At 58 (soon to be 59), until last weekend, I hadn't been on a bike in 37 years. See my post in the Clydesdale forum (1st. Ride in 37 years; which bike to buy?).
After riding dozens of bikes in two days, I was a little sore in the sit bones, but developed a large bruise on my inner thigh between my knee and hip. This resulted from trying to straddle the saddle of a Specialized Crosstrail to get the bike started because I couldn't standover the bar and start from that position.
The Specialized store I was at, thought this was just fine. From web posts, I get the impression that standover height isn't that important. But at 58, and overweight, I believe for me it is!
Before the Crosstrail, I rode several Treks and Giants. I could straddle the 15", and barely 16"'s. I'm 5'8" and wear 28" inseam slacks.
How important is standover height? I plan on ridding on pavement and compacted off road bike paths. I like the Specialized Crosstrail style hybrid. And plan on trying Jamis, Fuji, and Gary Fisher bikes this weekend. Recommendations, for my ridding preference, weight (250), and price range $500 -$ approximately $700, would be appreciated.