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Steel frame fit for a smaller person, please help!

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Steel frame fit for a smaller person, please help!

Old 09-28-12, 04:33 AM
  #1  
Branimir
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Steel frame fit for a smaller person, please help!

Sorry no photos yet!

I can get my hands on a Gitane mid 80s bike in size 50, that is C-C probably, I have not inspected the frame yet. The bike is complete, though it has rims for tubulars.

Here's the thing. It's my gf's birthday in a month, and I want to suprise her, and this bike is really cheap (100euros), when I inspect the condition I will know more, but judging by my friends words, it's - retube and ride! Has no tubulars on the rims.

The fit thing is the key.

She is a small person. 156cm, that is 5ft 1", hear inseam is 69cm, that is 27".

I have used a couple of bike calculators and seems the frame might be too big for her, as for her size/proportions 47 or 48 turns out the best. On the other hand, I know most of the size calculators have modern frames in mind and I know that this stuff just does not apply that much (still is legit, but a bit different) to the older steel frames with flat top tube geometry, and generally is biased toward sporty and aggresive position of a rider. I know I get 54 as result of my proportions (I'm 176cm = 5ft 9" my inseam is 80cm=31.5"), though I ride C-T 57 and top tube 55 with no problems and thinking of a 54cm frame seems like a bike with a seatpost too way high, though the top tube might work in 54 since I used 10cm stem with 55top tube.

Anyways I know it's always advisable to go a bit "up" on the size of the bike, and generally it's better that way, than with a frame too small. I just hope the bike won't be too long for her, and the seat post won't be slammed way down. Anybody here have a wife that is similar height, what size bike do they ride?

I would like to suprise her with a nice bicycle that is comfortable for her size.

Thanks!
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Old 09-28-12, 05:07 AM
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Dont be insulted by this but is her weight match her build?

I have 3 Junior bicycles and I have also heard these work well for smaller people.
they are basicly small versions of the adult models,
mine have tubular wheels, lugged frames and classic components,
New models are also available with brifters and alloy frames.

I have also seen bike which back wheel is 700 and the front is 24"


I stole this picture as an example
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Old 09-28-12, 05:15 AM
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Hm, dunno how to answer about her build - she does not have long legs for her height, and is not wide in shoulders, weights somewhere between 56 and 58kg depending on part of the year Btw Gitane is 100euros, ready to drive, though it's missing tubulars. I'll post pics soon. And I don't know what to do with the wheels, maybe give her mine since I have clinchers and keep the tubulars for my bike, but that's not the issue here.
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Old 09-28-12, 05:23 AM
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100 euros is a very good price as it is local
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Old 09-28-12, 05:53 AM
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Good price, but bike is too big. At 5-1, and with that inseam, you are talking 46cm or less, or possibly a Terry style bike.

Around here, vintage steel bikes in a 46cm size are really rare, and demand a large premium. I've had a couple out of 300+ bikes.
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Old 09-28-12, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Good price, but bike is too big. At 5-1, and with that inseam, you are talking 46cm or less, or possibly a Terry style bike.
I agree basically. I would be looking for a bike with 650 wheels front and rear. b or c width/ERD.
If she already is an active bicycle rider, then maybe the Gitane might work.
If she is not, no reason to get a bike too big.
In general small frames are often design compromises and suffer in the handling dept.
Some older Gitanes I saw, (from the 1970's raised the bottom bracket too to achieve a decent seat tube length. Not helping the stand over height and hurting handling more, combine that with a slack head angle to get a short top tube and you are steering a top heavy truck)

The "Terry" design of 24" wheel front works for position, but the handling of them is not as good as a bike with 650's front and rear.
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Old 09-28-12, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Good price, but bike is too big. At 5-1, and with that inseam, you are talking 46cm or less, or possibly a Terry style bike.

Around here, vintage steel bikes in a 46cm size are really rare, and demand a large premium. I've had a couple out of 300+ bikes.
+1

I am 5'4" and the range for me is 49 - 51 cm with a 51 cm top tube. You should really be gong towards top tube length, but at her height, she likely won't fit anything with 700 without some huge compromises like Slack head tube angles and sharp seat tube angles. I wouldn't chance anything as it will take something very specific to fit her.

Last edited by Puget Pounder; 09-28-12 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 09-28-12, 07:50 AM
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How about this one?
https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...E:B:SS:US:1123
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Old 09-28-12, 07:57 AM
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See if there are any Fuji 450SE bikes around for sale, have come across a few locally at decent prices, they are Mixed Wheels-Terry Bike style, and those mid/late 80's Fujis are nice rides.
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Old 09-28-12, 08:00 AM
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I agree, a Terry style bike would work, though they can be a little harder to find. This is the 80's Miyata that my wife rides:

Miyata 512 by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
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Old 09-28-12, 08:13 AM
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Here is a nice one up in CT...SOMEONE grab it, looks VERY nice
https://newlondon.craigslist.org/bik/3253159037.html
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Old 09-28-12, 12:46 PM
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Fuji SJ-10 Comes to mind.
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Old 09-28-12, 12:58 PM
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You can't make a bike that small with full size wheels. You just can't get the handlebar low enough. Not 650a (typically English three speeds), or 650b (typically French randonneurs with fat tires), but 650c (racing bikes for small riders) is what you want. The Terry style frame is a silly gimmick; the front wheel doesn't have to be that small, and the big rear wheel gives no advantage.

PuchFinland's suggestion to go for a 24" wheel bike is probably worth looking into. Some very fine bikes were made in that size. The wheel and tire options in 24" and 650c are both pretty limited.

