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Newbie needs Raleigh Sports frame size advice, i.e,: keep or sell?

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Newbie needs Raleigh Sports frame size advice, i.e,: keep or sell?

Old 05-16-10, 11:40 AM
  #1  
peterlat
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Newbie needs Raleigh Sports frame size advice, i.e,: keep or sell?

In the last few weeks I began to re-discover the joy of English 3 speeds when I brought out my 1972 Raleigh Sports, which I'd been storing in the basement for 15 years. I love almost everything about this bike--it's craftsmanship, it's beautiful condition, the coffee-brown color, Brooks saddle, etc.--but I'm concerned about frame size. It's a 23" frame with 32-inch standover. I'm 5'7-5'8", and I can straddle the top tube with only about .75 inch of clearance. When I'm on it it doesn't feel overly large, but the rule of thumb is about 2 inches of standover clearance.

I tried for several weeks to find a 21" Sports owner wanting to trade for my bike, but no luck. So, last week I bought a '63 Sports with a 21" frame, but in nowhere near as nice shape. Both bikes could use tires, and the older bike needs a saddle and a few other improvements. Logic dictates that I sell the larger bike and be happy with the smaller model. But it's so beautiful, and hard to part with. Sorry for the long-winded introduction, but can anyone offer advice on the wisdom of my riding the larger bike, i.e., is it too big for me?
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Old 05-16-10, 02:02 PM
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Standover height is pretty meaningless (unless you fall off the seat and only have time to put your feet down). If it feels comfortable to ride, ride it.
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Old 05-16-10, 02:05 PM
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If (1) you can get the saddle to the proper height for you and (2) you're comfortable on it, then it fits. Standover height matters if you're concerned about bashing your groin on the top tube. If you are adequately skilled, you can ride a gigantic bike without bashing yourself.

A bike that's officially too small will be lighter and will handle better. A bike that's officially too big has higher handlebars, which increases comfort for some people (including me).

So keep the one you like better. It sounds like that will end up being the larger one. You get my thumbs up on that.
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Old 05-16-10, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by peterlat View Post
In the last few weeks I began to re-discover the joy of English 3 speeds when I brought out my 1972 Raleigh Sports, which I'd been storing in the basement for 15 years. I love almost everything about this bike--it's craftsmanship, it's beautiful condition, the coffee-brown color, Brooks saddle, etc.--but I'm concerned about frame size. It's a 23" frame with 32-inch standover. I'm 5'7-5'8", and I can straddle the top tube with only about .75 inch of clearance. When I'm on it it doesn't feel overly large, but the rule of thumb is about 2 inches of standover clearance.

I tried for several weeks to find a 21" Sports owner wanting to trade for my bike, but no luck. So, last week I bought a '63 Sports with a 21" frame, but in nowhere near as nice shape. Both bikes could use tires, and the older bike needs a saddle and a few other improvements. Logic dictates that I sell the larger bike and be happy with the smaller model. But it's so beautiful, and hard to part with. Sorry for the long-winded introduction, but can anyone offer advice on the wisdom of my riding the larger bike, i.e., is it too big for me?
The rule of thumb on standover height, is just that, a rule of thumb, designed some 7 or 8 decades ago, so that bike shop owners didn't have to go to a huge amount of work to fit someone on a bike. With 2" of clearance and a fist full of seat post, you were fitted. Of course some modern bikes have slanting top tubes, some are almost down to mixte level, this means complex fit systems with computers and other stuff, especially for racing. Of course if your like me, and your not racing, and your on an old steel framed wonder, 2" of clearance and a fist full of seat post is good enough. Of course if you can cover the money your into both, even better.

With only .75" of clearance, you probably need less seat post as well. Here is what it really comes down to, there is a huge difference between .75" and 0 inches, if you do come down flat on your feet on the top tube

Logic dictates that you get both bikes in riding condition for as little money as possible, try them both, decide which one you like better, fleabay/CL the other one, as long as you get back what you spent on it, your good.
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Old 05-16-10, 05:18 PM
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Great advice, especially since it's the advice I wanted to hear. Here's a photo of the bike in question.
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Old 05-16-10, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by peterlat View Post
Great advice, especially since it's the advice I wanted to hear. Here's a photo of the bike in question.
If that's your riding setup it fits you just fine.

