Author Topic: Novara Randonee for shorter people???  (Read 7339 times)

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Offline Kevinindel

Novara Randonee for shorter people???
« on: May 13, 2006, 12:59:33 am »
Greetings  from a newbie (so be patient with me).  I'm looking to purchase my first touring bike after reading the recommendations to others on this site.

  I'm just a bit curious about the sizing limitations on the REI Novara Randonee touring bike.  
According to their website the smallest frame they have is the 47cm that has a stand-over height of 78.9cm (31").  It is my understanding that one should have at least 1" of clearance.
I am not the shortest person, nor the tallest, but there must be many people out there with a 31" inseam.  
I just can't believe that REI does not have this bike in a smaller frame.
Any suggestions, or am I missing something here?  Is it possible/safe to ride a bike that has a stand-over height the same as their inseam lenght?  
Any comments will be kept strictly confidential!
Comments Please!!!

Offline RussellSeaton

Novara Randonee for shorter people???
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2006, 03:42:51 pm »
Not sure how comments posted on a public access internet forum could be kept strictly confidential.

Short people, and those with short torsos, can have problems getting a bike to fit comfortably.  A bicycles wheel size more or less determines how small a frame can be built, and still handle and ride properly.  The smaller the wheels, the closer you can put the two wheels and get the top tube shorter.  The top tube length is one of several key measurements for getting a good fitting bike.  Standover height is not too important, but its nice to have it right too.

Short men can almost always find a regular 700C wheeled bike to fit them.  The smaller sizes produced by the vast majority of bike makers fit shorter men just fine.  Not all bike makers make a complete range of frame sizes.  Some do not make really big frames for very tall people.  Trek OCLV stops at 63cm, too bad if you want one bigger.  Some do not make frames as small as they could.  Maybe they figure the middle half dozen frame sizes will cover 90% of the market and the extra expense to get the other 10% of the market just can't be justified economically.  

Short women in almost 110% of the cases, need bikes with smaller than 700C wheels to get a decent fit.  I've seen too many women riding 700C bikes with saddles shoved all the way forward on zero setback seatposts on frames with 75 degree seat tube angles and extra short stems.  But 700C is the standard wheel size and everyone thinks they must have a bike with this wheel size.

Since you are asking about standover height and whether its enough or not, I'm guessing you are very new to bicycling.  Not just touring, but all road bicycling.  I'd definitely suggest you find a quality, competent, knowlegable bike shop or bike person locally and get a bike through them.  Mail order bikes are great for those who know exactly what size they want or can make an educated guess about whether they are willing to put up with a less than optimal size.  If you're trying to figure out what size bike you need based solely on standover height, you should not be buying a bike mail order.  REI provided the bike shop support on a CNC ride I was on.  These guys ran the REI bike shop and impressed me with what they knew.  So if you have an REI within driving distance and can get recommendations about them from competent bicyclists, then that would be a great way to go.

If you have a bicycle now, think about whether you are comfortable or not.  How long can you ride comfortably?  What hurts if you cannot ride 100+ miles comfortably?  Measure the various lengths of your current bike.  Find an online custom frame maker and get their order form, it will have all of the measurements they want to make a custom frame.  Do these same measurements for your current bike.  Also figure out what each measurement is telling you.  With this kind of information, you can better figure out which size of frame is your size.

Offline wanderingwheel

Novara Randonee for shorter people???
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 02:21:12 am »
Russell ahs some excellent general comments on bike fit and sizes.  As Russell said, the 700C wheels of the Randonee limit how small the bike can physically be.  Many bike makers use a sloping toptue so that the bike has a lower stand-over height near the seat, but the Randonee uses a horizontal top tube so it is impossible to build with much less stand-over.

Many people new to cycling are uncomfortable riding bikes with little or no stand-over clearance, for obvious reasons.  However, most riders find that stand-over clearance is not important, and in some bikes may actually be unwanted.  Tandems and touring bikes are two prime examples.  When straddling heavy bikes such as these, they will not knock you over when falling from one leg to the other if there is only a little stand-over clearance.  Also, don't forget to add your shoes to your inseam when determining if stand-over will be an issue.