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  1. #1
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    Worried about standover height on an already purchased bike

    I decided to go out and buy a new bike yesterday, but now I'm freaking out, worried that I could have gotten the wrong size.

    I went to a shop near my home that I had heard good things about. I ended up purchasing a 2013 Specialized Vita Sport in the medium size frame. I love the bike!

    I'm just a hair under 5'2''. Before purchasing it, I asked the man who was helping me if I should be concerned about standover height. (If I'm wearing sneakers, there is no room between the tube and my crotch.) Despite this, it is not uncomfortable to stand flat on my feet over the frame. He thought the small frame would have had me too "squished," but they didn't have a small in stock, so I never tried it out.

    After getting home, flipping through the manual, I read "If your crotch touches the frame, the bike is too big for you. Don't even ride the bike around the block." It said the bike should give you "a minimum standover height clearance of two inches." I have been freaking out ever since, because this is the most I've ever spent on a bike.

    The size guide says the small is for women 4'11''-5'3'', and the medium for women 5'3''-5'7''. I've always been petite, so I'm nervous about owning this medium frame.

    Should I consider bringing it back for a small? Or am I just being overly-neurotic?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    You're not being neurotic; the right size really matters. The thing to remember is that the size guide in the manual is only a rule of thumb and you might legitimately fit between the 2 sizes which is what you were told. I've never seen a manual that was all that much good in any case. I'd go back and talk to the LBS about sizing. Also you might find this resource useful: http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

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    You could probably go either way, and only you can judge if he was giving you good, experienced advice on the fit or just selling you what he had. And it can be hard to tell with a good salesperson. However, as long as you can stand comfortably, it isn't dramatically too large in that aspect. Other aspects of fitting are probably more important. If the ride is comfortable overall, you're worrying too much. Just ride for a while and see how it feels.

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    Did you test-ride the bike before you bought it? If so, how did it feel to you?

    Standover IS important, as not everyone in every situation can even react fast enough to "slide to the side". But hey -- if you JUST bought it, there shouldn't be an issue with an exchange. I think I'd approach it like that -- like, "I love the bike, I thank you for helping me out, but I'm a little nervous about the standover -- the manual says ------------, and that's what's happening. Can we do something else here?"

    I'm not saying "helpless female", I'm saying "optimistic customer".

  5. #5
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    I did give the bike a test-ride around the block before buying it. It feels fine to me, but I don't quite trust my judgment considering I haven't ridden in a while.

    I hate to be that annoying customer who comes back to make a swap, but I'm only a college student/preschool teacher, so it was a pretty big purchase for me.

    How do bike shops typically react to this kind of stuff? Is a return/trade-in something that most shops don't make a big deal about?

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    It's one thing when you buy the bike, piddle around for a few weeks, then come back and com plain; it's another when it's only a couple days. In fact, a lot of them will double their efforts to get you right when you go back for this reason; they want you to be a happy customer, AND they realize it's going to cost them if they DON'T.

    Shops differ, but if you run into one that's more concerned about making/keeping the sale than satisfying you, the customer...look elsewhere. I don't work in a shop, but I deal with bikes all day long, and I generally only get irritated when it's something stupid -- like, you didn't listen to my advice the first time, now you want to bring the bike back because it's doing what I told you it would (YES, I get that! I've had bikes RETURNED for cracked reflectors!)

    I had a guy (semi-regular, fairly new customer) show up at work this afternoon, complaining again about his new bike; he returned one on my day off a couple weeks ago, claiming it "fell apart" -- HE loosened the handlebar clamp to rotate the bar, and half-tightened it...that was ALL that was wrong. Today, he came in complaining about the shifting, how it was sloppy, shifted on its on and threw him off the bike (yeah, he's no candidate for Mensa). His rear derailleur cable had been loosened and was slipping, his front derailleur had slipped down the seat tube, and his crank had loosened JUST A TOUCH. He was back on the road in ten minutes.

