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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I'm on the prowl for a Colnago C40, and the pickings are limited, so it seems. I've recently come across a NOS C40 in a 55cm size.

For the last 40 years I've ridden 57cm. My seat post height is described as "modest" (not too low, not as high as some might think it should be), and stems have been 100mm. I have found over the last couple of years, that I ride more with my hands on the tops of the bars than on the break leavers, as the reach is a bit of a stretch for distances.

The top tube on my 57cm Colnago Master measures 55cm, and the top tube on the 55cm C40 measures at 54cm. The HT (not sure what that is, is the same on both bikes).

I'm roughly 5.11, with an inseam of about 33". Arm length is about 25", and torso is roughly 59". I'm 61 years old.

What are your thoughts?

Regards, Jared Purdy
 

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Greetings,

I'm on the prowl for a Colnago C40, and the pickings are limited, so it seems. I've recently come across a NOS C40 in a 55cm size.

For the last 40 years I've ridden 57cm. My seat post height is described as "modest" (not too low, not as high as some might think it should be), and stems have been 100mm. I have found over the last couple of years, that I ride more with my hands on the tops of the bars than on the break leavers, as the reach is a bit of a stretch for distances.

The top tube on my 57cm Colnago Master measures 55cm, and the top tube on the 55cm C40 measures at 54cm. The HT (not sure what that is, is the same on both bikes).

I'm roughly 5.11, with an inseam of about 33". Arm length is about 25", and torso is roughly 59". I'm 61 years old.

What are your thoughts?

Regards, Jared Purdy
Hello! Welcome to RBR!! Regardless of your level or experience you can learn a ton here!

So... I’ve read over the years that most cyclists can be fit for three sizes. Your size and one over and one under. I ride a 58 but I have a back up 56 that fits comfortably.

That said. When I was frame shopping recently, I was very flexible about components, materials, you name it. I was not at all flexible on frame size and geometry. The frame is everything. I had a 56 Ti one town away from me for a good price. It was hard not to go check it out, but I wasn’t bending on frame size. I’m a 58. I know that. I have 2 58s.

Everything about cycling is fit. So much so, as you know, it is it’s own little industry. I’m sure that can be made to work. But I wouldn’t make that compromise at the outset. You will ride this bike for years. You know your size. You aren’t getting younger. I’d play it safe and stick with the size you know is perfect.

FWIW...


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello! Welcome to RBR!! Regardless of your level or experience you can learn a ton here!

So... I’ve read over the years that most cyclists can be fit for three sizes. Your size and one over and one under. I ride a 58 but I have a back up 56 that fits comfortably.

That said. When I was frame shopping recently, I was very flexible about components, materials, you name it. I was not at all flexible on frame size and geometry. The frame is everything. I had a 56 Ti one town away from me for a good price. It was hard not to go check it out, but I wasn’t bending on frame size. I’m a 58. I know that. I have 2 58s.

Everything about cycling is fit. So much so, as you know, it is it’s own little industry. I’m sure that can be made to work. But I wouldn’t make that compromise at the outset. You will ride this bike for years. You know your size. You aren’t getting younger. I’d play it safe and stick with the size you know is perfect.

FWIW...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I'm going to see if I can't find a store that has some traditional geometry bikes tomorrow to see what a 55 feels like. Need to get a ball park. I think my inseam is closer to 32".
 

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I'm going to see if I can't find a store that has some traditional geometry bikes tomorrow to see what a 55 feels like. Need to get a ball park. I think my inseam is closer to 32".
My pants inseam is 32. A cycling inseam is very different. I’m sure you can make it work. I just wouldn’t.


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My pants inseam is 32. A cycling inseam is very different. I’m sure you can make it work. I just wouldn’t.


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The question isn't whether it would work, but would it work well?

I am 5' 10", 32 inseam and take a 56. My guess is that a 57 is your cirrect size and a 55 will be too small.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The question isn't whether it would work, but would it work well?

I am 5' 10", 32 inseam and take a 56. My guess is that a 57 is your cirrect size and a 55 will be too small.
I'm on the fence on this one. I came across some interesting info on another forum where riders were discussing the same thing, and their replies were all over the place. One rider brought up the formula that Greg Lemond used with his coach which takes your inseam in cm and multiply it by .667 to get your correct frame size in centimetres, c-c. I did that, and depending on how hard I push a hard cover book into my crotch and take a measurement, it's anywhere from 32-33" and the frame size comes in between 54-56, not 57.

