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Compact frame question(8 posts)

Compact frame questionPsychler
Feb 7, 2003 2:25 PM
Dean has agreed to build me a Ti frame for a very reasonable cost. They suggest a compact design to save weight and stiffen up the ride a tad. I am 145 lbs, 56cm frame. My last Dean had a 1 3/4 downtube, he suggests a 1.5 instead, lighter, not more flexable. Full butted frame. I guess the only real question is ... besides the "look" of the bike, what are the + / - to the compact frame. PS, we decided to scrap the carbon seatstays, save cost...apparantly none of his builders use the carbon stays, still love the ride. OPINIONS?
re: Compact frame questionDougSloan
Feb 7, 2003 3:46 PM
I've had compact and standard, and could not tell the difference in use. There are varying degrees of sloping, too, so that matters.

Sloping could keep you from having a bottle on the seat tube, but with a 56 you should be ok.

Of course, you gotta use a long seatpost, which adds weight. Ask him what the real frame weight difference is, then add back the weight of a longer seatpost, if that matters.

If you have really short inseam, sloping might be better for standover.

Me, I like the looks of traditional. Sloping looks like a mountain bike to me. You'd probably never know the difference in performance.

re: Compact frame questionsacheson
Feb 7, 2003 3:53 PM
I ride a 56 cm frame and just got a compact design custom (from Carl Strong). I really like the fit of the bike because I'm long in the torso and arms and traditionally I didn't get to look cool with a mountain bike length seat post sticking out of my frame.

The one thing that frustrates me is how the rear brake cable has to be routed. With the sloping top tube, the brake becomes higher on the stays than the braze on for the rear cable housing is located. This forces a lot of bend in the cable housing between the rear braze-on and the housing stop on the brake arm, and puts a lot of tension on the brake arm. It seems to be very difficult to to keep that rear brake centered (using Campy Chorus 10 spd differential == single pivot).

If you have the option for an integrated / zero stack headset, I'd say bag that idea. I got the Columbus / Cane Creek zero stack answer and am not all that impressed with it. It is difficult to keep adjusted, and I do notice a difference in the bearing smoothness between the 3 month old h/s on the Strong, and my 3 year old King headset on another bike.

Finally, you did right on foregoing the carbon stays. I don't dislike mine, but when I have that many things going on with my bike, it scares me a little. I don't think the carbon adds anything that can't be done with traditional tubes if the builder takes the time to design and build the bike to YOUR specifications.
re: Compact frame questiongtx
Feb 7, 2003 5:18 PM
I always say the cool thing about compacts is that they are easier to clamp into the repair stand--just clamp 'em by the seat post. Otherwise, no big diff. The brake cable routing issue mentioned above is something to consider, too.
re: Compact frame questionGovol
Feb 7, 2003 6:21 PM
I recently purchased a litespeed compact, and I love it. My previous bike was a Klein so I have had to get used to a new ride quality as well as look. When you first start riding a compact it seems as if the bike is a mile underneath you, but if you close your eyes you realize everything is where it should be ie saddle/bar/peddle.

I find the compact geometry great for climbing. Even though the bike isn't that much lighter, it feels like your rear wheel is right underneath you. You get the feeling of being able to man handle it if you need to.

I suggest a Mtn. bike seatpost. The beefier mtn. post will be stiffer, which fixes a real problem with having it so far outside the frame.
Compact Optioncogmaster
Feb 8, 2003 1:25 PM
I had Dean build me a semi-compact w/carbon stays. To me I went with a semi-compact vs their standard compact geometry as I get a slightly tighter rear triangle and higher head tube without the brake issue discussed here. I do agree with skipping the carbon as it makes the bike ride stiffer. I have found the semi-compact geometry to still make for great climbing.

Good luck.
Hey CogmasterPsychler
Feb 8, 2003 3:45 PM
Would John at Dean know what I mean when I refer to the design as Semi-compact vs. standard compact? I really don't want to make any mistakes this time. Question: with compact/ semi-compact, is the overall skewer to skewer (wheelbase) length different than traditional? I ride centuries as well as high spirited short rides. Will do some racing this coming year. I want a comfortable, quick, light bike for my 145 lb 5'10" frame.
Feb 9, 2003 7:33 AM
Psychler, John should know this well. To give you an example. On my new frame, my goal was to maintain Deans 58cm frame basic geometry except to raise head tube by 30mm, and 1cm to top tube and to go with a semi-compact design. Essentially, what we did was to increase the head tube length by 30mm and reduce standard 58cm seat tube to 55cm. This gave a semi-compact geometry. Deans standard compact sizing would take another 2-3 cm off the down tube, which to me was too extreme. What I ended up with is essentially the same as Serottas compact geometry(you can get dimensions on their website) which is best described as semi-compact. I do notice and increase in climbing power transmission vs standard geometry. Hope this helps.