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  1. #1
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    To standover or not?

    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.

  2. #2
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Are you sure they had you on the right sized Crosstrail? I'm 62, have a 33" inseam, and ride a 61cm frame on my Crosstrail. It's a big bike, but I can stand over it, and start without problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlipKnot View Post
    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?).


    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.
    I think it's mainly a balance issue. With good balance, a rider can stop and perch on one leg while waiting for a traffic light to change, fo r example. Without good balance, it really woul d be more stable to put two feet down and be able to move and control the bicycle.

  4. #4
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Based on the data on the Specialized site, I'd say that they don't make a Crosstrail men's frame small enough for someone of your leg length. The smallest size they show has a 31.2" stand-over height. By comparison, their 15" Rockhopper has a stand-over of 28.1", and the 17" Rockhopper has a stand-over of 29.5". I realize that those are different types of bikes, so let's compare the Crosstrail to the Trek 7100...

    Trek Stand-over
    685mm 27.0"
    731mm 28.8"
    769mm 30.3"
    817mm 32.2"
    864mm 34.0"

    Specialized Stand-over
    793mm 31.2"
    809mm 31.8"
    829mm 32.6"
    844mm 33.2"
    876mm 34.5"
    901mm 35.5"

    Stand-over height is important when starting and stopping, getting on and off the bike, as you have learned.

    We short people (I'm 5'7", 29" inseam) need small bikes.
    Last edited by deraltekluge; 09-04-08 at 07:49 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hi Slip,

    Standover height is very important in that you can get hurt bad if you don't have enough clearance between the top tube and your crotch. A bike for road and trail riding should have 1 to 3 inches clearance. For off-road or mountain biking you should have 3 to 4 inches clearance.

    The easiest and safest way to start is not on the seat, but straddling the top tube.

    Apply both brakes to stedy the bike.

    Use either foot to rotate the cranks until one pedal ... the one for your dominant foot ... is at the 2 o'clock position ... forward and high.

    Stand on the less dominant foot and place your dominant foor on the the high pedal.

    Let go of the brakes and push down on the pedal, lifting your body as the bike starts moving.

    Then sit on the saddle, put both feet on the pedals, and start pedalling.

  6. #6
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    The Giant Sport series of mountain Bikes has a frame design that gives you increased standover. Haro has a frame design with the same advantage. Jamis makes the trail series with increased standover. The Trek Hard tails seem to have plenty of standover. I am only 5'9" and my Mountain bike is easy to stand over.



    I also like the Giant FCR series bikes in that price range. The FCR 3 should work for you and if you get the right frame size, at 5'9" a 54 frame works fine for me.

  7. #7
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Standover height is very important if it is too high. You should have at least a couple of inches clearance between your top tube and a hard hit on your pubic bone. Many people have correctly posted that standover is less important with sloping top tube bikes because most people can stand over the tube of even a larger than optimum bike. That is not the case in your situation.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Read this, and pay attention to the video clip.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Standover height is very important if it is too high. You should have at least a couple of inches clearance between your top tube and a hard hit on your pubic bone. Many people have correctly posted that standover is less important with sloping top tube bikes because most people can stand over the tube of even a larger than optimum bike. That is not the case in your situation.
    One of the reasons Mountain bikers use an apparantly smaller frame- is the number of times they will need a low Top tube. But with a 28" inseam- you are short. I am 30" and I ride compact frames. My MTB is a 15" and I do have enough clearance on this. On the road bikes I barely do but on the road- you do not need as much. I would still say that a couple of inches would be ideal- but have to admit that I do not have this on the road bikes. I definitely do on the Mountain bike though. May look wierd with all that seatpost sticking out but it works for me.
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    When I was looking at the Crosstrail I was told that the frame's higher standover height was due to the fact that it rides on 29" wheels. So, the comparisons to mountain bike frames (26" wheels) aren't quite apples to apples. It's been my understanding that you want about an inch (and no more) between the top tube and your crotch when standing over. You want a frame large enough to allow appropriate leg extension in pedalling.

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    I am (or was) 6' - we tend to shrink a bit.

    My pants inseam is 29"

    I have about 0 stand-over height in order to ride a road bike that I bought about 9 years ago - before compact frames.

    I do just fine - I do lean the bike when stopped, standing on one foot.

    I've never had a problem with an injury after 10's of thousands of miles.

