Buying a new bike - what do these terms mean



jondor58

New Member
Mar 8, 2013
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I've been riding for a while but dont know much about bikes. Im looking to buy a new bike, upgrading to carbon, I have only been doing research on the net so far. Can someone tell me what it means when a bike has words like "double" or "compact" in its name?
 
Originally Posted by jondor58 .

I've been riding for a while but dont know much about bikes. Im looking to buy a new bike, upgrading to carbon, I have only been doing research on the net so far. Can someone tell me what it means when a bike has words like "double" or "compact" in its name?
FYI. 99% of the answers you may seek with regards to jargon are probably available in the glossary on the www.sheldonbrown.com website ...


While a "tandem" refers" to a bike which is capapble of accommodating two riders, a "double" typically refers to the number of chainrings on the crankset ("chainwheel" is the archaic term still used in many parts of the World since cranks only had the single, steel cha .

  • so, a bike may also have a crankset which is described as a "triple" if it has three chainrings or a "single" (less likely, since in context, 'I' would take it to refer to the number of "speeds" which a bike might have) if it has only one chainring

Now, a "compact" crankset is a relatively new term coined about 10 years ago by Pinarello (AFAIK) to describe what had previously been pejoratively referred to as "Alpine" gearing ...

  • back in the day, if a bike had two chainrings, the tooth count was often 52t & 42t on "competitive" cranksets & on cranks used by "tourists" the crank might have a 36t inner chainring & was pejoratively referred to by cycling's cognoscenti as "Alpine" gearing ...
  • my vintage GITANE came with a 52/36 crankset
  • when I moved to altitude (7000 feet) way-back-when, I ended up installing 50t & 34t chainrings on a Sugino AT crankset (110BCD)
  • fast forward to ~10 years ago & Pinarello makes the 50/34 the "new norm" for wannabee racers who don't want a pie-pan Cassette and the euphemism "compact" crankset is coined!!

  • SHIMANO's engineers have been prone to go-off-the-reservation (for decades), and their most recent asymmetrical Dura Ace crank will probably be referred to as a 'Compact-S' crankset OR receive some other designation to separate it from a "normal" Compact crankset ...

  • BTW, a "micro" crankset typically refers to MTB (Mountain Bike) crankset whose outer chainring BCD (Bolt Circle Diameter) is smaller than 104mm (i.e., 104BCD) -- i.e., 94mm

BUT, a "compact" frame is one whose top tube is not horizontal AND you will want to know the EFFECTIVE TOP TUBE (ETT) length when sizing the bike for any given rider.