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Is this what relaxed geometry means?

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Is this what relaxed geometry means?

Old 06-18-07, 02:15 PM
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Hwy 40 Blue
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Is this what relaxed geometry means?

The angles of the frame aren't as sharp, right, so if I were to visualize a bicycle frame made of something real springy, like little thin tree branches (stay with me here), and then if I sat on it and kind of flattened it down, that's relaxed, and then when it sprang back up that's not relaxed. Right?
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Old 06-18-07, 02:29 PM
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Old 06-18-07, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Hwy 40 Blue
The angles of the frame aren't as sharp, right, so if I were to visualize a bicycle frame made of something real springy, like little thin tree branches (stay with me here), and then if I sat on it and kind of flattened it down, that's relaxed, and then when it sprang back up that's not relaxed. Right?
I have two road bikes - one with the relaxed geometry and one without. The relaxed geometry refers to the slanted top tube. See the attached pictures. The one on the left is the Trek 1800C with the slanted top tube. The other has the standard geometry frame.

The relaxed geometry allows a more upright riding position than the standard.
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Old 06-18-07, 02:31 PM
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It means the head tube angle isn't as steep as some, resulting in slower steering, more stable straight line handling. It has nothing to do with springiness.
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Old 06-18-07, 02:48 PM
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Presented with an opportunity to divulge in senseless snarkery, the Link demures.
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Old 06-18-07, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link
Presented with an opportunity to divulge in senseless snarkery, the Link demures.
And now, I've just fainted.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:02 PM
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As easily observed in Beverly's pictures, it isn't only the downward slope of the top tube, but also the height of the head tube, angle of the seat tube, and even the length of the top tube.

Different bike lines employ different degrees of "compact geometry". Some are not that different from traditional geometry, others are very relaxed, with high head tubes and a seat tube angle that is a bit more laidback. Others offer shorter top tubes. As you peruse bike web pages and catalogs, if you see a line of bikes labeled "comfort road" bikes, then those tend to be of the most relaxed geometry.

For example Raleigh's Cadent line, which they group as their "Performance Comfort Road" line.
http://www.raleighusa.com/depts.asp?deptid=4

If you go to this page:
http://www.raleighusa.com/items.asp?deptid=4&itemid=269

Then click on the tab "Download this Catalog page" it will open a .pdf file where they describe the relaxed compact geometry features & show examples of them.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Beverly
The relaxed geometry refers to the slanted top tube.
Nope. Its the angle of the seat tube and the head tube.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:06 PM
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(Overlooking DG's senseless snarkery) the reason people buy relaxed geometry is, among things, they sit a bit more upright when they ride compared to a "traditional" geometry. You sacrifice some speed and get a lot more comfort, which is why the older folks tend to like them so much. I love mine, a Lemond Buenos Aires which is basically a pimped out Lemond Reno, arguably the best bike in the world.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:07 PM
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There are 2 terms being confused. Relaxed geometry is not the same as compact geometry.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
There are 2 terms being confused. Relaxed geometry is not the same as compact geometry.
And the difference is.........::not understanding the difference, the Link, into obnoxious 3rd person posting, anxiously awaits the distinction::............
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Old 06-18-07, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
There are 2 terms being confused. Relaxed geometry is not the same as compact geometry.
I made an effort to distinguish between the two terms.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:18 PM
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I'm going to stay out of this one.

I thought relaxed geometry was when, in a right triangle, "a" squared + "b" squared did not always equal "c" squared - just when you wanted it to and felt comfortable with the equation.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox
I'm going to stay out of this one.

I thought relaxed geometry was when, in a right triangle, "a" squared + "b" squared did not always equal "c" squared - just when you wanted it to and felt comfortable with the equation.

Once a teacher............
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Old 06-18-07, 03:28 PM
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The farther the seat and head tube angles get from 90 degress(lean back) the more relaxed the geometry is the frame absorbs more road shock and translates less to the rider, though the front end is more stable. A more aggressive stance as seen in track bikes and higher end road bikes has the seat and head tubes at a more vertical angle, more road shock travels to the rider and the front end can be twitchier.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:30 PM
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To be fair to Beverly, I've seen a number of statements on the web pages of bicycle manufacturers who have described compact geometry as simply a sloping top tube.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:40 PM
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When you get out and ride a number of bikes (an activity in which I excel), you'll find that different "compact geometry" bikes can feel VERY different from each other. Companies like LeMond, Merlin, and Cannondale (I'm sure there are others) have compact geometry bikes with long top tubes. If you rode one of these and followed it with a ride on a bike like a Raleigh Cadent or Trek Pilot, you would immediately notice that you are more upright and have a shorter reach on the latter two bikes.

As I like a more upright position, I find a bike like the Trek Pilot to be at least marginally comfortable. But when I tried a LeMond Reno, I could hardly ride the bike. It felt like it was trying to pull my arms of their sockets. Others love the Reno and feel cramped up on the Pilot.

