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WTB: tiny touring frame/fork

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WTB: tiny touring frame/fork

Old 04-18-24, 03:13 PM
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WTB: tiny touring frame/fork

My daughter wants a gravel bike, she's into vintage and touring, so while the easiest thing would be to do a non suspension early mountain bike, I figured it would not hurt to ask here if somebody had a tiny vintage touring frame they are willing to sell. I know Trek made tiny 520/620/720 frames, I have seen a tiny Specialized touring, and I'm pretty sure some other vendors also built for the vertically-challenged.
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Old 04-18-24, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by abdon
My daughter wants a gravel bike, she's into vintage and touring, so while the easiest thing would be to do a non suspension early mountain bike, I figured it would not hurt to ask here if somebody had a tiny vintage touring frame they are willing to sell. I know Trek made tiny 520/620/720 frames, I have seen a tiny Specialized touring, and I'm pretty sure some other vendors also built for the vertically-challenged.
defining "tiny" might help
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Old 04-18-24, 03:43 PM
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I have a Nishiki Cresta and a Bianchi Volpe that I think are in the 48-50cm range but I'll have to double check when I get home this evening.
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Old 04-18-24, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by r0ckh0und
I have a Nishiki Cresta and a Bianchi Volpe that I think are in the 48-50cm range but I'll have to double check when I get home this evening.
either of those in 48cm would be tempting, specially if it has a lugged fork. I think the Bianchi had an oddball sizing; according to my notes (tagged as unverified) the smallest size was 49cm them jumping to 52cm. Please do let me know.
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Old 04-18-24, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
defining "tiny" might help
I thought I did...

She's 5'2" so on a straight tube around 48cm, or the smallest frame most vendors had.
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Old 04-18-24, 04:36 PM
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Terry made some small frame 26" road bikes. There are also vintage 24" youth model road bikes around. The ones I've seen are Fuji's.
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Old 04-18-24, 05:07 PM
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The co-op I help at has a specialized Sequoia size 49 seat post

some would argue it’s one of the best designed all around touring frames ever. By Tim Neeman.

currently wearing Kirkland TourPaks that could be included or not.



Last edited by Robvolz; 04-18-24 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 04-18-24, 06:17 PM
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Robvolz, that's super cute. Sadly I'm hoping for something with cantilever brakes.

By the way i'm finally getting ready to put some work on the Expedition I got from you. I need to redo the wheels as soon as I can source the rims.
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Old 04-18-24, 08:12 PM
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I have a 50cm Miyata 1000. I found its top tube is higher than my 52cm pinarello and is closed to my 56cm paramount. I believe it has higher BB position. This could be something to consider.
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Old 04-18-24, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ryanl092
I have a 50cm Miyata 1000. I found its top tube is higher than my 52cm pinarello and is closed to my 56cm paramount. I believe it has higher BB position. This could be something to consider.
Sorry, no; my daughter is not getting a Miyata 1000 before I do.

How much would you want for it? Is it frame only?
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Old 04-18-24, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by abdon
My daughter wants a gravel bike, she's into vintage and touring, so while the easiest thing would be to do a non suspension early mountain bike, I figured it would not hurt to ask here if somebody had a tiny vintage touring frame they are willing to sell. I know Trek made tiny 520/620/720 frames, I have seen a tiny Specialized touring, and I'm pretty sure some other vendors also built for the vertically-challenged.
There are several issue here. Let’s start with the early mountain bike. Many people make the mistake of thinking that a small mountain bike works for a small person but mountain bikes are proportioned so that the frame is 2 to 4” smaller than a road bike for the same person. Someone who rides a 58cm (23”) road bike, for example, would ride a 19” (48cm) mountain bike. Trying to put a small person on the smallest vintage mountain bike which was usually a 15” is the equivalent of putting them on a 19” road bike. From long experience (not my own), I know that a 15” mountain bike is far too large for a 5’2” tall rider just as a 19” (49cm) road bike is also too tall.