    YMMV
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  12. #12
    Senior Member dguest's Avatar
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    I am 5'11 and just ordered the crosstrail in the 54 frame size. I have about 3/4" gap in standover. I have a 33" inseam My wife is 5'7" and hers is about the same gap with a frame size of 49

  13. #13
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Do you know how to measure your standover clearance?

    If not, it's really pretty easy.

    Find one of those big hardback coffee-table type books. While wearing the shoes in which you intend to ride, place this book, spine up, between your legs and pull it up tightly against your pubic bones. Pull up until you feel the book hard against bone. Do this while standing against a wall. With the book pulled up as far as you can, and with the adjacent edge of the book against the wall, have someone take a pencil and make a tiny mark on the wall at the top corner of the book.

    Now, measure from the floor to the mark. That's your standover clearance. For a road bike, you want the top tube to be 1 or 2 inches less than that measurement. For a mountain bike, maybe 2 to 4 inches is better.

    I wear pants with a 32" inseam. When I measured my standover clearance at home this way, I came up with a 36" clearance.

    When I bought my Surly Long Haul Trucker (horizontal top tube - not a "compact frame") the LBS did the measurement a similar way. He used a carpenter's level, which I pulled up into my crotch the same way as I had previously done with the book, and while holding it up and with the bubble leveled, the LBS owner measured from the floor to the top of the level. He also came up with 36".

    (After getting my bike and after riding it for a while, I kept making minor adjustments to seat height and position. I also eventually swapped my original saddle for a Brooks B17. I feel like I have the adjustment pretty well dialed in. Recently, just out of curiosity, I measured from the top of my "down" pedal, lined up with the crank arm parallel to the seat tube, to the top of my saddle, and got a measurement of 38-1/2 inches!)

    There are lots of parameters involved here. Obviously the standover clearance and the height of the top tube above the ground are important factors. The height of the saddle above the down pedal is another important figure for comfortable riding. I think that these are pretty well constants, once determined, that can be carried from bike to bike.

    My Surly LHT is kind of a "low slung" bike with regards to the height of the bottom bracket above the ground. As a touring bike, it's set up to be kind of low so that the loaded center of gravity is low. On the other hand, my Trek 820 mountain bike has a lot of clearance from the ground to the bottom bracket. (I guess it's the same as my Mustang and my Toyota 4x4 pickup - there's a lot more ground clearance on the Toyota.)

    When I got my LHT seat height dialed in, I measured it and set the Trek to the same height from the down pedal to the seat. The Trek feels fine when riding, but getting on the thing is like getting on one of those High-Wheel bikes - I can barely swing my leg over the saddle when climbing on!
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  14. #14
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    Do you know how to measure your standover clearance?
    Very important point. It is amazing and frustrating to see how many people report their pants leg length instead of their pubic bone height (PBH) when seeking sizing advice. At least the OP said which he was reporting. Too often, people just give the number without stating which they mean. You can get a 2 or 3 inch error in the advice you receive by working from your pants inseam size using a formula based on PBH.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  15. #15
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    Thanks to all!

    I've gotten great advice from this forum. While at the Specialized dealer, when I questioned whether the bike was too big -- sizing consisted of bringing Joe Bob (don't remember his actual name) out from behind the counter who had a stature similar to mine. The gent helping me said: see he rides the Crosstrail; inferring that I should also be able to.

    Fortunately, I live in a large city with many bike shops. After visiting 11, I found 4 where I would consider purchasing a bike. None have talked much about sizing. And that could possibly be because I'm a geezer looking to buy a fairly sedate bike, but man, let the buyer (or is it rider) beware! Without the help of posts in BikeForums and threads such as this, I wouldn't have a clue.

    I did take several measurements last night. Hopefully they are accurate. I found the sizing template at competitivecyclist.com. In inches, they are:
    PBH: 30.125
    Trunk: 24.5
    Forearm: 13.25
    Arm: 21.75
    Thigh: 24
    Lower Leg: 21
    Sternal Notch: 54.5
    Total Body Height: 67.5

    What it all means, to an old, overweight, prospective cyclist (as opposed to a “competitive cyclist”) I’m not sure?

    I did ride a couple more bikes today. One was a new Cannondale Model, the Quick (Small 13.5” I believe). It (I believe) replaced the RoadWarrior. I also rode a Trek 7.3 FX. (17.5”). Both I could straddle with a little room, and both felt fairly good.

