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Thread: compact?

  1. #1
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    compact?

    was almost about to pull the trigger and get a specialized tricross comp triple
    then i read on the web that there are potential downsides to a compact geometry or was it the gears?
    so now i am back to being lost and confused
    i figured the bike mentioned above gave me everthing i wanted or needed
    an upright postion for my sometimes painful lower back and big belly
    fatter tires for stability and to ease my fears when hitting a soft shoulder or rails-to-trails
    but is the compact thing an issue to worry about?
    is this a heavy frame?
    should i give up on the tire size issue and get a pilot or roubaix in carbon?
    i really was ready to but it
    wish i could get the orange fade i saw on an older trek bike
    that color on a tricross would be so seductive for me
    ugh
    so please explain the compact thing...

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    why no replies???

    please
    i need some help
    what is a compact set-up (as in spec tricross comp triple)
    advantages
    disadvantages
    i do not want to buy the wrong bike

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    Have you taken the bike for a test ride? The only way you could buy the 'wrong' bike is to buy one without giving it a good test ride to determine if it fits you comfortably and has the features you desire.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    test rode several bikes
    could not tell the difference with a compact crankset
    but i an a newbie
    what are the issues pro and con to be wary of???

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    There are compact frames, and compact cranks.

    A compact frame uses a shorter seat tube and an upwards sloping top tube to get the same fit as a traditional geometry frame. A compact frame is lighter and stiffer (although this advantage is to a large extent negated on a complete bike because you need much more length of unsupported seat post) than an equivalent frame with traditional geometry. Also, there's more standover height so each size can be made to fit more riders so manufacturers don't need to make as many sizes.

    Compact cranks have become fashionable with roadies looking for lower gearing but are too vain to use a triple. It's "compact" because it is able to fit smaller chainrings for lower gearing. It's lighter than a triple, but it doesn't offer the selection of gearing that a triple does. Also, I've found that I tend to get a "hole" in the middle of the gearing that has me switching the front back and forth quite a bit more than I'd like.

    The original tri-cross only came with a compact double and that may be what you saw the complaints about. It sounds like you're looking at the model that comes with a triple so that shouldn't be a problem. Don't worry about compact frame geometry either. Good frames can be made either traditionally or compact. If it fits, it'll be fine.

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    thanks halfspeed
    that was helpful
    i am not sure if the tricross compt triple is a compact frame or a compact triple crankset???
    or should i go for less money and get a sequoia elite (drop bars) or a sirrus?
    then there is the trek pilot 5.0 for a bit more i get carbon
    but i won't ge the fatter tricross tires i am lusting after
    is my lust misplaced?
    so confusing this all is
    i need yoda or some other master to guide me to the right decision
    willing tospend 2k if need butn would like to spend 1-1.5k if possible
    so many options!
    and i had sent an e-mail tp specialized customer service asking for more info, still waiting for reply...

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    Quote Originally Posted by archermd
    was almost about to pull the trigger and get a specialized tricross comp triple
    then i read on the web that there are potential downsides to a compact geometry or was it the gears?
    so now i am back to being lost and confused
    i figured the bike mentioned above gave me everthing i wanted or needed
    an upright postion for my sometimes painful lower back and big belly
    fatter tires for stability and to ease my fears when hitting a soft shoulder or rails-to-trails
    but is the compact thing an issue to worry about?
    is this a heavy frame?
    should i give up on the tire size issue and get a pilot or roubaix in carbon?
    i really was ready to but it
    wish i could get the orange fade i saw on an older trek bike
    that color on a tricross would be so seductive for me
    ugh
    so please explain the compact thing...
    Compact frames look different but are still just a frame to attach the rest of the bits to. Attachment is of a style of the frame.
    Compact gearing take a bit more getting round in my opinion. Take it for granted that the rear cassette gearing will stay the same but the Normal gearing on a road bike has 2 rings- normally a 52 and 39. Even that 39 is not low enough for most of us mere mortals in hilly areas so a compact gear was devised. This will normally have a 50 and a 34 sprocket fitted. A 34 will give you a lower gear than a 39, but for some of us is still not low enough. This is where the triple comes in with sprockets of 52/42/30.

