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You have to ride them to really tell..more depends on the shape and size of tubing. I test rode a compact and traditional. The compact frame that was on sale was too small for me. I went with a traditional but it was the way the bike rode that swayed me..
 

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PaulRivers said:
Hey Blackhat, I know it's tough getting teased by the other 4th graders about your bike every day, but I promise once you get to ride with the big boys no one will care. :D

nyuk nyuk. I was paraphrasing Lance™ fwiw. IIRC, he had a bit of a problem with the sloping tt'ed madones-labeling them "girl's bikes". He's my hero, he's super awesome.
 

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If you're a non-racer then it's really not going to make a dime's worth of difference when it comes to performance. Many cyclists including myself do find compact frames to be stiffer and fit better than traditional frames. I would choose the one that looks better to you. For me, compact frames just looks sleeker and contemporary and sporty while traditional frames look like boxy sedans. But that's just me.
 

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Biker Bear said:
If you're a non-racer then it's really not going to make a dime's worth of difference when it comes to performance. Many cyclists including myself do find compact frames to be stiffer and fit better than traditional frames. I would choose the one that looks better to you. For me, compact frames just looks sleeker and contemporary and sporty while traditional frames look like boxy sedans. But that's just me.
Interesting take. Aesthetic preferences aside, a 'compact' bike WILL NOT be stiffer as a result of being a compact. If that had any way to be true, they'd make the main triangle just big enough to clear the FD. Now, there is nominally less material in a compact, and if they took some of that extra material to add other places, it might be stiffer as a result.

I find it interesting that so many seem to believe that compact bikes fit better. I guess all previous generations of cyclists didn't have bikes that fit... Or maybe, today's cyclists have spent too much time listening to the babysitters at the CPSC, and fell for the belief that there needed to be a half-mile between crotch and top tube.

Once upon a time, a bike that you could stand over flat-footed was suspected of being too small, unless it was a touring frame. Really, that's neither here nor there, other than to say that there is no need whatever for any standover. (hint: bikes lean.) But the point is that all a 'compact' does to geometry is lower the point at which the top tube intersects the seat tube. Doesn't change the way a bike 'fits' at all.

Unfortunately, many compact designs are only offered in a limited range of sizes, and as a result offer fewer chances to acheive a correct fit. Sure, you can find a stem and a seatpost that'll make things sorta work... but there's a reason that old-school makers offered single-centimeter sizes, and custom bikes are so common these days. Fit is fit, and is entirely dependent on the individual bike-body combination. Compacts don't fit better or worse.

Bottom line, there's no inherent advantage or disadvantage to either design, other than that a compact can be made a few grams lighter. Practically speaking, that's not for much more than bragging rights, but some folks find it terribly important.

I always preferred traditional aesthetics, but I'm warming to some of the more reasonable compacts. 6 deg of slope is about as much as i like.
 

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I have a bike w/ traditional geometry, one with very little tt slope, and a full-on compact.

This probably has more to do with the various angles, but the compact feels the twitchiest, and is my favorite bike for routes with lots of climbing. It ('03 Orbea) "feels" much lighter than my '06 Look 585, especially when I'm out of the saddle.
 

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depends on the bike for me. .

Biker Bear said:
For me, compact frames just looks sleeker and contemporary and sporty while traditional frames look like boxy sedans. But that's just me.
My Colnago C50 was traditional as IMO it's a classic and looks silly in any other forum, but my 2008 Wilier Le Roi is sloping. It's not compact like the Cento.
 
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