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How much does frame size matter with vintage?

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How much does frame size matter with vintage?

Old 01-24-17, 07:45 PM
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flik9999
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How much does frame size matter with vintage?

Hey so I know with modern road bikes you need to be riding a bike correct for your size. I noticed that vintage bikes dont seam to have much difference in size appart from seattube and top tube length.

These bikes were designed to be riden with short stems and the seatposts right down. So my situation is that I am 5" 10" so should be riding a large frame 22 inches (modern fitting guide of 56 cm). My bike however is only 19" and I have bought a stem raiser and higher seatpost.

What problems am I going to encounter riding a bike 3 inches too small with the seatpost raised all the way up It almost fits me (I can ride it but have to use the middle of my foot instead of the toes). I have ordered a 350mm seatpost to remove this problem.

As for handling will the taller stem effect handling or is it just length that effects that. I was thinking of maybe switching to oversized bars or even popping a straight bar and throwing bar ends in for bullbars if I really need more control.

Looking at the geometry the A frame is still the same length and the larger sizes just expand the top and seatube, which theoretically is the same as having a higher seatpost and taller stem.

Can someone tell me if I am correct and this bike will just fit me with the modifications iv done.
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Old 01-24-17, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
Hey so I know with modern road bikes you need to be riding a bike correct for your size. I noticed that vintage bikes dont seam to have much difference in size appart from seattube and top tube length.

These bikes were designed to be riden with short stems and the seatposts right down. So my situation is that I am 5" 10" so should be riding a large frame 22 inches (modern fitting guide of 56 cm). My bike however is only 19" and I have bought a stem raiser and higher seatpost.

What problems am I going to encounter riding a bike 3 inches too small with the seatpost raised all the way up It almost fits me (I can ride it but have to use the middle of my foot instead of the toes). I have ordered a 350mm seatpost to remove this problem.

As for handling will the taller stem effect handling or is it just length that effects that. I was thinking of maybe switching to oversized bars or even popping a straight bar and throwing bar ends in for bullbars if I really need more control.

Looking at the geometry the A frame is still the same length and the larger sizes just expand the top and seatube, which theoretically is the same as having a higher seatpost and taller stem.

Can someone tell me if I am correct and this bike will just fit me with the modifications iv done.
Vintage had every size in the book just like modern bikes. According to the chart 5'9''-6'0 = 56-58cm. So you should be able to use it. What type of bike is it?
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Old 01-24-17, 08:04 PM
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Its a peugeot equipe, frame is carbolite 103 with drop bars.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
...... My bike however is only 19" and I have bought a stem raiser and higher seatpost.

What problems am I going to encounter riding a bike 3 inches too small with the seatpost raised all the way up It almost fits me (I can ride it but have to use the middle of my foot instead of the toes). I have ordered a 350mm seatpost to remove this problem.
19 inches... is 48 cm. Pretty small for someone 5' 10". I'd guess you'll be cramped... and sitting too tall on the bike... IMHO.

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 01-24-17 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:13 PM
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Better to go larger than smaller on a vintage - in my humblest of opinions. Remember when you were a kid and the first ride on that BIG bike? You rode like the wind, right? As long as your junk isn't bruised and beaten every time you stop, and you can reach the bars comfortably, you should be gtg. Proper sizing is important for safety and comfort - I'll admit that, but there are thousands of people whom I am sure have to make compromises on each end of the size range.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:14 PM
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...
...you can make a smaller than recommended sized bike work for you if you are willing to go with a more upright riding position, and having a lot of exposed seatpost. There are practical limits on how far you can extend the stem, but most of the conversions I've done along those lines used a Nitto Technomic stem (which they might still make and sell).

Given the more upright position on the bike, some sort of straight bar or slightly swept bar makes sense, but you can still do it with drops as long as you use a fairly shallow drop bar. You only connect to the bike at the pedals, saddle, and bar, so if you can get that triangle more or less proportional to what you otherwise ride, you should do OK.

Don't ride your bike right now without at least an inch or two of seatpost inserted to below the bottom of the top tube, or you risk camming out.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:28 PM
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With the new seatpost I should be able to reach my desired seatpost height. If I converted to bullbars by cutting the drops off my drop bar and flipping would I be potentially less cramped? I heard that you can spread out better on bull bars than drops.

