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Old 08-18-19, 02:15 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 2,222

Bikes: Puch Marco Polo, Saint Tropez, Masi Gran Criterium

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The anti-Fench Fit fit

I was just wondering if I was the only one who has changed their notions of proper bike fit from the old days and updated it using a different point of view?

I put thousands and thousands of miles on my 25” and 61 cm road bikes back in the day. This was a carry over from when I was a teenager and the bike shops would suggest the largest possible frame for you going on the idea that you might continue to grow or something. And I do love my 25” frame Puch Marco Polo with its short 8cm stem and minimal seatpost exposure. It is geared nice and low with a Specialized road triple cranks and a SunTour Winner 7 speed freewheel that is a 12-32 size. But climbing the steepest climbs on such a tall frame for my 5’11-1/2” self is more of a leisurely, seated type affair.

I happen to like climbing out of the saddle. I also enjoy longish stems for how they feel while descending (less fidgety). I even enjoy short head tubes for their ability to get me lower for those fast descents. True, I sometimes still use an upward rise stem these days, but more of a 6 degree rise. I also like to spec shallow drop handlebars.

But I am posting this on classic and forum because I was curious if folks seeking “n+1” vintage road bike builds experiment with different fit notions than what they previously had in their head as an “ideal” frame size for themselves.

So so for me at nearly 6’ tall, I for a while thought a “57” center to center would be great, then it became a 56, and now I’m like - what the hell, give me a bike with a 54.5 top tube that I can run a 13cm stem on and have the maximum amount of seat post height elevation. The increased seatpost height, when combined with certain posts (Ritchey Flexlogic or a titanium setback post come to mind) helps with built in flex and compliance allowing you to tune your ride, while the low top tube makes climbing out of the saddle much more joyous.

Presently I am building up a Klein Performance that appears to be a size 54. Again, a voice in my head is saying “why bother, it is too small” but my real world experience so far is that it is more tossible, quicker, lighter and looks cooler too.

Here is is a picture of my 1990’s era Veritas titanium to give an example of the (non)French Fit that I now prefer in my middle age:

I didn’t expect this bike to be comfortable for me, but I was wrong! I almost felt like I was cheating on some of my group rides while I dance on the pedals climbing with a road 53/39 double and a 12/25 rear cassette rarely missing my triple crank.

Last edited by masi61; 08-18-19 at 03:07 PM.
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