- Getting the right frame size is crucial for the optimum experience on the road or trail.
- Specialized uses different sizing systems for trail, XC, road, and hybrid bikes.
- The new S-Sizing system lets you pick a trail bike size that suits your riding style.
- Larger sizes are more stable downhill and smaller sizes are more maneuverable.
- You can adjust your bike fit by changing your stem size, handlebars, and seat position.
If you are shopping from a new bike from Specialized, you may be confused about picking a frame size. Read on for all the info you need to get the right size.
For trail bikes, Specialized recommends an XS frame for 4’11”-5’3” rider; S frame for 5’2”-5’8” rider; M frame for 5’5”-5’11” rider; L frame for 5’8”-6’2” rider; XL frame for 5’10”-6’4” rider; XXL frame for 6’2”-6’8” rider. Your bike size will depend on your riding style and bike type.
I’ve ridden several Specialized mountain bikes, and for this article I met with a local bike fit technician and dug deep into Specialized sizing recommendations and dozens of reviews discussing bike fit to get you the best information on what size Specialized bike you need.
Specialized’s New S-Sizing System for Trail Bikes
Sizing for mountain bikes is very subjective and involves more than just picking a size that matches your height. Getting the right size depends a lot on your preferences, ride style, and the trails you ride.
Knowing this, Specialized has introduced a new system for picking mountain bike size which they are calling S-Sizing. This system is used for all Specialized trail, enduro, and downhill bikes and lets riders pick the size that works best for them without being limited to rigid sizing charts.
S-Size bikes are all built with similar standover heights and headtube lengths, so a rider can either size up or down based on their riding style. Sizing down will get you a lighter, more nimble ride with better maneuverability for flicking around on the trail. Sizing up will get you a longer wheelbase giving a more stable ride for enduro riding and aggressive downhill speed.
The table below shows the Specialized bike size guide for S-Size bikes.
Looking at the S-Size table, ou’ll notice that there is a lot of overlap between the height recommendations for different sizes. A 5’8” rider could pick either an S2, S3, or S4 frame. The S2 would give a more playful, flickable mountain bike; the S4 would give a more stable, planted ride; and the S3 would be balanced for all-around capability.
You can visit Specialized’s website to learn more about S-Sizing and how to pick the right S-Size for your riding.
Specialized Bike Size for XC Mountain Bikes
For cross country mountain bikes, Specialized doesn’t use their new S-Sizing and sticks to traditional small, medium, large sizes. You have less room to pick different sizes based on riding style, but that’s generally less of a concern for cross country riders.
The table below shows the sizing guidelines for XC bikes.
If you are between sizes on the height chart above, you have the choice to either pick the smaller size for a lighter, quicker, and more maneuverable mountain bike, or pick the larger size if you prefer a more planted ride feel.
In my experience, even with cross country mountain bikes, most riders who are between sizes will feel more comfortable and confident going with the larger size.
Specialized Bike Size for Road Bikes
Road bike sizing is different from mountain bike sizing in that there isn’t as much variety in riding style, and it has less of an impact on what size you should get. With Specialized’s trail bike sizing system, the same rider can size up or down based on personal preference. With a road bike, you should focus on getting the specific bike that fits your body size.
Fit can be even more important for road biking than mountain biking because you may be in the same position for hours at a time, and poor fit can lead to discomfort and even increase the likelihood of injuries over time.
When road cycling, a bike that’s too big can lead to you feeling stretched out over, while a too-small bike can cause you to be hunched over. Either scenario puts excess strain on your wrists, neck, and back.
As with most manufacturers, Specialized bicycles use the top tube length in centimeters for road bike sizes. Sizes range from 44 to 61.
The table below shows the size guidelines for Specialized road bikes.
Specialized Bike Size for Commuter and Hybrid Bikes
If you’re looking to get a bike just for commuting or riding around town, it’s still important to get a bike that fits even though performance may not be as critical for you.
Specialized has several bike models designed for more casual riding, and they have a different size chart for these commuting and fitness bikes. These bikes are built for riding primarily on pavement, but have a much more comfortable and upright fit than speed-oriented road bikes.
Use the table below to find your correct size for a Specialized commuter or hybrid bike.
Sizing is a bit different for electric commuter bikes like the Specialized Turbo Vado. Specialized makes these in a smaller range of sizes, likely due to the cost of manufacturing different sizes for electric bikes.
Use the table below to help find the correct size for a Specialized electric commuter bike.
Customizing Your Bike Fit
If you purchase a Specialized bicycle and find that the fit isn’t exactly right for you, there are still some things you can do to improve the way your bike fits. Here is a list of easy modifications and adjustments you can try on your own bike to make your bike feel more comfortable on the road or trail.
- Changing the length of your stem can have a big influence on fit. You can get a longer stem to make your bike feel bigger or a shorter stem to make your bike feel a bit shorter.
- Getting wider handlebars will increase the overall reach of your bike and will also give you more control to maneuver over rough trails.
- You can also get handlebars with vertical rise and backsweep to get a more upright riding position and increase your comfort.
- Crank length is an often-overlooked factor in bike fit. If you have shorter legs but a longer torso, you may want to opt for a larger frame size, but fit the bike with shorter cranks to keep pedaling comfortable.
- Bicycle saddles have a lot of adjustability that most people don’t take advantage of. Shifting your saddle just a few millimeters forward or back can have a surprisingly big influence on making your ride more comfortable.
These modifications won’t let you change your wheelbase or geometry of the bike, but they can have big affects on the handling and fit of the bike. Try experimenting with tweaking things on your bike and see how it changes the ride.
I would definitely recommend going to your local bike shop to have a professional bike tech help you make the adjustments needed to get the perfect fit.
About THE AUTHOR
I love mountain biking and live in Salt Lake City: a central hub for the MTB community. I started biking four years ago when a series of injuries put me out of commission for trail running. While biking started as cross-training, I fell in love with the sport. I mainly enjoy using my bike as a tool for exploration, I've done 50-mile all-day epic rides in the mountains and have been to some amazing places on my bike.Read More About Jakob Thygerson