How to choose the right size electric bike

I must admit that choosing the right size of ebike is not immediately obvious when making your first purchase. I had a similar experience a few years ago when I bought my first electric bike. I was uncertain about which size of ebike would suit me best. 

So, I sat down at my computer and did some research. I realized there are many factors to consider when selecting the size of ebike. Here are the results of my research.

What's important when choosing the size of ebike? When selecting the ideal size for ebike, it's necessary to consider the height of the seat, the size of the frame, the height of the handlebars, as well as the position of the pedals. Experience in riding and comfort are also key factors.

It's important to have an accurate understanding and knowledge about the correct size of ebike for you. The wrong size can cause discomfort, and you'll find it difficult to adjust. Not to mention, there's a risk of falling due to poor balance. In extreme cases, it could cause neck and back pain during and after riding.

I don’t know about you, but from what I’ve seen, most people choose the size of ebike based on their own riding experience and comfort. This is certainly one of the key factors, but there are more substantial factors than just choosing based on comfort. If you're interested, read on, and let’s find out!

Why its necessary to choose right size of ebike

size ebike

Choosing the right size of ebike is crucial for several reasons, impacting comfort, performance, safety, and overall enjoyment of your riding experience. Here's why the correct size matters:

1. Comfort

  • An appropriately sized ebike ensures a comfortable riding posture, reducing the risk of discomfort or strain over long periods. If the bike is too big or too small, you may find yourself overreaching or cramped, which can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort.

2. Control and Handling

  • The right size of ebike offers better control and handling, making it easier to maneuver, especially in traffic, on trails, or during sharp turns. A bike that's too large or too small can be challenging to control, affecting your ability to react quickly and safely in different situations.

3. Efficiency

  • An e-bike that fits well allows for more efficient pedaling, helping you make the most of the electric assist and your own power. Proper leg extension is key to maximizing pedal power without causing fatigue or injury.

4. Safety

  • A correctly sized e-bike contributes to safer riding. A bike that's too big might make it hard to reach the ground with your feet, leading to instability when stopping or starting. Conversely, a bike that's too small can feel twitchy and unstable at speed.

5. Prevention of Injuries

  • Riding an e-bike that doesn't fit can lead to repetitive stress injuries or discomfort. Issues like knee pain, back pain, and wrist strain are common among riders whose bikes are not the right size or are not properly adjusted.

6. Enjoyment

  • Ultimately, the right size e-bike will make your riding experience more enjoyable. Comfort, control, and the right level of performance are all critical for enjoying your rides, whether you're commuting, exploring, or exercising.

How to choose right size of frame for your ebike

Electric bikes come with a motor that allows you to pedal over longer periods without losing speed and without significant fatigue. This makes your ride much more enjoyable, but the experience won’t always be as fun as expected if you choose the wrong size electric bike.

I know the type of bike you choose matters a lot, but regardless of your taste, just make sure you consider the size of the bike when choosing. Riding the correctly sized bike is more comfortable and more enjoyable. In this case, you'll be able to ride for hours and longer distances with much greater ease.

If you think the bike model you've chosen fits you perfectly, I would also advise paying attention to your riding style, your inseam size, and your height. Along with all other factors, the type of bike determines the frame size and saddle height you'll get by purchasing the chosen bike.

You should also make sure that you know exactly what type of trips you will be using your electric bike for before moving on to the size.

Do you plan to use the electric bike primarily for urban trips through busy streets? Or for daily commutes to work? Or for longer trips in the countryside?

Overall, this should be a relatively easy part of the whole process because you have likely already thought about it more than once.

In addition, you can always make some finer adjustments once you've ridden your new bike to adapt it to your riding style. There are several options that you can always consider for your electric bike based on your best riding experience.

Frame Size

This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to picking the right size electric bike for you. This is because the frame size once chosen cannot be altered.

There are several convenient ways you can use to measure the correct frame size. We'll talk more about this in the next sub-topic "how to measure your body for choosing the right bike size."

Saddle Adjustment

This is also another very important aspect to consider to choose the right size electric bike. A saddle that's too high or too low affects the comfort of your ride.

To correctly adjust the saddle size, simply sit on the saddle and place your foot on the pedal at its lowest point of rotation. In this seated position with the pedal, you should have a slight bend in your knee. With the ideal saddle height, you will be able to pedal with more powerful effort while exerting less strain on your knees during rotation.