Either way im gonna raise my stem and seatpost to what a proper fitted bike would have.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:37 PM
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The bike is too small. You're better off cutting your losses and finding a larger frame.
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Old 01-24-17, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
With the new seatpost I should be able to reach my desired seatpost height. If I converted to bullbars by cutting the drops off my drop bar and flipping would I be potentially less cramped? I heard that you can spread out better on bull bars than drops.

Either way im gonna raise my stem and seatpost to what a proper fitted bike would have.
...no. You're limited by the top tube length to ho far forward you can shift the bar by stem length, and even a setback seatpost can only stretch this out another inch or so. And all of this shifts your weight around on the bike.

But it is true that BITD a lot of guys were racing smaller frames than they would normally get fitted in order to take advantage of the smaller frame's stiffness, and the ability to get more saddle to bar drop for more aero positioning.


But there are limits to what you can do in those refitting adaptations, and I think your stated size goes somewhat beyond what I've seen successfully done if yoiu want to ride in an aero position. More upright will probably work, as already stated.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:01 PM
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These are quotes from our OP, flik9999, with my comments after each.


"I noticed that vintage bikes dont seam to have much difference in size appart from seattube and top tube length."


And that's what today's bikes have. A different height with a different length. I agree that bar widths were less varied years ago but long stems have been around since I was a kid. We sold 140mm ones back in the 1970s. We also sold bike of a 21" seat tube length that had between 20.5" and 22.5" top tubes. So I suggest that a range of lengths were about back then. In fact I would say that these days there's a narrower range of height VS lengths then a while ago (as evidenced by the lack of short top tubed women's bikes that many manufactures used to offer but don't any more).


"These bikes were designed to be riden with short stems and the seatposts right down."


Not that they were designed this way as much as they were sold this way. Any of us who was in the business know that there is a "bigger is better" (just look at the gears some try to get on top of) mentality.


"If I converted to bullbars by cutting the drops off my drop bar and flipping would I be potentially less cramped? I heard that you can spread out better on bull bars than drops."


What is the difference between riding the tops/hoods of a proper drop bar and the "hooks" of a bull bar made from the same drop bar? No difference in reach (actually this is wrong because the lever hood extends the reach of a proper drop bar), no difference in width, and no mention of a different stem.


I strongly suggest that the OP seek in person help with bike fitting. A young body is very adaptable, for a while. But in time/miles the poor fit will catch up. Lastly a bike that is too short and not long enough ends up being poorly balanced WRT rider placement between the wheels. This makes for poor handling. Andy.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:26 PM
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I've got a lot of vintage bikes, and I'm 5'10" so my experience may help. My bikes range from 52cm mixtes to 60cm Italian road bikes. I have always thought 56cm was my ideal size, but I bike-fit expert checked my 56cm Trek and said it was too big. Otoh, I built up a pristine vintage Miyata at 54cm and could NOT adapt to the cramped position. My main workhorse is a 58cm Peugeot with a ridiculous 60cm top tube.

Most of my bikes, at my age, have been adapted to uprights. Now, let's talk about a too small frame. I almost sold my 52cm due to the cramped feel, until I stumbled upon a setup by pure serendipity. I had already raised the bars with a Nitto Technomic, then one day I lowered the saddle for a smaller rider. When I road it next I realized this put my riding position very upright, and I no longer felted cramped. In fact, it's a kick to ride this way. However, I don't get a full leg extension, so it's only suited for casual riding, putting around.

Your bike with a long stem, straight bars and clip-on bar ends that extend you further could work. And if your stem doesn't rise high enough, get a riser bar. That gives you more flexibility anyway.

Last edited by sunburst; 01-24-17 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:53 PM
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I just addressed this with a new forum member in C&V with pics of the different vintage sizes I ride and how they're setup. It may be of interest to you:

http://www.bikeforums.net/19331842-post13.html

Most of my vintage bikes are on the small side for me so I end up investing a small fortune in longer seatposts, longer stems and wider bars to make them fit. I prefer 175 crank arms as well which is usually another item I replace on many of them.

