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Vintage frame sizing . . , any different than modern day frame sizing?

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Vintage frame sizing . . , any different than modern day frame sizing?

Old 07-12-20, 01:56 PM
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cfernandez 
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Vintage frame sizing . . , any different than modern day frame sizing?

I put this similar post in the "FOR SALE" section as explained below:

I found a grail frame that I have lusted for years a few months ago, a 1987-ish 53cm red and white SLX Bottecchia. However, it is on the tall end of what I normally ride. Here is the story and pics:

Oh heck why not me too - show us your Bottecchia

All of my other road bikes are a little more modern and normally I have clearance between my crotch and the toptube. With this Botttecchia I have no clearance, when mounting the BOT I find myself swinging my leg locked straight instead of with a bent knee and sometimes hitting my saddle. Less seatpost is showing compared to the rest of my bikes. I have read in several places that older more vintage bikes that fit correctly did not show a lot of seatpost compared to more modern bikes. I am comparing my this to my regular diamond framed bikes and not my sloping TT bikes. Sizing was different then I guess?

Anyways, I am throwing this out there . . . does it seem to fit me correctly?

Does someone have a 51 or 52 cm Bottecchia SLX that they would like to to trade frames with?

Thanks!


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Old 07-12-20, 02:38 PM
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Got any pictures of the bike from the side, along with some pictures of your other bikes?

Plus your height and inseam.
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Old 07-12-20, 03:30 PM
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Took this pic a few minutes ago as I have lowered the seatpost for the last few rides.

My old TREK 5200

The Lemond that replaced the TREK

My steel Lemond

My RB-1

Height = 5' 5.5" I could never get to say that I am five foot six!
Inseam = 29"
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Old 07-12-20, 03:36 PM
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I do say that I love riding the Bottecchia, but wonder if it could be better with a smaller frame. Just aesthetically, it looks big to me and the seatpost looks strange with so little showing. For a vintage ride does this bike look "normal"?
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Old 07-12-20, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cfernandez View Post
I do say that I love riding the Bottecchia, but wonder if it could be better with a smaller frame. Just aesthetically, it looks big to me and the seatpost looks strange with so little showing. For a vintage ride does this bike look "normal"?
That amount of seat post on the Bot looks about right to me. I ride a couple of 56cm bikes and for sure have less showing. My preferred size is 53-54cm, but the 56cm are special bikes to me. To my eye, your other frames seem to be small. But it is a matter of comfort and what works for you.

That is a sharp looking Bot. I could easily fall in love with it.
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Old 07-12-20, 03:48 PM
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Too much contact between the top tube and crotch can be a problem, but only you can really judge that - it's a comfort thing, not a cycling performance thing.. What is the standover height on your other bikes and what is it for this bike? Have those other ones been comfortable when you get on or get off?
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Old 07-12-20, 03:54 PM
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I usually fit my old road bikes like that, with a slight elevation in seat post height versus frame, and a standover thats almost contacting.


​​​​​​​I tend to ride in the drops much more than I did with my new road bike experiences, mainly because old single pivots are really, really tough to brake from the hoods without superhuman finger strength (or maybe that's just Campy brakes...)
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Old 07-12-20, 04:01 PM
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That’s a really nice looking bike. The RB-1 is most similar to the Bot as far as age, level top tube, etc and it looks smaller than the Bot to me. I don’t think sizing has changed much over the years except for the sloping frame making it harder to judge the fit of a bike from one number. Every manufacturer, and this applies to older bikes too, has their own idea of what that frame size number means. One noteable example is Colnago. Their frame sizes refer to the seat tube center to top measurement, so a Colnago 58 is really more like what most people would describe as a 56 to 57.

Most folks who ride a bunch of different bikes know some key geometry numbers for their fit. For me, top tube length is by far the most important and if I get within a cm of 56, I can usually make the bike comfortable. I know with modern sloping frames, stack and reach are numbers that are used but I haven’t invested time to learn what they are, don’t really care at this point. The rare occasion I deal with a sloping frame I just use the effective TT measurement. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:26 PM
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I think it looks like a pretty good fit. You don't feel overly stretched out, right?
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Old 07-12-20, 04:35 PM
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You can shorten the stem on the Bottecchia if it is too long.

My old road bike perhaps had a little large of a frame for me. But, that is what I rode since I was 16, so it just seemed natural.

As long as you can step over the frame, it really doesn't matter much if it is a little "tight". You won't be riding the top tube anyway.

I never liked riding the "hoods" in the past. So, I was either on the tops or on the drops. And, spent quite a bit of time on the drops.

So, less bar drop, and less adjustibility with the stem. Also shorter seat posts... a lot made a slightly larger frame work well.
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Old 07-12-20, 06:03 PM
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It's a pretty bike. That's about all I can say with the given information.
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Old 07-12-20, 06:24 PM
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Looks like a proper setup. Even small changes in frame size can make a big difference in perceived ride. I've danced with a few '88 Miyata 312's and only one became a partner. I don't worry about stand over either.
I'd just tweak the mounting of the bike and keep it because you love it.
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Old 07-12-20, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cfernandez View Post
I do say that I love riding the Bottecchia, but wonder if it could be better with a smaller frame. Just aesthetically, it looks big to me and the seatpost looks strange with so little showing. For a vintage ride does this bike look "normal"?
Assuming the "fit" is equal, the Bottecchia looks good to me.
It's the Trek that looks like it was "made to fit"
Granted, LaMond frames are known to have long top tubes for a given seat tube size.