    As I rode the Trek for a mile or so, I had Déjà vu. It was really fun! It felt like the fond memories I had 37 years ago! I’m so glad I decided to go back to the future, and am wondering why it took me so long?......Well, I guess I really know why, it was due to a malady termed CPS (hint: first word is couch, the last word is syndrome, and the middle word is a starch laden vegetable). Since beginning a life style change about a 18 months or so ago – different eating and exercise habits – I’ve lost lots of weight and have significantly increased my stamina. The bike will nicely and enjoyably augment those changes.

    While I like the Trek FX’s and Cannondale Quick, I’m kinda’ leaning towards a Jamis Coda (Sport). I rode a Coda yesterday. It was a 19.5 with an S/O of 30.5, too big but a manageable off and on. The next size down is a 17.5 with a S/O of 29.52. I plan on ridding the Coda they do have again tomorrow. I want to ride it longer and over more rough terrain. If I like it, I may order the 17.5 Sport in hopes that its sizing will work. Hopefully, whatever bike and size I choose, will be a good fit, and will provide many miles of enjoyment.

  16. #16
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'm 5' 7.5" and wear pants with an inseam of 28.25".

    On Trek hybrids in the 7x00 and 7.x FX series, I found the 17.5" to be a near perfect fit.

    On Fuji hybrids, I found the 17" to be a bit small (to my surprise) and the 19" to be a near perfect fit.

    On Marin hybrids & mountain bikes, I found their 17" to be a near perfect fit.

    On the Specialized Globe and Sirrus hybrids from the 2007 & 2008 lines, I found the 52 to be the best fit.

    On the Jamis Coda series, I fit the 17.5" best.

    The thing to watch for is to get a bike that fits both your lower and upper torso. With shorter legs, the trap is to fall for a smaller size bike in order to standover it, but then have too short of a top tube and be all pinched up in your riding position.

    At 5'8" with 28" inseam, your upper torso is going to be about the size of a typical man who is 5'11 to 6'0.

    You definitely want to look at bikes that have a top tube that slopes down from the head tube to the seat tube. And the greater the slope, the better. For that will enable you to get over the top tube while not being too confined in your riding position.

    The Specialized Crosstrail may be a tricker fit. For while it does have a relatively decent slope to the top tube, it is curved upward, which could be a problem. I found their 49cm bikes in the Sirrus and Globe sizes to be too cramped.

    All you can do is test ride and test ride. And while you do it, pay close attention to how comfortable your shoulders and overall riding position is. Do not become overly focused on the standover. It made no sense to me that the 19" Fuji was going to be my best fit, based upon my rides on dozens of other bikes. But the test rides bore that out. It was the only bike that had a measurement of >18" that fit me.

    The 19" Fuji and 17.5" Jamis Coda are essentially the same size bikes. Almost identical standover and the effective top tube length is also extremely close.
    Last edited by Tom Bombadil; 09-06-08 at 10:30 PM.
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  17. #17
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    You should also pay attention to the crank arm length. Many bikes come with cranks that are 175mm long. I measure out closer to needing a 165mm, and so would you. However 165 crank arms are not very common.

    Several bikes have 170mm cranks on their smaller frames. But at the 17.5" size, they sometimes have 170s and sometimes 175s. The Jamis Coda should have 170mm on their 17.5" bikes.

    Trek had 170s on their 2007 17.5" models, but switched to 175s in 2008. A dealer will generally swap in the smaller cranks at the time of purchase for little to no cost.
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  18. #18
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    Hey thanks Tom!


    It appears that while I was directing you to this post from the “Looking for a hybrid” (Looking for a new hybrid) thread, you had already found this post and were concurrently replying.


    Ironic that we’re similar in size! Perhaps other than the two dealers I did find, I may be able to find another Fuji dealer in Indy. If the Absolute 19" is a good fit for you, it may also be a good fit and ride for me…..perseverance….. and patience are good traits aren’t they??? (grin)!


    BTW, I did find that the Specialized Crosstrail 49" was a little cramped when compared to the 52 that I was trying so hard to climb on to (the Texas size bruise on my inner thigh is nicely rainbow colored a week later [grin]).


    Seriously, I am having a hard time trying to judge what really feels good, so my feeling cramped as you suggested, means that my judgment based on feeling may be improving! The 52" Specialized was the best feeling bike that I have been on. It felt great as soon as I climbed aboard. So I would like to replicate that feeling without having to get a running start, or get on and off from a curb!

  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    If you have any Marin dealers, check out their hybrids in the 17" size. I liked the Point Reyes / Novato bikes. They had low standovers and longer top tubes.

