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  1. #1
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    standover height

    I just bought a new Cannondale Bad Boy. I ride in the city and off road. I've already put over 100 miles on it and decided to read the manual. It says I should have 3 inches of crotch clearance. I have maybe, 1 inch of clearance. Is this bike too large for me? Is it that important to have 3-inches? How much clearance would you recommend? Thanks.
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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    As long as the top tube isn't too long and you're not stretched way out, I wouldn't worry too much about standover clearance as long as you have some.......just be extra careful dismounting over technical terrain.
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  3. #3
    mac
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    just be extra careful dismounting over technical terrain.
    My old road bike was too big for me - I had the seat all the way down the tube and still stood on my right toes at stop lights. Then one day I missed the ground and planted my crotch smack on the top tube. I made sure my new bike had enough clearance.

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    It seems when the bike shop guys "fitted me" to this bike they should have said something about the minimal clearance. Maybe it's because they only had one size of this bike in stock, or maybe it's because the 1-inch of clearance is sufficient. It just doesn't agree with the manual.
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    mac
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolba
    Maybe it's because they only had one size of this bike in stock
    Ding ding ding, we have a winner.

    That's what happened to me too. The bike shop guy said I'd be fine.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolba
    It seems when the bike shop guys "fitted me" to this bike they should have said something about the minimal clearance. Maybe it's because they only had one size of this bike in stock, or maybe it's because the 1-inch of clearance is sufficient. It just doesn't agree with the manual.
    Actualy don't place too much credence on the manual. This idea of needing 3" of standover clearance is only a rule of thumb anyway and then maybe the lawyers got in on the act. What's important is the top tube length. It probably just works out that the right top tube length gives the average person 3" of standover clearance but its just a ballpark figure.

    How's the top tube length?

    Do you feel stretched out?

    Regards, Anthony

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyG
    Actualy don't place too much credence on the manual. This idea of needing 3" of standover clearance is only a rule of thumb anyway and then maybe the lawyers got in on the act. What's important is the top tube length. It probably just works out that the right top tube length gives the average person 3" of standover clearance but its just a ballpark figure.

    How's the top tube length?

    Do you feel stretched out?

    Regards, Anthony
    Tube length is good. I was measured geometrically for that; but more importantly it feels right. I'm comfortable on the bike, I was just concerned about the minimal clearance.
    CityRocksWoods: I ride, therefore, I am.

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    My bike gives me about an inch clearance as well and I am comfortable with it. I say if you are comfortable on it you don't need all that room. I am 5'9" and ride 58cm frames.
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    If it fits, don't worry. I have 0" clearance on my '77 Motobecane (of course, it's a road bike...), and I was fitted to it in the shop. As long as you can straddle it, you're OK (rules different for a mountain bike, though...). I think that with today's bikes, they stress that you buy the smallest size frame that fits, because they flex less, so maybe you'd have a stiffer frame if it was smaller.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 02-10-06 at 10:47 PM.

  10. #10
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    Depends how aggressive you are offroad. Bouncing off the saddle and finding the crossbar hurts. but more important is whether the rest of the bike fits. Can you get the saddle to the right height, will the length fit the arms etc. I ride a mountain bike and standover height is the last thing I think of until I stop and get off the bike. Providing I have nothing to remind me that I have just got off a bike that is too big- then it is OK.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolba
    Tube length is good. I was measured geometrically for that; but more importantly it feels right. I'm comfortable on the bike, I was just concerned about the minimal clearance.
    Minimal clearance isn't realy an issue. I have a custom road frame with "only just" standover clearance and I'm happy. It certainly beats my old frame which was about 3" higher than standover. It theoreticaly fitted me and that was in the day's of 27" wheels and horizontal top tubes only. Once your riding it doesn't matter and since you only put one foot down usualy when you stop temporarily I don't think its an issue. Anyway the higher the tube the less time you have to generate any acceleration if you fall on it.


    Regards, Anthony

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyG
    Actualy don't place too much credence on the manual. This idea of needing 3" of standover clearance is only a rule of thumb anyway and then maybe the lawyers got in on the act. What's important is the top tube length. It probably just works out that the right top tube length gives the average person 3" of standover clearance but its just a ballpark figure.

    How's the top tube length?

    Do you feel stretched out?

    Regards, Anthony
    Actually, I think that it depends a whole lot on how you actually use the bike. That's something that Cannondale can't tell but a better-than-average bike shop guy will find out and consider when fitting you.

    If you do real mountain bikeing, 3" of standover isn't too much at all. If you ever find yourself having to put a foot down suddenly, it will be on the low side of the trail (Ouch!).

    Riding in the city or on railroad conversions and the like, not only do you need less standover, but you will also probably appreciate the longer top tube length that typically comes with the larger frame.

  13. #13
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    The thing with 0 standover height is that it gets to be a pain in the butt everytime I stop at a stop sign or red light which happens often since I live in an urban environment. I thought I could ride a 52cm, but I've come to the conclusion that I need a 47cm, maybe 48cm. Max 49cm.

