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Seatpost length

Oct 12, 2009
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I was watching 1989 Tour de France tape the other day and have noticed the seatpost from most of the pros did not stick up as much as these days . Does it means they all ridden too large of frame at that time . Were they more concern with aerodynamic than now .
 
It means fashion has changed as well as the economics of the bike biz. If you look at video from the 70's, you will find that they used even less seatpost than the 80's. Sometime in the early 90's an optimum was reached, and it has been a long descent to the clown bikes we have today.

Back in the day, a quality bike frame was made in one centimeter increments. There would be ten to fourteen different sizes. These days manufacturers will cheap out and only make three sizes--five if they want to really trick the customer into thinking he is getting something closer to his ideal size. The manufacturers like this because it is cheaper. The bike shops like this because it is cheaper. The customer just gets screwed as the bike shop takes the closest frame to an ideal fit and sticks on a long post and stem to make up the difference.

Saddle height has not changed. In fact, Lemond was an advocate of using a higher saddle height than what is normal today. Bars with a deep drop were also more common. So even though the saddle to bar drop may have been less, the same aero position could be acheived. I have a theory that the reason why so many recreational riders have super shallow bars now is that many cannot actually use the drops on their bike because they use too much saddle to bar drop trying to emulate the pros.
 
Jan 13, 2010
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In 1989 there were no compact frames. These days, nearly every pro is on a compact or "semi-compact" frame.

Also, over the last ten or so years pros have been riding smaller frames, many with longer top tubes, to accommodate a lower handlebar.
 
Jan 13, 2010
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BroDeal said:
It means fashion has changed as well as the economics of the bike biz. If you look at video from the 70's, you will find that they used even less seatpost than the 80's. Sometime in the early 90's an optimum was reached, and it has been a long descent to the clown bikes we have today.
Back in the day many pros rode custom frames, too--for example, Merckx's Colnagos and DeRosas with 57 cm top tubes. These days, a pro on a custom frame is the exception. I read that Tom Boonen's S-Works for Paris-Roubaix were custom, but how the geometry varied from a stock Tarmac escapes me.

Another fitting element that I miss is stems in 1/2 centimeter increments.