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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:47 am 
rider | rBoTM Winner
rider | rBoTM Winner
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: Wakefield, Yorkshire
Riders in the 50's definitely rode proportionately larger frames than today. Look at racing photos from the era and you will see saddles only just above the TT. I have a track frame from 1952 that was given me by an old friend who is almost Ronnie Corbett proportions. He rode it a Fallowfield track in Manchester BITD. It is a 23" and fits me fine so goodness knows what he would have looked like on it! My first 'made-to measure' frame was 23.5" whereas nowadays I ride 22.5/23" (or metric equivalent 56/57/58) in a conventional Old Skool design but also have a Giant TCR in Medium. I also think the Large size compact frames look very ill-proportioned. My ideal compact size would seem to be between medium and large - which is inconvenient!

EDIT - where did that Smiley come from!? It is an '8' in my typing!


Last edited by Old Ned on Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:42 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 12:26 pm
Posts: 86
Location: Lincolnshire
My mother was competing around the same time - late 40s early 50s. I asked her about this, and she says her saddle was close to the top tube, and that when she got off the bike, she simply laid it down to one side. She is about 5' tall I'd guess and rode a 19" frame. I think my father must have done the same thing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 4:50 pm 
Dirt Disciple
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Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:22 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Shropshire
Just a note about wheel sizes,27x1 1/8 is 28-630 in ETRTO and a 700x32c is 32-622 in ETRTO,therefore the 27" is larger wheel diameter by 8mm.
I have one of each size in front of me now and the 27" tyre is about 15mm larger in OD


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:32 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:33 am
Posts: 155
Location: YORK
It needs someone with some real engineering maths to prove it I think, but : the larger `triangle` between BB, seatpin, headset on older, larger frames is actually stiffer than a `compact` / sloping frame with a huge seatpin sticking out, for a rider of a certain height .. or so I was told.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:39 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:51 am
Posts: 1046
Location: W.yorkshire
Old Ned wrote:

EDIT - where did that Smiley come from!? It is an '8' in my typing!


put a space after it or else the closing bracket turns it into 8)

This thread was very interesting though, i had thought about it but never really thought about it if you know what i mean?

Anyway i've found the converse true, i have a hell of a time finding a large retro frame...now there are two main reasons for this i believe...
A) the fixie crowd are buying everything which i would consider a reasonable sized frame
B) people were shorter in the past than they are now...i think average height has gone up about 3 inches over the past 100 years?

Also side note has anyone else noted that if you buy a frame from continental europe all the frame sizes seem to be tiny? my dad disagrees and says its just because the younger generation are a batch of bean poles...and all frames from back in the day are perfectly ok.

I bought a frame not long ago without measurements and based on a rather vague picture...it arrived and it may as well have been a kid size! even though the guy who owned it said he was 6 foot tall!


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