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Old 03-16-10, 09:15 PM   #1
poorlilrichboy
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27" to 650B for shorter standover height?

I'm looking at a 1988 49cm Palo Alto with Columbus Steel Tubing made by Biemmezeta. It has 27" x 13/16" tires, which puts it at a 30" standover height. That's 2 inches shy of being able to keep me "safe"

Can I put smaller tires, 650Bs maybe, to make this a shorter standover height?
I need the tires to be suitable for commuting / light touring.

Is it worth the cost?

What other gotchas are there?
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Old 03-16-10, 09:20 PM   #2
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So you have a 32" inseam? That bike is way too small for you if that's the case. I am comfortable on bikes no smaller than a 56cm frame, and ride most of the time on 58/59cm frames. Unless you really, really suck, you'll be good with your junk resting on the top tube of a bike you're straddling.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:23 PM   #3
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You'll be hard pressed to get a full 2" lower, plus if you could you'd be at a high risk for pedal strike. Right now your wheels with tires are about 26.5 inches tall. 650B rims with a 32mm tire would be about 25 and a half inches tall. Take that inch of diamater, divide it in half and your toptube is only half an inch lower.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:42 PM   #4
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No, I don't have 32" inseam. My current bike is a 43cm Felt with about 27.5" standover height and fits great.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:43 PM   #5
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Holy crap man. That's nuts.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:53 PM   #6
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Errr, I guess. I'm only 5'2" so the bike works for me.

Can't seem to find an old school steel commuter that has such a low standover height. So I'm tying to adjust the ones I can find.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:55 PM   #7
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Eyes on the images bring a few things to mind, the brake in front is already almost maxed out on reach, so long reach brakes will be needed such as long reach Tekros, unless those are short reach brakes, but they don't appear to be. The reduction of standover height will be about 13mm unless you go 650c in which case it will be more, 20mm ? Know the BB height before you go buying parts, bikes that have at least a 10.625" high bracket to begin with can work unless they are paired with wide touring pedals.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:56 PM   #8
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Often small frames make the numbers by raising the BB height, so the standover does not benefit.
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Old 03-17-10, 05:07 AM   #9
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Try looking for a 24" wheeled road bike. Good ones have been around for quite some time, so vintage ones are available. There was a Raleigh Capri on NH CL last week. If it is still available and I can help with shipping, let me know. By the time you had a set of 650b wheels built and tires bought, this might be about the same price. Best of luck.

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Old 03-17-10, 02:24 PM   #10
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I converted a 21" Univega from 27" wheels to 650B. I bought Weinmann Zac 19 rims( I guess I got a good pair) and spokes and built them up on old hubs. I replaced the side pulls with old Weinmann 730(?) centerpulls. I put on Col de la Vie tires(38mm) Although the standover height is somewhat lower,it isn't much lower because the outside diameter of the bigger tire takes up a lot of room. I like the size because the roads around here have deteriorated and aren't going to get any better soon. Big tires are a lot more comfortable.

I would suggest you go to the Rivendell site, www.rivbike.com, I believe they have a section on conversions. Bottom bracket height and brake reach are critical, and the site explains how to measure for them. There is also a thread on this forum called "Show us your 650B conversions".
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Old 03-17-10, 02:45 PM   #11
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27x 13/16"?? that sounds like an odd size. so does the standover. with tubulars and 59cm frame most of my bikes are a 33" stand over. if you are "looking" and this bike and considering spending the money to change wheels, tires, brakes, unless the bike is less than $50 keep looking.

also I am not familiar with Palo Alto cycles but... that looks like a nice bike, Suntour Cyclone and triple whouldn't it have 700 wheels?

Patorbob with all due respect to your knowledge, i think he might try looking for one of the 650 wheeled 'tri' bikes? 24" might be getting a bit small and are usually more of a 'kids' bike
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Old 03-17-10, 03:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poorlilrichboy View Post
Errr, I guess. I'm only 5'2" so the bike works for me.

Can't seem to find an old school steel commuter that has such a low standover height. So I'm tying to adjust the ones I can find.
I recently picked up a 19 inch '89 Schwinn Traveler to build up for my 11 year old son with about 27 inch inseam. The Schwinn 19 inch bikes (like this one) are about 48cm C-C (they use CT measurement for their sizes) and this one with 700C tires gives him enough clearance. Most of the last 80s Schwinns were made in 19 inch sizes, incl. the ones with Columbus Tenax frames. You might want to locate one and see how it might fit. Also Trek 400T and D were made in an 18 inch size. The common thing among these bikes is a single headtube lug that connects to the HT to both the DT and TT.

Good luck!

Edit. So you know what I mean when I am talking about a single headlug, this is a picture of the aforementioned Traveler frame:


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Old 03-18-10, 06:41 AM   #13
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Is it worth the cost? That's gotta be your call. If you're having trouble finding a bike to fit you, you may have to go to additional expense; the only way around that is if you get lucky and find a suitable alternative.

For example, there are road bikes made for smaller riders, as suggested above, with 650C wheels. There are also good old steel MTB's that take 26" wheels, for which you can get nice skinny "road" tires if you want. Another option is a mini-velo or folding bike with 20" wheels; some of these, such as a Xootr Swift, ride like a full sized road bike. If you're not opposed to a new bike, definitely look at the Swift; it's a very versatile bike (I'd ride one myself, but it doesn't fold small enough for my needs).

