Standover Clearance: Do You Care?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by new_rider, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    The first two bikes that I ever bought were too big for me. I didn't know what I was doing when buying these bikes: I just wanted to get around while in college.

    Ever since those two 'learning experiences' I've been far more careful about buying the proper sized bike.

    For better or worse, I've used standover clearance as one easy deazy criterion for bike fit. I want at least 1" for a road, and at least 2" for off road.

    I am back in the market for a road bike, and with a 30" inseam, I'm noticing certain brands I'm interested in don't offer much in the way of standover clearance.

    The 52 cm specialized for example, has a standover of 30.3":

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/allez/allez-elite#geometry

    With shoes, I should have a bit of clearance, but not a lot.

    Do you all consider standover clearance an important factor when sizing a bike?
     
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  2. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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  3. doss

    doss New Member

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    Nope. I care about fit when riding. Not when standing Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    My Z5 gives me a weggie when I'm standing. That method of bike fitting should be left for childrens Walmart bikes. All that matters is fit while on the bike.
     
  5. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    Yikes! LOL! How do you look your z5 btw?
     
  6. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    My stem gives me a wedgie if I stand over it.

    Fitting a bike is getting the reach correlating to your torso height and to a lesser extent, your arm length, and getting the stack height correlating to your leg length and to a lesser extent, your arm length. If stack and reach aren't available, horizontal top tube and head tube are close enough. After you've established the position of the saddle relative to the crank spindle, reach determines how far forward you have to reach for the handlebar, and stack determines how far down.

    The way frames are proportioned these days, unless you have extraordinarily short legs for your height, sizing according to the largest bike you can straddle will put you on a bike that's too large.
     
  7. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    Stem wedgies are brutal. There's a society for the prevention of, sayin' lol!

    I've done some reading on the topic, and reach is a useless measurement.

    I have yet to see an article or post which demonstrates the importance of a reach measurement.
     
  8. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    I love it, but it's my first and only road bike so I don't have much to compare it to. It rides better than my friend's ZW100... shocking lol. It's the 2012, so it had almost a full 105 kit (whereas Felt seemed to drop it down a tier in 2013 with downgraded components and a much cheaper price) which I just made a full 105 with a new cassette and chain. The kid at the bike shop sold me on it for the more comfortable riding position over an F series or a Madone 4.3 (which is what I originally went in to purchase). So far that's held true, though I did flip the stem and rotate the bars slightly after their fitting because the position was grossly non-aggressive which made for pretty sloppy handling.
     
  9. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    You'll think reach is unimportant until you put in too many miles on a bike with the wrong reach. Changing the stem length to compensate for a wrong top tube length changes how the bike handles. A longer stem can mean a more stable ride because it takes more horizontal movement of the handlebars to make the same arc of turn in the front wheel with a shorter stem. But that can mean less a less nimble bike if someone is doing short crits and wants the maneuverability.
     
  10. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    Like I said, reach is a redundant stat. I just use ett.

    It's like the analytics guys in basketball who have to invent 50 different stats to show why lebron is a superior player. He averages 27 ppg shooting 60% from the field. It's not that difficult.
     
  11. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    I am very impressed with the spec on the felt bikes. They seem like a crazy good value. The geometry seems amazingly spot on for me as well.

    Esthetically, I'm less than thrilled with the paint schemes of the bikes. Stealth black and diablo red have been done a million times over and don't appeal to me all that much.

    Ultimately, it'll come down to ride/fit, but felt is being ridiculously conservative with esthetics.
     
  12. AyeYo

    AyeYo Member

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    I think Felt's MO on low and mid-range bikes is cheap Asian built frames that allow them to offer a better groupset for the money than competitors.

    I agree on the aesthetics. I'm not a fan of my bike's obnoxious, all red paint scheme and now their new thing seems to be raw carbon. The automotive industry played out raw carbon as a fashion statement ten years ago. Trek isn't doing much better. I think the European brands have the edge on good looks by a large margin.
     
  13. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    Hate to break the news to ya, but asian built frames have been the industry norm for a quarter of a century, if not longer. Every bike brand has most every frame built overseas, so that can't account for felt's noticeably better spec.

    Why throw the epithet 'cheap' out there as if it were synonymous with quality. My taiwanese built frame has gorgeous welds. Well, as gorgeous as welds on an aluminum frame can be. Japanese and taiwanese frames are of the highest quality. Not surprising, since they've been at it so long.

    If you really want to see some shoddy work, go right to customer builders here in the US. Detroit Bikes has weld quality you'd expect to see from a junior high school metal shop class in particular.

