VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by: Gralyn on 3/31/2005 at 2:50:25 AM
Someday, I need to be professionally fitted for a know exactly what dimensions, what angles, etc. are best for me. But for right now....I just go with what works.

In dealing with mostly bike-boom lightweights....most of the bike sizes are 19, 21, 23, and 25 inch. 23" works best for me.....but it's really just a tad too big. A 21" feels too small. I think also, a lot has to do with the length of the top tube, the horizontal length of the stem. I have discovered that a lot has to do with the vertical height of the seat - related to the vertical height of the bars. On a 23" have the seat height that is best for my legs....the height of the bars isn't so far off from the height of the seat. However, take a 21" frame - get the seat height right for my legs....and the bars are just down too low....I'm reaching way down....shifting most of my weight to my arms....and it puts a strain on my back. Most all of the stems I have - don't have much option in being able to get any height on them.

So, I'm working on a little project:
I have a USA Schwinn Traveler - with a 21" frame. The set-up was pretty-much stock....and I have the situation where it's too low down to the bars. So, I found a stem with an upward angle...more like you would get on a cross bike, or mtn bike. Of course - the simple project turned into a bit more - because the cable housing were now too short - due to the extra height of the bars now....then I couldn't find a long-enough rear brake housing in I had to swap out for dark gray.....finally, I got everything back together......and I hope to try it out tomorrow. Test-fitting feels much better....the bars are higher....more the same relation as I would have on a 23" frame.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by Douglas on 3/31/2005 at 3:30:05 AM
That's quite the problem you have. One solution would be to have an inch or two removed from each femur. That would save you a lot of hassle changing out stems and cables. A few months in traction and you'll be raring to hop back on the saddle with your custom fitted limbs.

Seriously, buy a box of Jagwire brake cable housing. You can custom cut lengths, it's teflon lined and works fine for non-indexed shifters as well.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by Dick in FL on 3/31/2005 at 6:16:53 AM
I identified with all of your "fitting" tribulations. First, for the era you are intersted in (bike boom), they scaled the bikes up by elongating only the head tube and the seat tube. That kept the angles and lugs the same. So your speculation about the top tube length can be dismissed. (The 19, 21, and 23 inch sizes for a given model would all have the same top tube length.) I, like you, have also experimented with mountain bike stems to get more handlebar height. It works, but you end up with a "platypus". I have noticed that my two men's World Tourists are an oddball 22" frame size. These were originally equipped with 27 x 1-3/8" tires. One still has them, and a side-by-side standover height comparison is quite dramatic. Also, a 21" bike with 27" rims is taller than a 21" bike with 26" rims. Final note: Those ubiquitous Wald stems may look promising for the riser, but the actual stem diameter is in most cases too small for a vintage LW.
Keep us posted on what works out for you; I have a number of beautiful 19" lady's bikes that I would love to make 'rideable'.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by Gralyn on 3/31/2005 at 2:51:26 PM
It's true - that the vast majority of these bike boom bikes - only the seat tube and head tube were lengthened to go from 19 to 21 to 23 to 25 inch frames. The top tube keeps the same length.
I think a 21" frame "looks" better - because in most cases - the frame's shape is a neat-looking parallelogram. A 19" frame looks squished.....a 23" starts to look a little out-of-whack on the angles....and a 25" looks even more out-of-whack. I suppose it was all about $, the costs involved to mass produce bikes.....but it's a shame that each size frame didn't retain the same shape, angles from one size to another back during the bike boom.
I only have just a couple bikes where the top tube is shorter. For the most part - they are all about the same....but on those couple bikes - it seems to fit and ride a bit more comfortable.
One thing - on the 23" frames with the more "standard" top tube length.....most of these had a little longer-reach stem. Like a 19" had a really short one....then the 21" stem gets a little longer reach...then the 23" even longer....and then the 25" even longer than that. I don't know about the few 27" frames....(I had one - that I picked up for a tall person who was looking for a bike....but as I recall - it had the same stem as a 25" would have). But anyway, I have had some success in taking a shorter stem from say a 21" bike - and using it on a 23" bike.

   :VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by John E on 3/31/2005 at 3:35:11 PM
I am VERY sensitive to frame size.

The size of my Capo is effectively 55cm, as measured along the seat tube from the center of the crankshaft to top of top tube; the seat tube itself sticks up another cm, to accommodate the elaborate clamp. The top tube is well-proportioned FOR ME, giving the frame an endearingly ideal fit. (It looks very nicely proportioned, as well.) This bike is my size, and my Bianchi is quite similar.

