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Any Frames with Short Top Tubes?

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Any Frames with Short Top Tubes?

Old 11-24-15, 10:32 PM
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Any Frames with Short Top Tubes?

Any suggestions for steel frames with shorter top tubes? Eyelets on the dropouts a plus.

As I get older my hands get numb more easily and my neck gets sore more easily on longer rides. Just for the heck of it I tried out the Competive Cyclist and Leonard Zinn fit calculators. The "Eddy Fit" at CC and the Zinn calculators both suggest that I could use a frame with a seat tube (c to c) of about 59cm and a top tube of about 56 to 57 cm. This got me thinking it would be a worthwhile experiment to try out a shorter frame if I can find one. Since this is only an experiment at this point I don't need anything too fancy or too expensive. (maybe $250 tops for frame and fork)

I'd be willing to go as tall as 60cm if I could keep the top tube between 56 and 57.

Brent
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Old 11-24-15, 10:55 PM
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Going by his post, the ST is 59 and the TT is 57...

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...-x-57-1-a.html
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Old 11-24-15, 11:27 PM
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The RRB I used to have was short in the top tube. Mine was a small frame but Ron made a comment to me that they were designed with a short top tube so I gather they all were. Maybe one of the members with a larger frame could give measurements. They are really nice frames; great riding and very versatile. If mine had been a size up I'd still have it. Probably a rare beast on the West coast, but you never know.
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Old 11-24-15, 11:29 PM
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I have a Shogun (champion no. 2 tubing, 600 arabesque, 1 eyelet per dropout) that measures 61cm c to c with a top tube that's about 55.5-56cm c to c.

It's taller than you're looking for but I'm local if you wanted to borrow it for a while and see how the size works for you. I was surprised at the tt length when I first measured it. Fun and quick bike but the frame's a bit short for me.
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Old 11-24-15, 11:37 PM
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Just use a small frame, long seat post, tall stem.
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Old 11-25-15, 12:38 AM
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When comparing numbers and making a selection, always consider the effect on the reach dimension that the seat tube angle imposes.

As an example, a Merckx Century model will have the same top tube length of the Corsa Extra, but the shallower seat tube angle reduces the reach ahead of the bottom bracket by a considerable amount.

In approximate terms, and in the frame size range you seem to be homing in on, a reach reduction of 0.9cm for every degree of seat tube angle relaxation needs to be figured in to the top tube length requirement.

As well, frames with a shallower headtube angle tend to handle better with shorter stem extensions, which might be equivalent to a significant combined reduction of the forward reach to the handlebar!

Worst case is a racing frame with steep angles ending up needing a shorter stem, which usually results in twitchy, unpleasant steering. The steep seat tube makes the toptube feel longer, requiring a short stem which then makes the steering downright flighty. This is made even worse when the bars are set up near saddle height. Such bikes usually end up not getting ridden much until a larger rider comes along, or until the rider slams the saddle forward, fits a longer stem to calm the steering and then rides at an intense enough level to maintain fore/aft balance atop the bottom bracket more or less by sheer pedaling torque. ...Not out of the question though if you are in relatively good shape and are into shorter, faster rides.
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Old 11-25-15, 06:52 AM
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Be more flexible on ST length, say a range of 57 to 61, and your choices will be endless.
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Old 11-25-15, 07:19 AM
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My 23" 1971 Nishiki Competition had such a short top tube that I needed a very long-reach handlebar stem, even though I could barely straddle the frame.

In contrast, my 57cm 1980 Peugeot PKN-10 had such a long top tube that I needed a minimum-reach stem.

A shorter seat tube may help you, but some of the 1960s and early 1970s frames did not scale the top tubes with the seat tubes. Case in point -- my 21" 1970 Peugeot UO-8 really stretches me out, despite a lot of seat tube showing. The top tube is long. In contrast, my 55cm 1960 Capos and 1981 Bianchi seem to fit perfectly with normal-reach stems.



More recently, the relationship between seat tube and top tube length has been the main differentiation between diamond frames made for men and those made for women (e.g. Terry Cycles). If you don't mind riding a "girl's bike," it would at least have the shorter top tube you seek.
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Old 11-25-15, 07:45 AM
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The UO variant Peugeot's in the taller frames 23"+ have shorter top tubes in comparison.
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Old 11-25-15, 08:26 AM
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1970s Raleigh also tend to have relatively short top tubes, no matter the seat tube size. I have a Grand Sports with a 62cm seat tube and a 57cm top tube (c-c),
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Old 11-25-15, 09:37 AM
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Thank you all! You folks are a wealth of information.
@Essthreetee I think his seat tube measurement must be c to t. Lemond catalog for that bike (2001 and 2002) shows equal length seat tube and top tube.
@due ruote I've never seen an RRB on this coast but I will definitely keep an eye open for one. Looks like a nice bike.
@brokensf Thanks for the offer! A little taller than I wanted but if I don't find something else fairly soon I'll be in touch.
@jyl and @wrk101 A shorter frame with taller saddle and stem will be my fall-back if I can't find what I'm looking for.
@dddd Thanks for the education. I had never before seen the .9cm/degree spelled out before; a good number to memorize!
@John E I'll see what info I can find on the Nishiki Competition. The heads up on the "girl's" bikes is also a good one. Maybe hard to find one in a 59 to 60 cm seat tube but I'll see what I can come up with.
@Velognome My first real ten-speed was a UO-something or other from the late sixties! If I could scratch the nostalgia itch and find a shorter top tube all in one bike I'd be set.
@nlerner I never owned a Raleigh. Maybe it's about time. I'll definitely see what I can find out about '70s Raleighs.