    Bike guys usually enjoy fixing the problems people have with their bikes; we all enjoy seeing someone having a good experience on two wheels!

  7. #7
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    The small size of that bike has a horizontal top tube length only 15mm or 0.6 inch shorter than the medium. I doubt that will "scrunch" you up. If necessary, the stem can be swapped for a longer one, something that a good bike shop will do for very little money.

    Being able to stand over the bike with at least 1" clearance is rather important. You can't always be sure of stopping on level ground, of wearing shoes with thick soles, of being alert and careful.

    Return the bike. Have them order a small. Escalate to the store owner if need be.
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    Hi,

    I'll venture if the bike shop had a small in stock, that is the bike you would of bought.

    Any bike with a sloping toptube and no standover clearance is too big, period.

    Return the bike. Have them order a small. Escalate to the store owner if need be
    +1.

    rgds, sreten.
    Last edited by sreten; 06-26-13 at 03:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Paul01's Avatar
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    Take it back and never, never, never go back to that shop.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    return it or sell it, sorry. the shop should be cool about it.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  11. #11
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmg1227 View Post
    After getting home, flipping through the manual, I read "If your crotch touches the frame, the bike is too big for you. Don't even ride the bike around the block." It said the bike should give you "a minimum standover height clearance of two inches."
    That's bull****. Standover clearance is overrated.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  12. #12
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmg1227 View Post
    I did give the bike a test-ride around the block before buying it. It feels fine to me, but I don't quite trust my judgment considering I haven't ridden in a while.

    I hate to be that annoying customer who comes back to make a swap, but I'm only a college student/preschool teacher, so it was a pretty big purchase for me.

    How do bike shops typically react to this kind of stuff? Is a return/trade-in something that most shops don't make a big deal about?
    Take the bike for a longer ride to get a better sense of fit. Ride for at least an hour, preferably two. How does the fit feel now. Ignore the pain your butt and feet probably feel, if you are not used to riding. But how do your hands and shoulders feel? Do you have trouble reaching the brake and shift levers or does it feel about right? Do you feel too stretched out or does it feel right?

    The reason I say this is, standover height is not an absolute. There are people whose torsos are long relative to the legs, or legs short relative to the torso. If this is you, then you may need a somewhat larger frame than others the same height as you so you aren't "scrunched up". I ran into this situation last year when I was buying a new bike. I really was torn between 53 cm and 55. Ultimately I went with the larger frame though if I were going by standover height, I should have gone with a 53 or 54 cm frame.

  13. #13
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Given that the medium frame has a horizontal top tube length just 15mm longer than the small frame, why do we think the OP is going to feel any difference in reach or stretch-out between them?

    But when she slips and bangs her public bone on the top tube, I reckon she'll feel that.

    Possibly you can make do with the medium, but there is no downside to getting the small, except for the salesman who wanted to make the sale ASAP.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Given that the medium frame has a horizontal top tube length just 15mm longer than the small frame, why do we think the OP is going to feel any difference in reach or stretch-out between them?

    But when she slips and bangs her public bone on the top tube, I reckon she'll feel that.

    Possibly you can make do with the medium, but there is no downside to getting the small, except for the salesman who wanted to make the sale ASAP.
    Don't know, which is why I suggested she take it out and ride for a few hours to feel for herself. In this era of compact frames, there is such a thing as a too small frame. I would think a woman 5'2" would need a small frame, but everybody is built differently.

    Here is an article from Rivendell's website. Grant Peterson isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he knows bikes.
    http://www.rivbike.com/Articles.asp?ID=247
    And another article about bike fitting.
    https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=41
    Last edited by MRT2; 06-26-13 at 09:17 AM.

  15. #15
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    As a new rider myself, I say make sure you are 100% comfortable with the bike, or you wont ride. I have to add that from what you say it really seems like the LBS sold you what they had versus helping you with what you needed. I would return it and shop elsewhere or at the very least make them get you the right size.

