How to size a mountain bike with chart included
Wondering what size mountain bike to get? This guide explains everything you need to know about mountain bike sizes.
How to size a mountain bike
If you're new to mountain biking and are searching for your first MTB, you need to make sure you buy the right size mountain bike. Better yet, you’ll have way more fun and avoid injuries.
If you're upgrading your old mountain bike, you need to know you're getting a comfortable, responsive and safe bike.
If you're new to Canyon, you might be wondering how our range of mountain bikes sizes up against the other bikes on the market.
Sizing is one of the most important factors especially when buying a bike online. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Canyon MTB sizes.
Sizing up will boost confidence due to a longer wheelbase. Sizing down can increase agility and result in a more playful bike.
Overview of MTB types
Before we get into the nitty gritty of mountain bike frame size, here’s a refresher of the types of MTBs:
- Cross-country mountain bikes - these bikes are designed for all-round speed. They can be hardtails like our Exceed mountain bike or full-suspension MTBs like our Lux and Lux Trail bikes.
- Trail mountain bikes - designed for a little bit of everything including bike park trails and flowy singletrack. These bikes tend to be full-suspension. Our Neuron and Spectral mountain bikes are our signature trail bikes.
- Enduro mountain bikes - these bikes need to be able to climb as well as tackle technical descents. Our Strive was built with enduro racing in mind and the Torque is an incredible capable enduro/downhill rig.
- Downhill bikes - want a bike purely to experience the thrill of the descent? Our Sender is a world cup winning downhill racing machine.
- Dirtjump bikes - fancy yourself as the next Fabio Wibmer? Our Stitched MTBs are designed for jumps, urban and trials style riding.
Our mountain bike buyer's guide will help you figure out which mountain bike type you need.
How are mountain bikes sized?
Most mountain bikes are sized in a standard way such as small, medium and large. Some manufacturers only change the frame size between sizes, however Canyon does things a little differently.
On some of our mountain bikes, we spec responsive wheel sizes. This means the wheels change in size as the bike frames do. Smaller frame sizes are specced with smaller wheels (27.5 inches) to give the same ride feel as the bigger bikes with bigger wheels (29 inch). Some manufacturers also change the travel on full-suspension mountain bikes. The philosophy behind it is a smaller, lighter rider doesn't need as much travel as a larger, heavier rider. Given that most air suspension components are easy to tune no matter your height and weight, we’ve retained the same components across the size range.
Modern mountain bikes look very different to their early predecessors due to the evolution of mountain bike geometry. Seat tube length used to be the traditional indicator of bike sizes. This particular measurement is just the beginning when it comes to mountain bike sizing.
Important geometry indicators
When searching for the right size mountain bike, look at these measurements on the geometry chart. Use your old bike (if you have one) as an indicator.
- Reach: this is a much more accurate indicator of your riding position than top tub length. The smaller the number, the more upright you'll sit.
- Wheel size: different wheel sizes have different riding characteristics. Generally, 27.5" wheels are lighter and typically more playful than a 29" wheel on the same size bike. 29er mountain bikes are great at rolling over obstacles and offer better control.
- Standover height: this is the distance between the ground and top of the seat tube. With modern mountain bike geometry favouring lower frames and longer dropper seat posts, standover height is only a way of showing bikes that are too big. Your inside leg measurement will govern what standover height will be right for you. You should also consider how tyres can alter this measurement.
- Head angle: this is the angle of the head tube and the ground. A short head angle means a more agile bike. A long head angle (often referred to as "slack") means better control at higher speed and steeper gradients.
Sizing up and sizing down
For those people who sit between two sizes, you can decide what kind of mountain bike ride you like.
Our MTB Product Engineer Leo Malmeryd explains, "Professional enduro riders tend to size down nowadays. They are skilled enough to not need the increased stability and control from a long wheelbase. They want to keep the bike shorter to be able to get through those tight enduro corners. Amateur riders might benefit more from increased stability."
Canyon’s Perfect Positioning System
You can find a bike size chart on the product detail page of each bike model. The link to the chart is located underneath the size selection section of the page.
Years of research has gone into our unique bike sizing method, the Perfect Positioning System (PPS). All it takes are two measurements to find your ideal mountain bike size: your height and your inner leg length.
Thousands of customers rely on this system and each person's measurements add to the pool of data which increases accuracy. 98% of people entering their measurements will find their perfect mountain bike size.
Input your measurements once and we’ll display your perfect size on each product page. This saves you working out your frame size for each bike model.
What size mountain bike do I need?
Refer to the chart above as a rough guide to your frame size. Bike manufacturers differ in their sizing, so don't assume your old bike's size will be the same as your new bike.
If you're between sizes, consider your riding style to decide whether you would benefit from a longer wheelbase or smaller frame.
Investing in a mountain bike fit could also be beneficial for dialling in your measurements. Check out your nearest Canyon event or experience partner for test ride opportunities or visit us in Koblenz.
If you receive your bike and you’re not happy with the size, we’ll gladly accept returns within 30 days. Simply rebox your bike and send it back to us, no questions asked.
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