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How flexible are C&V hunters regarding frame size?

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How flexible are C&V hunters regarding frame size?

Old 08-12-11, 01:51 AM
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AS Collie
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How flexible are C&V hunters regarding frame size?

Hey all,

This is a question that's been bugging me for a while.

Rightly or wrongly, I've always maintained that just slapping a bike with a numbered size, eg 56cm, was dumb. But the guys I ride with all swear by it. They won't even consider going to see a bike that's not "their size".

In the hunt for some classic beauties, I'm always willing to go a little over or under size-wise, as I'm convinced that I can still set the bike up to be comfortable. Am I wrong? What kind of size range do people operate in?

(All of this is being asked because I really wanna convince myself to buy a slightly-too-big C-Record equipped Grandis .)
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Old 08-12-11, 02:37 AM
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I ride anywhere from a 48 cm to a 54 cm bike. I could probably go smaller too, but I don't think they make bikes that small.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by frenchbikefan View Post
I ride anywhere from a 48 cm to a 54 cm bike. I could probably go smaller too, but I don't think they make bikes that small.
Wow! That much? Great! I've only gone in the 56-60 range, 58 being my ideal (if there is one). Not to put too crude a point on it, but I've always thought that once I can't break my b.... on the top tube, it's good to go.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:46 AM
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If I had to step off my 54 quickly, my parents would be lucky they have two other sons to give them grand children
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Old 08-12-11, 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by frenchbikefan View Post
If I had to step off my 54 quickly, my parents would be lucky they have two other sons to give them grand children
haha.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:12 AM
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I stay flexible in the 57-61 range but try to stay in the middle with 59 or 60 being about right.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:43 AM
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I ride bikes between 54 and 58 cm. If I'm looking for a keeper, it has to fit me or a family member. I will snap up a bike, regardless of size, if it has parts I want or if I think I can sell it, as long as it is priced right.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:45 AM
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58-62cm for me. Anything smaller makes me fell like a circus clown. Also, I always bring a measuring tape just to be sure. You can't go by what's stamped on the Bottom bracket, lots of companies measure center to top of seat tube. Tallest bike I have is an NOS 67cm Super Course, I really need to sell it. I don't ride it and needs a new home.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:45 AM
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47-52, I can't really standover anything larger than that, though I wish I could!
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Old 08-12-11, 05:06 AM
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54cm top tubes almost exclusively with a +/- .5cm variance depending on ST tube length.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:23 AM
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My main bike is a 68cm and my backup is a 64cm, I might be able to ride a smaller frame if it had a long enough top tube.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:28 AM
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If I'm going to buy a modern bike, I buy the right size. However, when I buy a classic, I buy a bike from 21" to 23". Size is not nearly as important when I'm buying a vintage bike. I prefer a bike that is larger rather than smaller. By changing the stem and seat post, I can create the right room in the cockpit. I tend to prefer longer reach, and I make the necessary adjustment to create the right feel.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by FORDSVTPARTS View Post
My main bike is a 68cm and my backup is a 64cm, I might be able to ride a smaller frame if it had a long enough top tube.
68!?! If you ever come to Italy, you'll have to do a lot of stooping!!! The average size here is around 52, so I often see bargains in the 58-60 range. But I've never seen one bigger than 60 on these shores.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:50 AM
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It depends on how cold it is out side weather or not I can ride a bike thats a bit taller.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
54cm top tubes almost exclusively with a +/- .5cm variance depending on ST tube length.
Same for me with the top tube length which means seat tube c-c 53 to maybe 55. Don't like to go lower than 53 on the seat tube because too much seat post gets exposed and seat height to stem height gets funky. I do have a Primato that's a 55 top tube with a 55.5 seat tube and it fits great because I have first generation Chorus with friction shifters and the brake lever hoods are so compact it shortens the reach requirement by almost 2 cm. When Campy went to ergo shifters, the hood lengths really increased which makes a big difference in an ergo bike for me. I can't ride a 55 with ergos. Too stretched out.

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Old 08-12-11, 05:55 AM
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60 seems about right for me, anything 58 to 62 feels fine, but outside that range is still perfectly rideable and still worth checking out. I'm perfectly comfortable on a 55 or 56 for shorter rides, I just don't think I'd want to do a century on a really small one. Now I have a 63 that seems very comfortable as well.

Bottom line, I'd say go check out whatever interests you. If it's too small, use that as a talking point to drive the price down!
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Old 08-12-11, 06:00 AM
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I tend to focus more on the horizontal plane because my body is more picky in that direction . I think that bikes (for me) are best judged in overall reach (rough method: tt length+stem size). I tend to shoot for something like 64 cm on most of my (drop bar) bikes, with a cm or so of wiggle room on either side. That works out well. Assuming the world is full of square build bikes and stems go from 8 to 13 cm the puts me on anything from 51 to 57. Standover is not much of an issue, I can clear a size 60 frame. Frame dynamics of course change with size, so for go-fast applications I prefer a smaller frame with more cm's in the stem, and for comfy cruisers I like higher frames.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by FORDSVTPARTS View Post
My main bike is a 68cm and my backup is a 64cm, I might be able to ride a smaller frame if it had a long enough top tube.
Ditto this, except I am starting to switch around to a 64cm as more comfortable, but with a long stem.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
If it's too small, use that as a talking point to drive the price down!
I've already given him the whole "it's a little too big for me, can we do something on the price" line! Some times the simple ones work best.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:12 AM
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My range is 58 to 62; I won't consider anything outside that range any more. A long time ago, I drank the Kool-Aid and believed the bike markings (when they existed), but there are too many other variables. My keepers are all dialed in very precisely to my fit and I keep a list of measurements on my Droid to compare against: seat and top tube c-c, seat post to stem extension/handlebar junction c-c, stand over; I also differentiate between touring and road bikes due to variances in geometry. The point is that I know what will fit me very well vs. what I can acceptably ride. (I also don't buy in to the bike shop ideal fit either: my LBS places me firmly in the 58 category, but I know from experience that I will limber up a few minutes into a ride and that I'm much more comfortable on a 60.) When it comes right down to it, the measuring tape only helps me to cull out frames I definitely can't ride; I still need to get on a bike and "feel" it.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:33 AM
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I try not to stray to far. generally a 59 or 60 is perfect but once in a great while I'll go for a 58.

it also depends on the price. when a customer gave me a Fuji Pro Super Record, I tried real hard to make it fit but alas it was just a bit too small. the extra long seatpost and taller stem made it look ungainly so I passed it along. I think it is now in the hands of only the 4th owner in it life.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:42 AM
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58 is my smallest and reserved for bikes more setup for go-fast fits.
59-61 is ideal.
62 is doable.

And this is in Fuji...who measured center to the very tip top of the seat lug.

I was surprised to see how many folks listed 58-62 as a range.
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Old 08-12-11, 06:49 AM
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58 to 61 here, at least in vintage steel bikes. The new bikes marked 58 to 61 are huge, and feel more like 61-64cm. I am not sure where they're getting their measuring tapes, hehe.,,,,BD
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Old 08-12-11, 07:19 AM
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I can ride 58 to 62 on vintage steel also with 60-61 being about perfect in the seat tube but I have a longer upper half so anything shorter then 60 in a TT will require a longer stem. My Centurion Elite that is a 60 ST & a 58 TT requires me to use a 130 stem to feel comfortable on.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:46 AM
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I can ride from 53 to 56 or so. My legs are a bit short, so the TT on a 56 is right up there, you know? But the length feels better at that size because my arms are longish. It's always a compromise until one day I have a frame made to fit.
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