1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Standover Height

    I wear 36 X 30 pants, yeah, a little tubby, I measured with a tape measure and appear to be about 29/30 from straddle to ground. what would be the best frame size for me? 16", 17",...?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedarbranchbiker1 View Post
    I wear 36 X 30 pants, yeah, a little tubby, I measured with a tape measure and appear to be about 29/30 from straddle to ground. what would be the best frame size for me? 16", 17",...?
    I'm not sure what "straddle height" is. Do you mean the height of the lowest point on the bike's top tube from the ground (i.e., standover height, as in your thread title), or do you mean the "saddle height" (meaning the seat)?

    If you're referring to the standover height, that's the least possible measurement question to answer in a vacuum. For a given bike size, the standover height of a bike can vary wildly, while many other dimensions (like effective top tube length or saddle height) don't as much.

    Your best bet would be to go to a bike shop and try out a few examples in person. Is there any special reason that you avoid that?
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  3. #3
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    I've learned you want as much clearance as possible on a MT bike.

    I'm 5' 6" on a 18 inch medium frame and just today I blew a tire and fell off the pedals onto my nuts.

    Get the smallest frame possible for your nut's sake, but don't get so small that you're all cramped up on it.

  4. #4
    AZ
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    "Standover" is actually a poor way to size a bike, effective top tube length, cockpit length and reach to the bars are more effective ways to size a bike. Competitive Cyclist's fit calculator is very good if fed accurate data. Here is a link to it: http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7...LCULATOR_INTRO

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ganymede_Illusion View Post
    I've learned you want as much clearance as possible on a MT bike.
    Very true as a general rule.

    Another thing to keep in mind when assessing adequate standover height: The trail surface will not be flat, like the floor of the shop where you'll be gauging the standover height of the bike. So, be really generous, if you value the family jewels.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    "Standover" is actually a poor way to size a bike, effective top tube length, cockpit length and reach to the bars are more effective ways to size a bike.
    Also very true.

    The standover height is more like a "make sure it's adequate too" kind of additional condition to verify when making sure that the frame you're looking at is really suitable for you, rather than for deciding which size frame to look at in the first place. I assumed that's why the poster was asking the question, but it's worth pointing out.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  6. #6
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    "Straddle" = "crotch to ground". No LBS close by, I live way out in the country, nearest LBS is 30 miles away. Just don't get to that area very often.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedarbranchbiker1 View Post
    "Straddle" = "crotch to ground". No LBS close by, I live way out in the country, nearest LBS is 30 miles away. Just don't get to that area very often.
    Got it.

    Your second best choice would be to look up sizing charts. Most manufacturers make a table available on their website listing which frame size, for any given model, would be suitable for riders of which height range. Start with that, and then verify that the standover height quoted for the particular frame size that's suggested for your height is comfortably shorter (say, by about two inches at least) than your inseam length with biking shoes on (or whichever shoes you'd be riding with).

    Then, when you are at a shop in person for the purchase, you can verify that all of these measurements do hold true by a proper "fitting" (you might want to look that up), and take a test ride to make sure. That is, unless you're planning to purchase by mail order; in which case, double check your measurements and looked-up specs, and pray for good luck...
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  8. #8
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    Total height is actually a better predictor of bike size.

    Also, if you're tallish but have a shortish inseam, you'd do better to size up for more room for your long torso than to size down for more standover clearance. If you're worried about it, some brands have more sloping top tubes than others.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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