Classic & Vintage - Question about Raleigh Professional sizing/fit
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04-27-12, 07:06 PM
There's a 21.5-inch Raleigh Professional--not sure the year but has the fastback cluster--for sale about 4 hours away from me. I'm 5'4" with about a 28-inch inseam, which really means I want a 20.5-inch or even smaller bike, according to the wisdom of the Internet. That said, I currently ride a Raleigh Grand Prix that's 21.5 inches (at least according to my measurements) and have the seat post up another 2.5 inches. Can anyone speak to the relative size and fit of the Pro? Should I wait for a 52 cm Pro to come around? I know the only way to really tell is to climb on the bike, but I'd prefer not to waste the time of going 8 hrs in the car if it's definitely not a fit. Plus, beautiful bikes have the same impact on my decision making as beautiful women, so I might impulsively buy it regardless of fit if I go see it unprepared.
21.5 is 21.5. If the Grand Prix fits well the Pro should too.
04-27-12, 07:54 PM
if you can afford it, just buy it. you won't regret it. but if you can't afford it, i wouldn't buy it because it is probably one full size too big. bikes seem to look and ride best with more seatpost exposed (as opposed to spending their lives buried in a tube) and a longish (100mm) stem. just my opinion/limited experience. another idea ... buy it, rid the other and keep riding while looking for that perfect fit ... or two...
04-27-12, 09:06 PM
hmm i always have to ride maybe 6 or 7 inches worth of post on my 63 or 64 cm bikes, and i really wish i could get a bike where i could have only about 3 inches of seatpost showing. i like having the bars (especially if they're drops) even with my saddle, but to do that on my bikes i have to get these crazy technomic or risen stems. i guess it depends on how much drop you like to have on your bikes. i always prefer the bigger size myself though. i am still looking for a good 65-67cm touring bike.. and i'm only 6'2!
The pro has much steeper angles than the Grand Prix, so for a given top-tube length, the Pro will fit larger when you're out of the saddle.
The problem then is that the Pro may have overly-quick steering if you need to use a shorter stem, so you'll find a better balance by sliding the seat foreward instead.
It is a real racing bike after all, and should ride well and may fit ok with the rider riding and positioned as intended.
I can't think of anything much worse than a largish, steepish racing bike with a shortish stem length with the saddle slid all the way back. Such a setup is completely contrary to a well-balanced configuration and should do nothing well.
04-28-12, 05:25 AM
The geometry of the pros changed slightly over the years, but even the 'aggressive' pros had a seat tube angle around 73 degrees (which is pretty timid compared to most). The Grand Prix probably has a 72 degree seat tube, not much difference.
You still won't know until you try it though.
I have identical-framed 56cm Raleigh Pro's from '74 and '75.
Your post had me re-checking the geometries, which I had thought were near to 74 degrees.
Somewhat to my surprise, the head/seat angles for both bikes reads 73 and 73.5 degrees, respectively.
So the top tube on the pro should feel about 1 or 1.5cm longer due to the foreward positioning of the seat clamp junction as compared to the ~72-degree angled G.P., possibly still within the range of seat rail adjustment as far as "correcting" the reach foreward to the bars.
Then again, I wouldn't be surprised to find a steeper seat tube angle on any model bike in the smaller frame sizes, but at least the layed-back steering head angle also common on smaller frames should give good steering feel with a shorter stem.
04-28-12, 04:16 PM
You might end up with what is known as the "French fit," with a bit less seatpost showing and the handlebars thus a little higher relative to the saddle. I personally find this very comfortable, and maybe you will too.
04-28-12, 05:07 PM
A note on geometry, different sized frames varied in a given year, head angles would vary by size of frame.
The difference between a 20.5 and a 21.5" Pro will not be much in the top tube, the reason is Raleigh was avoiding toe clip overlap and to do this the top tube had to stay long or the head angle would go slack.
Standover and the difference one can adjust the stem down will be the difference.
If you like the bars equal to or near the saddle height the 21.5" will be the way to go, as stated, the "French" fit.
If you want to lower the bars, not the one for you.
All that written, in general these bikes have a following so unless it is overpriced, you can sell and buy a different bike or size later.
A 20.5 International might be a more well mannered bike.
04-28-12, 09:04 PM
I ride my Grand Prix with the saddle just a shade higher than the handlebars (see pic) and find it comfortable, but now that I think about it, would probably like the option to sit aggressively on the Pro. I understand it is a pretty aggressive bike (for classic steel). Sigh, I suppose I'll pass, though it is beautiful.
Where is it located? Give someone else a chance?
04-28-12, 11:11 PM
I was going to drive up there an offer just for the Pro. Seemed like a nice guy.
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