Forgive me for talking a little long here, but I just bought a 2010 Novara Randonee. I originally went to REI to test their 2009 Randonee in Large, but it didn't feel right. My seat was way too high, and the bars too low.
Little background: I am about 5-11 with a cycling inseam of 33 or so. So, I have longer legs and shorter arms. On most modern bikes, I just can't get comfortable. I have a 56cm Cannondale road bike, with about 6" of saddle to bar drop. It is fast, but not the most comfortable for long rides.
So I wanted something steel, easier to ride, yada yada, and I decided on a Novara Randonee. I wanted to ride an 09, because the price was less. But, come to find out, the 09 Large Randonee is not the same as the 2010 Large Randonee. I thought I was looking at apples to apples.
So I rode an XL 2010 Randonee. It felt good. It felt better than any bike I have ever been on. I have just a bit of seatpost showing [not much], and the bars are slightly higher than the saddle. I know I need to raise the seat a little bit, but the bars will still be slightly higher.
I can straddle the XL randonee, and I can lift up the front wheel. The salesman told me that if I could life up the front wheel four inches or so, then it was fine. I have never heard of this metric before, but it sounded reasonable. And the bike just feels good.
So, now I realize the 09s and 2010s are different. I think that a 2010 Large model would probably raise my seatpost some, and lower the handlebars some. Probably getting them about even. The top tube would be shorter. I would get more standover.
So, if the bike feels good...
How important is standover?