As for 650 B, it's certainly a possibility; I can't speculate on whether it will be enough, though. And as observed, brake reach may be maxxed out. Still, I recently put 26" (the MTB size) wheels on a bike built for 27" wheels. I did this because I wanted to use shorter crank arms without raising the seat to an absurd height; the smaller wheels lowered the whole frame tube by about 1 1/2", which was what I wanted. But I had to use hub brakes; no rim brakes would fit. If you're willing to go the expense of hub brakes or frame modifications (studs for cantilever brakes, or mounts for disk brakes, etc) then you most definitely can fit smaller wheels.
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Old 03-18-10, 04:03 PM   #14
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I would look for a Terry. My wife is 5ft and this is her bike.

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Old 03-18-10, 05:26 PM   #15
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Another possibility is a mixte frame. I know it is almost an insult to a man to suggest a mixte, but mixte can be roughly tnslated as coed or unisex. For example a coed school is called a lycee mixte. Granted, in the US they are thought of as women's bikes, but they solve the standover problem.
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Old 03-19-10, 03:57 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the advice. I don't think it will be worth the cost.

I'm still hunting down 46cm vintage steel, that's my preference, but have now opened up to the possibility of an increase in budget and/or buying a new frame. The only 46cm steel frames I see suitable for a Rando build are Soma and Surly, but if you all have any leads let me know.
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Old 03-19-10, 03:58 PM   #17
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I would look for a Terry. My wife is 5ft and this is her bike.

I'll looking into Terry. That looks like a nice ride.
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Old 03-19-10, 04:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Thanks for all the advice. I don't think it will be worth the cost.

I'm still hunting down 46cm vintage steel, that's my preference, but have now opened up to the possibility of an increase in budget and/or buying a new frame. The only 46cm steel frames I see suitable for a Rando build are Soma and Surly, but if you all have any leads let me know.
46cm vintage frame even if measured center of BB to top tube center will be a sub 48 cm center to top, almost impossible without being very creative. With 700c wheels it will still not provide much benefit for stand over height. To get the small dimension a custom extra small head tube intersection with as shown a one pc. lug or custom mitering will be needed. Advantage for sloping top tubes, which you will be hard pressed to find in a vintage bike.
Couple that with the usual general need at this size for a short top tube and the Lawyer concern of toe clip overlap, and compromised handling bikes result, legal (under the UCI regs of the day) but poor handling. Back then, short people had no reason to live.

I have designed bikes for short people, 650c or 650b was the ticket for a well designed frame.
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Old 03-20-10, 04:42 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by poorlilrichboy View Post
Errr, I guess. I'm only 5'2" so the bike works for me.

Can't seem to find an old school steel commuter that has such a low standover height. So I'm tying to adjust the ones I can find.
Would you want to share your actual PBH? There are several "standards" of basic fitting. The one that recommends the tallest frames (e.g. largest standover height) is called the French fit, and you can learn about that at the Competitive Cyclist website. It essentially has you selecting a frame/wheel combo that gets the top tube just shy of hard contact with your pelvic bones when you straddle it in your riding shoes. Some would not consider it safe, but I have some bikes sized this way and I think it works out well. You do have to be careful how you come down off the saddle, but cycling is a set of odd habits. Being a smaller rider, normally sized frames are often compromised in geometry, with strongly laid back head tubes to avoid toe overlap, and non-proportionally elevated bottom brackets to gain clearance between the front wheel and the downtube. Plus the very short head tube can greatly reduce the ability to fine-tune bar height, at least with quill stems.

The Palo Alto bikes were pretty darn good frames. Some were in the same league as Eisentraut and other excellent American builders of the day. You don't have a cheap steel commuter there, you have a rather fine frame. No reason not to commute on it or modify its setup to fit it to you, but you should be aware of what you have.

You can go to 650 wheels, but they won't generally help a lot as a conversion. As a basis for a better design for you they might be a real good choice. Your existing brakes won't reach, but these days there are several "extra long" dual-pivot caliper designs available from Tektro.

Which fixes are worth the money? Your call. The quality of your frame would support essentially any level of refinement.

Trek had an '80s 19 inch frame sizing that was actually quite small. They're usually available on Ebay. You can learn about them on the site www.vintage-trek.com.

BTW, I'm 5'6 with legs a little long, and can use frames in the 52 cm to 56 cm range depending on design. You might be ok with 52 cm or 51 cm frames, which can be pretty well-proportioned.
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Old 03-20-10, 08:06 AM   #20
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Can't seem to find an old school steel commuter that has such a low standover height.
Think outside the box, man.

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Old 03-20-10, 02:39 PM   #21
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Terrys are excellent.

Where does one get the tubes and tires, though?
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Old 03-20-10, 04:29 PM   #22
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http://www.everybicycletire.com/Shopping/c-20-650c.aspx
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Old 03-20-10, 05:38 PM   #23
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Terrys are excellent.

Where does one get the tubes and tires, though?
Most bike stores will order anything you want if you don't want to order online. You can even get a Pasela in a 24. http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=422603
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Old 03-21-10, 01:09 AM   #24
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I have a 45cm c-t C&V if you're interested. It runs 700c too.

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Old 03-21-10, 01:26 AM   #25
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It's not necessarily unsafe to have a bike which some might call a little too large for you and it's not necessarily unsafe to have toe-clip overlap. I'm about 5'6" and every decent bike I've ever owned, including my 21" Bob Jackson World Tour, has had toe-clip overlap. And, more than several have been such that I couldn't stand over them when the bike was upright.

When we were kids, bikes were always bought too large, just like shoes and shirts. But guess what, our generation is reproducing just fine. The point is, a frame which might seem too large is not necessarily too large. The important factors is how it fits you when you are riding it, not when you're at a stop light.

edit: actually, my generation is pretty much done reproducing. That is, without younger augmentation.
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