By definition, a compact frame provides for greater stiffness to weight ratio, and thus, increased stroke response and acceleration. This bike was designed to blast over climbs like a rocket and dart through the peloton like a hummingbird. Whether you are a dedicated racer or a more casual cyclist, you will appreciate the strength and agility of this frame.
-The XLCompact is new for 2002
-The super-light weight of this compact design is shaved even more by using Merlin MTS size-specific 3Al-2.5V double-butted tubing
-Merlin's 1 1/8" integrated headset design allows for easy maintenance
-Drivetrain power transfer is enhanced by large diameter 7/8" butted V-bend chainstays
-Lightweight and strong hourglass seatstays counter the stiffness of the compact design and absorb rear shock for riding comfort
a Cross Country Rider
from Los Angeles, CA
Date Reviewed: October 27, 2003
Strengths: Rigid responsive rocket. The sloping top tube creates a tight compartment that provides instant acceleration.
Weaknesses: None other than the typical decal on titanium issues (will crack in time)
I primarily ride a soft tail and a FS MTB but have Road bikes for training. The road bikes have been Italian with the standard parallel top tube and stell and more recently carbon. I had a Litespeed Ultimate that was comfortbale but I did cause flexing in the BB as I'm a large rider. When I went with the XLC I could not believe the ride. For climbing, it provides the same type of clearance you love on your MTB. The tracking is neutral as you lean into turns and it sticks like glue. The power transfer to the rear wheel is immediate. This whole set-up rocks. Best of all, the compact frame makes it very easy to pack when travelling. Merlin dropped the XLC and created the Magia as an upgrade with engaved headtube, etc. Basically the same bike but some additional detail work. The S-bend stays absorb road shock very well (but do go with the carbon post). Bottom line: if I had bought this bike years ago it would have been my only road bike.......