    I could just rest the ball of my left foot when I stop with a 52cm bike with 30.5in standover.

    People say that top tube length is more important than seat tube length when buying a bike, but I have to say that seat tube length is very important especially if you have short legs like me. Unless the top tube is extremely long/short in comparsion to the seat tube, all one has to do is switch out the stem in order to get a better fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for all your comments. I'm calling the LBS today to see what they have to say. I don't think the minimal clearance will be a problem, or course the first time I "crunch" I may change my mind.
    CityRocksWoods: I ride, therefore, I am.

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    Saddle height is perfect. Top tube length is great. I was measured geometrically for the bike, but the guy never mentioned the standover clearance. I was wondering if anyone thought this could be a problem.
    CityRocksWoods: I ride, therefore, I am.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolba
    Saddle height is perfect. Top tube length is great. I was measured geometrically for the bike, but the guy never mentioned the standover clearance. I was wondering if anyone thought this could be a problem.
    No !!! There are guidelines as to what it should be, but it is not a rule that will affect your riding if it is not correct. I have ridden a Bike that is too large for me and that standover height did not exist. In Fact I still ride one and the only time it will possibly affect me is when I stop. Hasn't up till now so Don't worry about it. At least you do have some clearance- even it is minimal.
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    The 3" sure seems excessive;a bit of lawyerization might have slipped in their.If you were bounced off,and came down on the top tube I guess they figure 3" is better than 2",but why not 4"??Experienced riders usually manage to side slip the top tube when they get bounced off.Luck,Charlie

  18. #18
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    yeah, don't worry about 1", that's what I had on my first MTB, and had many more instances of racking myself on the stem than on the top tube. The trick is learning to miss both.

    I've also heard the trick is not ramming trees, but I'm not buying into that crap.
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  19. #19
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    Standover clearance is essential if you plan to buy a bike, and then stand over it, with two feet flat on the ground. But, if you plan to RIDE your bike, what is important is that it be comfortable while riding. I ride six to eight different bikes over the course of a month. The bikes that are the most comfortable for me to ride are the ones with the LEAST standover clearance.

    On my favorite bike, when I stand flat footed, the top bar is pressing lightly against the crotch of my jeans...not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to notice. But, that same bike fits me like "a glove" while on the road.

    On a "tall" bike, you need to develop a technique for red lights and stop signs. Mine is to tip the bike to the left, and put my left foot on the ground. My right foot remains on the pedal, with the pedal at 2 o'clock for maximum leverage when the light turns green. With that technique, standover is not an issue. You can stop easily and safely on a bike that provide zero clearance if you were stopping with both feet flat on the ground.

    If I were riding on dirt trails, gravel roads, and such, I might be more concerned about clearance. Rough riding can make for some "unplanned" dismounts, where extra clearance is helpful. But, for riding on smooth roads, it is the RIDE fit that counts.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    On my favorite bike, when I stand flat footed, the top bar is pressing lightly against the crotch of my jeans...not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to notice. But, that same bike fits me like "a glove" while on the road.
    +1

  21. #21
    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    This has always been a problem for me. I am short,only 5'4". My first road bike was a Motobecane with a 19" frame. Definitely too tall and to long a reach on the drops. Now I have a Schwinn Cruiser Deluxe with a 19" frame. Maybe 1/2" clearance. But it has worked out OK doing emergency stops. My other bikes are a MTB and a hybrid. With the smallest frames and sloping top tube I have maybe 1 to 1 and 1/2". This I feel comfortable with. But I have held off on a road bike because of the level top tube. Today I put money down on a Specialized Seqoeagh or however you spell it. 47CM frame with sloping tube. Maybe 2" clearance and the fit is perfect. So at 2" over the top tube I feel like there is absolutely nothing to worry about! Having been off a road bike for almost 10 years and now my first one that fits it is like something totally different. I have done 35 to 50 miles on the Schwinn so a century on the road bike should be easy as it has a granny chainring and weighs half of what I am used to. Hills,here I come.

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    It's the right size. As we age, some things on each gender tend to "hang down" a bit more. If you were exactly the same height at 22 years old, you'd probably have that 3" of clearance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolba
    Saddle height is perfect. Top tube length is great. I was measured geometrically for the bike, but the guy never mentioned the standover clearance. I was wondering if anyone thought this could be a problem.
    If you are riding a compact frame worry otherwise, comfort is the final arbiter. If you are worried take it back to the dealer and ask him why he sized the bike the way he did (or she). There are a number of books that can take you through some sizing issues. Lennard Zinn's book "Zinn and the Art of Roadbike Maintenance" have a chapter on bike fit. It is a very good book on maintenance and care for bikes.

  24. #24
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    Thank you everyone, for all your comments.
    CityRocksWoods: I ride, therefore, I am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    It's the right size. As we age, some things on each gender tend to "hang down" a bit more. If you were exactly the same height at 22 years old, you'd probably have that 3" of clearance.
    Thank you. I needed that chuckle. Bob

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