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Ultimate Guide for Vintage Mountain Bike Sizing

For the adventurous mountain bikers, an old vintage piece adds an excellent antique to your collection. However, bike sizing has changed over time, and the 1915s frame builds quite different from the 2000s design. 

Unfortunately, you cannot use the current mountain bike sizing chart to measure the vintage bike size. That is especially more if you are looking for accuracy. Nevertheless, this is not the end of the game. If the bike is vintage, why not apply the vintage measuring process and probably make a comparison with the current bike size chart?

Vintage Mountain Bike

Let’s start with a summary of the vintage bikes. Essentially, vintage bikes are an old collection, dating before and just after 1915. However, the period that defines vintage mountain bikes goes to the mid-1980s. 

Unlike today’s mountain bikes that consider several features for a better mountain ride, the vintage bikes only considered off road riding success.

Related: 5 Best Vintage Mountain Bikes Reviews & Ultimate Buying Guide

Vintage Mountain Bike Sizing?

How do you understand the size of these bikes, which do not conform to the current mountain bike sizing standards?

Let’s have a look at the various sizing methods that our counterparts have learned to trust over the years.

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Method 1: Using the Inseam Measurement

Though the inseam measurement is used to date to determine the correct mountain bike sizing, this goes back to the vintage mountain bike sizing.

How do you ensure that you get the right inseam length? Simply stand with your legs slightly apart, at a maximum of 8 inches. 

Then, using a tape measure, take the length starting from your crotch, ensure that it is the topmost part of your legs and not the pants. Lower the tape measure until it touches the ground. 

Let a partner do it if accurate measurements of yourself become too difficult to get. 

If you are not sure about your crotch area and are confused about your pants, you can as well put a book in between your legs until you feel it from the top. Then, take the measurements from the ground to the topmost part of the book.

Finally, the results you get from your inseam will dictate your right vintage bike sizing. Rather than multiply this by 0.66 as with the current mountain bike sizing, subtract 14 from the results. Your answer should tell you the correct mountain bike size that you should consider with vintage bikes.

Method 2: Stand Over Method

If you are lucky to get the bike from a store, you can try the stand over method. This means that you hop on the bike the stand astride, as if ready for a ride, but with your legs on the floor. 

For a perfect bike size, your crotch should have some space from the top tube. Nevertheless, the exact spacing will depend on your mountain trails.

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For instance, if you have more instances riding rough downhill conditions, the spacing can even go as far as 7 inches. On the other hand, if you are in for cross-country expeditions, four inches apart will do the task.

Why the spacing? The spacing will protect your crotch from harm in case you are standing and trying to adjust your seat. The rougher the situation, the bigger space should be.

Method 3: The Seat Tube Sizing

This is the most commonly used sizing method for bikes, including mountain bikes. You will use the measurement against your height and inseam to know your best match.

So, the seat tube measurement starts at the bottom of the seat post, running down the post to the section where the pedals align with the frame.

This measurement will give you the bike measurement, which you can use your height to gauge your best bike.

These three methods are the top guides to realizing the best mountain bike sizing for you. You can use them all simultaneously to get the correct mountain bike sizing for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What size vintage frame do I need?

It would help if you had a vintage bike frame that is suitable for your height and inseam. However, this will depend on the type of vintage bike you want to purchase. Is it a road bike or a mountain bike? For mountain bikes, you can use the three methods given above.

If you intend to purchase a road bike, you can use the methods above, with slight deviations. For instance, if you measure your inseam, the spacing between the top tube and the crotch is smaller.

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Does it matter if my bike frame is too big?

Yes, it does. If your bike frame is too big, you will strain to pedal and probably hurt your legs. Besides, you will not pick up speed at the rate the large frame allows you to ride.

Should I get a medium or large mountain bike?

Get the right size based on your height. Mountain bikes tend to work in smaller frame sizes compared to road bikes, so get the measurements first.

If you are tall, the large mountain bike will do. However, medium-sized people look for small mountain bikes. It will all depend on your measurements versus the bike.

What size mountain bike should I get for my height?

If you range between 4’10ft and 5’2 ft, you should get the smallest size, which is XXL. the size ranges take up to three size inches to get to the next bike size. At 6’4 ft to 6’6 ft, you can comfortably ride on the XXL mountain bike size.

Wrapping Up

While owning a vintage bike adds to your ego and achievements in the world of biking, in most cases, you invest in one for fun. They are much heavier compared to the contemporary mountain bikes, hence more difficult to pedal. Thus, if you are up for a race, a new bike will serve you better.

However, if you are purchasing one, vintage mountain bike sizing is necessary for a comfortable and fitting bike. Actually, it should be your top consideration before rushing to get the bike.