I found a gorgeous late production custom NOS C40, which is 55cm. The top tube on it is 54cm, compared to the top tube on my Master which is 55cm. The head tube is the same. Decisions....
 

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I'm on the fence on this one. I came across some interesting info on another forum where riders were discussing the same thing, and their replies were all over the place. One rider brought up the formula that Greg Lemond used with his coach which takes your inseam in cm and multiply it by .667 to get your correct frame size in centimetres, c-c. I did that, and depending on how hard I push a hard cover book into my crotch and take a measurement, it's anywhere from 32-33" and the frame size comes in between 54-56, not 57.

I found a gorgeous late production custom NOS C40, which is 55cm. The top tube on it is 54cm, compared to the top tube on my Master which is 55cm. The head tube is the same. Decisions....
First off, very few of us mere mortals are Greg Lemond. Second, you have no complaints about the fit of the 57, do you? If you are really curious about the way a smaller frame will feel, by all means test ride one. And you may find you like it. What I wouldn't do is buy one without test riding it first or you may end up with a fit that could hurt you and waste good $$.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
First off, very few of us mere mortals are Greg Lemond. Second, you have no complaints about the fit of the 57, do you? If you are really curious about the way a smaller frame will feel, by all means test ride one. And you may find you like it. What I wouldn't do is buy one without test riding it first or you may end up with a fit that could hurt you and waste good $$.
Too true on the Lemond "comparison", which I would never attempt. Many of the other riders who were using his formula were like me, enthusiastic riders. I managed to find a 55cm bike with a 10cm stem on it.

A good friend of mine owns a bike shop and he remembered he had a beat up old Miele in the repair shop. We pulled it out and raised the seat to what I have mine at, which is 93cm from the pedal axle, or 75cm from the centre of the BB to the top of the seat. That correlates to a 55cm frame on Lemond's chart. Seems odd to me. It felt fine, without riding it. I was not as stretched out with my hands on the brake levers, but the bars are different than mine, and I forgot to measure the top tube. The top tube on the C40 is 54, on my Master it's 55. I'd need to get a 110 stem, probably.

I have no complaints about the 57, aside from I have noticed that the last couple of years I have been riding with my hands on the tops of the bars as opposed to the brake hoods. I find my back gets more fatigued with my arms stretched out. My stem is 100mm.

One of the central problems is availability. Manufacturers are overwhelmingly turning to compact, slopping designs, with disc brakes, making many components obsolete. There was not a single store I went into today that had a new, built up bike in traditional geometry. All of them were compact, sloping. The comparisons are useless when trying to size a traditional geometry frame set. Regretfully, Colnago no longer makes the C40. The VP of sales and marketing seems to think that it is within reasonable parameters, and he's does't appear to be trying a hard sell. I told him I'd let him know tomorrow.
 

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Well, now we get to 'it'. If you don't have the flexiblility, get to stretching or get a bigger bike, not a smaller one. The drop to the HB's are way worse on a small bike. You can increase your flexiblity though, I have, I like it.
 

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Jared, do you know the model year of your Master frame? Since both bikes you are comparing are the same manufacturer, you should be able to track down the geometry charts and make direct comparisons. Since you are feeling a bit stretched out on the 57cm, the 55cm could give you a bit more latitude in shortening the reach on the bike without adversely affecting front-end handling. Also check out the stack heights for the rough difference in saddle-to-handlebar drop (you could add extra spacers, but you also might find that the increased drop is fine with a shorter reach).

Ideally, you would be able to test ride the C40. If you can't, then the geo charts may give you a good idea of what you'd need to do to dial in fit.

Re: top tube length, pay attention to seat tube and head tube angles. A slack seat tube angle will increase the saddle-to-handlebar distance. Seat tube angles are usually around 73°-75° (reach is shortened as you approach 90°).

Edit: One last thought: If you're feeling stretched out on your current frame, have you considered compact handlebars with a shorter reach? This may solve fit issues on your current bike. There are a lot of new "short and shallow" bars on the market with 70-75mm reach and 125-130mm drop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jared, do you know the model year of your Master frame? Since both bikes you are comparing are the same manufacturer, you should be able to track down the geometry charts and make direct comparisons. Since you are feeling a bit stretched out on the 57cm, the 55cm could give you a bit more latitude in shortening the reach on the bike without adversely affecting front-end handling. Also check out the stack heights for the rough difference in saddle-to-handlebar drop (you could add extra spacers, but you also might find that the increased drop is fine with a shorter reach).

