When it comes to bicycles, everyone has a size. Most people are fit too small. Mine is 58cm top tube by 58cm seat tube for road riding. Its “french fit” according to Competitive Cyclist. But others who believe in Rivendell’s sizing would argue its too small, as you can’t get the handlebars up, up up. But for randonees and hard efforts over distance, I like the handlebars 1-4cm below the saddle, as both of my randonneuring rigs are 58×58:
My Protovelo is a big bike. Like Grant’s latest project, it has a long top tube. 60.5cm! And the seat tube is 60cm center-to-center. That’s a size larger than my preference. But for touring, a larger bicycle makes it easier to ride with the handlebars even with the saddle, which has the advantage of providing comfort and making it easier to enjoy the view on a relatively leisurely pace carrying a bunch of stuff. When I’ve tried to push the Protovelo on harder efforts, the size of the bike and the component choices (Riv-ish to a tee) seem to have a ceiling. In other words, the bike just wants me to slow down and enjoy the view.
I built it up as close to Rivendell’s preferences as I could. 7-speed freewheel, Nitto parts, Brooks saddle, touring gearing, etc. Its a big, luxurious ride. Feels like a Cadillac. It can be good to have variety in bicycles if you have more than a couple.