensure you get the right size.
Take it for a test ride
These bike size charts are designed as a general overview only, so make sure you test any bikes you are considering for comfort and safe handling, and consult each manufacturer's sizing guidelines before making a decision on which bike is suitable for you.
If you are buying second-hand give our handy guide a quick read to make sure you bag a bargain not a dud.
Women's road bike size guide
Women's mountain bike size guide
Women's hybrid bike guide
Do I need a women’s bike?
Many women find that a women’s specific bike suits them well, while others get on fine with unisex frames.
The most common benefits of opting for a women’s bike are that they include women's specific finishing kit, such as a women’s specific saddle, and also that the ranges tend to run to smaller sizes to suit smaller riders.
Some women's bikes are based around a unisex frame with women's specific finishing kit, while others, like those from Liv Cycling and Canyon, have a bespoke geometry designed around women-only body dimension data.
If you’re not sure, have a look at our article on the different approaches to women’s bike design. And if you’re going to choose a unisex bike, there are some simple and common tweaks that can make your bike more comfortable.