I purchased a 50cm CX style bike from an online retailer. After assembling the bike and filling the tires, I found only had around 1" of stand over in bike shorts. Since I will be commuting on the bike and using it for transportation around town, my preference would be for something with greater clearance over the top tube for the following reasons:
- Saftey - being able to dismount quickly in an emergency situation
- Clothing choice - I won't be wearing bike shorts when commuting or riding around town
- Cyclocross - I do plan on riding the bike off-road, so more clearance would be better on uneven ground.
Now to my question: I emailed the retailer asking for assistance selecting a smaller size, but they "strongly recommend" sticking with the 50cm frame stating it would be "perfect" and that the top tube length is more important than stand over height.
What is the thinking behind this advice?
I kept the bike and am overall pretty happy with the fit. I've used it for commuting, long distance rides and a few races. It's also survived a collision with a bus and lived to tell the tale. Luckily, I wasn't seriously hurt. I can also attest that the stand over height didn't make a difference in that scenario.