in need of help. Looking at buying a hybrid bike. Anxious on getting the correct size. Different sites say different things for the size I require. The bike I’m looking at is the carrera subway 1 men’s. (This is my budget) I’m a female 5ft 6in (167cm) with a 29.9in (75cm) inseam. The bike has 27.5 tyres. Do I need 16” or 18”. The size guide says 16 but I’m anxious and others are telling me that’s to small? Thanks.

  • The only practical answer here is for you to get a leg over this bike, and try it out. Noone can tell you sight-unseen if you will be more comfortable on either one. As a very rough rule of thumb, people who ride a lot prefer a slightly larger bike, those who ride rarely or only short distances tend to prefer a slightly smaller frame for their size. Another reason to test ride could be the saddle - you only know if its okay, once you try it out. Any decent bike shop will help you try, and excellent bike shops will help you test them out on a real ride.
    – Criggie
    Apr 13, 2020 at 0:11
  • @Criggie: I’m not sure a novice can judge bike size. Usually they prefer low saddles (with lots of cushioning) and high, easy to reach bars. Unsuitable for going long or hard.
    – Michael
    Apr 13, 2020 at 7:34
  • @elz2020 what's your bike riding experience, approximately ?
    – Criggie
    Apr 13, 2020 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


Smaller bikes are easier to ride and you can raise the saddle to the correct height so your knees aren't damaged. If you go too small you can get toe overlap with the front wheel, but on a mountain bike the wheelbase is longer and this is unlikely to be an issue.

Generally women have shorter torsos and longer legs. So they difference in a women's frame is generally a shorter top tube. Getting a smaller size frame and raising the saddle a few extra cm's will do the same thing to a man's bike.

Please don't get a man's bike that is too big for you, it's never going to be fun to ride. If you have the opportunity to ride both sizes, take it and you'll see what I mean immediately.

I ride over 8000k's per year and the only times I've felt uncomfortable was on a frame that was too large by a cm or so. Couldn't get rid of them soon enough.

  • 1
    Yes, it’s easier to make a small frame fit than the other way around. Usually you can raise the saddle quite a bit and a longer stem can easily get you 4cm in reach.
    – Michael
    Apr 13, 2020 at 7:32
  • 1
    There are some ways to calculate the suitable frame height. If it gives you a height between two available sizes, the best buying option is the smaller of the two. The reason is that the higher size has (may have) a slightly longer reach which would make it uncomfortable.
    – Carel
    Apr 13, 2020 at 14:54

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