Whether you’re looking for your first bike or replacing an old one, knowing what bike size suits you will greatly help you narrow down your options.
After all, bicycles are available in all sizes and shapes, and the right one for you depends on your cycling uses, body type, and personal preference.
Recently, 26-inch bikes have become very popular, thanks to their excellent combination of speed, durability, and stability.
But what is a 26-inch bike, and who is it for? Here’s what you need to know about these bikes.
What is a 26-inch bike?
A 26-inch bike refers to a bike with a wheel diameter of 26 inches. This is usually the standard wheel size for mountain bikes.
How Do You Determine a Bike Size?
If you’re purchasing your favorite 26-inch bike at a local store, the best thing is to try out the bike before purchasing. However, this is not possible if you’re buying online.
There are a few methods you can use to determine if the bike size is right for you. It’s advisable to measure your inseam, height, and width, or consult the size chart to find the right size.
Your inseam or height is a great determinant of the right bike frame size. Here’s how you can determine your inseam and height.
- Remove your footwear and stand straight with your legs 6 to 8 inches apart.
- Measure the distance from the head to the foot.
- Finally, measure the length of your inseam (inside leg)
The size chart will provide information on the fit of a bike. It will also give information on the type of gear that will suit your bike size.
26-inch bike for what size person?
A 26-inch bike is designed for riders between the height of about 5ft to 6ft. If you’re taller than that, you should look for a bike with larger tires and sufficient space in length.
Consequences of riding a bike too small or too big
Riding a too small or too big bike can lead to great health problems. Here are some of them:
- Back Pain: The right posture is crucial with any bike, whether you’re conquering a singletrack mountain bike trail or hitting high speeds on a road bike for tens of miles. Cycling on a frame that’s the wrong size will lead to lower back pain, especially if you’re on a road bike. Adjusting a handlebar or Seatpost won’t compensate for the frame.
- Wrist Pain: If you spend several hours on a bike that’s too small or big, your wrists will start to take the brunt of poor positioning. The body’s stance will increase pressure on your wrists, which will naturally overcompensate.
- Fatigue: Pedal efficiency is the main reason why you should get the right-sized bike. When you get the right bike size, you will achieve the proper leg positioning and stance needed to pedal without straining.
- High Crash Risks: When riding on the right bike for your size, you have much better control over the bike. If you ride on a too-big bike, you will have to sacrifice a huge amount of control, which increases the risk of a crash.
How to Fix a Wrong Bike Size
Bike Too Small
- Longer Seat Post: If your saddle is low, you can look for a longer saddle post. Always ensure that the seat post has the right diameter. A 350mm seat post will be a good fit.
- Saddle Setback: The saddle position is the other factor that determines your position. Move it back and find the right position.
- Longer Stem: The stem is designed to help you determine your position on the bike. Also, keep in mind the stem’s angle.
Bike Too Big
- Shorter Seat Post: Some seat posts may be too long for your size. Therefore, you should buy a shorter one or cut off your current post to make it shorter.
- Saddle Forward: You will have better access to the handlebar if you slide your saddle forward. This will eliminate any pain in your knees.
- Shorter Stem: Go for a shorter stem to get the best position on your bike.
What Age is a 26-Inch Bike For?
A 26-inch bike is suitable for riders who are at least 13 years old. So, teenagers and some adults can use this bike. However, age is not only the determining factor. If you’re older than 13 years but taller than 5’7”, then you need a 27.5 or 29-er bike.
What Bike Size Do I Need?
This is entirely a personal preference. A 26-inch bike is usually the best size for petite and young users, while larger 6-inch bike frames are well-suited for bigger kids and adults of all sizes.
Now you know what to look for when buying a 26-inch bike. When buying online, be keen on the measurements, and check to ensure it’s in line with your ideal size.
With a bit of research, you will be sure that you’re purchasing a bike that you can comfortably use without issues of improper fit.