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compact frame(8 posts)

compact frameRD-Man
Dec 22, 2003 3:55 PM
This has probably been covered many times. So, forgive my repitition, but I'm new to road bikes. What are the advantages/disadvantages to a compact frame? My wife test rode a Klein today and liked the feel. So, I'm curious. While we're on it, any feelings about Klein in general? I don't know much about them yet. The reviews on this site seem to be pretty good for them. Thanks.
Plusses and minusesKerry Irons
Dec 22, 2003 5:15 PM
Plus - more standover height.
Minus - none really, unless you're stuck in between sizes due to the manufacturer only offering three sizes with too-large gaps.

Compact frames offer no real advantages, the tiny weight saving in the frame looks good in the product brochure, but is canceled out by the extra seat post length. Likewise any tiny increase in frame stiffness. People talk about "compact geometry" but there really is no such thing. You can get the same angles, chainstay lengths, wheelbase, etc. with a horizontal or a sloping top tube. If your body dimensions are such that you have very short legs relative to your arms and torso, it may be hard to get standover height and enough top tube length. This is one place where compact geometry may be of use.
easier to sell to the mtn bike minded.colker1
Dec 23, 2003 5:41 AM
what else?
It's the new trend so your wife will be riding the lastest...Bruno S
Dec 22, 2003 6:27 PM
in bike fashion. Klein was very hot during the 90s because it introduced some fancy shaped aluminiun tubesets. Now carbon is hot and brands like Giant and Trek offer very good all carbon frame bikes in a wide price range.
re: compact framepurplepaul
Dec 22, 2003 7:48 PM
Don't have an opinion about the mechanical aspects of compact frames, but I don't like them aesthetically.

But, I've got an aluminum Klein MTB that's over ten years old and I still love it. One of the best things Klein had going for it was its pressed in BB and headset bearings. They were aircraft grade and never had to be serviced in any way (which was a good thing since you would have had to send the frame back to the factory). But there are no crunchy sounds from anywhere on the frame and my bike has many, many thousands of miles on it.

Unfortunately, Klein no longer offers that neat feature on its bikes so, although I think they're well designed and built, they're really not that special any more. Their paint jobs can be pretty cool.

I'm sure your wife will love whatever she ends up getting.
Dec 23, 2003 7:59 AM
If you are considering a mid to high end bike for your wife I recommend that you consider a women's specific bike, especially if she is under 5'4". My 5' 1" wife loves her Trek 5200 WSD in 47 cm frame size.
re: compact framejrm
Dec 23, 2003 8:43 AM
I road a TCR for a while before switching back to a steel frame. What i liked about the compact was its aceleration, climbing and reduced weight. What i didnt like was its very quick steering, stablity at speed and lack of comfort.
It was your frame design, not the fact that it was a compactKerry Irons
Dec 23, 2003 4:41 PM
The things you attribute to compact design could have just as easily been designed into a conventional frame. There is NOTHING about a compact (sloping top tube) design that specifically gives the acceleration, climbing, reduced weight, quick steering, (lack of?) stability at speed, and lack of comfort. The frame serves to locate the wheels, BB, saddle, and handlebars in space relative to each other. These points, and the choice of tube material, diameter, and wall thickness are what give a frame its characteristics. The fact that the top tube slopes a few degrees has no affect on any of this except to shorten/lighten the seat tube slightly. The weight savings of the shorter seat tube is counter balanced by the extra weight of a longer/stronger seat post.