    For me, living in a very hilly area- I have to have a triple- for my legs and our hills. If I were to cut out the severe hills thgen I could get away with a compact crankset, and if I were only to ride the gentle rises of a flatland area then the normal gering would suffice.

    It just depends on your hills, and your legs. Each form of gearing has its uses but your LBS should be able to advise you. If you have any doubts as to your capabilities on climbing the slopes in your area- Go for a triple.

    Now on the frames- I cannot see any disadvantages to a compact frame- unless you are a diehard and must have a normal frame with the cross bar at the normal height. A compact frame will be more rigid that a normal frame- The main and rear triangle are smaller and stiffer. This gives a better climbing frame as pedal power is not lost through flex in the frame- it is transmitted directly to the wheels. Weight is not a valid point as a longer seat post has to be used- Unless you are a Short A** like me but even I have a lot of seat post showing. Diadvantages- I can see none but others will have some points to raise. You are either prepared to give them a try or you do not like them. I tried a Compact frame 7 years ago and every bike since then has been compact. I like them.
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    Last edited by stapfam; 05-13-07 at 11:26 AM.
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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    A triple is never referred to as "compact". The Specialized frame seems to have a slight upslope to the top tube, but it's not as compact as, say, a Giant.

    There's nothing wrong with the tri-cross and, quite honestly, I think you'd be better off saving $700 and get the sport model. It comes standard with lower (easier) gearing and has the same wheels. The only advantage of the comp model is the 10-speed 105 setup, but that's going to be more finicky with parts that need more adjustment and more regular replacement.

    The capability to run fat tires is WAY more important than any of your concerns about being "compact". Get your bike shop to spend some time on a fitting and if it feels right, pull the trigger. It's a good bike and will take you anywhere short of serious off-roading and running with the fast group in your local road racing club.

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    One correction, they Sport and Comp don't have the same wheels. I'm not sure why I thought so. The Sport has 32 spoke wheels while the Comp has 24/20 spoke wheels. So the Sport's are probably stronger and more maintainable while the Comp's are probably lighter.

    The Sport just seems like a much better bike for a wide variety of riding conditions by someone who doesn't want to spend a lot of time and money on maintenance. The Comp is lighter, but not as durable and more finicky. There's a lot you could do with the $700 you'd save by going with the Sport.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by archermd
    please i need some help what is a compact set-up...
    Other posters got it right. "Compact geometry" as it applies to frames, means that the top-tube is higher at the front than at the seat tube. This slant means that stand-over height is mostly removed from the bike fit equation. The importance of this is that the cyclist can then buy the frame based on the IMPORTANT measurement - the distance between the seat and the handlebars.

    For some riders (particularly those with short legs and long torsos), the "conventional geometry" with the top tube parallel to the ground just doesn't work. Why? Because if the bike is purchased in a size that allows the rider to safely stand-over the top tube with clearance for the privates, then the top-tube is too short. Compact geometry alleviates this problem.

    The Specialized that you mention is a great bike. If it fits you, you shouldn't care if it has compact geometry or not. The frame geometry isn't what is important. How the bike fits you is.

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    what is it about the tricross comp triple that is finicky an high-maintenance?
    i am new to this and willnot be able to do much wrok on the bike in the beginning
    i am now woried it is to much bike for me at this time
    is the tricross sport or a trek pilot a better option
    and then again i could look back to the sirrus or an fx series bike...
    the old ? of drop or straight bars comes up again
    beginning to think it is too much thinking and not enough biking
    just worried about making the wrong choice
    i kn ow, if it fits it's a good choice
    but what about the bars? and tire size? and gear that requires frequent tune-up?
    and is the nimber of wheel spokes really an issue for me?