  16. #16
    Senior Member fatguy_ona_bike's Avatar
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    I wouldn't automatically conclude the LBS deviously sold the OP a wrong size. When I started riding again last year, my measurements indicated a 59 size bike (6' 3", 33.5" inseam) would be best. I checked the standover height on a 58 and 60 and 60 felt way too big. I was touching the top tube on the 60, so I rode the 58 and felt pretty comfortable.

    Fast forward to this year, I'm now riding a 61, as the 58 proved to be too scrunched (great way to put it) everywhere else. It had been so long since I was on a bike (of proper size even), that I didn't really know by feel what size I was. My salesman sold me a bike that was ultimately too small based on my feedback. I can't fault him. In fact, they worked with me when getting the 61 and the 58 I traded in to them for a great price.

    And with the 61, certain parts of me are touching the top tube as well. As others have said, give it a good solid ride and see how you feel. If you still feel stretched, go back and talk to them. If they're a good shop, they'll work with you.

  17. #17
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatguy_ona_bike View Post
    I wouldn't automatically conclude the LBS deviously sold the OP a wrong size. When I started riding again last year, my measurements indicated a 59 size bike (6' 3", 33.5" inseam) would be best. I checked the standover height on a 58 and 60 and 60 felt way too big. I was touching the top tube on the 60, so I rode the 58 and felt pretty comfortable.

    Fast forward to this year, I'm now riding a 61, as the 58 proved to be too scrunched (great way to put it) everywhere else. It had been so long since I was on a bike (of proper size even), that I didn't really know by feel what size I was. My salesman sold me a bike that was ultimately too small based on my feedback. I can't fault him. In fact, they worked with me when getting the 61 and the 58 I traded in to them for a great price.

    And with the 61, certain parts of me are touching the top tube as well. As others have said, give it a good solid ride and see how you feel. If you still feel stretched, go back and talk to them. If they're a good shop, they'll work with you.
    Guessing your Real inseam is 32".

    Try this:

    http://veloweb.ca/bike-fit/
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  18. #18
    Senior Member fatguy_ona_bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Guessing your Real inseam is 32".

    Try this:

    http://veloweb.ca/bike-fit/

    Shop had a fancier set up. It looked like a wooden shoe horn on a pogo stick. Does the same thing. Also:

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...mpact#geometry

    There's the spec to my bike. Size frame 61: Standover is 851mm = 33.50" Considering I just touch when I'm in my mountain shoes, I think I'm pretty close.

    Sorry for the derailment...carry on.

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    Thanks so much for all the feedback guys! I took a ride down to the shop again today and was able to try out the 2012 Vita Sport in a small, which is what they had in stock. The standover height was much better, and it felt a lot safer when dismounting.

    When I first sat on it, the frame did seem different and I couldn't be sure if it was too small or "scrunched". When he raised the seat height a bit and I took it for a spin, though, I ultimately went with the small frame.

    He was really gracious about the exchange and ordered the 2013 in the color I liked for me. I'm glad I didn't just suck it up and stay with a bike I wasn't 100% sure about. I am 5'1'' afterall, so a 17'' medium sized frame just doesn't seem right for me.

  20. #20
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I'm glad you did that. And that the shop did right. If you feel you found a good bike shop, it is worth supporting it when you need repairs, accessories, etc. E.g. come winter when you want fenders, rain stuff, etc.

    Will look to see you else in Bike Forums - Commuting, maybe.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmg1227 View Post
    Thanks so much for all the feedback guys! I took a ride down to the shop again today and was able to try out the 2012 Vita Sport in a small, which is what they had in stock. The standover height was much better, and it felt a lot safer when dismounting.

    When I first sat on it, the frame did seem different and I couldn't be sure if it was too small or "scrunched". When he raised the seat height a bit and I took it for a spin, though, I ultimately went with the small frame.

