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Standover height - how important?

Old 10-09-17, 03:50 AM
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taz777
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Standover height - how important?

I usually need Small sized bike frames as I'm vertically challenged, being just 5'6". I also have short legs so struggle with standover height. As an example, I have a 52cm Roubaix SL4 road bike but I struggle to plant my feet flat on the ground whilst standing over the top tube. The same is true of my hybrid. Both are effectively small frames. In all other respects, the bikes feel comfortable to ride.

So, how important is standover height?
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Old 10-09-17, 04:24 AM
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Completely unimportant. If you're a bit short in the legs for the frame, just lean it to the side and put only one foot down.

I'm 6' and all my frames are big. The Hillbrick features a very high top tube because it's fixed gear and thus has a high bottom bracket. I've never been bitten.

Incidentally, here in Australia, we say people with short legs have 'Ducks disease', their bum's too close to the ground
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Old 10-09-17, 04:45 AM
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On a road bike, not critical. For off-road use, very important.

That said, I can't stand a bike that I can't stand over. I also have short legs so that basically eliminates certain brands with horizontal top tubes. At your height and build you may also want to consider women's frames, which are sometimes designed for shorter legs.
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Old 10-09-17, 04:55 AM
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Road bike also important. If you've ever had to brake suddenly and plant both feet when you come to a stop you'll appreciate at least a little clearance.
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Old 10-09-17, 06:01 AM
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Not important at all. Focus on top tube length. You can easily lean a bike to one side to put a foot on the ground. Just put one foot down, not both feet.

Bikes are built for "average" proportion people. Like any average, half of the people out there are on one side of the average or the other. So some have long torso, short leg, others have long leg, short torso. I am 5-10, my wife who is 5-3 has the same exact inseam. If I get a bike sized to fit my super short legs, I end up scrunched with a way too short top tube.


Agree it is important if you are riding a MTB off road.

Google road bike sizing top tube length, you will find endless information out there.
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Old 10-09-17, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post

Incidentally, here in Australia, we say people with short legs have 'Ducks disease', their bum's too close to the ground
Quacks me up ^

Important for mountain climbing, but not critical for road riding... However, you may inflict personal harm should you need to plant the feet in a quickie.
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Old 10-09-17, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
So, how important is standover height?
In my opinion it's only important as you want it to be. Bike fitting primarily is concerned with just how you fit while in the riding position and pedaling. So if a smaller frame with a longer seat post gets you there, that is good too.

What kind of bikes are you riding or looking at? Road, Hybrid, mountain, cruiser, etc....?

I generally only take notice of old bikes. But many frames I see today have sloping top tubes in every type bike. Makes them more uni-sex and certainly helps those with shorter inseams and normal to longer trunk lengths get on a frame with a more appropriate top tube length.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
In my opinion it's only important as you want it to be. Bike fitting primarily is concerned with just how you fit while in the riding position and pedaling. So if a smaller frame with a longer seat post gets you there, that is good too.
+1. It's not the case that the ability to stand over a top tube with both feet is "completely unimportant" or "vitally important" for everyone. For some riders (especially newer riders) it's reassuring to be able to do this when they have to stop in a hurry. Other riders (especially longtime ones) have the coordination to be able to just put one foot down, regardless of the circumstances. So the amount of standover clearance (or lack thereof) is never a consideration.

I wouldn't hold it against a newbie for wanting a bike they can stand over. Heck, it's a victory when we can talk someone out of wanting their saddle so low that they can sit with both feet on the ground.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:46 AM
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Stood over , test ridden , any bikes yet to see what size is best, for you, Yet?

Crank Forward cruisers are a frame design variation for those who feel they Must be able to stop flat footed..
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Old 10-09-17, 10:29 AM
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Maybe a better question for the "fitting your bike" forum.
Standing over ht is very important. You don't want to smash your stuff when you dismount. Look at one of the frame size spec sheets for all the factors involved. Standover ht is not adjustable. Top tube length can be changed with changing the stem. But that will change the fore/aft balance of the bike. That can be adjusted with moving the saddle fore/aft. But that changes the seat to BB horizontal dimension, also the reach. All this affects the bike's handling. Some people care about it, some don't. If it bothers you change it. Does it bother you yet? I'm curious why you asked unless it is an issue for you?
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Old 10-09-17, 10:31 AM
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Fit your bike for riding, not standing.
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Old 10-09-17, 11:43 AM
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They say 1 " clearance of the top tube is good . As most been saying it not impotent to worry about , but for safely reasons , then you will want the 0ne inch clearance .
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Old 10-09-17, 12:02 PM
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I don't care what a fitter says but I certainly want enough clearance that I have nothing to worry about. Does not need to be a lot but I would rather have too much than not enough it could be painful. So frankly I like at least an inch many I went with a 58 on my Habby due to the traditional geometry but other wise I ride a 59 or even 60 in a slopping TT.
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Old 10-09-17, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Road bike also important. If you've ever had to brake suddenly and plant both feet when you come to a stop you'll appreciate at least a little clearance.
My thought exactly. I would want adequate clearance even if I only needed it once in the years I was riding that bike. (My take on risk management - the risk is the likelihood X the level of unacceptability. I consider the second factor, level of unacceptability, at somewhere near infinity. Infinity X a very small number is still infinity. I wear a helmet for the same reason.

