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1970s fuji finest, dream bike but too small?

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1970s fuji finest, dream bike but too small?

Old 01-12-21, 03:45 PM
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degoydegoy
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1970s fuji finest, dream bike but too small?

I just got back from looking at what I think was a 1976 or so fuji finest in blue and chrome. I'm 5'8 with a long 33.5 inch inseam and have had 3 modern road bikes in 54 and all have fit me well. This fuji was, I believe a 21", the smallest of the 3 sizes they made. It looked perfect, in such great condition, but it felt like a toy. Not sure if the seatpost was original (the bike had some very personal mods that looked recent: a black stem, obnoxious looking modern saddle, and sparkly bar tape) but I tried it at possibly dangerous levels of insertion, maybe 1.5 to 2 inches inserted, and I couldn't come close to extending my legs properly.

Would this frame work for me with a longer seatpost? If not, what should I be looking for? The next size up of the fuji at 23" or around 58.5 sounds like it would be ridiculously big for me, but maybe I don't understand vintage sizing? I'm really interested in getting a vintage steel frame, but this experience has left me thinking I have no idea what to look for, any guidance would be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 01-12-21, 04:03 PM
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It's a bit crude, but a couple of measurements you should get from your current bikes are:
  • Center of bottom bracket to seating surface of saddle
  • Pedal to seating surface of saddle, ensuring the crank arm is straight in line with the downtube.
  • Saddle to grip areas of handlebars (hoods, drops, tops)
  • Difference in height between handlebar tops and saddle
Then, see if you can replicate those on the Finest. If you can, but you'd need a ridiculously long seat post or stem, then the next size up might make sense. Also, remember that the Finest's current stem and seat post are not the only size available, so something shorter or longer is very likely available. In other words, just because they might have been at their limits when you tried the bike doesn't mean, necessarily, that the frame is too small.

Do you have any pics of your current set up on your bikes, and/or the Finest when you had it set up to your approximate liking?
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Old 01-12-21, 04:11 PM
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I'd worry more about top tube length. You can get a longer seatpost and you can get a taller stem. Given your leg length, you can stand over a 58 and have enough clearance but the top tube may be longer than you like. In a 70s era Finest, though, the top tube may be shorter than the seat tube which will help though.

The Finest is a great bike. Buy it if the price is right. It is easy to find parts for and rebuild. It is one of my favorite vintage bikes.



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Old 01-12-21, 04:22 PM
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Wow, that looks like the same bike I just saw, so beautiful, love the chrome!
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Old 01-12-21, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by degoydegoy View Post
Wow, that looks like the same bike I just saw, so beautiful, love the chrome!
They're sweet bikes. The frame is entirely chromed and you can set this up anyway you like easily. I went with an SR Apex triple with 48/36/26 rings, first gen dura ace brakes, suntour cyclone derailleurs and barcons.

This is an interesting article on bike sizing that suggests you should focus more on top tube than seat tube length:

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

I'm a bit taller than you are at 5 11 but my legs are shorter. I fit on the 23 Fuji easily and I need a reasonably long stem. You are going to be shorter in the torso as you have long legs. That likely makes the 21 inch a better fit than the 23.
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Old 01-12-21, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
It's a bit crude, but a couple of measurements you should get from your current bikes are:
  • Center of bottom bracket to seating surface of saddle
  • Pedal to seating surface of saddle, ensuring the crank arm is straight in line with the downtube.
  • Saddle to grip areas of handlebars (hoods, drops, tops)
  • Difference in height between handlebar tops and saddle
Then, see if you can replicate those on the Finest. If you can, but you'd need a ridiculously long seat post or stem, then the next size up might make sense. Also, remember that the Finest's current stem and seat post are not the only size available, so something shorter or longer is very likely available. In other words, just because they might have been at their limits when you tried the bike doesn't mean, necessarily, that the frame is too small.

Do you have any pics of your current set up on your bikes, and/or the Finest when you had it set up to your approximate liking?
Here are the measurements:

Center of bottom bracket to seating surface of saddle: 72 cm, 28.3 in
Pedal to seating surface of saddle, ensuring the crank arm is straight in line with the downtube: 88 cm, 34.5 in

for the next 3 I used the center of the saddle, at the spot where the line of seat post would poke through
Saddle to grip areas of handlebars (highest part of hoods): 84 cm, 33 in
Saddle to grip areas of handlebars (farthest part of curve in drops): 77 cm, 30 in
Saddle to grip areas of handlebars (around the middle of tops): 67 cm, 26.3 in
Difference in height between handlebar tops and saddle: 0, they are the same at 98 cm, 38.5 in

Photo of my Kona Rove DL setup here: https://imgur.com/a/JoiPo6T
Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture of the Fuji

Thanks!
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Old 01-12-21, 05:17 PM
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Your measurements need to be to top of seat tube, not saddle or post. Saddle and post are easily manipulated-top of seat tube isn't. My vintage Giant RB is a 60cm and I have a 32" inseam and I find it to be my most comfortable ride despite the fact that it shouldn't be, The human body is adaptable. I would buy it and make it work. It's a nice looking bike, Good luck
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Old 01-12-21, 07:53 PM
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if it felt like a toy, it's pretty good indicator the 21" is too small. at 5'6, it'd be on the small side even for me. like you, i have long legs for my height.

you're 2in taller than i. i can/do comfortably ride 56cm (classic) frames. i'd say go for a bigger frame.

Last edited by thook; 01-12-21 at 08:44 PM.
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