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Bike Fit question?(10 posts)

Bike Fit question?hppy4u
Dec 3, 2002 12:34 PM
Hello All,
I am currently in the market for a new frame and have finally bit the bullet with aluminum as a frame option. I have been a long time steel advocate but have recently begun riding again (up until the snow started falling) and have noticed a large number of aluminum frames on the road.

Well here is my question: I am now riding a 54 cm (c-t) colnago steel frame and have noticed that a large number of aluminum frames are measured center to center. To add some more confusion there seems to be quite a bit of seat tube length on these "new" frames so that center to center measurement may require nearly 3-4 cm of size adjustment (ie. that 52 cm c-c frame is really a 55-56 cm frame).

To help out those who are willing to help me out I am currently interested in the Pinarello Suprise/Galileo and the Casati Clipper. Additionally, I don't have any local LBSs near my area that carry the two frames that have caught my eye so the purchase would most likely be via over the internet...hence the fit question. If anybody has any experience with the above brands please guide me in the right direction...the other areas regarding stem length/height, etc will be based off my Colnago.

Thanks in advance.

not an answer, but...gregario
Dec 3, 2002 1:11 PM
If you're interested in a Pinarello, has Ultegra equipped ones on sale and they might have a 2002 model for further savings. Talk to Brendan. He might be able to help you with size too as they are about to become a Colnago dealer as well. Tell them John Thome sent you and no, I am NOT affiliated in any way with them.
I am curious....MXL02
Dec 3, 2002 1:15 PM
Are you going with aluminum because: a) you've seen a lot of riders using aluminum frames so you figure they must be better than steel, b) you are tired of steel, or c) you've actually ridden both and now prefer aluminum?
I am curious....hppy4u
Dec 3, 2002 2:01 PM
I have had the Colnago for about 5 years and have been riding it off and on (avg around 4K miles per year). When I first started racing (about 16 years ago), I remembered a bad rumor that Cannondales were notorious for cracking around the rear drop-outs where they met the chainstay as well as a handful of cracks had developed near the BB. At the time I was riding/racing a Bianchi Trofeo and a Guerciotti SL/SLP and encountered no problems with frame failures. About 5 years ago I purchased a Colnago Crystal thinking that a steel frame would be the natural choice and have been pleasantly suprised that it was.

About 4 months ago, I started to ride more frequently and joined some local club rides and found a number of the riders using aluminum frames. None have encountered or heard of aluminum frames cracking prematurely...which made me feel like an old fart at only 30 years of age when I shared my experiences with aluminum frames. To make a long story short, I rode a couple of aluminum frames (a Cannondale, Eddy Merckx, and a Carrera) and was extremely impressed with the efficiency of the bikes as well as the lightness of the frames. Now I would like to have a quick light "crit" oriented bike but still keep the colnago for long rides out in the country.
Now I get it....MXL02
Dec 3, 2002 3:28 PM
Sorry, but I needed to hear more of an explanation before I could give you my two cents....I have recently been studying various frame geometries ad nauseum, because I ride a 56 cm Nago and bought a cheap off-brand 56 thinking it would fit and due to a steep STA and long top tube, it does not.

Because of my recent bad experience, my new personal mantra and advice to anyone who wants it is: Dance with who brung ya (as we say down here in Texas). If you like the fit of the Colnago, I would stay with it for the aluminum frame and go with the Dream Plus for a racing bike. The racers here love it. If you go with another Frame maker and are unsure about the sizing, I would definitely try to test ride it first. As you have seen, the seat tube sizes have gotten so weird due to some manufacturers using C-C, others using C-T, and others using compact frames, that it is very difficult to know what will fit. I have gone to almost exclusively looking at virtual top tube length and STA (setback length) as the main criteria for fit, but that is due to my short arms and torso.

Hope this ramble is at least a little helpful. Good Luck.
Dreaming of Dreams...gregario
Dec 3, 2002 6:20 PM
You mention the fact that the racers in your parts like the Dream Plus. Is that the one with the B-stay or without? There's a fairly large price difference between the two. My first "serious" bike was a Colnago Classic about 18 years ago. I knew squat about fit but it turned out to be a good choice because I have long legs in proportion to the rest of me. I'm now thinking of a new Colnago and was thinking of the Dream....
Dream BstayMXL02
Dec 4, 2002 3:42 AM
Many of these guys work at bike shops so they can get their gear at young guy in particular loves riding the Dream plus.
On this board, Lonefrontranger just got a dream plus that, I believe, she races. Dial her up on the board for info.
the answer...C-40
Dec 3, 2002 2:21 PM
You have a frame that you can measure. Measure the center to center dimension yourself.

The colnago geometry chart at clearly lists the 54cm c-t frame as equivalent to a 52cm frame, measured c-c (the Pcc dimension). Also measure the head tube length. If you are confident that this size is exactly what you want, it should be simple to find an equivalent size in any brand that offers frames in 1cm increments. Any seller should be able to measure the frame that you want to buy to insure that it is correct. A 52cm Pinarello should be equivalent to a 54cm Colnago. The Pinarello has a 3mm shorter top tube. Pinarello does not list the head tube length on their geometry charts.

Casati also measures c-c, their 52cm frame has a 5mm shorter top tube than your Colnago. See

Carefully assess your vertical fit to be sure that it is correct before committing to a new frame. If the top of your saddle is currently more than 17cm above the top tube, I would get a larger size. In either brand, a 53cm frame would have a TT length that is closer to your Colnago.

Both Pinarello and Casati have the same seat tube angle (STA) as your Colnago. If you consider other brands with different STA, corrections must be made to determine the "effective" top tube length. Post again if you want details on how to compare frames with different STA.

There are a few brands that measure to the top of an extended seat tube (like Trek). A 56cm Trek is equivalent to a 54cm c-t or 52cm c-c frame.
the answer...hppy4u
Dec 4, 2002 8:06 AM
Thank you so much for your help. Armed with the above information, I now know that I can base my decision on the TT length and seat tube angle.
How about matching top tube lengths?Fredrico
Dec 3, 2002 4:13 PM
It would seem to me that if the frame tubes are not the same thickness and result in confusion as to seatpost measurements, compare the top tube lengths. Then of course, you have to factor in how high the handlebars will go in relationship to the seat height, another measurement already worked out with the old steel Colnago.

Are you happy/comfortable on your current ride? Any problems, such as stiff back, sore neck, tingling wrists, etc.? If so, you might want to make a fit adjustment on the next bike. It's all a matter of ergonomics. A bike that fits, that works really well with you, will be a joy to ride. You'll ride well; your body and abilities will develope to their maximum potential not possible on an ill-fitting mount.

Have fun with it.