Compact Frame vs. Traditional Geometry



kaikane

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Jul 2, 2005
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What makes the compact frame, "compact." Why was it developed and what are the advantages over a traditionally horizontal top tube?
I must admit to favoring the "look" of a traditional top tube, (somehow, the weird angle of the compact frame top tube looks unsafe to me), but maybe I'm missing something?
 

Adam-from-SLO

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Nov 30, 2003
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kaikane said:
What makes the compact frame, "compact." Why was it developed and what are the advantages over a traditionally horizontal top tube?
I must admit to favoring the "look" of a traditional top tube, (somehow, the weird angle of the compact frame top tube looks unsafe to me), but maybe I'm missing something?

From what I know(not much :eek: ), a compact frame is compact due to sloping top tube(lower at the seat-tube), thus has a shorter seat-tube... and in the process shorter-sloping seat stays . The only advantages that I can come to grips with , is that they tend to be a hair-bit lighter then a traditional frameset(due to shorter tube lengths) ...... and probably favor shorter people- small frame = small people.

When I first saw a compact frame... it reminded me of a X-country MTB frame(sloping top tube). Not exactly sure why it was developed(maybe to target the smaller height consumer) ......... but now a days, the cycling industry is all about "lighter weight this... lighter weight that" , bunch of weight junkies - that in the process of saving a ounce here/there ......... has the potential to sactrifice strength/durability in the process :( :eek: :confused: Personally, I'm 5' 10", and 155lbs ........... and dont subscribe to the "lighter is better" theory - at least for the most part. Also, buying something ligher also costs more $$ then a similar product weighing .. say 1-2 onces more. I just bought a 4lbs MTB suspention fork. Sure, the Fox forks at 3.3 lbs sure seemed nice- and light .... but they are more $$ , plus comparing durability between the two forks......... I'd rather go with something a bit heavier- 1/2 lb more......... and save $200 .
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Compact road frames are the result of companies wanting to save money. They allow companies to produce fewer sizes of a particular frame and still fit a wide range of people. Some are light, and some aren't. Any advantages or disadvantages depend on whether or not a person likes the look.
 

artmichalek

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Sep 15, 2004
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alienator said:
Compact road frames are the result of companies wanting to save money. They allow companies to produce fewer sizes of a particular frame and still fit a wide range of people. Some are light, and some aren't. Any advantages or disadvantages depend on whether or not a person likes the look.
That pretty much sums it up. What the manufacturers leave out of their literature is that seat post tubing weighs more than frame tubing. So even if the frame is a hair lighter, it's going to build up to the same weight. As further proof that it's mostly a matter of aethetics, several companies such as Moots and Coppi build many of their frames in both configurations.
 

JoseM

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Nov 18, 2005
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There is one difference worth noting...a compact frame will have it so the front wheel will hit your foot when turning sharp. It takes some getting use to, but no big deal. I have a Giant TCR2 that has a compact frame.
 

artmichalek

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JoseM said:
There is one difference worth noting...a compact frame will have it so the front wheel will hit your foot when turning sharp. It takes some getting use to, but no big deal. I have a Giant TCR2 that has a compact frame.
This is a combination of tt length, fork rake, and crank size. It has nothing to do with the frame being compact.
 

JoseM

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Nov 18, 2005
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artmichalek said:
This is a combination of tt length, fork rake, and crank size. It has nothing to do with the frame being compact.
Gotchya....just happens that my TCR is compact frame and has this situation...but not all compact frames have this...learn something new everyday.
 

el Ingles

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Oct 3, 2003
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alienator said:
Compact road frames are the result of companies wanting to save money. They allow companies to produce fewer sizes of a particular frame and still fit a wide range of people. Some are light, and some aren't. Any advantages or disadvantages depend on whether or not a person likes the look.

The first of the modern frames with sloping is the giant designed by mike burrows and not everybody has followed his ideas as well .
In theory the shorter seat stays should aid rigidity and save weight ( the original used a carbon seat post and a very thin walled alloy of great rigidity - not a soft ride in any way )
Yes it can be easier for manufacturers only producing 3 sizes rather than 6 or more and should reduce costs to the buyer as well as making life easier for retailers - also makes it easier to sell on when you want a new model .

good idea ? depends on the maker as much as anything - personally I like them but what does that count - as with any idea it´s easy to mess it up if you try hard enough .
 

artmichalek

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el Inglés said:
good idea ? depends on the maker as much as anything - personally I like them but what does that count - as with any idea it´s easy to mess it up if you try hard enough .
I agree. The only time a compact frame is a particularly bad idea is if like me you have to carry your bike up and down stairs a lot. I'm guessing this is why traditional type frames are still favored by most cyclocross racers. They're a lot easier to shoulder.
 

kaikane

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Aw, gee, and here I thought the whole compact frame thing was going to be some great whizz-bang invention that was going to change the way we cycle :p
I'll stick with my traditional frame. Somehow that really short seat post on a compact frame looks...i dunno...weeird?
Thanks y'all for the info.
 

artmichalek

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kaikane said:
Aw, gee, and here I thought the whole compact frame thing was going to be some great whizz-bang invention that was going to change the way we cycle :p
Only if it's painted just the right shade of red. ;)