  12. #12
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    10-speed drivetrains use narrower chains and have tighter tolerances to function well. Low spoke count wheels aren't as durable and, especially with heavier riders, are more likely to need truing more often. Why do people pay more for these things if there are drawbacks to them? Lower weight and fashion.

    Drops vs. flat bars are largely a matter of preference. Some find flat bars to be more intuitive and less intimidating. Drops, on the other hand, provide a more natural position for the hands on the hoods as well as several other positions that make it easier for the rider to vary the stresses on the body during longer rides.

    Fatter tires weigh more but they provide more cushioning and are more surefooted on more surfaces.

    Most modern road bikes don't have clearance for tires wider than 25 or 28mm. I consider this a disadvantage (though many are perfectly fine with this limitation).

    I think the tri-cross Sport is a fantastic first road bike. It's very versatile, has gearing that won't force a new rider to walk up hills and uses proven reliable components. The biggest drawback is that it's a bit spendy for many new riders. This seems not to be a big issue for you.

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    thanks again halfspeed
    the money is an issue when explainging the cost of my new hobby to my wife
    i can manage that
    the drops do seem to offer more options over time
    i do not need the tricross comp triple but i alwsy gravitate to the best i can afford even if less will suffice
    that said, your comnets and advice about the durability factor of the higher model over the sport are worthy of my attention
    i will see if i can spend some time with the guys at the lbs and get out for some test rides again
    i agree that going for a model with a fork limited to 28 or 25 is not very attractive
    i would rather have more options
    could always get a rouxbaix in carbon when ready for skinny tires!
    we have not discussed trek or cannondale or giant much
    should i seek them out
    lbs has mostly spec, then trek, not the othrs'but a 15 min drive gets me those to look at if so advised
    thanks again, i am in your debt... oops, more $$$ spent?

  14. #14
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    You're spending enough money that you can't buy a =bad= bike, just one that is not the best suited for your purposes. Treks Giants and Cannondales are really good bikes as well and it certainly won't hurt to try some of those too.

    I don't know anything about you except what you've posted here and all you know about me is that I'm an internet loudmouth. Given that, it sounds to me like you're on the right track. As a new rider, I believe you would be well served to pay attention to tire clearances and gearing. Most importantly, pay attention to fit.

    Worry about a pound or two in bike weight when you're whippet thin and hammering with the fast group in your local club.

    Finally, you're going to depend on your bike shop at first and they're part of what you're paying for. If you get great service from a helpful staff at one shop and not so much at another, then consider that in your choice.

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    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    OK, to clarify:

    2007 Specialized Tricross Comp: triple crankset, semi-compact frame. the frame gives you a more upright riding position and more comfortable. The Comp has much better components AND a better frame then the Sport. And no, the parts and wheels of the Comp are not finicky. As a matter of fact, based on my '06 Comp, they're quite durable and bombproof. This is my first time with a compact crankset (on the '06), and it's OK, but I do miss the versatility of the triple.

    Sport or Comp you can't go wrong.
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    The components on the Comp are lighter, more expensive and offer more gears with less range and tighter tolerances. The wheels are lighter with fewer spokes which means they're likely less durable. The frame's got more carbon and more material joins. Better? For a heavy new rider? Not by my reckoning.

    Lightweight racing components are nice and all, but no way is the more expensive model going to have the durability and low gearing that make for a good starter.

  17. #17
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfspeed
    The components on the Comp are lighter, more expensive and offer more gears with less range and tighter tolerances. The wheels are lighter with fewer spokes which means they're likely less durable. The frame's got more carbon and more material joins. Better? For a heavy new rider? Not by my reckoning.

    Lightweight racing components are nice and all, but no way is the more expensive model going to have the durability and low gearing that make for a good starter.
    Uh, have you ridden a Comp? I hardly consider 105/Ultegra strictly lightweight racing components. I own both the Velomax Circuits and Roval Paves. Both low spoke counts. Bombproof. Neither have EVER needed truing. Durable. Granted, the '06 Comp is not the lowest gearing due to it's compact crank. The '07 Comp triple is got the gearing low enough for everything except the most insane hills.

