How to choose the correct Kona Mountain bike size

Written by greg jones
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How to choose the correct Kona Mountain bike size
Mountain biker on a trail. (adventure mountain biking image by Maxim Petrichuk from

Kona offers a full range of fat tire mountain bikes for novice to intermediate trails, more challenging cross-country trail riding, and dual-suspension, high-performance machines for serious off-road riders and racers. Kona, a pioneer in the development of sloping top-tube frame design, specialises in smaller, sleeker frames made of lightweight yet durable aluminium alloys. Most Kona mountain bike models are offered in the following sizes, in inches: 14, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 22. Choose a Kona mountain bike that fits you in both height and length and matches the type of riding you plan to do.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure

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  1. 1

    Stand barefoot with legs straight and measure inseam leg length from crotch to the floor. For an estimate of appropriate mountain bike size, men should multiply crotch-to-floor inseam length by 0.62. For example, a man with a 33-inch inseam should test ride a 20-inch Kona bicycle based on the equation: 33 x 0.62 = 20.46.

  2. 2

    Women riders, who often have longer legs and shorter torsos, should multiply crotch-to-floor inseam length by 0.52. For example, a woman with a 33-inch inseam, using the equation of 33 x 0.52 = 17.16, should test ride a 17-inch Kona bicycle. Women riders should make sure the top tube on their Kona bicycle is not too long, that they can reach the handlebars comfortably. You can raise your seat to accommodate long legs, but your top tube is a fixed length. Moving the seat forward or a longer bar stem can help reduce a slightly long top-tube reach.

  3. 3

    Stand with feet flat on the ground, straddle a Kona mountain bike frame, and measure the clearance between crotch and the top tube. A rider should have three to four inches clearance from crotch to the top tube for safety and room to move when riding rough terrain.

  4. 4

    If you already own a road bike, pick a mountain bike frame that is two to four inches smaller than your road frame size. For example, if your road bike frame is 20 inches, test ride Kona mountain bikes in the 16- to 18-inch range. If you don't know your road bike frame size, measure from the top of the road bike seat tube to the middle of the bottom bracket (where the pedal crank is bolted on).

  5. 5

    Test ride the Kona frame size(s) closest to your measurements with the seat post exposed six to eight inches. Make sure your reach to the pedals and the handlebars is comfortable; your knee should have a slight bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and your back should incline at approximately a 45-degree angle with arms bent slightly when you hold the handlebars.

Tips and warnings

  • Always pick the smallest mountain bike that you feel comfortable on. As explained in "Richards' Ultimate Bicycle Book": "Many first-time mountain bike riders feel more comfortable on a frame that is actually larger than they need. Smaller frames are much more manoeuvrable, lighter, and safer."
  • Remember that bike frame size is only one data point to help you decide what bike will fit best. Think about what you plan to do with the bike, where you will ride most of the time, and then test ride a bike for fit and comfort. Seats, handlebars and bar stems can be adjusted to customise fit.
  • A rider planning to ride a mountain bike primarily on roads and city trails should look at front-suspension mountain bikes, which are lighter, faster and often cheaper. Riders who plan to ride primarily off road should look at "dual-suspension" mountain bikes, which handle better off road due to shocks on both the front and rear wheels.

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