How to size cyclocross bikes

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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How to size cyclocross bikes
Learn how to size a cyclocross bike. (Mountain biker, small river and birch forest image by Maxim Petrichuk from

Cyclocross bikes are the all-terrain vehicles of the biking world. A cyclocross bike is equipped with tires and frame suitable for mountainous and off-road terrain, as well as for traditional road biking. As with any bike, you need to properly size it to suit you personally. An over- or undersized bike can prove to be difficult to control and can make for an uncomfortable ride. Sizing a bike is dictated by your height, or more specifically from your inseam.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Book (spine width equal to front tip of bicycle seat)

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  1. 1

    Measure your inseam. Take your shoes off. Stand with your back firmly against a wall, and place a book with a spine width equal to that of the pointed front of a bicycle seat directly under your crotch, as you would normally be sitting on a bike. Mark the wall at the top of the book with a pencil. Measure from the floor to the mark to determine your inseam measurement.

  2. 2

    Convert your inseam to centimetres. Multiply your inch measurement of the inseam by 2.54 to get the centimetre measurement. For example: 33-inch inseam x 2.54 = 83.82 centimetres.

  3. 3

    Multiply your inseam centimetre measurement by 0.65 to get the frame size from centre to centre. For example: 83.82 x 0.65 = 54.4 centimetres.

  4. 4

    Subtract 1 or 2 centimetres from your frame equation to get a suitable frame for cyclocross bikes. Cyclocross racers typically ride with a slightly smaller frame than with their road bikes, according to the website STLBiking.

  5. 5

    Test ride the bike. Ensure that you are comfortable with the frame size and measurements. Try a couple of different sizes, one size up and one down from your initial frame measurements to ensure that you've explored all options to find a comfortable fit.

Tips and warnings

  • If sizing a bike frame measured centre to top, add 1.5 centimetres to the initial frame measurement.
  • Always ensure that you wear adequate safety gear when riding a cyclocross bike on rough terrain, such as a helmet and knee or elbow pads.

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