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  1. #1
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    Old Raleigh Sizing?

    My questions to C&V will never end.

    I'm now kind of confused with old Raleigh sizing. I'm kind of restricting my Raleigh search to the good and above average frames from the 70s or so. International, Competition, maybe Super Course. Most likely the first two.

    I see that in some years, for some frames, the smallest size is "21 1/2 inch".

    Some years they offer a smaller size "20 1/2 inch"

    I currently fit very comfortably on a bike w/ a 54.5cm horizontal TT, a 73.5 degree seat tube angle, 72 degree head tube angle, and 90-100 mm stem. I wouldn't mind going a little longer on the stem, if the frame had a shorter TT, but would prefer not to go shorter.

    In terms of stem length, I could certainly go down a frame size, but on my modern bike, I like the taller head tube on a ~54cm frame compared to a ~52cm frame. I could make it work with a high rise stem, but it 54's are usually the sweet spot for me. I do know that a ~56 cm TT is too long for me to be comfortable on, not only because the stem's getting pretty short, but it just feels too big all-in-all.

    I think the head tube issue could be negated w/ an older frame because I could raise the stem much easier. So, I'm more open to a smallish vintage threaded headset frame than I would be w/ modern threadless headset frames.
    So I was thinking I should fit fine on the 21 1/2 - it's about 54.5, certainly less than 55. But now I'm to understand that the TT on those frames is more like 56 cm (gotten that from a couple of sources).

    What do you think, those of you who are familiar with these frames? Should I limit myself to the 20 1/2 (which are much more uncommon). Is there something about any of the seat tube or other angles on any of these frames that might mitigate this top tube length issue?

    Thanks for any advice you can give.
    Last edited by Camilo; 01-20-11 at 06:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Depends on how "exact" you want to be. I would say you could make a 54.5 work if you are willing to mess around with different stems and/or consider zero set back seat posts. If your attitude is I'll make it fit, then yes I think it will work and it will be comfortable. If your approach is "I want it to be original and won't change anything, you need to ride it before you buy. I subscribe to the former with the result that a wide range of frames work for me, from 51 cm to 58 cm seat tubes. But some of them look a little strange. (Ask Robbie about my 93 Bianchi Campione)
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by roccobike View Post
    Depends on how "exact" you want to be. I would say you could make a 54.5 work if you are willing to mess around with different stems and/or consider zero set back seat posts. If your attitude is I'll make it fit, then yes I think it will work and it will be comfortable. If your approach is "I want it to be original and won't change anything, you need to ride it before you buy. I subscribe to the former with the result that a wide range of frames work for me, from 51 cm to 58 cm seat tubes. But some of them look a little strange. (Ask Robbie about my 93 Bianchi Campione)
    If the TT were 54.5, I wouldn't be concerned. But what I'm hearing is that the 21.5" frame (i.e. the 54.5cm frame) has a 56cm TT.

    I'm not worried at all about what parts it takes or originality. I've been looking at some built bikes but would change what I need to. I've also been looking at some frame/forks and would build them up with modern parts I have on hand. Either way, that doesn't matter.
    Last edited by Camilo; 01-20-11 at 06:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Do I Have A Point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    If the TT were 54.5, I wouldn't be concerned. But what I'm hearing is that the 21.5" frame (i.e. the 54.5cm frame) has a 56cm TT.

    I'm not worried at all about what parts it takes or originality. I've been looking at some built bikes but would change what I need to. I've also been looking at some frame/forks and would build them up with modern parts I have on hand. Either way, that doesn't matter.
    I currently own (or at least live with) four
    of these: a '70-71 Professional, a '73 (?)
    Competition, a '70-71 Super Course, and
    a much loved and slightly abused Sports
    of God only knows vintage.

    I ride mostly 23"-24" frames, but the Pro
    has 700c wheels, so even at 24.5" I can
    just make the standover.

    I have no idea how to answer your question.
    So much of this is personal preference and
    willingness to tweak until the thing gets
    dialed in. You may discover you actually
    prefer the longer TT, as did I recently.