My early 1970s Peugeot UO-8 has an unusually long top tube for its smaller 54cm (C-T) frame size, with the result that I can obtain a comfortable fit. My 57cm 1980 Peugeot PKN-10 has such a long top tube that I had to install a super short reach handlebar stem, which looks like cr@p but gets the job done. (The frame is definitely too big for me, but it's a nice bike and the price was right.) In contrast, my 58.5cm 1971 Nishiki had such a short top tube that I finally got a long-reach handlebar stem for it.

My ideal size appears to be 55cm C-T. (I am 5'8" tall and wear trousers with a 30" inseam.) Most 53s and 54s, particularly those from the Orient, feel cramped, and most 57s and 58s, particularly those from Europe, feel too big.

   RE::VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by JONathan on 3/31/2005 at 10:31:36 PM
I've determined the "correct" fit will vary for myself, depending on the use. The only general rule that applies to me on the road-bike frames is where the front axle appears with respect to the handlebars when looking down from a cruising position. If the axle appears just slightly ahead of the bar/stem intersection while viewing from this cruising position (grip on the lower end of the bends), the bike is good-to-go...for me. Axle that appears behind the bars will cramp me up on a long run. This is too small. Too much ahead of the bars and the bike handles wierdly enough to discourage its use. This frame would be configured too large. I like a slightly longer top-tube (25") frame for commute/utility riding on the flats. A 23" for recreation rides and any road work in the hills. Optimally for me is a 24" frame for touring on blacktop, but a 23" will work OK.
That little extra top-tube allows for some welcome stretching out and eases the backstrain on long days for me.
Surprisingly, my vintage lugged MTB's (Miyata and Diamond back and Trek) transfer to road work quite well. I use the 43" WB Miyata for running the 80# mutt. The stability factor is awesome and it is all top-tube as the frame is only about 20" frome C-T.! He's only spun me around once in all the runs this year. I see what you're saying. The WB is the bottom line.
Just my 2.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: The right size bike posted by David Kirk on 4/1/2005 at 1:50:24 AM
If you need to get your bars higher, Nitto makes some nice long stems. They're pricey, but they're beautiful and you can trust them not to break. I've found that the older I get the higher I need the bars to be to avoid neck and shoulder pain, so I have Nitto stems on all of my bikes. Come to think of it, all of my bars are Nittos, too.


   Oops! posted by JONathan on 4/1/2005 at 1:51:30 AM
Too large a frame has the axle appearing behind the bars; while looking down. Too small has it ahead of the bars. I got it reversed above, sorry. So, for instance, when I saddle up the 27" Schwinn "Sport Tourer", I have to lean way forward to get the axle to appear even with the bars.
The too-large frame is unsafe, while too-small is just a nuisance, but always rideable.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   The right size bike posted by Ron on 4/1/2005 at 12:05:45 PM
When I bought my Miyata years ago, the shop sold me a 23" based on the 'stand over the top tube' method. But, I always had lower back pain after an hour of riding. After reading a bunch of articles about proper fit, I switched from the 110mm stem to a 60mm and the pain disappeared. The moral is that every body is different and it takes more than just leg length to determine the right fit.

AGE / VALUE:   is this a colnago? posted by: marc on 3/30/2005 at 2:26:19 AM
I picked this up today, I gave up a track wheelset from a 2004 bianchi pista, suntour superbe pedals and 200.00 It's very plain for a colnago. There are no clovers on the frame or fork. The cutouts on the lugs look a little like hearts. colnago is engraved on the fork crown, all dropouts and the seat stay caps. "junior" is engraved in the top of the bottom bracket shell on the non-drive side. it has an itm pantographed stem. Any help would be greatly appreciated. here is a link to some pics:



   RE:AGE / VALUE:   is this a colnago? posted by Gralyn on 3/30/2005 at 1:05:06 PM
I hope it is. But I would want to be sure - before I laid that much $ down for it. I'm sure there's a way to tell for sure......through serial #'s or something.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Daneleigh Deluxe, from Denmark posted by: Gralyn on 3/29/2005 at 2:30:20 PM
Check out a pic of my Daneleigh Deluxe. I think it's the first one on the list...."Gralyn's Daneleigh Deluxe"

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Daneleigh Deluxe, from Denmark posted by Gralyn on 3/30/2005 at 7:56:51 PM
I have no idea of the year of manufacture. My guess is very early 70's. It has foil decals. The seat tube decal - what was remaining of it - had something like "kvalite". I've heard of "valite" tubing....but not "kvalite". It's made in Denmark....and the model is Deluxe. It's the only one I've ever seen, or heard of, and I'm not aware of anyone else who had heard of it.