Compacts are now making up a large percentage of the road bike market. Some manufacturers now offer only compacts.
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Old 06-18-07, 03:41 PM
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I didn't mean it would BE springy, you knuckleheads, but if you VISUALIZED a HYPOTHETICAL bike frame, if you sorta flattened it out that would be relaxed geometry as opposed to sharper angles, i.e., more upright-looking.

Beverly & Traffic Jammer made it clearer to me. Thanks. More pondering....
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Old 06-18-07, 03:47 PM
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A relaxed geometry can be a god send for some of us gettin older folks and our lower backs, or for touring and spending loooong amounts of time in the saddle, an aggressive geometry for racing and such for being able to cut and turn quickly, but handling does change with the geometry.
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Old 06-18-07, 05:58 PM
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Big John never explained the difference between relaxed geometry and compact geometry.
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Old 06-18-07, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Hwy 40 Blue
I didn't mean it would BE springy, you knuckleheads, but if you VISUALIZED a HYPOTHETICAL bike frame, if you sorta flattened it out that would be relaxed geometry as opposed to sharper angles, i.e., more upright-looking.

Beverly & Traffic Jammer made it clearer to me. Thanks. More pondering....
OK. It was a very strange way to say it, but I guess you are basically right.

I still think some are mixing the terms "relaxed" and "compact" (including one who claimed to have distinguished between them. Traffic Jammer got it right. I'm afraid Beverly didn't.

Compact geometry refers to the sloping top tube as opposed to traditional frames with horizontal top tubes. Compact frames can be either tight and quick steering as in a criterium racing bike or they can be relaxed as in a touring bike. Or it can be somewhere in between as in a plush road bike. Horizontal tube frames can also be anywhere in the range of quickness/steadiness.

I bet there's nothing relaxed about this compact framed bike.
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Old 06-18-07, 06:24 PM
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For a road bike, I'd say the seat tube is closer to 72 degrees than 74, for a "relaxed" versus an agressive geometry. Ditto for the head tube angle. These measures usually differ between sizes of the same model so you'd have to compare different models of the same size to know if one is more "relaxed" than the other.

Also, for a more "relaxed" ride, the chain stay usually is a bit longer too, to accommodate more chain and gears, and that also usually results in a relatively longer wheelbase.

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Old 06-18-07, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
OK. It was a very strange way to say it, but I guess you are basically right.

I still think some are mixing the terms "relaxed" and "compact" (including one who claimed to have distinguished between them. Traffic Jammer got it right. I'm afraid Beverly didn't.

Compact geometry refers to the sloping top tube as opposed to traditional frames with horizontal top tubes. Compact frames can be either tight and quick steering as in a criterium racing bike or they can be relaxed as in a touring bike. Or it can be somewhere in between as in a plush road bike. Horizontal tube frames can also be anywhere in the range of quickness/steadiness.

I bet there's nothing relaxed about this compact framed bike.
So....what is called "relaxed" on a road bike would be "slack" on a mountain bike?

And why would anyone want a compact (as opposed to a relaxed) frame?

And how come Wagathon owns both a Pilot 5.2 and a Lemond Buenos Aires? Isn't that overkill?

This thread is triggering a migraine. I'm taking some drugs....
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Old 06-18-07, 07:25 PM
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Following up on my earlier post, these "compact" and "relaxed" geometries are not confined to road bikes, particularly for "relaxed" geometries. For seat tube & heat tube angles and stay lengths are also varied significantly on hybrid bikes. I suspect on mountain bikes too, but I as don't pay any attention to mountain bikes, I can't say for sure.

For example, many "standard" hybrids have seat tube angles of 73-74 degrees and nearly all are compact / mountain bike geometries. By moving the crank forward a bit, this can be varied. There are relaxed comfort hybrids like the Specialized Crossroads and Expedition, and the Trek Navigator which have seat tube angles of around 68-69 degrees. You sit more back into the saddle and your rear is closer to the ground.

Then what are commonly referred to as "crank forward" bikes take this another step. They move the bottom bracket / crank even more forward and the seat even further back, to around 64-65 degrees (a couple may go even further). Then you are resting completely on the saddle, it can be difficult to stand and pedal, and you can usually put your feet flat on the ground while sitting in the saddle.

The RANS crank forwards illustrate some of the more aggressive crank forward / relaxed geometries.
http://www.ransbikes.com/

Some super cruiser designs take this even further. Until you eventually cross the line into being classified as a recumbent.

In general you will not hear a hybrid described as a compact geometry. But some of them will use the term "relaxed" to describe particular designs.
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Old 06-18-07, 07:38 PM
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To illustrate how hybrids and compact geometry road bikes are more similar than they were traditionally, here's the 2007 Specialized Globe Pro, a hybrid, vs a Giant OCR1, a compact geometry road bike. Ignore the thicker wheels and handlebars and look at the frames. There are still differences, but they are much closer than they used to be. The Globe is the first image.
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