Re: [CR]Lightweight "Woman's" frames. Seat post diameter?

Example: Component Manufacturers:Chater-Lea

From: "Charles T. Young" <>
To: <>
References: <> <a06230994c57ad26545f0@[]> <> <a062309a2c57b644b77e6@[]> <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Lightweight "Woman's" frames. Seat post diameter?
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 2008 11:42:37 -0500
cc: Mark Stonich <>

I have a Claud Butler "Lady Lightweight" frameset that takes a 27.2mm seatpost. Per the 1940 catalog, the model was offered in Reynolds double-butted 531 tubing: frome Norman Kilgariff's Claud Butler webpages available here:

The frame is of fillet-brazed (bronze-welded / lugless) construction with a two standard diameter downtubes. The upper one terminates at the seat tube in plane with the intermediate seatstays and so is different from the twin lateral mixte-type frames. At the lower end (but within) my size range, I intend to build it up one of these days if I can get enough suitably rusty bits. Not having done so yet, I can't report on riding characteristics in a timely fashion for the frame that Mark intends to build his wife.

regards and holiday cheer to all of my CR friends, Charlie

Charlie Young
Honey Brook, Pennsylvania USA

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Stonich"
To: "Jan Heine" ;
Sent: Saturday, December 27, 2008 7:19 PM
Subject: Re: [CR]Lightweight "Woman's" frames. Seat post diameter?

> At 12/26/2008 09:03 PM -0800, Jan Heine wrote:
>>Most of the French constructeurs used Reynolds 531 for their women's
>>bikes. For those not familiar with the design, a photo is here
>>Not immediately obvious, a single top tube goes is supported by an extra
>>set of stays (unlike a "mixte" that has two long stays that run all the
>>way from the dropouts to the head tube).
> Jan,
> Many, if not most, would call that Barra a mixte. It appears to have
> some interesting ovalizations.
>>>Good steel can flex quite a bit without taking a set. Mixte stays make
>>>the frame stiff in the vertical plane. Which is fine for bridges.
>>>Bicycles, not so much.
>>Is it stiffer than a traditional men's frame?
> Probably not. But I believe the traditional diamond frame is too stiff in
> resisting vertical loads.
>> I don't see how the extra seat stays transmit extra shock to the seat
>> that isn't already transmitted by the standard, upper seatstays... Of
>> course, eliminating the extra stays on the "constructeur" women's frame
>> would cause the entire frame to flex like a giant spring when you hit a
>> bump, front or rear. So it would create a frame that is much less stiff
>> than a "men's" frame.
> That, and light weight with a low step-over height, is what I'm after.
> Since a crash on last year's 3 Speed Tour of Lake Pepin she's found
> mounting her Robin Hood easier than her mixte.
> I'm not trying to do something experimental. Paramount, Cinelli, Colnago
> etc. have proved that it can be done. I just want to "reverse engineer"
> by determining the wall thickness they used.
>>You could create a similar men's frame by moving the seatstays way down so
>>they attach in the middle of the seat tube, rather than the top. In both
>>cases, the loads of bumps would bow the seat tube in the middle. I wonder
>>whether that is a good idea.
> Might be a very good idea. Although there are a couple of practical
> considerations. Brake cable routing might be a problem unless you put the
> brake on the chainstays. Rack mounting too.
>>> I'm not surprised that some are reporting 27.2 mm seat posts on the
>>> highest quality frames.
>>Was that a conscious design choice based on calculating stresses, or was
>>it just an issue of using standard tubing?
> My guess is that they started with the question "Will a standard tube
> work?" and then did calculation and testing.
>> If a standard 8-5 seat tube works even on a women's frame that bends in
>> the middle, doesn't this mean that when the same tube is used on a men's
>> bike, it's totally overbuilt?
> Perhaps, since some modern competition bikes are built with no seat tube
> at all. But again there would be practical considerations like clamping
> a derailleur onto too thin a tube and the stresses at the
> TT/ST/SS/pinchbolt joint.
>>The women's bikes for the technical trials all used the "constructeur"
>>frame design (single top tube, extra stays). Either Herse, Singer and
>>Routens did not realize they did not need those extra stays (unlikely), or
>>the stays were needed with the superlight tubing these builders used, when
>>ridden hard on very bumpy roads.
> I'm sure it was the later. But being French they had a mixte mindset too.
>>One issue with many women's bikes is that they aren't ridden hard. (Avid
>>female riders usually prefer "men's" bikes).
> And some "avid" riders, such as Jane, don't ride "hard".
>> So the fact that they haven't broken does not always mean much. It would
>> be interesting to get some data under controlled conditions.
> I wonder if Schwinn did machine testing.
> Mark Stonich;
> BikeSmith Design & Fabrication
> 5349 Elliot Ave S. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417 USA
> Ph. (612) 824-2372