Is it me or are there a shortage of smaller sized Vintage road bikes ?

All I have seen for sale over the last few weeks on the internet, that I like the look of have either been 23” or 58cm sized frames or above.

For whatever reason I know from experience that I can normally get away with just being able to ride up to 23.5” or 59cm sized framed bikes more so if 27” wheeled machines .

My 2nd Ian May

My buying and selling of a bike is normally limited to retro road bikes from the 70’s & 80’s with the occasional newer machine joining the stock list , so that limits my choice for fresh stock to start with never mind being limited to size restrictions as well .

In an ideal world I think a 21.5” or 22.5” framed bike would be best for me , out of my current collection of bikes both of my Soens fall in to that size area and I find both of those machine extremely comfy and pleasurable to ride . The inch difference can make a huge difference in level of comfort for the rider , some people are always saying to me buy smaller sized frames and bring saddle stem up to compensate along with a longer stem to push the bars away to help with the reach issue . These are both true and I have tried them both a couple of times and yes it does work , but sometimes they can make the bike look a bit silly .


I can understand why bikes built to an individual customers needs are a lot more expensive when compared to an off the peg machine. However, I am guessing that the extra costs are offset in terms of comfort level in riding a bike that is built to suit rather than riding a bike that is adjusted to suit . I would also think that a lot of these made to measure machines change hands a lot cheaper than on the 2nd hand market than they should do as well . It must be nice being able to specify what levels of equipment you want fitted never mind choosing colour schemes .

Roy Thame

Ok most new off the peg bikes offer a couple of choices in colour schemes and associated finishing kit , firms like Trek offer the choice of being able to customize a complete bike build but only on a limited range of top end models . I have had a couple of plays on the Trek systems, and boy, you can have some weird colour schemes that would certainly make your bike more individual .It wasn’t long ago that the only choice you had on tyres were black or tan side walls and tread pattern was always black across the complete area. Whereas now you can have complete coloured tyres or just coloured side walls , loads of different styles of handlebar tape and coloured saddles which can all make your bike more individual than the one next door.


One thought on “Choices

  1. There weren’t that many smaller frames to begin with. Back in the day I rode a larger frame than I do now, it was customary to have “shorty” seatposts with barely a fistful of post sticking up from the frame. In addition, from personal experience, when I sold off most of my collection of smallish (50 to 54 cm) bikes on eBay, they went to Asia.

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