Bike frames with shorter top tube

Mickey1980
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Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby Mickey1980 » Sun Jan 28, 2024 9:17 pm

Hello, my fellow cyclists!

I want to build myself a road bike with somewhat relaxed fit for a daily commute.
I have relatively long legs and short hands (185cm tall with 89cm inseam). The Competitive Cyclist bike fit calculator gives me a top tube between 59 and 60 cm c-c and a top tube around 55 cm with 10-11 cm stem for an Eddy fit...

So the question is - are there any known bike frames that would be in the vicinity of these requirements?
I have heard some older steel frames were built with a rather short top tube.

Any advice?
Regard,
Mik

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familyguy
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby familyguy » Sun Jan 28, 2024 10:10 pm

Modern frames, unlikely. Older steel frames, more common. Generally Japanese, but some Euro builders do it too.

I seem similarly oddly assembled. Long legs, short torso, so need less reach than the height implies. I have an 80s Shogun 1000 road frame which is 59x55. My Gazelle is 61x57.5c/c. Both ride great, very comfortable.

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elantra
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby elantra » Mon Jan 29, 2024 12:52 am

Yes, I have a 1980 Shogun “400” road bike which has a relatively short top tube.
Seat tube is 61.5 cm and top tube is 55.5 cm.
It’s a great commuter type bike, easily fits 32 mm tyres.
The frame is surprisingly light despite its steel-ness and its size.
It’s a great size for me (I’m tall with long legs)

I have other frames that are newer, all are smaller and I make them work for me by using “no setback” style seatpost, which puts me is a slightly forward seating position.
And also most seat posts these days can be raised higher out of the frame (because they are much longer than seatposts were back in the 1980’s)

The slightly smaller frame bikes do generally have slightly crisper handling on corners which is fun but hardly necessary on a commuter.

Mickey1980
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby Mickey1980 » Thu Feb 01, 2024 8:01 pm

Thank you all!
I have found an old Europa frame with 56cm tt and 60 cm st. Should be a good fit when built up.
It appears to be for 27" wheels. I have a MAFAC brakes conversion to 700c in mind. Anyone used them before?

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elantra
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby elantra » Sat Feb 03, 2024 12:18 am

Mickey1980 wrote:
Thu Feb 01, 2024 8:01 pm
Thank you all!
I have found an old Europa frame with 56cm tt and 60 cm st. Should be a good fit when built up.
It appears to be for 27" wheels. I have a MAFAC brakes conversion to 700c in mind. Anyone used them before?
If you can run 700c wheels then do so - tyre options are much greater !
If you have Mafac brakes in good condition and they reach the rims then that is great.
But few would disagree that reasonable brakes are important, so if the pads don’t quite reach or the brake function is mediocre then you may have to buy something newer, such as long-reach side-pulls.
I think that Dia-Compe and Tektro make them, and a good bike shop would probably be able to get them in for you.

It’s an exciting project. Hopefully you can post again, perhaps with some pictures, when the bike is operational.

Mickey1980
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby Mickey1980 » Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:59 am

Thanks everyone!
I have got the frame delivered. I love the frame colour - looks like electric blue, absolutely gorgeous. Though the paint has some scuffs and patina. I plan to leave it as is for now.
It appears the tubing is if higher quality than I hoped for: the frame has Range champion 2 sticker, and the fork has tange 3 stamp.
It looks like an early to mid 80s frame, and I want to try a build with Suntour Cyclone Mkii gear. I have never tried downtime shifters before, so will have the first attempt...
By the way - does anyone know if Europa use ISO or JIS headsets?

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elantra
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby elantra » Tue Feb 13, 2024 8:47 am

Mickey1980 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:59 am
Thanks everyone!
I have got the frame delivered. I love the frame colour - looks like electric blue, absolutely gorgeous. Though the paint has some scuffs and patina. I plan to leave it as is for now.
It appears the tubing is if higher quality than I hoped for: the frame has Range champion 2 sticker, and the fork has tange 3 stamp.
It looks like an early to mid 80s frame, and I want to try a build with Suntour Cyclone Mkii gear. I have never tried downtime shifters before, so will have the first attempt...
By the way - does anyone know if Europa use ISO or JIS headsets?
Good one.
It’s “probably” going to be ISO headset size.

If it’s Tange tubing then it’s probably a Japanese-made frame, but as far as I know most Japanese frames went to the ISO dimensions standard in the early 1980’s.
Interesting if it is a Japanese frame- I was under the impression that most Europas were Italian-made frames from the Technotrat company.

Don’t despair if your chosen headset doesn’t fit - quill headsets are a lot cheaper than quality steel frames !

Best not to do what I did many years ago, at the start of my old bicycle build-up learning curve.
I have a late 1970’s Japanese frame and thought that all 1 inch headsets were interchangeable.
But the cups it wouldn’t fit into the headset.
Just a fraction to big internal diameter.
Just a fraction.
So I got some sandpaper and painstakingly and ever so slightly increased the bore of the headtube.
Not an ideal solution to the problem.
Obviously the frame needed a JIS headset and I inserted an ISO headset.
Works fine, but would have been better to try and acquire the correct size (JIS) headset !

By the way, with downtube shifters, best to get one ones where the R-side lever has settings that can be altered between friction and index shifting.

