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Compact vs. Regular Frame; First Bike purchase

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Compact vs. Regular Frame; First Bike purchase

Old 08-29-04, 09:19 PM
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After too many running injuries, I'm looking at taking up cycling. Without going into too much detail, I am looking at a Felt F45 (which is a regular frame), vs. a Specialized Roubaix (compact frame). Which frame style is preferred (or what are their characteristics)? I plan to ride with others, probably will not race, but would want to "keep up" respectably. The Roubaix certainly absorbed shock better on my test ride(and maybe, as a new cyclist, I would like the more upright sitting position), but I'm getting a great deal on the F45 (have not ridden; definitely a lower hand position!). I'm getting advice from some already. What do you folks think? Thanks for the comments.

[My wife really enjoys her Specialized Sequoia! She's a beginner, too, getting into cycling probably a little more leisurely than I intend to. ;-)]
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Old 08-29-04, 09:46 PM
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I don't have much experience with compact frames, but there's a lot of info on these previous discussions:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=compact
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=compact
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=compact
 
Old 08-29-04, 09:57 PM
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the roubaix has i believe elastomers integrated into the carbon fiber parts. carbon fibre itself absorbs high frequency vibrations very well. Add an elastomer to that, and you get an even damper ride. Just to note, K2 uses a huge sheet of elastomer on their skis to reduce chatter and high frequency vibrations that is felt by the skier. this technology works very well as i skied various skis for days on end to compare and has trickled into other skis as well. Rossignol is now using a full VAS (full ski sized elastomer) as opposed to just dual VAS (which was localized between the tip and the ski boot. so...the technology does work to dampen equipment

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Old 08-29-04, 10:50 PM
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I'd go with the traditional frame geometry, but that's just me.
Plus the Felt is a nice bike and a little less common.
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Old 08-30-04, 09:51 AM
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I looked at the Roubaix hard and liked it a lot. I wound up getting a sweet deal on a leftover Klein and went in that direction but it is a compact frame also. I am coming off a 20 year old Cannondale with conventional geometry and I really liked the way both the Klein and the Roubaix fit me.

I am thinking of adding some of the Bar Phat tape and one of their seatposts to my Klein though.
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Old 08-30-04, 11:33 AM
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The real deal is that a compact frame can be made in fewer sizes and still fit the whole range of people. It dosen't make them better or worse than conventional, it is just why it is generally done. It is the marketing dept that comes up with things like "They are stiffer because the main triangle is smaller." They don't throw in the BUT, you now have a foot of seatpost sticking out that negates any stiffness gain.
Just like front wheel drive cars are "better in the snow and rain". The reality is - they are just cheaper to build that way.

The bike needs to fit you properly. And you can get a bike in either geometry that will fit. Ride both and see if you can tell a differance. Or, you may really like the look of one geometry over the other. You can get a great bike either way. I reccomend you do this first to get yourself in the right ballpark size wise.
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

You can then go to the manufacturers web sites and see what size you need to look at. Different manufacturers measure differently, so you may be one size in brand A and a different size in brand B.

Don't trust that the guy at the LBS will put you on the right size bike (until he proves himself). You won't believe the variation in sizes that I was told at different shops, or by different employees of the same shop. You can save yourself a lot of time by having an idea of the size before you go shopping.
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Old 08-30-04, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Avalanche325
The real deal is that a compact frame can be made in fewer sizes and still fit the whole range of people. It dosen't make them better or worse than conventional, it is just why it is generally done. It is the marketing dept that comes up with things like "They are stiffer because the main triangle is smaller." They don't throw in the BUT, you now have a foot of seatpost sticking out that negates any stiffness gain.
I would say the amount of seat post has significantly less to do with bottom bracket stiffness as does the length of the seat tube between the top tube and the bottom bracket. I have no scientific evidence to prove this, but I would expect the compact frame to have increased bottom bracket stiffness over the exact same frame that is not compact. Any thoughts or comments on this?

In summary, buy what you like and what rides the best for you. There are too many factors that make a frame ride and fit the way it does that choosing compact vs. non-compact is really not an issue.
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Old 08-30-04, 03:11 PM
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Yes. Technically the bottom bracket area will be stiffer, assuming that the same construction is used. But, your seatpost will flex a lot more. So, maybe a compact frame would be stiffer while standing and more flexy while seated. I really doubt that there is enough differance for most people to tell.
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