What to do when you're in between bike sizes

In between sizes

If you’re looking for a new bike, but you fall between two sizes, how do you decide which one you need?

Buying a bike is an investment, and not just because it costs money. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with it, so it’s important to make sure that the two of you will get along. If you’ve been looking at size guides and you’re in the middle of two bike sizes, we’ve put together some tips to help you decide which you should be going for.

Bikes are adjustable

People come in all shapes and sizes, but bikes only come in a few different sizes for each model. To be able to find the right size for anyone, it’s important that bikes are adjustable – the seat post can slide up and down, the saddle can move backwards and forwards, the handlebars and stem can be moved around, and you can even switch out parts like the stem for different sized ones to help the bike fit better.

This is why you’ll see an overlap in frame sizes – it’s supposed to be that way! If you fit into the range for two different sizes on the chart, it means exactly what it says. Either bike can be made to fit.

Which way should you go?

Finding out whether or not you should pick a bigger or a smaller frame is sometimes as simple as personal preference, but there are a few simple ways to work out which might suit best.

Touch your toes

Did you manage? If you’re more flexible, you might prefer a shorter head tube, so the smaller size might work out better for you. You can use a longer stem to make the reach more comfortable.

Check your Ape Index

Another way to decide which bike to go for is to look at your ape index. On a bigger bike, the reach to the handlebars will be longer. This means that if you have proportionally longer arms, you might be more comfortable on a bigger frame.

Your ape index is a comparison between your arm span and your height. If your arm span is longer than your height, go for a bigger frame. If it’s shorter, get the smaller one.

Still not sure?

If you still can’t decide which frame size might suit you best, don’t worry. Just head to your nearest Cycle Republic store and we’ll be able to give you some more advice.