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Old 01-14-14, 06:58 PM   #1
lesscan
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How to rate Components

First off, let me apologize if this has already been discussed or if this is not the correct forum to post this question.
I did a few searches and didnt see anything like it so maybe the community can help me out.


With all the different bikes and components out there, how do you know what is good and what is crap?
Is there some sort of component rating system that tells you A is better than B but not as good as C?
Is there a list that ranks components from 1 to 10? Components like cassettes, levers, derailleurs, etc.

Any help is appreciated in understanding this better.
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Old 01-14-14, 07:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesscan View Post
F


...With all the different bikes and components out there, how do you know what is good and what is crap?
Is there some sort of component rating system that tells you A is better than B but not as good as C?
.
There is no way to effectively rate components, and if there were it would be loaded with opinion and personal bias. It's somewhat safe to say that within each manufacturer's product line, more expensive implies better, but this may not hold if we consider fitness for purpose. After all nobody would argue that a Ferrari is a better vehicle than a Ford F-150 pickup ---unless you need to haul a bunch of plywood.

There there' will be endless debate whether at a given price point, Shimano, Campagnolo, or Sram is superior.

So don't expect any clear rating system or answers, though there may be some consensus on where the line is at the bottom end of the lines where stuff simply doesn't hold up to every day use.

Also as a general rule, there's lot's of compression at the top, where each quality step becomes much more expensive. For this reason many experienced riders buy the B or C level stuff, getting 95% of the quality of the A stuff t about half the cost.
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Old 01-14-14, 07:59 PM   #3
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Price .

but you can over buy for your real needs ..
. seeking Best when it is more bells and whistles than required..

Now, winter is a good time to get Bike shop workers time ,
for a Q&A as the winter after Xmas is slow.


Quote:
There there' will be endless debate whether at a given price point, Shimano, Campagnolo, or Sram is superior.
Like whats the best car, truck or lunch menu..

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Old 01-14-14, 08:05 PM   #4
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but you can over buy for your real needs .
Oh yes!
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Old 01-14-14, 08:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by lesscan View Post
First off, let me apologize if this has already been discussed or if this is not the correct forum to post this question.
I did a few searches and didnt see anything like it so maybe the community can help me out.


With all the different bikes and components out there, how do you know what is good and what is crap?
Is there some sort of component rating system that tells you A is better than B but not as good as C?
Is there a list that ranks components from 1 to 10? Components like cassettes, levers, derailleurs, etc.
I like FBinNY's great answer.

In addition: you'll just want to develop a nose for quality and price-performance - just like shopping for anything else. The more you ride, and the more you try different gear, the more you get your quality sense tuned.
Other than that, it's kind of just guesswork so educate yourself and take educated guesses. Go with what works.
Don't forget to have fun!

When I bought my first road bike, I started really low-cost: craigslist, an outlay of just $500, a nice Cannondale about 10 years old or less.
My next purchase was a new road bike of about $2000 with 105 groupset.
And I just kept getting smarter about bike gear shopping - budgets, used vs new, compatibility, expected longevity.
I plan to replace each bike every 8 years so buy just enough of the right gear to make that horizon effectively. And I have 2 main road bikes in the rotation.
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Old 01-14-14, 08:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lesscan View Post
. . .
With all the different bikes and components out there, how do you know what is good and what is crap?
Is there some sort of component rating system that tells you A is better than B but not as good as C?
Is there a list that ranks components from 1 to 10? Components like cassettes, levers, derailleurs, etc . . .
Define "good."
Define "crap."
Define "better."
Define "not as good as."
After that, it gets easy.
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Old 01-14-14, 08:33 PM   #7
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The "big 3" (Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo) all make excellent full line products, i.e. you can completely equip a bike within one manufacturer's products with a couple of minor exceptions (e.g. Shimano no longer makes headsets). With each maker's product lines, more expensive generally means lighter, prettier, more exotic materials, and to some extent, more durable but that flattens out above the mid-lines.
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Old 01-14-14, 10:36 PM   #8
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OK, but I guess what Im asking is, if I want to buy a brand new bike, or help a friend buy a new bike, say for $700 and the parts are all Shimano. How do I know the Shimano parts are any different than the Shimano parts on the Schwinn at Target?

What if I look at 2 similar bikes but they each have different Shimano parts. How do I tell which is of better quality than the other?

What makes 105 better quality than Tiagra and what makes Tiagra better than 2300? Or is it?
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Old 01-14-14, 10:48 PM   #9
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OK, but I guess what Im asking is, if I want to buy a brand new bike, or help a friend buy a new bike, say for $700 and the parts are all Shimano. How do I know the Shimano parts are any different than the Shimano parts on the Schwinn at Target?