So many different saddles on these bikes, how are you double checking your saddle position fore/aft?
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Old 07-12-20, 06:50 PM
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Yeah, vintage frame sizing was different. Typical fitting depended on the era, intended use, and of course personal preferences. From as far back as I can remember there was a slow shift to smaller frames. This really only applies to traditional level top tube diamond frame bikes. When modern slanted top tube road bikes were introduced with the Giant TCR, then the rules changed completely. You really need to use a completely different system for those.

In the 70's, people generally bought the biggest bike they could stand over. It was often as simple as that. By 1980, when I was taught how to fit people, the standard was 1 to 1.5" of standover height. That is, stand over the bike, lift up both wheels all the way they'll go, and read the distance from the ground. People were actually a bit vague on whether you should be wearing your riding shoes when you do this or not. I'd say with shoes was most common. As the 80s progressed smaller frames became the fashion. The thinking was that they were stiffer and lighter, which is true. They also put you in a more aggressive and less comfortable position. This makes sense for racers, yeah, but not necessarily recreational cyclists. This trend was partly the fault of Greg LeMond, who preferred small frames with an extremely aggressive drop.

If you go way way back and look at old Frenchie race photos from 50s or earlier, it's clear that some people rode bikes with frames that were too tall to possibly stand over.
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Old 07-12-20, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
If you go way way back and look at old Frenchie race photos from 50s or earlier, it's clear that some people rode bikes with frames that were too tall to possibly stand over.
I can't find it now, but there was an earlier post about a late 1800's or early 1900's bike with a rear step like a kid's "PEG". The idea was that you'd push the bike down the road, hit the peg and hop on from the rear like a Penny Farthing. No need to stand over the frame.

Ahh, found the link, but one of the photos was deleted.

help to ID this projecting peg on my 1916 Raleigh

I think it was similar to this one.

Index of /Information_Desk/Just_the_Facts/Bicycles/Wright_Bicycles_images





Another tall frame bike.


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Old 07-12-20, 07:55 PM
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French fit on an Italian bike. Depends upon how much you like the ride.

Personally, my range of acceptable frame sizes runs 3cm (maybe 4cm on some bikes). 58 - 61/62cm, at 64cm I have no standover clearance barefooted. Would have to be a special bike to keep it with no standover when wearing my cycling shoes.
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Old 07-12-20, 08:07 PM
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Thanks for all the responses.

All my bikes ride well and ride comfortably. Bottecchia included. Same bend in knee, similar though probably not exactly (to the mm) same stretch to bars and levers. I have been riding so long (nearly 40 years seriously on road bikes) that I can grab a bike raise the seatpost and saddle to within 1-2 cm of what I like and adjust the saddle and distance to my preferred "stretch" to the bars with appropriate length stems (usually around 100cm).

I sometimes line up several of my bikes next to each other see that the seat heights are all the same and distance from the nose of the saddle to the back of the handlebars are nearly identical. A few years ago when I tried my hand at racing, my seat to handlebar drop was a little more than my current setups. Otherwise, nothing much has changed. I used to dream about owning a classic steel bike in the 80's, when I first started riding. The Bottecchia is my first real vintage European bike.

I just got the RB-1 last year for Eroica, it is Japanese but emulates a traditional European frame, at least that is what I have read. I feel that it fits me great and aesthetically looks "correct" in my eyes with the seatpost height, stem length and drop. However, when I found the 53cm Bottecchia, I was like "ummm 53cm seattube , bet that TT is about 54cm. I usually ride something with a TT of 51-52cm. Anyways, if you followed my link above in the 1st post you will understand the importance of this frame to me. My first European bike seen in the flesh and rode with the owner several times drooling over this same frame when I was I was at Iowa State University. I decided to buy it because:

1) I wanted a European vintage bike with lots of chrome, like in the magazines of the 80's I used to buy
2) Greg Lemond used a Bottecchia to win the TdF in 1989! You can tell I am HUGE Lemond fan from my other bikes. I hope to get one of his pre-TREK bikes one day in my size
3) I have not seen smaller sized Bottecchia lately much less to the price I got the frame for. I will make the frame work even if it is bigger than what I normally ride.

Anyways, that is my story. I will definitely keep it as I have always wanted this particular frame and color.

My main concern besides fit was the addition of a Campy aero seatpost. I guess I can never get an aero Campagnolo Record seatpost because the "aero" part will partly be inside my seatube!

Again, thanks for all the comments. It seems like to most of you the Bottechia setup looks OK . . . but my bikes I have had for years look a little small . Cheers!

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Old 07-12-20, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
I usually fit my old road bikes like that, with a slight elevation in seat post height versus frame, and a standover thats almost contacting.


I tend to ride in the drops much more than I did with my new road bike experiences, mainly because old single pivots are really, really tough to brake from the hoods without superhuman finger strength (or maybe that's just Campy brakes...)
​​​​​
Pretty simple solution, take the brake caliper apart, and detention the spring a bit, I use a vice, but I’m sure there are other ways to do it. Will make your single pivot brakes quite usable from the hoods.
Tim

Last edited by tkamd73; 07-13-20 at 12:01 AM.
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