    That said, the Sport is great for the price. The Comp, not so much. But to say it's not as durable is silly.
    Last edited by flipped4bikes; 05-16-07 at 10:58 AM.
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

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    flipped4bikes
    thanks for your replies both here and on my other thread (almost ready to buy)
    as you can see, i am having trouble deciding
    spec tricroxxcomp triple vs tricross sport vs sirrus vs sequoia vs trek fx7.5 vs pilot
    i think the wider tires will help me
    is the comp triple too much
    i can afford the price but no need to overbuy
    my other hobbies (arechery and digital photography) are expensive too
    the weather has me yearning to get out and ride...

  19. #19
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by archermd
    is the tricross sport... a better option...?
    It might be worth it to consider the longer chainstays on the sport. As I recall, it is made to be more comfortable and versatile, and is designed for front and rear racks if you should ever want them. It would also be a better bike for touring, if you should ever want to do that.

    Longer chainstays affect the ride quality. The rear wheel is a little farther back, which increases comfort levels over bumps and rough roads. The bike will also tend to track a little better, be more relaxing and stable to ride. These effects are not terribly pronounced in most cases, but they are noticeable.

    Wider tires and lower tire pressures also increase comfort levels substantially. There is some loss of efficiency, but if you're not racing, then the more comfortable, less jarring ride is usually the more important factor. (Sheldon Brown talks about this on his website -- many riders overestimate the value, and underestimate the downsides, of high-pressure tires....)

    ***
    There is also the matter of affinity -- when you go out on test rides, you may come across a bike that has an especially enjoyable ride (for you). This is worth going for. It will get you out on the bike more, and you will enjoy your time on it more. It's worth some extra looking and extra test riding, to find such a bike. It might take a bit of extra time, but it's worth it and you'll learn a lot this way about how different bikes ride.

    ***
    A bike's appearance may also matter to some extent; but the ride quality -- in your own experience (not someone else's experience) -- is the main thing.

    These are all good bikes. Good luck with your decision. Be safe and enjoy the rides.

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    niles
    unless i missed something, and being new to this, that is a real possibility...
    the chainstay length listed on the spec website states the tricross comp and sport ar the same, 440mm
    the sirrus and sequopia are both shorter than that
    so all things being equal, any other advice?
    do you think the lbs would get me one of each to ride?
    i have been our on a sirrus and a sequoia and about to try a tricross expert double that belongs to one of the staff of the lbs
    this is a difficult decision
    and i agree, it seems for me, being chubby and a newbie, that wider tires is a key factor
    and everyone says wide tires with drop bars may be a good option
    certainly drop bars give me more hand position choices, and on a more upright riding bike that would be a nice set up as far as i can tell
    so seems the tricross is my bike, but i am open to any and all advice
    i wonder why more folks are not seeking a similar configuration
    perhaps i am focused on the wrong things(s)?

  21. #21
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    Width of the tyre is not going to be a major factor. Unless they are 19 or 38- the two extremes. Type of spoking on the wheel will affect the ride- Radial spoking-direct pull from the hub to the rim instead of crossing other spokes- will give a harsher ride, but still acceptable unless you are on rough roads all the time. If you have any inclination to road riding as your main form of Masochism- Then get a road bike with the drop bars. You do not have to ride in the drops and if you look at a road rider going past- He will probably be on the Hoods- on top of the brake levers. And if you got a straight bar bike- then it will not be right in a few years time.

    You keep coming back to the Tricross. Get a test ride and see if you like it. If the riding position is too awkward and uncomfortable- then go for the Sirrus. These two, along with the Sequoia, are not going to let you down.