    My own feeling is that there are so many
    variables in terms of frame geometry and
    your own weight and weight distribution,
    that any answer I might give based on what
    you have posted would essentially be
    meaningless. (Some of my friends might
    tell you that any answer from me would be
    meaningless .)

    BTW, do not discount the Super Course out
    of hand simply because it's straight gauge tubing.
    If you can manage the transition from cottered
    to cotterless crank, it makes a very nice ride.

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Dvorin
    Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight

  5. #5
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Raleigh sizing is to the top of the top tube. I think a 21 1/2 sounds a better fit if you're used to a bike that is measured center to center as most do.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
    I currently own (or at least live with) four
    of these: a '70-71 Professional, a '73 (?)
    Competition, a '70-71 Super Course, and
    a much loved and slightly abused Sports
    of God only knows vintage.

    I ride mostly 23"-24" frames, but the Pro
    has 700c wheels, so even at 24.5" I can
    just make the standover.

    I have no idea how to answer your question.
    So much of this is personal preference and
    willingness to tweak until the thing gets
    dialed in. You may discover you actually
    prefer the longer TT, as did I recently.

    My own feeling is that there are so many
    variables in terms of frame geometry and
    your own weight and weight distribution,
    that any answer I might give based on what
    you have posted would essentially be
    meaningless. (Some of my friends might
    tell you that any answer from me would be
    meaningless .)

    BTW, do not discount the Super Course out
    of hand simply because it's straight gauge tubing.
    If you can manage the transition from cottered
    to cotterless crank, it makes a very nice ride.

    Respectfully,
    Mike Larmer
    Actually I started this by looking for (and bidding on) a mid-70s Super Course. I had one in the late 70s-early 90s and really liked it. My "memory" is that it was a 21" bike but I have no idea if Im remembering right. I will definitely not discount a Super Course By the way, mine had a steel cotterless crank; somewhat unusual at the time. I sold it at a bike swap in the mid-90s for maybe $75 and it was all original and I'd say 8/10 condition, except for the bar tape and tires.

    Mike, can you compare the geometry of the three bikes - are they exactly the same in how long the TT is compared to the seat tube - and what the angles are?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Camilo; 01-20-11 at 09:47 PM.

  7. #7
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Your late 70's supercourse had 74 degree head and seat tube angles per catalog specs. The '73 catalog doesn't list them, but the International definitely has slacker angles (maybe 72's?), and the Super Course and Competition are steeper than the International (maybe 73's?). No note of the top tube length here, but I have a '73 Competition frame (21 1/2) with a tt length of 22 1/2".
    The search for inner peace continues...

  8. #8
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post

    Mike, can you compare the geometry of the three bikes - are they exactly the same in how long the TT is compared to the seat tube - and what the angles are?

    Thanks.
    Sure. give me a day or two to get back to you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Dvorin
    Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight

  9. #9
    Can'tre Member 3alarmer's Avatar
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    What I Have Around

    Here are the bicycles I mentioned previously:

    Raleigh Bicycles 004.jpgRaleigh Bicycles 002.jpgRaleigh Bicycles 003.jpg

    The first, blue in color, is a Super Course
    Serial#184987 Top Tube=22.25" Seat Tube=23.5"
    Chain Stays=17.5" Wheel base=41"


    The second, white, is a Professional
    Serial #E-7_5_74684321 Top Tube=23.25" Seat Tube=24.5"
    Chain Stays=17.5" Wheel Base=41"

    The last, black one,is a Competition
    Serial #H1363 Top Tube=22.5" Seat Tube=23.5"
    Chain Stays=17.5" Wheel Base=41.75" (interestingly)

    All seat tubes are measured from center
    of BB spindle to TOP of seat lug.

    All top tubes are measured along the center
    line of the TT from the center of the head tube
    to the center of the seat lug.

    Wheel base measured from axle to axle as currently
    configured.

    I'm not real good on angles, but they are all
    a little slack by today's standards. Hope the
    pics and measurements are of some help to you.
    Last photo is of old guy (me) lifting Super
    Course in air to demonstrate that it's not
    all that heavy.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Quote Originally Posted by Al Dvorin
    Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and goodnight

  10. #10
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    thank you!

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