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compact frames?(3 posts)

compact frames?got2ryd
May 27, 2001 9:29 AM
there is a recent pic in the photo gallery of a schwinn compact frame. what is the purpose of compact frames? just curious, never seen one before.
The reason:alansutton
May 28, 2001 12:26 PM
Compact frames come in typically come in 3 sizes: Sm, Med, Large. It's easier for a shop to stock 3 sizes instead of a line from 48cm to 62cm. The design of a compact frame has a sloping top tube, shorter seat stays and seat tube and a longer seatpost. This is common in mt bike design. Also, due to the shorter tubes, a lighter, stiffer frame can be made, however thie is not a general rule. Giant compact frames tend to be a little flexy for my taste, but they are probably the most comfortable riding bikes I've ever riden.
the purposeboy nigel
May 28, 2001 9:50 PM
Compact designs have been widely accepted/utilized by many (most) frame builders in the past couple of years. Giant did it first, commercially, a few years ago, and the pro team they sponsor (the Spanish ONCE squad) has ridden them to many victories since. Many more of the pro teams are riding them this year for their advantages:

1) A stiffer, more efficient ride. The smaller rear triangle this design affords makes standing efforts (sprints and hill climbs) more effective by transferring power better than traditional frames. Acceleration on these bikes seems amplified.

2) Less tubing = less frame weight. Simple math there.

3) Better top-tube clearance for shorter riders (without going to a 650cc-sized wheel).

4) With different stem lengths and varying seat post lengths, a company can manufacture fewer frame sizes (Giant does three, others do 5 or 6, and I believe that Specialized still does several) to still fit most of the people out there (or, in the smaller sizes, even MORE people out there--like me, since I'm 5'5").

Lookwise, some people hate the design. Others, like myself, love the look and embrace the technology and design behind "compact" frames. As an opinion, I find that my aluminum Giant (with carbon fork/seatpost) is altogether more comfortable and more explosive than my older steel ride; could be the materials (certainly), could have something to do with the geometry (short seat/chain stays generally equal quicker, livelier acceleration).

If you look on the roads and/or in cycling mags, you'll notice lots more of these out there. Some say they're the real deal, and some feel they're a passing thing--a trend or a fad. Whichever, the benefits are real enough that time-honored master frame builders are utilizing the design. Test ride one for yourself and see.