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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure how to ask this without getting jeered, but here goes. I want to get into mountainbiking and am just starting to seriously research which bike will be best for me. I was at a local bike shop today and the guy was explaining how i want 1-2'' of clearance when I stand flat-footed over the bike. The problem is that I have short legs (29'' inseam), and it was only on the smallest frames that I felt true "clearance." The 15'' bikes looked really small and felt too small when I was test riding. I tried several bikes and it was his impression that a 16'' frame would be the the right size for me. I can't say I felt true "clearance" of anything like 1-2'' but the 16'' bikes felt more my size. In the event of an accident I'd hate to think of the reproductive ramifications of this clearance issue.

Any thoughts?
 

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all you need is a little bit of clearance over the top tube, as long as you can stand over the bike without the toptube hitting your crotch then your good to go. were you looking at hardtail or full-suspension bikes? usually full susp. bikes have a little more standover room. you definately dont want to get too small of a frame because then you'll just be too cramped and uncomfortable on long rides.

Giant's entry level hardtails have a really sloped top tube, you might want to check into those.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
InvictaS1 said:
all you need is a little bit of clearance over the top tube, as long as you can stand over the bike without the toptube hitting your crotch then your good to go. were you looking at hardtail or full-suspension bikes? usually full susp. bikes have a little more standover room. you definately dont want to get too small of a frame because then you'll just be too cramped and uncomfortable on long rides.

Giant's entry level hardtails have a really sloped top tube, you might want to check into those.
Thanks for the response. I'm looking for a hardtail and tried a Giant. The medium frame size is just a little too high. The small Gary Fisher frame is 15.5'' and might fit me best (given that the 15''s were too small, 16 slightly too big). I'm going to try and see one tomorrow.

Thanks again
 

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Old man on a bike
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While I understand the concern over protecting your boys, I think standover is overrated. In all the years I've been mountain biking I've never had a serious problem with a bike that had limited top tube clearance on a flat surface (FWIW, when you have a problem offroad, it's not likely to be flat). On the other hand, you don't want a frame so tall that that's a bigger problem than it needs to be.

Sounds like you might have short legs and a long torso, so you not only need to pay attention to bike sizes (expressed in seat tube length) but also the bike's top tube length. While you can compensate for top tube length with different length stems and layback seatposts, you need to find a top tube length appropriate for your body just as you do with seat tube length.

Try measuring your body in the various details that matter; overall height, inseam (not your pants), reach etc., then search for a bike sizing calculator (watch for differences in road vs mountain bikes, try wrenchscience.com to start).
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
I think standover is overrated.
Me too.

I have short legs and practically no standover clearance when the bike is long enough. Whenever I get off the bike, or stall on the trail, the natural thing seems to be to go a bit to the side. I have never had problems with hitting the top tube. I have hit the rear of the stem when (almost) going over the bars.

A bike needs to be long enough but not too long, so that you can ride it.
 

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totally agree - standover is over rated. I had hard tail with barely any. Now have f/s specialied FSR - they have a lot cos of the top tube slope (and no bottom tube as such). Makes little or no difference. Main thing I believe is the distance from seat to bars and the height of the bars in relation to the seat. Get a bike as small as possible that has these right.
 

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top tube clearance does matter

To see how the effects of top tube clearance matter on a mtn bike try standing over your bike on the side of a slope. Or try getting off it anywhere on a log pile that you hit to slow and decide you're not going over it. Top tube clearance does matter and you should be able to find a bike that gives you more. You can easily go with a smaller frame and then with the correct stem length and seat height and setback adjustments get the bike to fit right. Do not got with a frame that is too big you will regret it later.
 

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baraant said:
Top tube clearance does matter and you should be able to find a bike that gives you more.
Maybe if I went with 24" wheels or got myself a BMX bike...

I can stand over my bike, just in front of the seat but I cannot get to the halfway point of the top tube.

Just today, I stalled on a rocky climb: no injuries, no pain. I also lost my balance on some usually-wet-ground bridged with two 2X6 planks running side by side and my foot went into the soft ground next to the "bridge": no injuries, no pain.

My frame is just long enough when using a 110mm stem.
 
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