    Remember though- the main thing is fit. It it doesn't feel right- then try another bike. Or another size.
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    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipped4bikes
    Uh, have you ridden a Comp? I hardly consider 105/Ultegra strictly lightweight racing components.
    Compared to nine speed Tiagra/LX? Yup. I have bikes with 1, 3, 6, 8, 9, and 10 speed drive trains and I can tell you with complete confidence that tighter spacing, reduced tolerances, lighter weight and using thinner materials results in more maintenance and more frequent replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by flipped4bikes
    I own both the Velomax Circuits and Roval Paves. Both low spoke counts. Bombproof. Neither have EVER needed truing. Durable.
    And how big are you? I know you aren't tall and unless you've got a lot of extra weight, your experiences regarding wheel durability on a relatively new bike are not convincing.

    Quote Originally Posted by flipped4bikes
    Granted, the '06 Comp is not the lowest gearing due to it's compact crank. The '07 Comp triple is got the gearing low enough for everything except the most insane hills.
    The vast majority of cyclists use lower gearing and will likely disagree with you.

  23. #23
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by archermd
    niles
    unless i missed something, and being new to this, that is a real possibility...
    the chainstay length listed on the spec website states the tricross comp and sport ar the same, 440mm
    the sirrus and sequopia are both shorter than that
    so all things being equal, any other advice?
    do you think the lbs would get me one of each to ride?
    i have been our on a sirrus and a sequoia and about to try a tricross expert double that belongs to one of the staff of the lbs
    this is a difficult decision
    and i agree, it seems for me, being chubby and a newbie, that wider tires is a key factor
    and everyone says wide tires with drop bars may be a good option
    certainly drop bars give me more hand position choices, and on a more upright riding bike that would be a nice set up as far as i can tell
    so seems the tricross is my bike, but i am open to any and all advice
    i wonder why more folks are not seeking a similar configuration
    perhaps i am focused on the wrong things(s)?
    It's been a while since I looked at these bikes, but I thought the sport had longer chainstays (you could always measure them...).

    I also remember it having good rack mounts front and rear, and hearing that Specialized had designed it to be more comfortable, and better for touring. (Unlike their other Tricross bikes, which were designed more for aggressive or competitive riding.)

    You might find (probably will find) that having the bars higher rather than lower will suit you better. There are various ways of achieving this; bike shops should be able to help.

    Some people will disagree, but I think you will find wider tires more to your liking. You can always try them and see.

    ***
    Some of the fit information on the Rivendell website is very useful for achieving a good, comfortable fit (as a recreational rider) (many other fit systems are oriented more toward a competitive riding position, which is not what you want at this point).

    (My one real disagreement with Rivendell's fit philosophy is that they go for slightly larger frames than optimal; bgcycles.com has a better approach to frame sizing and seat tube height. If you have a choice between a bike that seems a little big, and a bike that seems a little small (or just right), go for the latter -- you'll probably be happier in the long run. Not everyone shares this approach; but I've tried it all three ways, and I'm not the only one who finds it distinctly better. You can test them out yourself, with an open mind, and see how it feels in your own experience....)

  24. #24
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    The Tricross Sport and Comp have the same frame geometry specs in each size. The Sport is more what you're looking for. The price is right. The Comp is sweet, but even I have a hard time justifying the premium for the '07 model.

    I like the 32c tires. It's changed my mind about skinnies (23c). They are indeed too skinny! Thinking about even wider tires (35-38c) for winter and sloppier rides.

    Remember, the only perfect bike is the one makes you want to ride a lot!
    Every time we let a vehicle pass there is a little bit of compromise. But compromise allows the city to function and allows cyclists to function in the city. The trick is not to eliminate compromise but to learn how to work safely within it.

    --Robert Hurst

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    NJ
    My Bikes
    Still shopping...
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    just one thing
    why is the sport more of whagt i am looking for than the comp?
    just wondering
    may go to lbs tonight for a test ride and to buy
    or at least i would like to think so...

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