compact vs. traditional frame design



rosborn

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Aug 26, 2004
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Howdy,

While visiting the Trek website I noticed that they offer two basic frame designs for their bikes - compact (Pilot series, for examples) and more traditional (their Alpha Aluminum series). Why the two different body designs and what are the advantages/disadvantages of either one.

A lot of bike companies have gone to the compact road design and I was just curious as to what the reasons were behind this. Does this design make for a better overall ride? Does it ease fatigue for the rider, allowing the rider to be more upright? If so, is there a renewed interest in the more traditional design that appears to allow the rider to be in a lower, more aerodynamic, position?

I just found it interesting that Trek would offer two body styles and, since I am considering buying a new road bike, was curious to know which one I should consider. I am 6' 2" and I have a Giant OCR3, a compact road design bike. It is a fine bike for me and I have made the adjustments to the handle bars so that I am in a lower position while riding but I wonder if the more traditional frame design would be more beneficial to a person of my height rather than the more "hunched over" design of the compact bike.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Rob
 

tcklyde

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Dec 17, 2003
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rosborn said:
Howdy,

While visiting the Trek website I noticed that they offer two basic frame designs for their bikes - compact (Pilot series, for examples) and more traditional (their Alpha Aluminum series). Why the two different body designs and what are the advantages/disadvantages of either one.

A lot of bike companies have gone to the compact road design and I was just curious as to what the reasons were behind this. Does this design make for a better overall ride? Does it ease fatigue for the rider, allowing the rider to be more upright? If so, is there a renewed interest in the more traditional design that appears to allow the rider to be in a lower, more aerodynamic, position?

I just found it interesting that Trek would offer two body styles and, since I am considering buying a new road bike, was curious to know which one I should consider. I am 6' 2" and I have a Giant OCR3, a compact road design bike. It is a fine bike for me and I have made the adjustments to the handle bars so that I am in a lower position while riding but I wonder if the more traditional frame design would be more beneficial to a person of my height rather than the more "hunched over" design of the compact bike.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Rob

In the case of Trek, their Pilot series compact frames are designed for a more upright riding position. This is not, however, a general attribute of compact frames. Both compact and traditional frames can be designed for more prone positions or more upright positions. The amount of slope on the top doesn't matter.

Bikes designed for racing, like the Trek Madone series or the Giant TCR series (as opposed to Pilot and OCR series bikes) are likely to have longer top tubes and are designed to be ridden in a more prone position.

As for why compact... Compact frames do allow manufacturers to slice a small amount of weight off a frame and thus advertise lower weights. This may be made up for in a longer seatpost. Some of my friends swear that compact frames tend to be a bit stiffer (because of a smaller rear triangle), but, again, this is more of function of manufacturing most likely.
 

hughes

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Jun 2, 2004
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The real reason for compact frames is MONEY. The manufacturer doesn't have to make as many sizes. There are side benefits , but the real reason is MONEY.
 

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