Bicycle Mechanics - evaluating a frame when building a bike from components
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08-22-01, 09:23 AM
There's a non-profit organization in Chicago that periodically sells used fix-it-uppers. Sometime, I would like to go to one of their sales and pick up a bike that's little more than a frame, so that I can build up the bike on my own, using components of my own choosing. What criteria can I use to determine if a frame can be pressed into service as a performance bike? I know I can cheat and look at the brand name, and assume that a Cannondale is better than a Huffy, but I want to delve deeper than just looking at brands.
I know that I don't want a frame with cracks or other serious damage. I know I want a frame that fits my body size. I know that a light-weight but sturdy metal is preferrable. But beyond that, I feel like I don't know what I'm looking for....
First, weight (in absence of stickers) may tell you if it is a good candidate for high-performance usage. Check the frame for stripped/mashed BB and headset openings. Look for dents and cracks. Tie a string from one dropout, loop it around the headtube, then back to the other dropout. If the frame is straight, each string will be equadistant to the seat tube.
That s what I like to read. A person not picky on brands. A bike to simply ride. After all that is what they are made for. Some where down the line many of us concentrate omore on names and looks than riding.
Simply make sure there are no cracks and that all threads are intact. If al lis OK then revive that frame and take it back on the road.
Again, I am very glad to read this post.
08-22-01, 10:10 AM
On no-label bikes, check out the rear dropouts. If they are pressed steel, its a cheapie. If they are investment cast, and look sturdy, then its probably a better quality bike all over.
On lugged frames, look at the BB and fork crowns. You can tell quality investment cast shapes from cheaper, cruder ones.
Watch out for damaged threads in the BB, and over-tightened seat-tube clamp.
I picked up my no-label light-touring road bike from a dealer I know, and he showed me what he looks for at auctions.
08-23-01, 08:38 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.
Of my bikes, one of my favorite is my used Shogun, even though I hadn't even heard of Shogun when I went to the bike sale. So learning to really LOOK at a bike is something I'd like to cultivate as much as I can.
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