Handlebar Height and Size

handlebar size

The handlebar of an electric bike often comes in different configurations and widths. Therefore, to get the right size, make sure that you choose one that matches the width of your shoulders.

If you need to hold your arms wider on the handlebar to breathe easier, the handlebar should be wider, and for more aerodynamic riding, it should be narrower. Furthermore, if you have cramps or pains after riding, you might slightly raise the handlebar, and you will feel better during your next ride.

Types of Bike Frames

Bike frames come in various designs, each tailored to specific riding styles, preferences, and conditions. Here’s an overview of the main types of bike frames and their characteristics:

1. Road Bike Frames

  • Design: Lightweight and aerodynamic, designed for speed and efficiency on paved roads.
  • Materials: Commonly made from aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, or titanium.
  • Geometry: Features a more aggressive riding position to reduce air resistance.

2. Mountain Bike Frames

  • Design: Durable and built to handle rough terrain, including rocks, roots, and off-road trails.
  • Materials: Typically made from aluminum or carbon fiber for a balance of strength and lightness.
  • Geometry: Offers a relaxed riding position with a lower center of gravity for better control on descents.

3. Hybrid Bike Frames

  • Design: Combines features of road and mountain bikes for versatility. Suitable for paved roads, light trails, and daily commuting.
  • Materials: Usually constructed from aluminum for a good mix of durability and weight.
  • Geometry: Designed for comfort, with an upright riding position.

4. Cyclocross Bike Frames

  • Design: Similar to road bike frames but with modifications for off-road racing. Features clearance for wider tires and mud.
  • Materials: Commonly aluminum or carbon fiber.
  • Geometry: Provides a balance between an aggressive road bike position and the stability needed for off-road conditions.

5. Touring Bike Frames

  • Design: Built for long distances and carrying loads. Features mounting points for racks and panniers.
  • Materials: Often made from steel for its durability and repairability.
  • Geometry: Focuses on comfort for long hours in the saddle, with a stable and upright position.

6. BMX Frames

  • Design: Compact and sturdy, designed for BMX racing and freestyle riding.
  • Materials: Usually made from high-tensile steel or chromoly steel for toughness.
  • Geometry: Features a smaller frame for maneuverability and tricks.

7. Gravel Bike Frames

  • Design: A blend of road and cyclocross frames, designed for comfort and performance on mixed surfaces.
  • Materials: Aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and sometimes titanium.
  • Geometry: Offers a relaxed position for long rides on varied terrain, with clearance for wider tires.

8. Electric Bike (E-bike) Frames

  • Design: Engineered to accommodate a motor and battery. Available in designs similar to road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.
  • Materials: Generally aluminum or carbon fiber to handle the additional weight of the electric components.
  • Geometry: Varies depending on the type of e-bike, focusing on stability and comfort.

9. Folding Bike Frames

  • Design: Features hinges or joints allowing the bike to fold into a compact form for easy storage and transport.
  • Materials: Mainly aluminum for its lightweight properties.
  • Geometry: Optimized for convenience rather than performance, with a focus on ease of folding and unfolding.

Each frame type offers unique advantages tailored to different cycling activities, terrains, and rider preferences. When choosing a bike, consider the frame design that best suits your intended use and riding style.

How to Measure Your Body

In practice, most people buy electric bikes that are either too tall or too short. When looking for the perfect size of an electric bike, make sure that your first step is to take measurements of your body.

Bike sizes are determined by a person's measurements and height, not weight, as most people think.

Your Height

If you're not sure you remember your exact height, stand with your back to the wall without shoes. Legs should be shoulder-width apart. Have someone help you make the measurements.

Other Measurements

bike length

The inseam is the length of the inner part of your leg. Most people try to get this size from the length of their jeans, which can be misleading. Therefore, to get the correct inseam measurement, do as follows:

  • Stand with your back to the wall and place your feet 6 inches (15 cm) apart.
  • Use a hardcover book and place it between your legs. Also, rest the book against the wall.
  • Align your spine along the wall and then lift the book until it presses against your crotch. The book should mimic a bicycle seat.
  • Have a friend or bike expert measure from the top of the book to the floor.

This measurement should be taken from the sole of your foot to the place where the bicycle seat is most likely to be.

If you take these measurements correctly, it will mean that you will get maximum comfort during riding. While riding, your legs will be fully extended with a slight bend in the knee, thus giving you the ideal riding position. It will also save you from hip pain and spasms.