Index shifting is heaps better (as far as I am concerned) but if you can’t find a perfectly compatible Suntour freewheel then you you have the option of using friction setting to get all the ratios

warthog1
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby warthog1 » Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:24 am

Just get a modern groupset if you can. Having the shifters at the brake hoods is much, much better. I dont miss downtube shifters at all.
Dogs are the best people :wink:

ironhanglider
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Feb 15, 2024 4:34 pm

Modern 'Endurance' road bikes tend to be shorter in the top tubes with higher stack heights.

The Canyon Endurace series ranks highly in this regard according to this video.

https://youtu.be/iGg3TrsPxOo?si=tlQPJI6YRzm97JYr



Cheers,

Cameron

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foo on patrol
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:48 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:24 am
Just get a modern groupset if you can. Having the shifters at the brake hoods is much, much better. I dont miss downtube shifters at all.


I used bar end shifters, that way I could change a gear without others knowing and still have both hands on the bars in high speed situation. :mrgreen:

Foo
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Goal 6000km

warthog1
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby warthog1 » Thu Feb 15, 2024 10:03 pm

foo on patrol wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:48 pm




I used bar end shifters, that way I could change a gear without others knowing and still have both hands on the bars in high speed situation. :mrgreen:

Foo
Think I've seen a photo on that old blue steelie of yours
:)
Dogs are the best people :wink:

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g-boaf
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby g-boaf » Thu Feb 15, 2024 10:56 pm

ironhanglider wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 4:34 pm
Modern 'Endurance' road bikes tend to be shorter in the top tubes with higher stack heights.

The Canyon Endurace series ranks highly in this regard according to this video.

https://youtu.be/iGg3TrsPxOo?si=tlQPJI6YRzm97JYr


Cheers,

Cameron
I can't say much of the Endurace Canyon, but my Ultimate CF Evo from 2018 is a damn comfortable bike to ride - I'm using it quite a lot.

I can compare it with the similar vintage Aeroad (the "aero" frame") and the speed was little different between them but for comfort the Ultimate was better.

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foo on patrol
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Feb 16, 2024 5:12 am

warthog1 wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 10:03 pm
foo on patrol wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:48 pm




I used bar end shifters, that way I could change a gear without others knowing and still have both hands on the bars in high speed situation. :mrgreen:

Foo
Think I've seen a photo on that old blue steelie of yours
:)

That's the one. :mrgreen:

Foo
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Goal 6000km

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elantra
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby elantra » Fri Feb 16, 2024 9:18 am

foo on patrol wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:48 pm
warthog1 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:24 am
Just get a modern groupset if you can. Having the shifters at the brake hoods is much, much better. I dont miss downtube shifters at all.


I used bar end shifters, that way I could change a gear without others knowing and still have both hands on the bars in high speed situation. :mrgreen:

Foo
I tried bar end shifters once, but I couldn’t use them without making the bicycle wobble, so I gave up on them.

I like downtube shifters, but only the indexed ones. They suit my riding style, but I will concede that modern gear changing from the brake lever hoods is the way to go in many situations.
Especially of course in competition, but also in unfamiliar territory or in very undulating territory.

A lot of my riding these days is on roads or tracks that I am quite familiar with, so I know basically when I need to change gears with plenty of prior warning.
I have used many versions of 9-speed Shimano shifters over the years and they are OK (except the 9-speed Shimano downtube shifters which don’t work as nicely as the older versions)

I have also tried (briefly) Shimano 10 speed brifters which I find a bit too long in the throw.
Campagnolo brifters are better, but are exy and hard to find these days.

owly
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby owly » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:28 am

Mickey1980 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 12:59 am
Thanks everyone!
I have got the frame delivered. I love the frame colour - looks like electric blue, absolutely gorgeous. Though the paint has some scuffs and patina. I plan to leave it as is for now.
It appears the tubing is if higher quality than I hoped for: the frame has Range champion 2 sticker, and the fork has tange 3 stamp.
It looks like an early to mid 80s frame, and I want to try a build with Suntour Cyclone Mkii gear. I have never tried downtime shifters before, so will have the first attempt...
By the way - does anyone know if Europa use ISO or JIS headsets?


Purchased a lightly used MkII rear derailleur and rebuilt it. Nice looking component.

Will be going on a 60x53 Raleigh that should be ready to ride in a couple weeks.
MUFC :twisted:

CmdrBiggles
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Re: Bike frames with shorter top tube

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sat Mar 02, 2024 1:57 pm

foo on patrol wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2024 8:48 pm
warthog1 wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2024 9:24 am
Just get a modern groupset if you can. Having the shifters at the brake hoods is much, much better. I dont miss downtube shifters at all.


I used bar end shifters, that way I could change a gear without others knowing and still have both hands on the bars in high speed situation. :mrgreen:

Foo
I last saw bar-end shifters on the long-defunct Bendigo Double Century (run at the time by the equally long-defunct Eastern Bicycle Touring Club) in 1985 — around the same time hairnet helmets were an option, as was hanging on to a car's rear side to be hurtled along at 80km/h in Ridells Creek!! I was on that ride, on a pseudo-road bike with Campagnolo downtube shifters, uncomfortably matched to a DuraAce drivetrain! I should note that bar-end shifters were the preferred means of managing the drivetrain for touring cyclists who spent a lot of time bucking headwinds or just preferred the ease of reach the shifters provided.
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