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Small size vintage bike?

Old 06-14-21, 09:55 AM
  #1  
pen
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Small size vintage bike?

Hello guys,

I recently wanted to get a vintage bike and came across a few pretty insightful postings on this forum. Thought I'd ask some questions here (as a newbie

I've been riding for about 4+ years now and I'm currently looking to get a vintage steel bike (because I love the looks . I'm really hoping to get one of Bianchi, Colnago, or Cinelli. But I'm rather short - 157cm, and I haven't really come across any that's 48 or 49.

Do you guys know if it's possible to find a bike for my height? I've looked at a few shops online and eBay and have yet to come across one that'd fit me.

Thanks
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Old 06-14-21, 10:02 AM
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What years are you looking at? 31” standover seems to be a common small to find, but I’ve seen a few smaller.
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Old 06-14-21, 10:02 AM
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Yeah, they are out there, I don't have anything in my "for sale" stable that small but have located several in the 48-49cm range for friends in the past, including a Bianchi and 531 Trek. Not sure that Cinelli or Colnago built many (if any) that size but one that certainly did is Medici (short custom frames was one of their specialties), which tho made in Los Angeles had many commonalities with classic Columbus-tubing Italian marques (and often sell for less $$).
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Old 06-14-21, 10:05 AM
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I think a couple of small ones got posted on the Ebay listings thread. I have a Lotus Unique frame/bike in the 48-50 range.If you can't find anything in your area that is a possibility. There was a small Lotus Legend and a small Cannondale posted on that thread in the last week.

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Old 06-14-21, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
What years are you looking at? 31” standover seems to be a common small to find, but I’ve seen a few smaller.
The ones I like are probably from the 70s or 80s - there are quite a few series I've seen but I dont know enough of the differences yet

Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Yeah, they are out there, I don't have anything in my "for sale" stable that small but have located several in the 48-49cm range for friends in the past, including a Bianchi and 531 Trek.
Thanks that's great to know, I guess I'll have to keep looking then

Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I think a couple of small ones got posted on the Ebay listings thread... There was a small Lotus Legend and a small Cannondale posted on that thread in the last week.
Ah thanks, let me try to find that thread and look around a bit more.
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Old 06-14-21, 10:47 AM
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Are you wanting to build it up yourself, or ready made? I can think of several I’ve seen that would be fun to restore. Definitely a question to answer for yourself...
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Old 06-14-21, 10:55 AM
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You mighty want to research Georgena Terry Bikes she made beautiful bikes with custom geometry for people of this size. I see eBay has a few vintage models in the $500 range right now. What ever you decide enjoy the hunt.
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Old 06-14-21, 11:11 AM
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Welcome aboard, pen !

You may have already done the math, but what determines the largest size you can comfortably ride is your cycling inseam. In your case it is worth finding that upper limit, as one or two centimeters more means a significantly bigger choice.
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Old 06-14-21, 11:14 AM
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What is your spend limit?
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Old 06-14-21, 11:16 AM
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The largest demographic for high end, very small bicycles are female triathletes. You may want to check out some of the triathlon classified sites. Be aware that a lot of these bicycles will use 650C wheels. It was a popular way to make very small frames with equal wheel sizes, while minimizing toe/wheel overlap.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KAH View Post
You mighty want to research Georgena Terry Bikes she made beautiful bikes with custom geometry for people of this size. I see eBay has a few vintage models in the $500 range right now. What ever you decide enjoy the hunt.
She also sparked the emergence of a number or "Terry-inspired" designs, i.e. small frames with a 24" or 650C (*NOT* to be confused with 650B) front wheel. Lotus and Centurion Ironman come to mind, but there were others.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:30 PM
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There were a number of Terry and Terry styled bikes with 700c rear wheel and 24" front wheels built in the mid to late 80's. This is one I put together for my wife who is 5' 1.5":


Bianchi also made a 650c wheeled steel framed bike in the 90's. There was one on our local craigslist for quite a while. It's not a common bike though. Trek and Cannondale also made 650c wheeled road bikes from the mid 90's to the mid 2000's. These are more common, but they are aluminum framed 'modern' bikes with carbon forks.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:04 PM
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There's a 48 Guerciotti on Ebay. a little pricey considering there's no fork, but it's SLX, and I bet you could make a more reasonable offer, because it's been there for a while. I almost bought it for my wife, but she really wanted a vintage Cannondale.
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Old 06-15-21, 06:46 AM
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Actually I measured the inseam length again and it's about 70CM / 27.5 inches (without shoes on) - so unfortunately I should be looking at a 47CM bike (instead of 48/49) =( I found 1 on eBay that looks to be in pretty good condition (a Bianchi GIRO Columbus SBX from early 90's, with Campagnolo Athena) but the logo wasnt my most preferred one - I may grow to like it if I look at it more

Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Are you wanting to build it up yourself, or ready made? I can think of several I’ve seen that would be fun to restore. Definitely a question to answer for yourself...
It'd be FUN to build one! Although I do not have the skills nor enough knowledge to attempt doing it yet - haha! Maybe after I get my first one, and I can take my time slowly trying/learning to do that!

Originally Posted by KAH View Post
You mighty want to research Georgena Terry Bikes she made beautiful bikes with custom geometry for people of this size. I see eBay has a few vintage models in the $500 range right now. What ever you decide enjoy the hunt.
Thanks - I took a look - currently I prefer the look of a Bianchi from the 80s (mostly because of the typography - sorry not sure if it's weird to look at the logo/typography on the frame as a deciding factor )

Originally Posted by repechage View Post
What is your spend limit?
I think anything within 1200 - 1500 USD/EUR may be alright? To be honest I'm not sure if I know enough to know what a reasonable limit should be - I have seen some more affordable options on eBay and some shops from Europe listed them at a higher price.

Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
There were a number of Terry and Terry styled bikes with 700c rear wheel and 24" front wheels built in the mid to late 80's. This is one I put together for my wife who is 5' 1.5":
// not allowed to post image before I hit 10 post //
This looks gorgeous! Getting absolutely bike jealous
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Old 06-15-21, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pen View Post
The ones I like are probably from the 70s or 80s - there are quite a few series I've seen but I dont know enough of the differences yet .
Where are you located roughly...I was assuming Europe since you mentioned euros?

There was a nice Boeris in Italy but it just sold...

https://www.ebay.it/itm/293298762723...4AAOSwgqZdtH5L
47cm scarpa

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Old 06-15-21, 11:20 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
Where are you located roughly...I was assuming Europe since you mentioned euros?
I'm stuck in Asia at the moment - but I do spend a few months in CA every year usually (pre-COVID ) I've tried looking through (almost) all cities on Craigslist and havent found anything yet. I mentioned Euros because the sellers on eBay I found are mostly in Europe
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Old 06-15-21, 11:47 AM
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I just sold a 49cm Bianchi.



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Old 06-15-21, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pen View Post
I'm stuck in Asia at the moment - but I do spend a few months in CA every year usually (pre-COVID ) I've tried looking through (almost) all cities on Craigslist and havent found anything yet. I mentioned Euros because the sellers on eBay I found are mostly in Europe
the Scarpa above was Italy. 49 is a bit big, but I also saw this Faggin. Gorgeous bike frame...

https://www.ebay.it/itm/164816588613....c100930.m5375

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Old 06-15-21, 01:07 PM
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And a Viner
https://www.ebay.com/itm/12476415763...8AAOSwiCZgrUXf
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Old 06-15-21, 02:04 PM
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My input would also be to not discount the nicer Japanese bikes. Miyata, Panasonic, 3Rensho, Lotus just to name a few. They did make some lower end model which probably won't interest you but the higher end models are really nice and are beautiful bicycles. I especially like the Lotus bikes that were painted that lavender color they used.

Just be advised that C&V tends to not be a single bike type of interest. You'll tell yourself that you can stop anytime but then you find yourself in the middle of your own living room surrounded by your friends and family who've ambushed you with an "intervention". But they just don't understand.

One more thing, be patient and don't be afraid to pass on a "great deal". While the smaller bikes are somewhat more difficult to find, they are out there and you can find them.
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Old 06-15-21, 02:27 PM
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I am going to assume pen is drawn to classic Italian steel for the same reason I was...there is something that sucks you in!

But absolutely there are some cool non-bici items that are also awesome. A Lotus Supreme would be one I would possibly chase in my size and in Pink Champagne...

ive also found that the Italian bicycle bikographic tends to be somewhat smaller in the ranges they offered. That might be an advantage in searching.
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Old 06-15-21, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pen View Post
Actually I measured the inseam length again and it's about 70CM / 27.5 inches (without shoes on) - so unfortunately I should be looking at a 47CM bike (instead of 48/49)
For reference: my inseam is 89cm, and I ride 61cm to 65cm frames, i.e. 0.69-0.73 times my inseam. With a 70cm inseam that would translate to a 48cm - 51cm range.

I am not sure such a translation is entirely valid, but 47cm seems small-ish to me.

Most of my touring bikes have 64cm / 25" frames:

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Old 06-15-21, 04:47 PM
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My wife is vertically challanged (She claims to be 5'1" on a good day) so she needs to ride a pretty small bike. Her carbon fiber bike is a Trek Emonda in a 44cm. She has 2 vintage bikes, a 49cm Bianchi (it's a bit tall for her) and a Marinoni Picolla. We bought the Marinoni in the late 90's with a full Dura-ace 9 speed. It has a 650c wheel so it is perfectly proportioned. It's hanging in the garage now (can't get at it to take a picture). She loves the bike since it is proportional and therefore handles great. I'm not sure how many of these were made, but I would recommend looking into it. If there's an interest I can get a picture this weekend.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by pen View Post
Hello guys,

I recently wanted to get a vintage bike and came across a few pretty insightful postings on this forum. Thought I'd ask some questions here (as a newbie

I've been riding for about 4+ years now and I'm currently looking to get a vintage steel bike (because I love the looks . I'm really hoping to get one of Bianchi, Colnago, or Cinelli. But I'm rather short - 157cm, and I haven't really come across any that's 48 or 49.

Do you guys know if it's possible to find a bike for my height? I've looked at a few shops online and eBay and have yet to come across one that'd fit me.

Thanks
I hate to say it but I think you are looking for the wrong bike. 49 cm bikes are relatively rare. It’s not a size that bike companies made a whole lot of in the first place. But, more importantly, given your height, you shouldn’t even be considering a 49 cm. A 49cm is for someone 3” taller than you . I’ve lived through the days of bikes that are too big because that’s all that is available. My wife is 152cm (5’) and 40 years ago, a 49cm was all that was available and it was too tall. It took a lot of years and a lot of different bikes to get her the right one (and convince her that it was “right”). You really should be looking at a 43cm but those didn’t really come about until the early 2000s.

Some may suggest going to a mountain bike but don’t be confused about mountain bike sizes. A 43cm is about 17” but a 17” mountain bike is not the same as a 17” road bike. A 17” mountain bike is proportioned for someone who rides a 49 to 53cm bike. Far larger than what fits you.

The Terry style bike that IceMilkCoffee suggested is a good option. You might also look at 650C bikes. Honestly, there are a lot of modern(ish) bikes that are worth a look, especially if they fit better.
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Old 06-15-21, 09:10 PM
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https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...332399580.html

A Terry doesn't come much cheaper than this
https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...331455594.html

​​​​​​https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...329266583.html
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