- The suggested frame size for a women’s bike is between 13-20 inches, depending on the bike type and the rider’s height.
- Women’s bikes are shaped differently and smaller because women are smaller than men.
- Cruiser bikes have step through frames, so the frame size is much bigger than other bike types.
This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Buying a bike requires a proper understanding of how bike sizes work. This is why there are women’s bike size charts for reference to find the right one.
The standard sizing for a women’s bike can be found using a bike size chart. For example, shorter women under 5’ 5” will need a bike with a frame size between 13-16 inches on average. The recommended women’s bike size also changes based on the bike type.
As an experienced cyclist with over a decade spent on both the saddle and the trail, I bring an insider's perspective to the world of cycling. I’ve also spoken with multiple bike manufacturers to learn more about women’s bike charts and sizing.
Women’s Bike Size Chart: How To Choose The Right One
Choosing the right bike size is crucial for a comfortable and efficient ride, but it can often feel like a confusing task, especially with the array of different bike styles and sizes available in the market today. Here’s the standard women’s bike size chart for reference.
All bikes are sized according to a few factors, including their height, frame size, and wheel size. These sizes are listed in a womens bike size chart so people can purchase bikes based on what suits their needs.
One of the main things I learned is that women's bike sizes differ from men's due to differences in body proportions. So, let's dive in and discuss the key factors to consider when looking for the right bike size for women and how to choose the right bike.
This affects the bike's handling and stability. Larger wheels roll faster and are better at overcoming obstacles, while smaller wheels are nimble and offer more responsive handling.
Wheel size also impacts the rest of the bike, depending on your height. This is why mountain bikes are sized differently than road bikes because you need larger, knobby tires and wheels for off-road terrains.
Crucial for comfort and efficiency, the frame size should match your body proportions. A wrongly sized frame can lead to poor posture and discomfort.
Frame size is one of the most crucial aspects to consider when choosing a bike. It directly impacts your comfort, riding position, and pedaling efficiency.
Rider Weight & Height
These factors determine the suitable frame size and wheel size. Heavier riders might require a more robust frame and wheelset. The same is true for height.
Your height and weight are key factors in determining the appropriate bike size. For instance, a taller rider would require a larger frame size and potentially larger wheels to accommodate their larger body size.
This impacts the standover height and the seat tube length. A bike that matches your inseam length allows for efficient pedaling and a comfortable standover height.
Your inseam length, or the distance from the bottom of your foot to your crotch, is critical in determining the correct standover height and seat tube length.
Seat Tube Length
It affects your riding posture and the ease with which you can reach the pedals. It should be proportional to your leg length.
The seat tube length is the length of the tube on the bike frame that extends from the bottom bracket up to the saddle. This should be proportional to your leg length for you to reach the pedals comfortably and maintain an efficient pedaling motion.
The standover height is the clearance between you and the top tube when you stand over the bike. It should be enough to allow you to dismount comfortably. There is no industry standard for what is the right standover height.
A professional bike fitting at a local bike shop will tell you at least 50mm in front of the bottom bracket is ideal. This is a good indication you have the correct size bike height-wise.
Women's Bike Size By Bike Type
Depending on the bike type, your desired bike size can change. Knowing your required bike size is good to know when shopping at local bike shops too. Below you can find the bike size charts for tons of different bike types.
Mountain Bike Size Chart
Mountain bikes use different frame sizes, materials, and larger wheels. Because of this, the sizing is different. The women’s mountain bike size chart can be found below.
Road Bike Size Chart
Women’s road bike sizes are closer to the standard set by the general women’s sizing chart. You can find what size bike you need below if you plan to buy a road bike.
Hybrid Bike Size Chart
Hybrid bikes are also sized a little differently because they are meant to handle different terrain styles. Below is the chart to find your ideal hybrid bike size.
Cruiser Bike Size Chart
Cruiser bikes use one of the larger frame sizes for women’s bikes. You’ll notice that many cruiser-style bicycles are classified as a unisex bike by manufacturers because of the frame design and riding style. Below is the sizing chart.
Tips For Finding The Right Women’s Bike Size
Finding the right bike size is essential for comfort, safety, and efficiency while riding. Let's take a look at some tips and tests you can use to ensure a proper fit for a women's bike.
Standover Bike Test
This test checks the distance between you and the bike's top tube when you stand over it with both feet flat on the ground. Ideally, there should be around 1-2 inches of clearance.
This allows you to dismount quickly and comfortably in situations where you need to stop suddenly or lose your balance.
Check The Seat Post & Saddle
Adjusting the seat post and saddle is essential for achieving a good fit. When you sit on the saddle with one foot on the pedal at its lowest point, your leg should be almost fully extended, but your knee should not be locked out.
This will allow for efficient pedaling and reduce strain on your knees. The saddle should also be level to support your full body weight and allow movement. If the saddle is tilted too far forward or backward, it can cause discomfort or muscle strain.
Reach For The Handlebars
When you're sitting on the bike, you should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without having to stretch or feel like they're too close. Your elbows should be slightly bent when you hold onto the handlebars, allowing for movement and control.
If the handlebars are too far away, it can cause back, shoulder, and hand discomfort. If they're too close, it can feel cramped and limit your control over the bike.
Check Clearance Under The Handlebars
Similar to the standover test, when you are riding, there should be some clearance between your body and the handlebars, especially when you're standing up on the pedals.
This clearance will allow you to maneuver the bike easily and safely. If the handlebars are too low, it can lead to an uncomfortable riding position and put excess strain on your hands, wrists, and lower back.
Why Are Women's Bikes Shaped Differently?
While the fundamental structure of a bicycle is the same for both genders, there are some notable differences in women-specific bikes to accommodate the average anatomical and physiological differences between men and women.
Traditionally, women's bikes often had a top tube that sloped downwards. This was originally designed to accommodate riding in skirts, but this design can also lower the standover height, which can benefit riders with shorter legs.
However, modern bike design has largely moved away from this style, and many women's bikes today have a top tube parallel to the ground, similar to men's bikes.
Women generally have shorter torsos and longer legs than men of the same height, so many women's bike frames are designed with shorter top tubes to match. This leads to a shorter reach to the handlebars, which can be more comfortable for many women.
Given the shorter reach, the stems (the component that connects the handlebars to the bike) on women's bikes are often shorter. This also helps to bring the handlebars closer to the rider and allows for a more comfortable and controlled ride.
Seat Size & Shape
Women typically have wider sit bones than men, so the saddles on women's bikes are usually wider and shorter to better support this anatomy. The right saddle can drastically improve comfort on longer rides.
Adjustable Brake Levers
Women often have smaller hands than men, and this can make reaching and operating the brake levers on a standard bike difficult. Therefore, many women's bikes feature adjustable brake levers that can be set closer to the handlebars, making them easier to reach and operate.
Handlebar Size & Angle
Just as with the brake levers, handlebars on women's bikes are often narrower to suit typically smaller shoulder widths. This design helps with control and comfort. The angle of the handlebars can also be adjusted for optimal comfort and control.