Here's how you can calculate the frame size using your inseam measurement for different types of electric bikes:

Inseam (cm) Multiplier Frame Size
Mountain E-Bike Inseam x 0.685 = Frame Size
Urban E-Bike Inseam x 0.66 = Frame Size
Off-Road E-Bike Inseam x 0.7 = Frame Size


For example, if your inseam is 80 cm, you would calculate the frame size for an urban e-bike by multiplying 80 by 0.685, which equals 54.8 cm. For a mountain e-bike, it would be 80 x 0.66 = 52.8 cm, and for an off-road e-bike, it would be 80 x 0.7 = 56 cm. These calculations give you a starting point to determine the appropriate frame size for your electric bike. Keep in mind that different manufacturers may have slight variations, so it's always a good idea to check their specific size charts or, if possible, test ride the bike before purchasing.

Wrong Size of Ebike

There are several signs to look for that indicate the bike is not a proper fit. While bike experts and shop owners can provide valuable advice, their recommendations might not always result in the perfect fit. Here are four ways to identify if the bike you intend to buy is the right size for you:

  1. Too High Saddle: If you feel that the saddle is too high and you're struggling to comfortably reach the pedals or maintain control, this is a sign that the bike frame could be too large. The ideal saddle height allows you to extend your leg almost fully on the down pedal stroke, with just a slight bend in the knee.

  2. Regular Back Pain: Cycling should be enjoyable and not cause discomfort. If you consistently experience back pain after riding, it could indicate that the frame size is wrong, the handlebar position is not correct, or the saddle height and position may need adjustment. A frame that is too large or too small can cause you to overreach or cramp up, leading to back strain.

  3. Difficulty Handling: If you feel that the bike is hard to control, especially while turning or maneuvering, it might be due to a frame that is too large or too small. The bike should feel responsive and comfortable.

  4. Excessive Reach to Handlebars: If you have to stretch too far to reach the handlebars, or if you feel cramped, it's likely that the bike's top tube is not the right length for you. This can lead to shoulder, neck, and back pain.

  5. Too Low Saddle: If the bicycle saddle is too low, every ride will feel like a struggle, no matter how hard you try. This can lead to muscle stress, which may cause muscle pain. The correct saddle height allows for efficient pedaling and avoids unnecessary strain on the knees and thigh muscles.

  6. Stem of the Bicycle's Steering Column: The stem (the part that connects the handlebar to the steering column) is one of the most important parts of a bicycle. For this reason, it deserves close attention from time to time. If you notice small changes in the position of the stem regularly, it may indicate that the part is not reliable and is likely not an original component from the manufacturer. This could mean that you'll have to constantly adjust the position of this part, leading to frequent mechanical interventions, and eventually to the bicycle breaking down intermittently.

  7. Difficulty in Achieving Proper Pedal Stroke: If you can't maintain a proper pedal stroke without stretching or contracting too much, the bike size or saddle position may be off.

Besides these signs, it's also worth considering a professional bike fitting where possible, as this can identify the right bike size and adjustments needed to match your body's proportions and cycling style.

Additional Questions about Ebikes

ebike weight

Are electric bicycles heavy?

Yes, electric bicycles are generally heavier than regular bicycles. While a regular bike might weigh around 25 pounds (about 12 kg), an e-bike can weigh up to 50 pounds (about 22 kg) or more. You'll mostly feel the weight of your e-bike when climbing steep slopes, but fortunately, the electric assist effectively compensates for this extra weight.

Should I do a "test ride" before buying an electric bike?

When buying a new electric bike, the last thing you want to do is rush the purchasing process. Take a short (or long) ride with the bike to feel its comfort, maneuverability, braking system, durability, and more. Yes, a test ride will always add value to the entire decision-making process of whether or not the bike is suitable for you.

It's always recommended to perform a test ride to ensure that the bike's weight, handling, and the position of components like the saddle and stem are comfortable for you and meet your riding preferences. Adjustments can be made to better suit your needs, but the fundamental fit of the bike frame cannot be altered, so it's crucial to choose the right size from the start.

If you'd like to take advantage of a free test ride, we invite you to visit us at 654 College Street, Toronto (Movin' Mobility). We'll be happy to assist you in finding the optimal bike size and will also offer additional tips on how to use your bike like a professional.