Bottom line is that you keep both bikes, always. The moment you sell the one, parts break, fail or get stolen.
Take your bike obsessions seriously and you will be rewarded.
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Old 05-16-10, 08:08 PM
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Thats right, why only have one? you should see how many I own lol, the Raleigh sports is a great bike, keep both buy tires for both and clean up up like new! as for your size question, i think theres three sizes of sports, i'm 5'8 and I own all three sizes. well so far i've only seen three. and i've had alot of them.
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Old 05-16-10, 08:12 PM
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That seat setup makes my peepee go sleepy.
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Old 05-16-10, 08:47 PM
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Like you, I'm also 5'-8" and I ride both a 21" and a 23" Raleigh Sports.

The 21" Sports is my "path racer" ( as seen in my avatar) with reversed North Road handlebars. This set up allows me to ride in a crouched over position, like many road bikes.

My 23" Sports is set up conventially for a straight up riding position and the stand over height has never been a consideration. How much time do you actually spend standing over your bike vs riding it?

I feel comfortable on both of the bikes, regardless of the frame size, and would not consider having only one.
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Old 05-16-10, 09:13 PM
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That seat setup makes my peepee go sleepy.
Sleepy? How about scream, wail, cry, turn blue.......sleepy I could live with. Peterlat, great bike , great picture but for the love of your urinary tract, level the saddle out a bit, makes me wince just lookin' at the picture!
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Old 05-16-10, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by peterlat View Post
Great advice, especially since it's the advice I wanted to hear. Here's a photo of the bike in question.
Heavens, that's a beautiful garage door. Oh, the bike is nice too.

That bike is in seriously good shape.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-16-10, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew F View Post


Sleepy? How about scream, wail, cry, turn blue.......sleepy I could live with. Peterlat, great bike , great picture but for the love of your urinary tract, level the saddle out a bit, makes me wince just lookin' at the picture!
A Brooks saddle on a Raleigh roadster should have a fairly high nose-up orientation. If you were riding in drops, then yeah, lower the nose. But riding in an upright position, that's about right. Here's how my Raleigh DL-1 is set up, and it feels fine.

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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-17-10, 06:23 AM
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I'm in the same boat, 5'7", and I'm riding a 23" Sports also. [Well, Sprite, but I think it's the same geometry.] Eventually I'll get a 21", and see if I like it better. Until then, I'm not stopping. I can't remember the last time I had to jump down off the saddle, onto the top tube--at least not while riding on the road. Also, why do you have to get rid of a bike? Do you have a big pile of them already? Pop the pedals off, maybe loosen the handlebars so that you can turn them relative to the front wheel, and it should store in a rather small space.
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Old 05-17-10, 06:41 AM
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I wouldn't worry about the frame size. The larger frame that you have rides a lot better than the 21 inch frame. I think you'd be better off staying with the 23/24 inch frame. By the way, that's a really fine example you have there. Don't change anything!
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Old 05-17-10, 08:08 AM
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Sorry for the rough language.
I like to put my considerable weight on the sprung rear of my saddle, and do the bouncy-bouncy when hitting a rough patch of road, so I go for a level top setup.
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Old 05-17-10, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
That seat setup makes my peepee go sleepy.
Have you ever ridden a B.72 on an upright-bar roadster? The riding position places your weight almost entirely on the rear of the saddle, hence, the rear is generally set level for most riders, with the nose angled upwards. You don't feel it, and it keeps you from flying off the saddle if you come to a sudden halt.





You might find that some users of the B.66 have them pointed less aggressively then the B.72 - this is to compensate for the angle of the saddle once the rider compresses the springs:



-Kurt
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Old 05-17-10, 09:28 AM
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Yes, my bike is all upright, but not a Brooks saddle, a Specialized coil spring. If I moved the tip any higher than level, I would be in pain after a block of riding.
It must be a Brooks thing, but the OP's pic sure looks painful to me, that was all I was saying.
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Old 05-17-10, 10:43 AM
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When I first got my DL-1, I had the same reaction. I promptly pointed the nose down and started riding. I didn't feel right though and I saw how people on the forums here were setting up their B72s so I tried it and sure enough it felt much better. To the unitiated it does look odd, but it's like that for a reason.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 05-17-10, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Yes, my bike is all upright, but not a Brooks saddle, a Specialized coil spring. If I moved the tip any higher than level, I would be in pain after a block of riding.
Makes sense. Only the Brooks B.72/66/etc. saddles of this design (or those similar to) need this particular adjustment.