    Likewise for the Gary Fisher "Fast City" line. Their 17.5" frames also have low standovers and longer top tubes. This would be the Mendota / Monona / Wingra line.

    Prices on both the Gary Fishers and Marins have been shooting up. I could have purchased either a 2007 Marin Point Reyes or GF Mendota for $850-$870 about 9 months ago. Now the list for both is up over $1150. So if you can find an '07 or an '08 on clearance, you'll get a better price.

    And you should keep trying to find the Jamis Coda in your size. Definitely worth a ride.
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    Unfortunately, the closest Marin dealer is in adjacent states.

    I did spot an '07 Fisher Mendota (or Monona) at a local shop Friday. I was kinda' surprised that it was an '07! I asked the gent later in our conversation about it being an '07 and he confirmed.

    In any case, checking the Fisher site, the '09 19" Mendota's S/O is 751.8 and I’m a 765.1. So that measurement works. I believe the bike was a 19. But I didn't try the bike because the salesman believed that at my height, I would be too stretched out! Silly me for believing a bike store employee and NOT trying the bike for myself! I mean he used the ole’ precise eyeball/thumb measurement technique. And given that that his method was obviously more accurate that the previous gent at the Specialized store whose coordinate measuring method was comparing my stature to a coworkers, I thought he was correct and that I couldn’t possibly fit on that long a top tube.

    Be that as it may, I believe I will hit the Fisher store tomorrow.

    Would there be any reason to be wary of an ’07?

    It would seem to me that a 20 to 25% discount for an '07 vs the 10% one I saw, would be more in line – but I know nothing about LBS margins, and as long as I’m treated well and my purchase is supported, I guess I’m not overly concerned. I mean I was fitted with the highly vaunted thumb/eyeball method, what more could I ask?

  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Even without a discount, the 2007 looks like a good deal. I don't know the 2009 specs, but from 2007 to 2009, not much changed but the price.
    http://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/Side2...=95704b+12965b
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    You're supposed to be able to stand over the top tube of the bike, not the saddle.

    Are you really going to get your advice from here, or from the people who have the bikes and who can actually see you? For the kinds of bikes you're talking about, you're not going to have to be concerned with any of the finicky fit issues newbies have with road racing bikes.

  23. #23
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    Welcome! and congratulations on returning to cycling! You're doing the right thing by riding a lot of bikes and comparing the fit and feel and meeting the folks at the bike shops. The feel of a good fit will begin to emerge, if it hasn't already, and when you have that nailed then you'll be comparing components and bike shops instead of fit.

    One thing I haven't seen addressed is, what to do if the bike of your dreams is not sold by your favorite LBS. What if you finally find the right bike with a great fit and set of components but it's at a shop 30 miles down the road and your favorite LBS (which doesn't carry this brand) is a 20-minute bike ride from home?
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  24. #24
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    One thing I haven't seen addressed is, what to do if the bike of your dreams is not sold by your favorite LBS. What if you finally find the right bike with a great fit and set of components but it's at a shop 30 miles down the road and your favorite LBS (which doesn't carry this brand) is a 20-minute bike ride from home?
    You have to make a decision.
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  25. #25
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I say you give your favorite LBS every opportunity by shopping there first, and being willing to pay a bit extra. But if they don't sell what you want, then it isn't being disloyal to buy elsewhere. Would you buy carpeting that you didn't want because that's what your favorite store sold? How about clothes?

    The most a store can reasonably expect is to be given a full opportunity to make a sale. And to not be undercut by a few dollars on the same product.

    You can go the extra mile and buy a less desirable product from them. If you value the relationship more than you do your own functional needs and the product is "close enough." That's a fine attitude & I done it from time to time over the years. But if the product was something that was important to me, and there were very good reasons to favor one over the other, then I would be inclined to buy the one that was what I wanted.

    For an example, let's say I wanted a paring knife. The store I like best had one that was reasonably good and they were helpful in describing its features. I like to chat with them and their advice has been helpful on multiple occasions. So I go ahead and pay a couple bucks more to buy from them even though the store down the street has one that I liked better. I decide I can easily live with the differences.

    The next purchase is a pair of hiking shoes. My favorite store has a pair that are okay, I could buy them and be satisfied. But the other store has a pair that felt perfect on my feet. Shoes that would be more comfortable all day long on hikes. Day after day on hikes. Well, sorry favorite store, I've got to go with the ones that make my hikes more enjoyable. I'll give you a shot at my next shoe purchase.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

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