   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Daneleigh Deluxe, from Denmark posted by Tim Jones on 4/7/2005 at 12:18:36 AM
You're not alone. This is the first I've heard of another Daneleigh; we have one in the basement. I restored it for my wife 12 or so years ago. I picked it up at a yard sale, as it seemed to be a steal for the $25 tag on it. It was only after I did some weighing and measureing that I realized it was a little better than the "tourer" I initially thought. All things considered, including the age difference, the thing held it's own against my '88 Schwin Tempo (at the time a $900 or so entry level racer). That is of course after a crank and component upgrade.

The bike hasn't seen daylight in a few years... for some reason I just now thought I'd look around on the net to see if I could find out anything. Go figure.


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Daneleigh Deluxe, from Denmark posted by Graham on 9/2/2007 at 8:14:23 AM
I've got one too, pulled it out of the dumpster at a bicycle shop in charlotte. Score :)

AGE / VALUE:   Dunelt 10 speed posted by: luker on 3/28/2005 at 4:33:06 AM
I recently came into a Dunelt 10 speed that I feel well predates the Raleigh Dunelts. I posted this message to the roadster column as well in hopes that someone over there would recognize the characteristics - The head badge indicates that it was made in Birmingham, it came fairly complete with Resilion three piece hubs and single shift lever, it has a T.D. Cross and Sons five speed freewheel, dunlop steel rims, an Alatet sealed headset, Benelux 60 front shifter, and Brampton cottered cranks. The frame is 531, straight gage, main tubes only, and the sticker says '531' with single quotes, horizontally. The bike appears to have a sand cast bottom bracket, with both right and left cable guides in place (that may be a later addition?)...I haven't torn appart the handlebars and stem yet, so I can't say if there are any identifying marks there. The bike, by the way, is a Fleur De Lis model, and in reasonably good shape. What I'd like to know is y'all's opinion of the age of this fine scooter. Anyone know the code for the serial numbers? Is there a website for these bikes? And, if anyone has managed to repair that brown transparent over gold base coat paint (similar to early Raleighs), how'd you do it? I would like to keep the finish and decals original if at all possible, but the top coat on the frame is pretty rough... Thanks in advance - luker

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Dunelt 10 speed posted by Gralyn on 3/28/2005 at 1:59:37 PM
Are the rims chrome-plated 26 X 1 3/8 Dunlops?