Accessories for Comfort Riding

For a more comfortable riding experience, especially on longer journeys or varied terrains, certain accessories can make a significant difference. Here's a list of accessories designed to enhance comfort for cyclists:

1. Padded Cycling Shorts

  • Designed to reduce friction and cushion your ride, padded shorts can significantly increase comfort on long rides.

2. Gel Seat Cover or Ergonomic Saddles

  • A gel seat cover can add an extra layer of comfort to your existing saddle, while ergonomic saddles are designed to reduce pressure and improve comfort.

3. Suspension Seat Post

  • Absorbs shocks and bumps from uneven roads or trails, making for a smoother ride.

4. Handlebar Grips and Tape

  • Ergonomic grips or padded handlebar tape can reduce hand fatigue and protect against vibration, improving comfort on longer rides.

5. Clipless Pedals and Cycling Shoes

  • This combination allows for a more efficient pedal stroke, reducing fatigue. The stable platform can also be more comfortable for long distances.

6. Bar Ends

  • Offering additional hand positions, bar ends can help prevent numbness and discomfort on longer rides.

7. Adjustable Stem

  • Allows you to fine-tune the handlebar height and reach, enabling you to achieve a riding position that's comfortable for you.

8. Cycling Gloves

  • Padded gloves absorb vibration and protect your hands, reducing fatigue and the risk of blisters.

9. Frame Bags and Panniers

  • Carrying weight on the bike rather than your back can be more comfortable on long rides, distributing weight more evenly and reducing strain.

10. Water Bottle and Cage

  • Staying hydrated is key to comfort, especially on warm days or long rides. Easy access to your water bottle can keep you riding comfortably for longer.

11. Mirror

  • For those who ride on roads, a mirror can help you keep track of traffic without having to twist your neck, enhancing comfort and safety.

12. Windshield

  • For e-bikes or touring bikes, a windshield can reduce wind resistance and protect against the elements, making rides more comfortable.

13. Suspension Forks

  • On mountain bikes or hybrid bikes, suspension forks absorb shocks from rough terrain, improving comfort and control.

14. Comfortable Clothing

  • Breathable, moisture-wicking clothing designed for cycling can keep you dry and comfortable, regardless of the weather.

15. Sunscreen and Lip Balm

  • Protecting your skin from the sun and wind can prevent discomfort and burns, making for a more pleasant ride.

Incorporating these accessories into your cycling setup can lead to a more enjoyable and comfortable experience, whether you're commuting, touring, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride.


Selecting the right bike frame is a critical decision that influences your cycling comfort, efficiency, performance, and overall enjoyment. A well-chosen frame acts as the foundation for a great ride, aligning with your cycling goals, style, and physical dimensions. Here’s a concise conclusion on choosing the right bike frame:

  1. Fit is Paramount: The right frame size ensures optimal comfort, efficient power transfer, and proper bike handling. An ill-fitting frame can lead to discomfort, inefficiency, and even injury.

  2. Consider Your Riding Style: Different frame designs cater to specific cycling disciplines. Road frames prioritize speed and aerodynamics, mountain bike frames focus on durability and control, hybrid frames offer versatility for mixed-use, and so on. Choose a frame that matches the type of cycling you most enjoy.

  3. Material Matters: Frame materials—aluminum, carbon fiber, steel, and titanium—have distinct characteristics affecting weight, durability, ride quality, and price. Your choice should balance these factors with your budget and performance expectations.

  4. Geometry Influences Ride Characteristics: The frame's geometry affects handling, stability, and comfort. Racing bikes have aggressive geometry for speed, while touring frames offer a more relaxed position for long-distance comfort. Ensure the geometry aligns with your comfort preferences and performance needs.

  5. Future-Proofing: Consider compatibility with future upgrades. Ensure the frame allows for component upgrades or adjustments you might want down the line, such as wider tires, different drivetrains, or additional mounting points for accessories.

  6. Test Rides Are Invaluable: Whenever possible, test ride bikes to feel how different frames perform. This hands-on experience can help you make a more informed decision based on how the bike feels and fits you personally.

  7. Seek Expert Advice: Utilize the knowledge of experienced cyclists, bike fitters, and reputable bike shops. They can provide insights and recommendations based on your physique, riding preferences, and goals.

In summary, the right bike frame is a personal choice that should consider fit, intended use, material preferences, and future needs. Taking the time to carefully select your bike frame ensures a rewarding cycling experience that meets your expectations and grows with you as a rider.