A petite rider like your daughter really needs a 44cm (17”) road bike and a 13” mountain bike. Both are rare as hen’s teeth in vintage. Even into the 90s, 13” mountain bike were rare. Schwinn did happen to make some for their Home Grown line but they often aren’t even listed in their catalog. I happen to have 2 of them (not for sale, sorry) but they are around. The black one is a 2000 with a kind of funky headset…proprietary. And the bass boat one is a 1998. The black one has been repurposed for use in Tucson with a rigid fork where the 1.75” tires are much more forgiving on Tucson (literal) rough streets than her previous 650C x 23mm.

Unfortunately, neither Home Grown is capable of taking a rack and, for small riders, bike packing bags just don’t work. The triangle is too small for a triangle bag and the seat can’t take a seat bag.





Since small bikes were really made for small people in the vintage days, I’d suggest something a bit better for the small rider…an extra small hybrid. Or in the case of my wife, an XXS hybrid. This is a 2023 Specialized Sirrus. Not a great bike as it sits but adequate. It is long enough for racks and the fork has mid-blade braze-ons for a low rider rack. It is a 700C equipped bike but it has disc brakes which opens up a wide field of wheel sizes. It is also inexpensive at about $650.



I extensively modified her’s with carbon bars, carbon seat post, carbon fork (the OEM fork is a boat anchor), and I put a set of 26” wheels on it to lower the stand-over even more. It weighs in at 24 lb as in the picture.



One other thing I would suggest for a small rider is going to much shorter cranks than the common 165mm. The ones in the picture above have been cut down to 140mm. We found that even the 165s are too long and cause her knees to hurt. With the 140mm, she has been able to ride out of the saddle on hills which is not something she has been able to do on the cranks I would usually put on her bike. The way I came to the length is to use the ratio of my inseam to my 175mm crank and apply that same ratio to her inseam. 140 to 145 mm seems optimal.

I know the allure of vintage is strong but the bike industry ignored small people for close to 30 of the last 40 to 50 years. They don’t make a lot of bikes for small people now…the more expensive Sirrus hybrid doesn’t come in an XXS size…but at least it’s easier to find something now. At $650 for the original bike vs $2800 for the “fancier” hybrid (but improperly sized), the cost of upgrades isn't’ all that much and she now has a bike that fits and is really a joy to ride.
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Old 04-19-24, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by abdon
Sorry, no; my daughter is not getting a Miyata 1000 before I do.

How much would you want for it? Is it frame only?
I am going to keep it for a long while for sure
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Old 04-19-24, 05:46 AM
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Terry frames are worth looking at, my wife enjoys hers.
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Old 04-19-24, 10:18 AM
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I have a very small steel frame Marin "Mount Tam" MTB (pearl yellow) with a non-suspension Trek fork (ruby red) that I was building up (with a hodge-podge of quality parts from my bins) for a very short person who has suddenly moved away. I will recheck the dims but from memory I believe the seat tube is 15" or shorter, probably 14".

UPDATE: I measured this today and the frame is 13" from C of BB to Top of seat lug, even shorter if you measure C-to-C (12"), the Top tube measured along the sloping angle is 20" C-to-C, Chainstays are 16.5"; BB height with the "street" tires I installed (26x1.95) is 10" from ground to center of BB.

I didn't have time to take pix today but I can do that if the OP (or somebody else) is interested.
I have a 170-arm crankset on this now so might be best to take those that off and the new owner will need to find a 165 (or shorter) crankset.
Right now It's got good (black rims/hubs) wheels, a black sealed bearing HS (new) and black stem but silver seatpost.
Really nice Avid direct-pull brakes with "booster arches"... all of which can be deleted or changed

I was going to "sell" this to the original victim (I mean client) for just the cost of anything I had to pay for out of pocket, which is to say CHEAP!

But I don't relish the chore of packing/shipping so it's only gonna be really cheap if you can pick it up (or I can deliver) in the SF Bay Area or along some road trip I might take, so there's a big caveat (I don't know your location).

But LMK if interested and I'll get measurements and pix of the (so far) build.