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Old 05-17-10, 11:26 AM
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I agree with other posters. The 23" frame is probably ok even if the standover height is not as much as some recommend. I recently bought a 21" 1979 Sports in the same color as yours and it seems to me that the top tube is very short for a 21" frame. The 23" probably has a top tube more the length that we are used to with relatively small frames (I'm about 5'6" and have other bikes from about 52cm to about 54cm). So, you might actually be happier with the frame size of the 23". But, considering you have one of each, you can decide.

About tires: I've been looking for tires for the Sports that I recently acquired (and am re-habbing). There are lots of choices from Kenda K-35s ($10 each on Amazon with free shipping) through Schwalbe. Post #12 has a Raleigh with what look like Schwalbe Marathons. They are nice tires but each costs about the same as I paid for the whole bike. Michelin makes a less expensive option (about $18 to $20) as do other makers. The Panaracer tires that everybody raves about in the 650b/584mm size also come in the 26x1 3/8 650a/EA3/590mm size. Style is all over the map from the creme Schwalbe Delta Cruisers to white walls to gum walls to solid black to the Schwalbes with the reflective strip (as in #12). Shrader valve tubes the proper size are readily available and cheap. I think I'm going to convert to prestas and use tubes designated for 584mm 650b. If your rims are in real bad shape, you can find 590mm Sun R18 rims (polished) for about $25 plus shipping. Your newer sports may be 36 spoke front and rear (my 79 is) but the older one is probably 32 front and 40 rear. Supposedly the CR-18s are available in 32 and 40 spokes but I haven't specifically looked for that.
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Old 05-17-10, 01:51 PM
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Come to think of it, one of my bikes gives me zero clearance between my pubic bone and the top tube. It's totally snug. I can lower the seat enough. There's an inch or so of exposed seatpost. The top tube was too long, so I put on a short stem. My riding position is very comfortable for me. I'm not worried about my testicles. I never slam them against the top tube. (Famous last words)
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Old 05-17-10, 02:22 PM
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As long as you're done having kids, no worries!

At some point, I should look at sourcing new rims and tires.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:27 PM
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Rims

Tires
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Old 05-17-10, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
About tires: I've been looking for tires for the Sports that I recently acquired (and am re-habbing). There are lots of choices from Kenda K-35s ($10 each on Amazon with free shipping) through Schwalbe. Post #12 has a Raleigh with what look like Schwalbe Marathons. They are nice tires but each costs about the same as I paid for the whole bike. Michelin makes a less expensive option (about $18 to $20) as do other makers. The Panaracer tires that everybody raves about in the 650b/584mm size also come in the 26x1 3/8 650a/EA3/590mm size. Style is all over the map from the creme Schwalbe Delta Cruisers to white walls to gum walls to solid black to the Schwalbes with the reflective strip (as in #12). Shrader valve tubes the proper size are readily available and cheap. I think I'm going to convert to prestas and use tubes designated for 584mm 650b. If your rims are in real bad shape, you can find 590mm Sun R18 rims (polished) for about $25 plus shipping. Your newer sports may be 36 spoke front and rear (my 79 is) but the older one is probably 32 front and 40 rear. Supposedly the CR-18s are available in 32 and 40 spokes but I haven't specifically looked for that.
I've used the Kenda tires. They're fine. Someone on here has used the Bell Streetster tires and liked them. I wish I could find the post, but a member put together a list of all the 650A tires available. IIRC, the 650A size is common in Japan and Taiwan, as well as being used for wheelchairs.

I have the Sun CR-18 rims in 32 and 40 spokes; they come in and out of stock. They're very nice.
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Old 05-17-10, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
You might find that some users of the B.66 have them pointed less aggressively then the B.72 - this is to compensate for the angle of the saddle once the rider compresses the springs:



-Kurt
Haven't seen that one before. Very nice. Did it come with the chaincase?
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