I'm in the market for what I guess is best called an "urban" bike- flat handle bar, 700c wheels, rigid frame. I want something that I can ride on pavement, not trails, I would like it to be tough enough that I can occasionally hop on and off curbs on it, and I would like it's gearing to be conducive to speed as I only want to use it along the valley floor; no desire to do hills on this thing.
So far, the bike that best meets that description is the REI Novara Big Buzz. Here's a snapshot of it's web page:
The only problem is it's available size vs. my body's size; it's largest available size is a 20" and the REI salespeople have basically told me that it's too small for me. At 6'2" and with a 32" inseam, my standover height on the bike is around 4" and when I have the seat at its appropriate height (so that I have only a slight bend in my knee with the pedal at the bottom of its travel) the seat is quite a bit higher than the handle bars. That seat height has my body pretty leaned forward and during a long test ride, my back started to complain.
My first thought was to just use a different stem, but the salesperson instantly said that that would change the handling, as if that would be a disaster. As for the stem that comes on the bike, it looks pretty long and low to me (don't know the measurements, though ) and the handlebars are totally flat.
To finally get to my question, would it really be a bad idea for me to buy this bike and try to "make" it fit my body by using a riser stem and handle bar? Or should I just choose a different bike?