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What is "French Fit"?

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What is "French Fit"?

Old 02-28-21, 09:46 AM
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Jmpierce
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What is "French Fit"?

I've heard of this style of fit on the forums and tried to look it up to no avail. I'm assuming that its a larger frame size than you would normally ride. I ride a 60 cm normally so "French fit" would be a 62 cm frame?
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Old 02-28-21, 10:51 AM
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It's a more relaxed less aggressive position with the handlebars high or about the saddle height. Isn't it? Have to wait for those that really know.

I don't think frame size has anything to do with it. However the specific geometry of the bike will be different than those wanting a more aggressive fit. If the bar height is what mostly makes it a french fit, then frame stack will be an important measurement toward having a french fit. As it is for most any other fit.

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Old 02-28-21, 11:10 AM
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I believe it is the opposite. When French fit is mentioned it is usually referring to Bernard Hinault's book and the fit is stretched out with a flat back.
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Old 02-28-21, 11:10 AM
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We used to use the largest frames that could fit under a body, the handlebars were usually slammed to a minimum stem height. The French fit idea more or less went to the wayside about 1980 when Lemond was using smaller seatube frames for his size.
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Old 02-28-21, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gkamieneski View Post
I believe it is the opposite. When French fit is mentioned it is usually referring to Bernard Hinault's book and the fit is stretched out with a flat back.
Shouldnt that be "The Great" Bernard Hinault, if I remember he liked using a really tall stack for a headset with an overly tall steer tube for his frame.
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Old 02-28-21, 11:25 AM
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French Fit was sizing a frame and stem so that it felt like you were reaching forever when in the drops. It stretched you out, but took some getting used to, especially navigating in a tight peloton.
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Old 02-28-21, 12:39 PM
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Post 4 is correct. Look on youtube for TdF back in the day. This is French Fit on a 1970 bike. Note how little seat post is exposed and that the bars are barely below the saddle. Also note the seriously uncomfortable hoods, perfectly positioned on the perfect bars, for what they are. I had a '62 Legnano almost exactly like this, but blue and chrome, full Campy, though mine had half-step gearing. Wonderful machine. One rode in the drops a lot (that's what they were for!) A modern French Fit bike would need deep drops like these, but have slightly different bars to fit modern brifters..

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Old 02-28-21, 07:42 PM
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The Badger lists his frame as a 53cm with a 56.5cm top tube, 8cm saddle setback and an 8.5 drop from saddle to bars. Certainly stretched out, even with a 11cm stem. You'll note that in the photo he nearly has a flat back even when riding on the tops.

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Old 02-28-21, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Post 4 is correct. Look on youtube for TdF back in the day. This is French Fit on a 1970 bike. Note how little seat post is exposed and that the bars are barely below the saddle.

When I was a kid in the 70s, if you had as much seat post showing as is common now other riders would suggest your bike was too small for you.
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Old 03-02-21, 11:23 AM
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French fit is a sizing method - though the term is a bit archaic.

All statements below are general and there may be exceptions to each.
French fit is supposed to be a slightly less aggressive position than a 'racing' position.
French fit is supposed to be comfortable for longer rides = randonneur distances.
French fit results in less saddle to handlebar drop.

How you can achieve a French fit depends on your preferences, and the bike's geometry. Raising the stem height seems to be the 'standard' and easiest application. Sizing up the frame to gain a taller head tube is another popular way. With the taller head tube the stem does not need to be raised as much, delivering a more tradition road bike appearance.


Every picture tells a story, don't it

^^^ Traditional fit (forgive mismatched tire)

^^^ French fit, note taller headtube, less seatpost.

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Old 03-02-21, 12:24 PM
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You can still FF a modern bike, if the geometry works. I bought this cheap carbon frameset and after studying the geometry chart, I bought a XL for my 5'10" self. The geo chart shows the reach jump from L to XL at only 7mm, but a whopping 19mm more stack. For getting the bars high enough, (especially on a carbon steerer with limited allowable spacers), it made more sense to me to buy upsized.


Museeuw MFC1.0 XL
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Old 03-02-21, 06:07 PM
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The "French Fit" I know, probably too late to contribute to the thread

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Old 03-07-21, 08:51 AM
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So, I guess it's a more relaxed fit? I had a Kabuki in the late 70's that was a 25" frame, I now ride a 24". I always thought the shop owner had the 25" bike and couldn't sell it, when he saw me coming he unloaded it once but I now think he was sizing it for the "French Fit" I rode it all over until I was hit by a van and the frame got bent. I loved that bike.
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