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standover height(10 posts)

standover heightskvarken
May 13, 2003 5:21 AM
We bought my wife a road bike last weekend (49cm Fuji Newest ) as she is going to be participating in a 3 day charity ride later this summer. The guy at the LBS seemed to think that the bike fit when we were there... After getting the bike home, it's apparent that the frame is lacking in stand over height. She can stand over the frame with her heals on the ground ( w/ biking shoes), with the frame just touching. She's about 5'4" with shorter legs and a longer torso. Also, the seat post when at the optimal height for her is about 2.5 fingers high. Given her torso length, the distance from seat to bars look ok for her.

We wanted to avoid going with the women's specific model based on feedback from a few LBS's that the smaller wheels were less than ideal.

I have the following questions. Keep in mind that I'm a MTB guy ;):

Is the stand over height a big deal given that the rest of the bike looks to fit her pretty well? Perhaps she will have problems finding a sufficiently long frame ( non-custom ) with enough stand over given her dimensions. Also, keep mind that I will be teaching her to use clipless pedals for the first time on this bike. (I don't think she'll have a problem.)

Does anyone have an opinion on the women's specific Fuji Newest w/ the smaller wheels ( pros/cons )? This looks like it may be the only other option in our budget at this LBS other than perhaps a K2 Mach 2 in Xtra Small. It looks like the K2 would give her only a tiny bit more stand over.

I've done a good deal of reading on this stuff to try to get up to speed, but when it comes to stand over, fitting, etc the opinions seem to be a bit varied.

Thanks in advance for your comments..!
Take it from a guy who rode a bike with no standover...eschelon
May 13, 2003 6:36 AM sucked. The bike ends up feeling sluggish and unweidy...kind of like trying to do a 100 yard sprint with shoes 1 size too big. I finally went to a shop to my surprise that actually took the time to do a fit kit test and now my bike has about ~2 inch clearance (non sloping frame) and it definitely makes a difference.
re: standover heightmsmootsiemartin
May 13, 2003 6:54 AM
I am not sure about the fit on your wife's bike, it may or may not work. If you are interested, here is a link to a fairly comprehensive list of smaller and WSD bikes.
If the bike does not fit properly, I would definitely take it back! Good luck!
I have been convinced by the arguments that standover heightbill
May 13, 2003 7:42 AM
is not as relevant as top tube length -- that you are as likely or unlikely to prevent injury with the recommended 1-2" standover as with no standover, that the whole smaller-sized frame = lighter/stiffer may be marginally true but is hardly decisive, and that the handling characteristics of the proper stem length on a properly sized TT probably outweigh all other factors, assuming that you don't want to get into a 650 wheel, about which I have no knowledge and therefore, much to the surprise of people who know me well, no opinion.
How often do you hop off the seat unto the top tube ?MR_GRUMPY
May 13, 2003 8:12 AM
If the top tube-stem extension is correct, don't worry about it. As long as your wife isn't racing, it won't make too much difference. Go look at some photos from the 50's and 60's, all the racers were riding bikes that were "too big".
re: standover heightMWM
May 13, 2003 8:28 AM
As another rider with short legs and a long torso, I've been much more comfortable on bikes with little standover clearance. For recreational riding or a more upright posture I'd also tend towards slightly larger frames. In the '70's bikes were often recommended on the large size, especially for touring. In the '80s and '90's the trend seemed to be the opposite, especially for racing. If you can lift the bike an inch until it contacts your pubic bone while wearing your shoes it's probably not too large. Top tube length is more important along with posture and seat position. The Rivendell website has some good articles on this issue.
re: standover heightpsychic_egg
May 13, 2003 10:22 AM
IMHO, while standing on level ground standover height may not be that much of an issue, but throw in some uneven pavement, not to mention emergency stops, etc. and you may have a recipe for disaster....

my wife is also 5'4" and rides a 2002 50cm Felt F85 and loves it. It has a Sora/ Tiagra mix (Sora Shifters, unfortunately) and is priced under the Newest. she has about 700 miles on it w/ no complaints
It's not a big deal at all.djg
May 13, 2003 11:23 AM
Reach to the bars--both fore/aft and up/down--is critical. Being able to get your saddle in the right place is important. Having a couple of inches of space between your crotch and the top tube, when you're standing flat-footed, straddling the top tube, and holding the bike still and vertical is useful for ventilation, but only when it's really hot and you are standing flat-footed, straddling the top tube, and holding the bike still and vertical. Which doesn't come up much.

But seriously folks: if your wife is comfortable on the bike, you are home free. A negative six inches of standover is potentially a real problem. Flush with the bar is fine. She won't fall plunk onto the top tube except under truly bizarre conditions (in which an extra inch might not help in any case).

Once upon a time people who raced wanted the smallest possible frame because, all things equal, it was liable to be lighter and stiffer. Those were always marginal benefits at the 1-2 cm frame size differences people were typically considering, even when nearly all the road bikes were either Reynolds 531 or Columbus SL. Now they're marginal at best, and often non-existent. There are just many more tubing options than there used to be and the odds that someone cannot find a frame in typical sizes--much less a frame at your wife's 49 cm size--that is not stiff enough ought to be null. And the difference in frame weight between 49 cm and 47 is pretty darn slight.

Two and a half fingers worth of seat post is definitely on the short side--and won't work with certain seatposts--but if it works, it works. The important thing about seatpost extension is that it allows you to get the proper leg extension and setback. If she can get the proper leg extension and setback, then showing a certain amount of post besides doesn't really do anything for her. For some people, having a bike on the tall side offers an advantage. That is, if you want to get the bars up near the height of the saddle, it's pretty easy to do so if your frame is on the tall side--not so easy for those who've gone as small as possible.
"Standover height" an American pre occupation??Cat 3 boy
May 14, 2003 7:04 AM
As an English guy who's ridden bikes for 35yrs I have never heard anyone on this side of the Atlantic worry about stand over height.

Mainly for the reasons quoted above, ie current trends are towards smaller frames, you'd have to be on a frame that's maybe 3 or 4 inches too tall in the seat tube to actually "sit" on the top tube!!

Is this an American "fit criterion", can anyone enlighten me? As for "busting your balls" the most common way of doing that is to come unclipped in a sprint, like Erik Zabel in the Tour a year or two ago. I reckon it doesn't matter how small/big your frame is, if you come unclipped you're gonna do some harm :)

Cat 3 boy
Maybe. As far as I can tell it's used in two different ways.djg
May 14, 2003 9:55 AM
Some folks are keen to have a certain standover clearance as an independent fit criterion. I don't think it's all that important, as I said above, unless the fit is way off.

Second, some shops that do very casual bike fit use standover as a proxy for overall fit--if you can stand over the top tube we can probably get the seat in the right place, etc. I don't think much of this as a way of fitting bikes, although my guess is that it works fine for a reasonable number of people (and poorly for others).

Plenty of individuals and shops in the US use entirely different fit criteria and systems--it's a big country.