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Old 10-09-17, 12:58 PM
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I rode a road bike for 21 years I could not straddle flat footed. Not even close. I never once hit it with my groin. Fit it to ride and not to stand over IMHO
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Old 10-09-17, 01:39 PM
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The last emergency stop in which I got hurt was in 1972. The bike was a 58, and I had no clearance, and that was the problem. I haven't had to go through those motions in the last 45 years, but there's no way i will buy a bike without 1" or so clearance.

My calculations match 79pmooney's.
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Old 10-09-17, 02:00 PM
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When I was a kid I bought and rode bikes that now, with 45 years of experience and body wear/tear, I know to be too large.


BTW I build frames as a hobby and have built for a number of short women. I also sold Terry Bikes for 15 years. IME women are more sensitive to stand over then guys are. One reason is that many women are already too stretched out reaching to the levers, a top tube too high up makes the mount/dismount that much more awkward.


Off road I rarely see a rider dismount directly square with the bike. I've whacked my privets on stems, seats, handle bars but not on my top tube that I can remember. I have had plenty of inner thigh scrapes and bruises though... Liking a longer reach I still ride mountain bikes that are in the taller end of my acceptable range as their top tubes are also longer (and I still haven't made myself an off road bike).


This summer I did a 2000 mile tour, fully loaded. I was very happy to be able to sit on my top tube or stand on my feet, but not both at the same time, when stopped. I suspect that most who have posted here don't ride a heavily loaded bike too often. Andy

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Old 10-09-17, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
I usually need Small sized bike frames as I'm vertically challenged, being just 5'6". I also have short legs so struggle with standover height. As an example, I have a 52cm Roubaix SL4 road bike but I struggle to plant my feet flat on the ground whilst standing over the top tube. The same is true of my hybrid. Both are effectively small frames. In all other respects, the bikes feel comfortable to ride.

So, how important is standover height?
For clarity, is this for a male or female?
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Old 10-09-17, 02:04 PM
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I've ridden a bike that may be a size or two tall... for years. And the Family Jewels are still intact.

It just doesn't matter that much, and I find it comfortable to sit on the top tube when I'm resting at a stop light. I'm sure I've survived more than a few emergency stops over the year. I can't remember many, but I did snag my trailer on a plastic guard rail a few months ago. Stopped cold.

Using toe clips, or clipless cleats, most of the time I'm only unclipping one foot anyway. I probably am rarely standing two feet flat on the ground.
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Old 10-09-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
For clarity, is this for a male or female?
Male.
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Old 10-09-17, 02:23 PM
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It depends on how important your testicles are.
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Old 10-09-17, 02:23 PM
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Standover height only matters if it's insufficient, and only then if a situation arises where it becomes an issue.

If you're able to dismount and retain control without issues then you can ignore it, in favor of other considerations. OTOH if it is an issue for you, then often the best solution is to go with smaller wheels which make a lower standover height without compromising ride quality.

Unfortunately, there's resistance to the notion of scaling the whole bike down and so many riders are forced to ride bikes that are too big for them. It's not only about standover height. When small frames are built on 700c wheels, they tend to be too long for their target market.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:02 PM
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it's not important at all until that day when it is.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:19 PM
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I'm smaller than you and I rode a 50 cm. I wouldn't ride a bike that is too tall. My bike is at 31.5" but I don't push it. My bike is about 3/4" lower than that.
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Old 10-09-17, 10:35 PM
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Standover height varies with tire size too. My road bike and hybrid are technically the same sizes, measuring bottom bracket to seat tube and/or head tube lengths. But the standover heights are very different because the road bike wears 700x23 tires and the hybrid 700x42 tires. The hybrid has a longer top tube, chain stays and just feels more comfortable overall. The hybrid came with 700x32 tires and if I went back to those the standover height would be roomier.

Plenty of clearance to hop off the road bike saddle while straddling the bike without endangering Johnson and the twins. But it's a snug fit with the hybrid, depending on whether I'm wearing padded shorts or liners. I can put one foot down at stops, no problem.

Also depends on my shoes. Usually I wear casual walking/cycling shoes with fairly thick soles for platform pedals. With my thin-soled deck shoes it's pretty darned snug on the hybrid.

Main problem with the snugger fit on the hybrid is the bare brake cable running along the top tube. In real world riding conditions it would never interfere. But occasionally I worry about straddling the bike and the bare wire cable rubbing the paint. So next time I replace cables I'll use full length housings. The road bike already has a full length cable housing for the brake cable running along the top tube.

Most bike folks who see me with these bikes think the frames are a bit too large for me. But my legs are just a big longer than usual for a 5'11", around 33.5". And I have a long waist with narrow hips, so I tend to wear my pants low, which makes my legs appear shorter than they are. So if I depended on bike shop sales people who didn't do fittings, I'd be riding bikes a bit too small for me.

If you'd like a bit more standover room, try 700x23 tires on your Roubaix (I think 700x25 are stock) and you might find the standover height a bit more comfortable. There are even a few 700x20 tires around here and there, including some new/old stock Vittoria Corsos being blown out by a few online discounters ($15-$20 for what were once top shelf tires). And if you prefer softer riding tires that are still quick rolling and not sluggish, I can definitely recommend Schwalbe One V-Guards in 700x23, now available at half price most places for the 2014 models since Schwalbe has updated their One series lineup.
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