First things first: If you’re short of inseam and you want to ride a bike, a lot of people will tell you a lot of things. Most of them are probably taller than you are. I can tell you this from experience, because I have been you in this example. For reference, my inseam is around 26.5 inches. We’ll round up and call it 27, just to make things easier.
Anyway, back to the advice you’ll likely get from Your Almighty Tallest rider friends, fam, and total randos on the internet you’ve never met. First, you’ll listen politely. Truthfully, you’ll get some OK advice, but you’ll also get other advice that you’ll eventually realize simply doesn’t apply.
The thing is, even those of us with shorter inseams have other differences of dimension that need to be taken into consideration. Some of us have long torsos. Some of us have short torsos. Some of us have long or short arms. All of this is interchangeable, and while we can gain or lose weight or muscle mass with some effort, we can’t change these basic lengths.
When choosing an easy bike to ride if you’re vertically challenged, seat height and width are very important—but ergonomics and weight distribution are, as well. If a bike has too long a reach, along with a huge, bulbous tank that feels like it’s going to swallow you because it comes up so high, even a comparatively low seat height won’t magically make it easy to ride.
A lot of people taller than you will tell you that you can slide your butt around and one-foot tiptoe it to ride most bikes you want, as you gain confidence. That’s certainly true. Will it be easy? Maybe eventually, but most certainly not at first. However, ultimately, it’s all up to what you’re willing to do to ride a bike you enjoy.
For those of us short folks who don’t want to only ride cruisers, here are a bunch of other viable options you can buy new right now. They’re not in any particular order, but they’re all worth checking out even if you’re taller than I am.