CHOOSING BIKE SIZE
 

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The Right Bike

Selecting the right bicycle for your needs involves choosing both its type and its size. Each bike of a given model usually has the same wheel size. Frame sizes vary, however, in order to fit riders of different heights.
 

Wheel Size

Recycled Cycles & Service sells high-quality adult bicycles. Wheels for these bikes come in several basic sizes based loosely on wheel diameter. Most of our road bikes and hybrids have wheels marked 700c, a common metric size. Older road bikes may have somewhat larger 27-inch wheels. The majority of mountain bikes have 26-inch wheels, although newer models have adopted "29-inch" and other wheel sizes.

Some special bicycles -- recumbents and time trial bikes, for example -- can have unique wheel sizes. When listed, our descriptions of these bikes include this wheel information.
 

Frame Size

Bicycle manufacturers usually offer several frame sizes for each model in their lines. Each bike's frame size is defined by the physical length of its seat tube. Bike makers increasingly vary on how they measure this length. Recycled Cycles notes sizing conventions for most listings.

Diagram

For example, "c-c" means the bicycle or frame is measured "center to center," from the center of the bottom bracket vertically along the seat tube to the center of the intersection of the seat tube and top tube. A "c-t" designation means the frame is measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. Manufacturer sizing may also be referenced.

Size units shown for each listing reflect the manufacturer's dimensional preference. See below for approximate metric/U.S. equivalents. (For sizes not shown, multiply by 0.39 to convert centimeters to inches. To convert inches to centimeters, multiply by 2.54.)

 Cent.   Inch   Cent.   Inch   Cent.   Inch 
4818.905320.875822.83
4919.295421.265923.23
5019.685521.656023.62
5120.085622.056124.02
5220.475722.446224.41

 

What Size Frame Do I Need?

A correctly sized frame is big enough to put seat and handlebars in a comfortable position, but small enough to straddle during unexpected stops. For proper fit, allow for the following amounts of clearance when you are standing over the top tube of your bike:

  • Road bicycles -- 1-2 inches of clearance
  • Hybrids -- 1-4 inches of clearance
  • Mountain bicycles -- 2-6 inches of clearance.

If you have access to bikes of various known sizes, step over a few to establish your range of suitable frame sizes. (When women's models are not available, try men's diamond frames.) If comparative bikes aren't handy, measure the distance from your crotch to the floor when you are standing in riding shoes, then subtract 9-10 inches for road bikes, 9-12 inches for hybrids, and 10-14 inches for MTBs to approximate your frame size range.

Size options can be limited in the used bike market. Our customers often consider two general sizing conventions during their final bicycle or frameset selections:

  • In most cases, a frame near the small end of your size range will offer slightly greater performance than one near the large end.
  • For greater comfort and a more upright riding position, choose the frame that measures a bit on the large side.

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Contact Us
Recycled Cycles & Service
7375 Shaftesbury Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri 63130
Recycled Cycles -- Serving Cyclists Since 1992

As St. Louis' Original Used Bicycle Source, Recycled Cycles & Service specializes in quality used bicycles and associated equipment. Our prices are always lower than equivalent new-bike prices -- and any bike can be customized to suit your needs. RCS offers professional repair services with full parts availability. Special orders? Call or e-mail your want list. We'll try to help you find that special item.

Help & More
Choosing Bike Type
Choosing Bike Size
 
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