Thread: Mixte sizing?
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Old 06-13-18, 05:06 PM
verktyg's Avatar
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Bikes: Current favorites: 1988 Peugeot Birraritz, 1984 Gitane Super Corsa, 1981 Bianchi Campione Del Mondo, 1992 Paramount OS, 1990 Bianchi Mondiale, 1988 Colnago Technos, 1985 RalieghUSA Team Pro, 1973 Holdsworth

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ARRGH! Zombi Thread

Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
A 10 year old thread resurrection is pretty impressive, but who doesn't like a good mixte thread, right? Beautiful bikes, all of them.

In the 70's French mixtes, Gitane, Bertin and Motobecane in particular came in 3 frame sizes: 50cm, 54cm and 57cm measured from the center of the BB to the top of the seat tube. The 50cm and 54cm sizes were the most common and readily available.

Mixtes provided more lateral stiffness than other drop tube style frames but they were notorious for a front to rear rocking effect when pedaling hard.

The advantage of larger size frames was they allowed for less seatpost extension thus a more rigid rear end section. Also the head tubes where longer so the bars where positioned better for an upright riding position.

One draw back of the mixte design was the loooong virtual top tube. The center to center distance from seat tube to the head tube on some 57cm mixtes was ~62cm. Not such a big deal with upright bars but with 90-100mm stems and the long reach bars of the day it didn't provide a comfortable riding position for many people. Add to that, the long reach MAFAC brake levers used on drop bars didn't help matters much.

In the European market upright bars were standard on most mixtes. During the Bike Boom Fad of the 70's the marketing theme was "10 SPEED RACING BIKE"! Consequently, many fixtes were fitted with drop bars either at the factory or by dealers.

One of the problems with fads:

Most of the mixtes that we sold were purchased by men rather than women.

Customers who had problems swinging their leg over the top of a diamond frame opted for a mixte, especially when we told them that the mixte design was developed for the French army because 1 size fit all and they were quick and easy to mount and dismount. (not sure of this "fact" but my friend who owned our shop did some research on it BITD).

Our shop was 3 blocks from the university. During the burgeoning women's movement back then, many young women were insulted when we suggested that a mixte was more appropriate for their physique! They wanted a BOYS bike not a GIRLS bike.

As an aside, we had Cycles Andre Bertin make 48cm frames for us with about a 27" stand over height for those customers. They used 700c wheels for 18mm-20mm clinchers or sewups. They required cantilever brakes because of the short reach. We also imported 160mm & 165mm cranks from TA and Stronglight plus MAFAC and Weinmann short reach brake levers and 60mm stems.

Many small frames rode and handled like wheelbarrows. These were comparable to larger sized bikes.

I put this Flickr album together for a similar discussion on mixtes back in 2010. Note: none of the bikes are mine.

Things aren't always what they seem... Don't believe everything you think!

Chas. ;-)

Last edited by verktyg; 06-13-18 at 05:17 PM.
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