Background: I'm a road bike rider but I bought a cheap but well kept old chro-moly steel frame 26er mountain bike (80s or early 90s model Miyata). I am planning on converting this to an ebike with a Bafang mid drive kit.

I can ride the bike fairly comfortably with the seat post most of the way in. No problem with reaching the handlebars. BUT if I'm standing over the bike in my shoes, the top tube is definitely touching my balls and pushing them up. There's no clearance. I know the importance of standover clearance is debated so I'm not sure what to think about this. The bike definitely feels large but I don't know how much this is a function of the frame being an older design with a horizontal top tube, me not being very used to MTBs or it just being too large.

Would you say that the frame is too large for me? I like the frame but I don't want to use it for the build if it's too large. I'm just not familiar with how these old bikes, and old MTBs especially, should feel.

Thank you!

This is intended to be used on road 100% of the time, for commuting up some steep hills.

  • 2
    If the reach is too long, consider getting a smaller frame. The reach, and to a lesser extent the stack, are far more important than stand over (which is next to meaningless on the road). +/- 20mm by changing stem length is about as far as you want to go.
    – MaplePanda
    May 10, 2021 at 6:55
  • @MaplePanda, how can I tell if the reach is too long? Everything I see online only explains how to measure reach. Is it just if the handlebars feel too far, requiring more lean?
    – Dan
    May 11, 2021 at 3:20
  • Late reply. Yea, it’s just that.
    – MaplePanda
    Jun 10, 2021 at 7:43
  • 1
    If your position feels and looks stretched then handlebars are too far away from your saddle. Then you’ll either need a shorter stem or a shorter frame.
    – Michael
    Oct 8, 2021 at 14:36
  • 1
    @dan This question is 9 months old now - how did you get on with your build? What were the pitfalls and unexpected results? What did you wish you'd known before starting ?
    – Criggie
    Feb 5, 2022 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


If the bike is comfortable to ride for you, then it is a good size for you. While standover room is important, you might choose to lean the bike more when stopping, in order to reach the ground.

One option is to fit some slick 26" tyres to gain some extra tolerance for the bearings - you'll want to do that anyway. Something like the "continental Grand Prix 26 inch" is 1+1/8" and has a road biased design. Compared to a 2" tyre you'll drop the frame about 35-40mm. Do consider pedal strike on the road though.

  • "to gain some extra tolerance for the bearings" Is this slang for testicles? English is not my native language and I can’t think of any connection between tyres and bearings. Of course only fit slim slick tyres if you plan to ride on roads mostly.
    – Michael
    May 10, 2021 at 6:23
  • @Michael Not really - its been a bit of an in-joke on this site, but its not widely used. By fitting thinner tyres the whole frame will sit a little lower, and give OP some small extra space for standover. Also OP never said they wanted to ride this motorised MTB on a off-road trail - it would likely not perform well, so my assumption was that this was for road usage.
    – Criggie
    May 10, 2021 at 7:41
  • 1
    It would be good fun on fire roads and easy trails, based on the similar non-motorised bikes I've had. But those don't need massive tyres; I ride them on 35s on my tourer.
    – Chris H
    May 10, 2021 at 7:59
  • 1
    Smaller tires are a great idea. Yeah, there would be no off road, only some bumpy roads.
    – Dan
    May 11, 2021 at 3:21

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