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Old 04-19-24, 12:21 PM
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I know OP wants touring...but this is just super cool for 48cm 1984 BASSO GAP frameset, 48 cm, Columbus tubing, headset & BB Campagnolo
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Old 04-19-24, 03:22 PM
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I don't have one to sell but the Lotus Eclair came in 48 with cantis in some years. I restomodded one for my wife:
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Old 04-19-24, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by abdon
My daughter wants a gravel bike, she's into vintage and touring, so while the easiest thing would be to do a non suspension early mountain bike, I figured it would not hurt to ask here if somebody had a tiny vintage touring frame they are willing to sell. I know Trek made tiny 520/620/720 frames, I have seen a tiny Specialized touring, and I'm pretty sure some other vendors also built for the vertically-challenged.
Where are you located? I have a fairly small Cannondale touring bike that hasn't been used since I loaned it to an intern student a few years ago. I bought it for my 5' wife, but she won't ride.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:56 PM
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I got lucky and scored a 13" frame Trek 800 series steel fork mountian bike for my daughter's next bike. Looks like I got lucky.

I have noticed a few 49mm frame 700c bikes on FB Marketplace that might work for you. Not sure where you are but I found some options in central Ohio.
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Old 04-19-24, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by abdon
either of those in 48cm would be tempting, specially if it has a lugged fork. I think the Bianchi had an oddball sizing; according to my notes (tagged as unverified) the smallest size was 49cm them jumping to 52cm. Please do let me know.
Nishiki Cresta GT is a 48cm c-t, the bad news is it has a ding in the top tube. If you are considering the Terry/MTB option I also have a Terry Mt. Marcy that takes 24" wheels and a Terry Susan B for 26" wheels.
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Old 04-19-24, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
There are several issue here...
Gosh, you were right! A while back I did a 650b touring conversion for my daughter, a Panasonic MC 7500 that was perfect for her once I sourced 165mm cranks. For whatever reason I kept thinking that the bike was close to 19" or around 48cm. I went to confirm and it is a 17.5", or 44.5cm. Mah bad. Here's the 44.5cm mountain bike that wants to look like a road bike; the seat position is a smidgen lower than this. This was when it was work in progress, I dialed in the fenders and replaced some temporary components like the seatpost.


So yeah, I should be shooting for a 44.5cm bike. Chances are I'll have to look for another early 26" wheels MTB as the starter point. Anything this small with 27"/700c wheels is usually a lie; they get the frame that small not by lowering the top tube but by partially raising the bottom bracket. It doesn't fix the problem of size and introduces problems with handling :-\
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Old 04-19-24, 09:23 PM
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since I have a buyer for the Kirkland Tour Paks…..

I can do the sequoia for $400 Shipped.

Yes, side pulls.

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Old 04-20-24, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Robvolz
since I have a buyer for the Kirkland Tour Paks…..

I can do the sequoia for $400 Shipped.

Yes, side pulls.

Robert
FYI: Kirtland, not Kirkland. See label on bag in your photo.
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Old 04-20-24, 10:26 AM
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damn auto spell.

I know how to spell kirt land

takes 3 attempts to get the Mac to accept it.
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Old 04-20-24, 03:42 PM
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There is a lot to be said for 26 inch wheels on a small frame. One problem with a 15 inch MTB as someone else pointed out is that the top tube may be too long; I doubt your daughter would have trouble clearing the top tube comfortably (or at least that was my experience helping fit a friend who is 5 ft 2 on a 15 inch Trek 930).
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Old 04-22-24, 09:55 AM
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Have a tiny 47/50 CTC seattube/toptube Scwhinn Voyageur mid early 80s full on touring bike. I'm 5'5" and it's a little cramped for me. Looks to be completely original Japan made with Tange Champion DB tubing lugged frame and fork. 40/36 sealed bearing 27" wheels. Gearing for days with a Shimano Tourney XT drive train and Shimano 600 5spd freewheel.
since the wheels have seen better days I tossed a 700c wheel on just to see if they would work and the stock Dia Compe cantilevers reach with no problems and has clearance for days. Has a 32mm Gravel King on and could easily fit a 35 or even a 38 tire.
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