Ideally, you would be able to test ride the C40. If you can't, then the geo charts may give you a good idea of what you'd need to do to dial in fit.

Re: top tube length, pay attention to seat tube and head tube angles. A slack seat tube angle will increase the saddle-to-handlebar distance. Seat tube angles are usually around 73°-75° (reach is shortened as you approach 90°).

Edit: One last thought: If you're feeling stretched out on your current frame, have you considered compact handlebars with a shorter reach? This may solve fit issues on your current bike. There are a lot of new "short and shallow" bars on the market with 70-75mm reach and 125-130mm drop.
Thanks for the detailed reply. After much pondering and asking a lot of questions, I've decided to move on to either a C59 or C60. There's a lot more available, and in complete, built up bikes, and in very good condition.

The frame I was looking at is at R&A Cycles in Brooklyn. It's a gorgeous C40, in a custom GEO paint scheme, but it's simply not the right size. And at $4400CDN, it's too pricey to take a gamble on.

I can buy one of several C59's or C60's, loaded with Super Record 11 (mechanical or electronic) with Bora or Colnago carbon wheels for around $6300CDN, and one is an hour drive from my house, which I'm going to look at today. One site I found, "The Pro's Closet" in Colorado, has a number of really nice bikes, and they offer a 30 day return policy if the bike is not as described.

I'm also eyeing one on Pink Bike in Florida. A really nice 2013 C59 with Super Record 11, apparently low miles with ZIPP wheels.

As an aside, my Master is from 2005. I'm the original owner. Beautiful LX10 paint scheme, Colnago carbon fork. Rides like a dream. Man, they don't paint them like the use to. I don't get these entirely black bikes. Trying to be stealth, trying out for a Bat Man episode? I don't get it.
 

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The frame I was looking at is at R&A Cycles in Brooklyn. It's a gorgeous C40, in a custom GEO paint scheme, but it's simply not the right size. And at $4400CDN, it's too pricey to take a gamble on.
Funny, I actually Googled the C40 before writing my post and saw the 55cm at R&A cycles. It is a beautiful bike. R&A is located a few miles from me, so very familiar with them. They are reputable if you decide to purchase a bike from them.

I've also sold a few wheelsets to the Pro's Closet, but I haven't bought from them, yet. If the right bike showed up on their site, I would definitely consider using them.

Good luck with your search. It sounds like you will end up with a really nice bike. Post pics if inclined.
 

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R&A cycles ... run ... don't walk ... in the other direction.
Please provide details on your experience with them, if you don’t mind. Not to contradict you at all. Genuinely interested to know good/bad experiences with them for future reference.

They’re one of my local shops and I’ve bought a lot of components from them in person and had them do work on my road bikes. Their mechanics were good, but I haven’t used them for a few years, so can’t speak for them currently.
 

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Their prices are at the absolute top of retail and then some. I can't imagine what you paid for components from those guys. MY LBS might not be much better, which is why I buy all my equipment on-line.
 

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Ah, yes, absolutely agree, they're more expensive than pretty much all the online retailers that I use, i.e. Competitive Cyclist, Jenson, Excel Sports and a few others.

I think they're at a disadvantage in offering competitive prices for a brick and mortar store because they're located in New York. They carry a lot of NOS inventory, so you can find things that other shops don't carry, like the Colnago referenced by the OP. Their mechanics seem to be a lot more qualified than most as well (I think a few of them are ex pro team wrenches).

I do try to support local businesses, so they are one of the LBS's that I use on a regular basis. If they have something at the same price as the online retailers, I'll buy from them.

Thanks for getting back to me.
 

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Ah, yes, absolutely agree, they're more expensive than pretty much all the online retailers that I use, i.e. Competitive Cyclist, Jenson, Excel Sports and a few others.

I think they're at a disadvantage in offering competitive prices for a brick and mortar store because they're located in New York. They carry a lot of NOS inventory, so you can find things that other shops don't carry, like the Colnago referenced by the OP. Their mechanics seem to be a lot more qualified than most as well (I think a few of them are ex pro team wrenches).

I do try to support local businesses, so they are one of the LBS's that I use on a regular basis. If they have something at the same price as the online retailers, I'll buy from them.

Thanks for getting back to me.
I buy stuff from my LSB and use their mechanics. But I don't buy bikes from them because they don't sell anything I want to buy. I'm not going to pay 100% more for a chain ring than I can find it for on-line.
 
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