Q&A - Standover height

I've been looking at the Kona Kikapu Deluxe and have the Haynes bike book and DK's Ultimate Bicycle Book. Both of them I decided to check out some other makes and found that only Trek have the Jack and WSD (Women Specific Design) models with the low standover. Ideally though, I really want something with 4in dual suspension.

Q: I've been looking at the Kona Kikapu Deluxe and I decided to check out some other makes and found that only Trek have the Jack and WSD (Women Specific Design) models with the low standover. Ideally though, I really want something with 4in dual suspension.

I rang the shop and they said they wouldn't recommend a 14in frame because it would affect my reach and said 16in would be better. Can you help?

David Lee, email

A: It sounds as though you're getting a little confused by things and not knowing which way to go. The simple answer is that there's never a simple answer... The correct frame size for you is partly determined by your overall height, but also by your inside leg measurement, because this is what dictates how big the frame should be.

Without double-checking your measurements, we can understand how you've become confused. But for someone of your height we'd (off the cuff) recommend either a 15in or a 16in frame. But different manufacturers measure their frame sizes in different ways, so this is just a ball park in which to start. Reach will be affected if you go for a smaller frame, but it's more important to get the correct frame height (better it be slightly too small than too big, because you can always make up the difference with a longer seatpost), and if the reach is too short you can use a longer stem, a layback seatpost or a combination of both to get the best fit.

The next logical step is to get into a shop and try out the sizing for yourself. Don't worry about trying the exact model you're after, just the closest you can in the manufacturer's range that your local shops have, and make your decision from there.

If you have a question you would like our panel of experts to answer simply email it to bikeradar@bikeradar.com

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