    He was really gracious about the exchange and ordered the 2013 in the color I liked for me. I'm glad I didn't just suck it up and stay with a bike I wasn't 100% sure about. I am 5'1'' afterall, so a 17'' medium sized frame just doesn't seem right for me.
    Glad it worked out for you, I am sure you will get much more enjoyment just by feeling more confident on the size choice, as well as more confident in your LBS and their customer service.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    That's bull****. Standover clearance is overrated.
    .

    Hi,.

    No it is not BS. Only a few people, short legged and long torso *
    might need a bike with no standover, and they would be pretty
    dumb to buy a flat toptube bike over a sloping down toptube.

    Sloping down toptube and no standover = too big, almost always.

    The OP is not tall, but has given no indication of unusual proportions.

    It was clearly too big, end of story.

    rgds, sreten.

    * Generally applies less to women than men.



    TBH I find the idea that the medium you can barely standover will
    be the right "cockpit" length and the small too short ridiculous.
    Though if true easily fixed with a longer front handlbar stem.

    Standover:
    1" for a road bike
    2" for a hybrid
    3" for a MTB

    The above sort of frame you do want at least 2" or more for good fit.

    Though if you are talking 5'1" you will never get a good fitting
    road bike based on 700C wheels, and anyone around 5' or so
    is a lot better off looking at hybrids based on the MTB wheel
    size than the larger road bike size, it's just common sense.

    The minimum bar height on the above bike is simply too
    high for any serious biker around 5' tall, plain and simple.

    IMO a pretty clueless useless bike shop.
    Last edited by sreten; 06-26-13 at 05:23 PM.

  23. #23
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sreten View Post
    Hi,.

    No it is not BS. Only a few people, short legged and long torso *
    might need a bike with no standover, and they would be pretty
    dumb to buy a flat toptube bike over a sloping down toptube.

    The OP is not tall, but has given no indication of unusual proportions.
    Standover:
    1" for a road bike
    2" for a hybrid
    3" for a MTB
    What I'm calling BS on, is the notion that X" of standover is the most-important measure you need to find the bike that fits best. And I stand by it -- that measure tells you absolutely nothing about how the bike will fit when riding, which is what actually matters. When else do you straddle the top tube flat-footed, except when you're waiting around during a break on the ride? Having two inches (or whatever) of standover clearance might not even be enough if your legs are bent when you come off the saddle during a panic stop. It's just a liability dodge that has become a no-thought rule for bike fitting.

    Anyways, I'm glad that the smaller frame felt better for the OP.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    What I'm calling BS on, is the notion that X" of standover is the most-important measure you need to find the bike that fits best. And I stand by it -- that measure tells you absolutely nothing about how the bike will fit when riding, which is what actually matters. When else do you straddle the top tube flat-footed, except when you're waiting around during a break on the ride? Having two inches (or whatever) of standover clearance might not even be enough if your legs are bent when you come off the saddle during a panic stop. It's just a liability dodge that has become a no-thought rule for bike fitting.

    Anyways, I'm glad that the smaller frame felt better for the OP.
    I will agree that it's not "the most important" measurement; but you're wrong that it tells you nothing.

    BUT, this being BF, you're gonna believe what you want, anyway, so snuggle with your myth. Too many people make up cynical points of view to support something they don't understand, and then others believe THAT, because it's 'out of the mainstream'. Don't know exactly where you fall, but whatever, dude.

  25. #25
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
    BUT, this being BF, you're gonna believe what you want, anyway, so snuggle with your myth. Too many people make up cynical points of view to support something they don't understand, and then others believe THAT, because it's 'out of the mainstream'. Don't know exactly where you fall, but whatever, dude.
    You're going out on a bunch of limbs there. Very generally, a good fit involves having the proper leg extension, a saddle fore-aft position that's agreeable to the knees, and then the desired handlebar height and extension. None of those dictate, or are informed by, the amount of space between a person's junk and the top tube when they stand over a bike in the store.

    So what's the myth, the cynical point of view, or the thing that I'm not understanding since you're making the accusation? There are a lot of things in the bicycling mainstream that exist because of momentum, not because they have merit.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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