Brent
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Old 11-25-15, 09:46 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
1970s Raleigh also tend to have relatively short top tubes, no matter the seat tube size. I have a Grand Sports with a 62cm seat tube and a 57cm top tube (c-c),
Reynolds apparently made most of their sets of 531 with 57cm top tubes. Many, but not all, 531 bikes from the 70s have a 57cm top tube.

I've owned two Japanese bikes from the 80s, a Fuji and a Shogun, with 56cm top tubes. Based on what I've read on this forum, it seems like 80s Japanese bikes (including the Nishiki mentioned) tend to have shorter top tubes. I have no idea if this is true, but there seems to be anecdotal evidence.
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Old 11-25-15, 09:46 AM
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To take pressure off your hands you need to move your butt back and hands up.

I've found that most short top tube bikes often have a corresponding steep seat tube angle (think criterium geometry) that negates the butt-back position and actually places more pressure on the hands. Just something to be aware of.

Ultimately the solution for me was better fitness that allowed me to apply greater counterforce to the pedals. This unloads the upper torso taking pressure off the bars. The bike also hands better as I can ride with relaxed arms and hands. Hands are always a little tender in the spring as my fitness is lagging.

YMMV
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Old 11-25-15, 10:05 AM
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My '81Bianchi Limited has a CTC ST is 61cm and CTC TT of 56cm.
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Old 11-25-15, 10:05 AM
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Lemonds are the opposite of what you want. Relatively long top tubes to seat tube length.
I had an '81 Miyata 912 that was a 63cm ST x 58cm TT. I liked the way it fit, felt like I could ride in the drops forever.
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Old 11-25-15, 10:18 AM
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I would check out Miyata's my 1400 is 58 cm seat and 55 cm top tube. This seems to be fairly typical geometry for their sport to race bikes.
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Old 11-25-15, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by nikku View Post
Lemonds are the opposite of what you want. Relatively long top tubes to seat tube length.
I had an '81 Miyata 912 that was a 63cm ST x 58cm TT. I liked the way it fit, felt like I could ride in the drops forever.
that is my experience as well. My LeMond has a long TT...but I was going by what was posted.

Of of all my bikes, my Bianchi has the shortest TT and the longest ST...and is the most comfortable.
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Old 11-25-15, 05:34 PM
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These are Miki-built Union Sapporo frames. The lavender-colored one has a 64cm seat tube (C-T) and a 56cm top tube (C-C). Miki also built for Sekai. You might want to check those out.

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Old 11-25-15, 05:41 PM
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I don't have the dimensions handy but check out the late 80's entry level to mid-range Peugeots. My 89 Versailles is pretty big for me in the straddle department, but the reach is perfect, with the original 100mm stem.

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Old 11-25-15, 05:50 PM
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Most frames are roughly square c-c at around 56cm. Below that and the top tube is longer than the seat tube. Above and the top tube is shorter. There are exceptions but that rule holds true for the majority of lugged steel road frames. A frame of say 60x57 would be common.
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Old 11-26-15, 09:51 AM
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My 71-73 Motobecane Le Champion is 57 ST and 55 TT c-c.
My 74 Raleigh International is 58 ST and 55 TT c-c.
Both of these are nice, classic all-rounders with eyelets, that are fairly easy to find.
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Old 11-26-15, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Just use a small frame, long seat post, tall stem.
+1

Any true road racer will do or try criterium geometry if you are hardcore. My arms are not long for my height (meso, here) and wanted an agressive criterium bike which led me to owning a Cannondale Criterium Series frame. Other than that I ride a shorter-than-ideal Trek 760 and with a short reach stem if I want to feel "tight" on certain occasions.
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Old 11-26-15, 10:59 AM
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Many thanks to all of you for all the help!
My fellow forum members here are one of the things for which I am thankful today.
Brent
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Old 11-26-15, 11:13 AM
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My 87 Panasonic DX 3000 has 60 cm seat tube with a 57 top tube. It rides great but I fell like it is too small. If I keep it, I will add a longer stem. I have it listed on CL now at a top price to make it worth selling off.
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