This page is the first of two for Italian built frames – other European built frames have their own pages.
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I measure all British, American and Japanese frames in inches ctt (centre to top) and convert to the nearest cm, conversely I measure all European and Italian frames in centimetres ctc (centre to centre) and convert to the nearest 0.25in.
Do not assume that you will need a frame sized the same as your modern one – either seat tube or top tube.
Fashion plays a great part in frame design and sizing.
In the early years of the 20th century frames were sized as large as possible with virtually no seatpost showing …
by contrast riders were advised in the 1920s to have as small a frame as possible.
Race/road frames from the 1920s/early 1930s will generally be sized about 3–5cm smaller than a modern frame but with a much longer top tube and shorter stems.
Towards the end of the 1930s larger frame sizes became fashionable – up to 2cm larger than a modern frame.
Top tube lengths were still longer used with shorter stems.
In the 1940s and 50s frames were sized a bit larger still – 3–4cm more than a modern frame still with longer top tubes and shorter stems.
In the 1960s and 1970s frames gradually reduced in size until the late 1980s.
At the same time top tubes began to get shorter and stems longer.
Standover height is a useful method of frame sizing either with modern or old frames.