You might also look for a bike that takes 26" (mountain bike size) wheels, which are between 24" and 650c in size.
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Old 10-01-12, 10:32 AM
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I have borrowed the Gitane frame, to check it out and to measure it, and to see if the little lady is going to fit it anyways. She'll be home later in the evening, and sitting on it will provide more answers than anything

It's a Gitane, I have no clue which model, weights around 11kg so it's not on the light side either.
It has Mavic Speciale Sport rims for tubulars, so that's the first turn off.
C-C is actually 49cm and the top tube is 51.5cm. Stem is only8cm though and headtube seems sloped a bit.
Deraileurs are Simplex, drive is Solida. Rear spacing is 126mm, if my eyes are not mistaken.
Shifters work, as well as the brakes (missing braking pads). The bicycle is overall in very good condition.

Can anyone recognize this frame and what it is?




Last edited by Branimir; 10-01-12 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 10-01-12, 12:53 PM
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I had to put the seat 2cm lower than in the dark photo, but we'll no more tommorow when I put my wheels on the bike and she'll try a test run round the block. The bike is not too long for her, but definately seat post is barely showing now (5cm maybe), since her legs are too short
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Old 10-01-12, 01:04 PM
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if she is comfortable with the top tube being so high, and its not too long it could be a decent compromise.
On the other hand, I just sold a bike to a woman an inch or 2 taller than your gal, it was a 24" wheel schwinn road bike. I put a 10cm stem on it vs the 1cm shortie and a normal seat post and she really really like the fit and the ride. She appeared proportional to the bike and I'm sure it was the right size for her.

I rode the bike around for a few days and even though it was so small the handling was sweet. Its not worth the compromise of huge wheels on a small frame unless you guys really just ride around a little.

after with adult stem and seat, the seat post was raised about 3 inches to get the bars right under the seat


Before, set up with little stem for kids. Seat was sooo high cuz I'm 6'3 and was trying to ride it, 37" inseam and the seat post was not near long enough haha

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Old 10-01-12, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tulok View Post
if she is comfortable with the top tube being so high, and its not too long it could be a decent compromise.
On the other hand, I just sold a bike to a woman an inch or 2 taller than your gal, it was a 24" wheel schwinn road bike. I put a 10cm stem on it vs the 1cm shortie and a normal seat post and she really really like the fit and the ride. She appeared proportional to the bike and I'm sure it was the right size for her.

I rode the bike around for a few days and even though it was so small the handling was sweet. Its not worth the compromise of huge wheels on a small frame unless you guys really just ride around a little.
Sound advice.

Make sure she gets significant riding time (>1 hour) to see if it's comfortable. Anyone can ride any bike around the block and think it's comfortable. A smaller wheel bike makes much more sense here.
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Old 10-01-12, 01:16 PM
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What size bike is she comfortable riding already?

smaller wheels let the frame geometry be properly proportioned

bigger wheel the common tweaking is a steeper seat tube, and TCO.
common with 50cm mixtes with 27" wheels..
not a good thing, but many suffer thru it. .

looked at the MiniVelo threads on the Folding bike forums?

only find C&V older ones in Japan I suppose..

https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...upgrade-thread

maybe some Italian made folding bikes are to be found ,
since they are just across the Adriatic, from Yugoslavia.
another small wheel bike type.. to work with.

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Old 10-01-12, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Branimir View Post
I have borrowed the Gitane frame, to check it out and to measure it, and to see if the little lady is going to fit it anyways. She'll be home later in the evening, and sitting on it will provide more answers than anything



Can anyone recognize this frame and what it is?
https://www.gitaneusa.com/images/cata...80_Page_15.jpg

Poprilicno sam siguran da je to tvoj model / I am pretty sure that this is what you have.
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Old 10-01-12, 04:17 PM
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Heh, yep, dunno how I missed that one in the catalogue

https://www.gitaneusa.com/images/cata...80_Page_14.jpg

Version 3906 with tubulars.

bic4me?

Last edited by Branimir; 10-01-12 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 10-01-12, 10:44 PM
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The main issue is not just SO, but TT length. Junior racers are a good choice, esp. if they come with smsller wheels. if you are looking for older steel bikes in 700c, classic Terrys or the rare Centurion with 650c front. I briefly owned a 47cm Miyata that had ridiculous toe overlap.

There's a few small Panasonic DXs on eBay right now. I sometimes see Nice 47-49cm Lemond bikes from when WSD sizes appeared in the Lemond lineup.

compact geometry makes SO easier, and the length is sometimes minimized by higher HTs, but for 700c going under 50cm makes things weird.

Last edited by KDNYC; 10-01-12 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 10-01-12, 10:53 PM
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so?
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Old 10-01-12, 11:14 PM
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That bike looks like it would be perfect for me, and I am 5'6" (almost). Now, I am a weird 5'6" and my current 52cm bianchi is a bit too tall. The top tube is up in my crotch when standing, and i still feel like I am not quite on the seat with the seat forward and a medium to short stem (100mm or less). Still, I would think that at 5'1" 49cm would be on the big side.
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Old 10-02-12, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Branimir View Post
Heh, yep, dunno how I missed that one in the catalogue

https://www.gitaneusa.com/images/cata...80_Page_14.jpg

Version 3906 with tubulars.

bic4me?
You got me thats my nick on our forum, i can t pm you ( don t have 50 post yet)

Nice gitane in nice condition, i think it would be very hard to find similar bike in better condition locally.

Hope wife enjoys it
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