[CR]NOW: Vintage frame size WAS: Undersquare frames

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot)

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 16:11:46 -0700
From: "Chuck Schmidt" <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
References: <CATFOODBp7rZeBYCOPl00000969@catfood.nt.phred.org> <a05010416ba522d53c301@[]>
Subject: [CR]NOW: Vintage frame size WAS: Undersquare frames

Jan Heine wrote:
> (cut)
> So while I raced a 57 x 57 cm frame in the 1980s, I now ride a 61 cm
> x 57.5 cm frame in long-distance events. If I got a 1950s Herse in a
> 57 cm size, it would be way too small!
> So when looking for vintage bikes to ride, think about how Cino,
> Ernesto, Alex, René or whomever designed the frame would have fitted
> you on a bike. Which makes it hard for some of us - few Italians were
> that tall back then.

Jan, you've touched on a subject very important to this group (I doubt they really know how important though), that being the size frame you would ride in different eras.

There are a lot of instances where bikes were imported in three sizes (all with the same top tube length by the way). This was primarily true of the bike business in the 1950s and before. So chances are, if your looking for your "modern" size, it doesn't exist! (One of my 1930s catalogs offers some of its frames in _one_ size!)

I am of average height (5'10") and my size in the 1970s when I started riding as a adult of 32 was a 57cm center to top frame. With this size frame using a Unicanitor Cinelli saddle and Campagnolo seat post, the seat post was at the inscribed limit line. Thirty years later a modern drop top tube design (you now buy bikes by the top tube length) my size would be a 55cm center to top.

My size in bikes from the sixties and before is a 58cm or 59cm because the seat tube angles are so relaxed, the top tubes are short and the bottom brackets are so low. This lowers the top tube relative to the ground, so I still clear the top tube while straddling the bike at a stop. A proper fitting bike in the fifties and earlier would typically have about 3 or 4 inches of seat post showing!

Something to think about...

Chuck Schmidt SoPas, SoCal