    --

    As far as felt's esthetics, I can't really single out felt in particular. A lot of the big names have adopted a 2 color palette scheme. Black. And white. Not very imaginative. Oh, and grey. Let's not forget grey.
     
  14. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Most riders aren't aware of stack and reach because they are imbedded deep in the geometry charts on the web site or the back of the catalog. Or they don't exist. On the other hand, top tube length is often on the bike's size label right on the seat tube. And head tube height is so obvious. So most everybody uses horizontal top tube and head tube. Or simply nominal size, the least accurate way of sizing a frame.

    But stack and reach are more precise. If I asked you, which bike will fit shorter, a 57 with an ETT of 57.0 cm and a 72.5 degree seat angle, or a 56 with an ETT of 56.5 and a 73.5 degree seat angle, you'd need trigonometry or a tape measure to give an accurate answer.

    Just because you don't use something doesn't mean it is unimportant to everybody.
     
  15. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    The newness of reach and stack as measurements is also a bit puzzling.

    I can see how stack would be a useful measure, although it doesn't mean that much without stem length and angle.

    I'm still trying to figure out why reach is useful. I suppose it's a measurement which is independent of seat angle, but since it's so new, it's often impossible to compare your current bike with a new bike's spec since reach didn't start appearing on geometry charts until very recently.

    I'd also like to see stem and handlebar measurements on geometry charts, although this information 9 times out of 10 is mysteriously absent.

    Bicycle geometry charts are simultaneously more informative yet strangely cryptic and incomplete at the same time these days.

    I'm sure there are car nuts out there who know and sweat every last detail about cars, but how many bicycle enthusiasts know much or care about stack and reach?
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Do I care about standover clearance? Normally no, only when both feet slip off the pedals...
     
  17. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Reach and stack are simple because they don't deal with angles or bottom bracket drop at all. It deals with two points, the centerline of the bottom bracket shell and the intersection of the centerline of the head tube and its top edge. Reach is the x-delta (horizontal) and stack is the y-delta (vertical).

    These days, with a plethora of seatposts with various setback specifications available, and stems of various angles and lengths, the issue of seat and head angles is about ride and performance for all but the most extreme outliers of bodily proportion.

    I'll admit, though, when I'm looking through a geometry chart old habits die hard. The first measurements I see are HTT, seat angle, and head tube. I've been dealing with the first two dimensions for almost 40 years, and the last one really wasn't an option until Specialized and Giant invented their own reasons for the divergence of HTT and ATT (actual top tube).
     
  18. new_rider

    new_rider New Member

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    I don't mind seeing the new measurements. If anything, I wish manufacturers would simply make ALL relevant info possible, such as

    -handlebar width and type

    -stem length and rise

    -crank arm length

    Even critical component specs are sometimes missing, such as the mystifying: "alloy calipers" spec whenever tektro is used.

    I really don't know why reach and stack are now mandatory, when other critical dimensions listed above, may or may not be included.

    Let's have ALL relevant info so we can make a more informed decision going into the shop.
     
  19. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    No written spec is required. Bike companies just learned that they'd sell more bikes, and riders and bike dealers would make fewer mistakes, if they published more complete specs. So most do. And compared to the days when I started out, . . .

    Regarding parts spec, yeah, most don't reveal the sordid details about their "substitutions". Most bikes priced below $4000 have substitutions to make them reach a price point, and brands substitute wherever the buyer is most likely to either ignore it (brake calipers) or upgrade it (wheels and saddle) it sometime later.

    Sizing a bike is still a game of approximation. Brands and dealers know that anyone who is serious or fussy about fit is going to end up swapping eventually.
     
  20. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    20 years ago, mystery brake calipers were a near disaster. Even brakes like Campag Record Delta, Croce d'Aune Delta and Triomphe were utter crap. Name brand brakes destined to let you launch yourself into the nearest piece of road furniture. Today the gap between Tektro and Ultegra/105 is nowhere near as huge and can almost be closed with a change to really good brake pads.

    The only thing that matters on a bike is:

    (a) you're comfortable and your position is "about right"
    (b) your weight is somewhat centered between the wheels.
    (c) you're aero when riding on the flat.

    With regards to crank length - see point (a). The only time I ever really noticed a benefit to long cranks was out of the saddle and up a steep hill. On the flat, when I tested various lengths a few years ago (adjustable PowerCranks with the lockout feature) it didn't really matter what length I had with regards to power production. Comfort wise, as long as I could get the pedal over top dead center easily the length didn't matter.
     
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