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Dunelt 10 speed posted by luker on 3/28/2005 at 2:45:25 PM
Rims are 27X 1-1/4 Chrome plated dunlops.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by: JONathan on 3/26/2005 at 10:53:17 AM
I picked up a Bianchi 15-sp. lightweight with all Japanese components with SunTour "Arx" rear derailer. I guess it's about early '80's vintage. Rare find at a Sal. Army outlet seems unreal as I have not been looking for any more bikes and this visit was to donate a load of stuff. As soon as I finished the drop, I peeked inside and saw this bike hanging on the rack in back. It was $22, too. The junk MTB's were coming in at $49.99. These are the gas pipe spot-welded Huffy types. I saw the tag had been dated the day before, so I was just plain LUCKY. Well, here's the kicker. The tire are sold rubber! The ride is very uncomfortable and the lack of shock absorbancy running solid rubber must have caused the slight fork deflection that is observable. The paint on the upper reach of the fork blades, toward the rear edge is slightly crazed. This condition seems consistent with the front end going off a drop, like a curb. It runs OK, and the main frame is in excellent condition. Color is white with just "Bianchi" in block letters on the seat-tube. There are bits of Italian words showing on the fragmented decal that has been worn away on the upper reach of the seat-tube. A slight glaze of rust is localized at the same spot. Something was rubbing the decal, paint and primer right off the tube. Too bad for the decal being wrecked, but the tube is in good shape. The crank set is Shimano, triple ring set with a granny. The setup looks a lot like MTB's from the mid-'80's. I was wondering about the origin of the bike. The rear dropouts are stamped without integral hanger. This points toward a low-end bike, IMHO. However, the lugs and construction look totally Japanese...a lot like a Bridgestone. The frame is very well constructed and it is about 24-25 pounds even with the solid tires. Those had to be a joke of sorts. What bikes had solid rubber tires? Wheel barrels and tricycles have solid rubber tires, not vintage lightweights. Tire size is 27" with alloy rims without stem hole; why would you need one? Rides like a fork-lift. Any ideas about this one? Needless to say, I will swap a set of alloy-rimmed wheels with tube tires on there at my earliest convenience. Thanks for any inputs. BTW, I've enjoyed the list of interesting bikes that have been posted up, lately. Nice to have "new" stock to discuss.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by Gralyn on 3/27/2005 at 3:22:31 PM
This solid rubber tire thing sounds very interesting! Try to do more research into this. It sounds most unusual.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: Bianchi 15-speed posted by WArren on 3/27/2005 at 5:00:40 PM
There's a "Green Tyre" that was available in recent years...solid and therefore puncture proof. I've never seen anyone ride them so I assume they went under.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by Randy on 3/27/2005 at 5:22:43 PM
Airless tires! At one time I thought that they were the answer to every bicycle's dream. I now believe that I was wrong. True, one would never again have to worry about the flat tire in the middle of nowhere and that is a good thing. The bad thing, as I understand it, is that the risk of damaging a rim is much greater. The airless tire does not absorb and distribute shock as well as does an air filled one. The shock in an air filled tire is shared, instantly, by all of the air in the tire. The shock in an airless tire is localized, at the point of impact, making for a rougher ride and increasing the risk of the impact reaching and damaging the rim. For those who are still interested, do a search in Google(or whatever) for airless tires and look further into the situation. Also, I believe Sheldon Brown has shared his opinion of the airless tire also. My advice, humble though it may be, is to run good tubes and tires, ensuring that tire pressures are maintained always. That said, for those of you who run 27" wheels, get yourself a set of trorn resistant tubes. I always use these on my commuter bikes and I have never had a flat with one. There is, of course, a down side to the thorn resistant tube - they are heavy and require just a tiny bit more effort to push up the road.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by RobA on 3/29/2005 at 6:43:49 PM
I would guess it's right around 1980-81 with the ARx der. Does it have a "Piaggio" decal on it? Likely near the top of the seat tube...kind of a hexagon. Piaggio apparently took ownership in 1980 or there abouts... I've had three Bianchis pass through my hands...two were wrecks...a mid 80s yellow one...kind of basic...I forget the model...Ultima, maybe, ...low end Suntour components....obviously made in Japan; the other wreck was a late 80s Quattro...Cromor tubing...almost certainly made in Italy. The good one which I've send to the consignment around 1981..Piaggio decal...Suntour 'Blue Line' ders...a nice bike..though my example is a little beat...

Solid rubber tires...interesting... But I can see where there would be issues... Back in the fall I finally put real good tires on my commuter...the kind with a 1/4"+ band running around the flats since.... Worn out tires can be a bit of a false economy. Heck I've let tires wear down to the point where the tube started to push get flats real fast then...:) I got a flat this weekend on a tubular... a pinch-flat, I think...I hit a pthole fairly hard. Now that's a bit of a pain...the tire is fairly new...and while you, theoretically, can fix them, that never seems to happen... requires some pretty good skill sets, IMHO....

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by JONathan on 3/29/2005 at 9:35:08 PM
The tires have "General Tire Co., Ltd." in raised letters along the side. A decal is too faded to reveal anything intelligent. The hubs are Suzue. Rims have no markings (on the outside). I have yet to remove the tires from the rims.
I wonder if the solid rubber are possibly partial, because there is a slight give to the tire that is more than you'd get from full solid rubber. The tires are deformed slightly as from breaking down of the matrix body. The forward profile looks like a radial tire with a slight flatting of the contact surface. Also, in support of the partial-pneumatic idea, there is a definite layer of rubber with cord-like material along the sidewall; which is gum walled.
Searching "general tire co. ltd" came up blank.
As for the bike; it is a definitely lower-end Bianchi; which is consistent with the genrally observed trend of experimenting with low-end bikes that occured in that era.
The Shimano "positron" index shifting mechanism comes to mind; a good design that failed in its day due to poor design support at the construction level...these were placed on "Suburbans", for example.
Rob, I think the decal has rudiments of that "Piaggio" you mention above. This particular model impresses me very little, but it is a decent frame, just not what I take Bianchi's to represent. The bike-boom saw lots of this type of bike getting to market, IMHO.

   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Bianchi 15-speed posted by Ken on 3/31/2005 at 7:11:28 PM
Pneumatics replaced solids 115 years ago- basically no one who tried them went back. _However_, solids are available:
and if they were cheap I would run one on my exercise setup, which mysteriously flats tires at a ridiculous rate. I would up putting a piece of plastic tubing, 3/4" ID cut carefully to length, inside the tire on that machine.