FWIW, I ride 58cm when it comes to modern carbon.
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Old 01-24-17, 09:56 PM
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most, if not all pros, back in the vintage days rode bikes that were one size too small, why? it helped to reduce flex to ride a smaller frame
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Old 01-24-17, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
I noticed that vintage bikes dont seam to have much difference in size appart from seattube and top tube length.
If you take the word "vintage" out of that quote, its accuracy is unchanged.

Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
What problems am I going to encounter riding a bike 3 inches too small with the seatpost raised all the way up...
If you can get a tall enough seatpost and stem to make it work, the frame's height isn't going to be a problem. But frames with shorter seat tubes typically also have shorter top tubes and the frame's length could very well be problematic. You can compensate for that with longer reach stem and bars to an extent.
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Old 01-25-17, 07:18 AM
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Go here: Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist
enter your data and consider if your bike can be tailored to you and your style of riding.
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Old 01-25-17, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by flik9999 View Post
Hey so I know with modern road bikes you need to be riding a bike correct for your size. I noticed that vintage bikes dont seam to have much difference in size appart from seattube and top tube length.

These bikes were designed to be riden with short stems and the seatposts right down. So my situation is that I am 5" 10" so should be riding a large frame 22 inches (modern fitting guide of 56 cm). My bike however is only 19" and I have bought a stem raiser and higher seatpost.

What problems am I going to encounter riding a bike 3 inches too small with the seatpost raised all the way up It almost fits me (I can ride it but have to use the middle of my foot instead of the toes). I have ordered a 350mm seatpost to remove this problem.
You might need a stem with an extra 3 inches (75mm) of reach and rise. Good luck finding a 175mm 72 degree stem with a long enough quill or 190mm 50 degree stem.
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Old 01-25-17, 11:06 AM
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If you buy to refurbish and then Sell, then the size does not matter.

If you buy to refurb and ride, yourself, it does..


Of course..



...
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Old 01-25-17, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
You might need a stem with an extra 3 inches (75mm) of reach and rise. Good luck finding a 175mm 72 degree stem with a long enough quill or 190mm 50 degree stem.

Agreed! I am working towards getting a possible custom stem job because of a too low a front end for a forum friend. He wants a stem height between a Nitto Technomic and a classic one, and not be a ATB looking riser one. Andy.
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Old 01-25-17, 12:17 PM
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If it helps, I'm 5-10, albeit with a short inseam (pant length 30", 29" when I can find them). I ride two 23" and a 57cm vintage bikes, all fit me well while pedaling, even though I can't stand over top of any.
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Old 01-25-17, 12:31 PM
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My very first large frame bike was a Peugeot. Great to have a frame that fits instead of just riding what passed my way.

-SP
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Old 01-25-17, 01:20 PM
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on most of my C&V bikes, what else is there?, I try to keep most of the parts period correct with few exceptions. Consequently, my size range is 58 to 61. I have CBH of 35" even though I am 5'11."


We are 2quite adaptable. My Pinarello has a long stem and I felt streatched out. Now I prefer it. It is important to be located correctly over the crank, which limits where the saddle is located, for and aft. Then the stem length needs to be determined.


My preference is to have the front hub centerline hidden by the bars when my hands are on the most often used position. This way handling is marginally impacted based on hand position which now is not an issue.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
He wants a stem height between a Nitto Technomic and a classic one, and not be a ATB looking riser one.
How 'bout something like a Soma Sutro?

Nitto Technomic: 225 mm
Nitto Technomic Deluxe: 190 mm
Soma Sutro: 180 mm
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Old 01-25-17, 03:35 PM
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Size matters.
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Old 01-25-17, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
How 'bout something like a Soma Sutro?

Nitto Technomic: 225 mm
Nitto Technomic Deluxe: 190 mm
Soma Sutro: 180 mm
Sutro is a good recommendation to get decent stem lift without showing an extreme amount of quill like the Technomic. I have one on a bike and it's very nice too look at. Problem is it only comes in 80mm and 100mm extensions which often times is not enough when you're trying to make a small frame fit larger.
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Old 01-25-17, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
How 'bout something like a Soma Sutro?

Nitto Technomic: 225 mm
Nitto Technomic Deluxe: 190 mm
Soma Sutro: 180 mm

Thanks for the links. Unfortunately the extension needs to be rather specific and not what these offer. Andy
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