What if I look at 2 similar bikes but they each have different Shimano parts. How do I tell which is of better quality than the other?

What makes 105 better quality than Tiagra and what makes Tiagra better than 2300? Or is it?
To compare Shimano to Shimano, go to their site and see the groups ranked top to bottom. Or you can compare the groups among comparable bikes. For example if one $700 bike has the same component group that you generally see on $900 biks, that could be a good sign. Or there might be trade offs elsewhere, like the wheels, saddle, or whatever.

As to what makes components better. Near the bottom, things like more rigidity and reliability, and better ability to retain adjustments. More money also means lighter parts, and as you near the top of the line, the differences become narrow and more about weight and cosmetics.

That's the 10 cent lesson. For more you have to do some shopping and reviewing what;s out there and what $X.XX dollars will buy.
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Old 01-14-14, 11:04 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help.
Would you say these rankings are accurate?

https://circlecitybicycles.com/bikecomp.htm
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Old 01-14-14, 11:06 PM   #11
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A Shimano 105X brake caliper on a trek/specialized/can'o'ale or schwinn/next is the same thing, made next to the others on the same line.

You can go to Shimano's site (or any other brand's, do the homework) and see the ranking of grade/model easily enough. As the costs gets greater the material/finishing/manufacturing tolerances get better. (But a parallel narrowing of the performance/versatility also happens).

But not mentioned yet is the assembly/build/tuning of the bike, or the matching of a bike's abilities with the rider's needs. The importance of the fit comes into play early on. But the OP's question, like so many others, doesn't really seek these qualities out.

A good analogy might be a book. It's not the paper or the font that the words are reproduced on/with that matters. But it's the plot/character development/story that is so much more important. Andy.
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Old 01-14-14, 11:11 PM   #12
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look at what the components are made of: plastic, steel, aluminium, carbon fiber
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Old 01-15-14, 12:03 AM   #13
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OK, but I guess what Im asking is, if I want to buy a brand new bike, or help a friend buy a new bike, say for $700 and the parts are all Shimano. How do I know the Shimano parts are any different than the Shimano parts on the Schwinn at Target?
In terms of the Target bike, the visible parts may be the same, but the invisible parts (headset, bottom bracket, seatpost, pedals, etc.) may be of vastly different quality. Also, when comparing department store bikes to bike shop bikes, remember that you'll be getting a dedicated professional to talk to and to service your bike, whereas at Target you might find a salesperson... maybe.
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Old 01-15-14, 05:54 AM   #14
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What makes 105 better quality than Tiagra and what makes Tiagra better than 2300? Or is it?
They are each engineered for a purpose and a price point. Here is what Shimano says about each of them:

Quote:
Shimano 105 makes "pro-level" technology more accessible to part time racers and fitness enthusiasts. The Shimano 105 concept of "Smooth, Round and Natural" is consistently demonstrated in every component, giving its user a sense of satisfaction, pleasure and fulfillment.
Quote:
TIAGRA offers advanced functions for sport and fitness riders, completely reengineered and remastered with a more refined, more ergonomic design. TIAGRA shares our top groups' engineering lineage, but has its own unique identity, offering greatly enhanced feel and sleek design that's backed by a new level of performance.
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The Shimano 2200 components are great for road-sport bikes with flat handlebars or drops handlebars. These 8-speed componets carry the Shimano logo and are compatible with the Sora group.
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Old 01-15-14, 06:16 AM   #15
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At the $700 price level, you'll have to look at off brands (like at Performance Bike) with aluminum frames and lesser wheels, cranks, and brake calipers. They'll all be functional and will last with proper adjustment. Have the shop assist you with size selection and fitting, paying particular attention to how the bike and your body feel when riding for longer periods of time (over an hour). If the bike fits, that's the most important thing. Consider this first bike a gateway to higher quality and more addictive drugs, I mean bikes.

Don't allow the shop to upsell you to beyond your budget. Find another shop until you can afford what you need.

Alternatively, if you can save an additional $500 to $600 to apply to this purchase, you can move to pretty decent entry level bikes (~$1200-1300)...or can afford the luxury of brand named frames.
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Old 01-15-14, 07:34 AM   #16
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Here's a very good general rule: NEVER buy a bicycle from Target, Walmart or similar stores. As Jeff Wills said, even if the visible components are the same (and they probably aren't) the things you can't see will be vastly inferior and poorly assembled by whoever was in the stockroom that day. The will also know nothing about sizing or adjusting the bike to fit you.

Also avoid BikesDirect. They have good prices on well equipped bikes but they are do-it-yourself assembly kits and not something the new and inexperienced owner should tackle.

Now, not all bike shops are the same so ask around and find out which of you local shops has a good reputation for service and customer treatment. Buy there. Your $700 price point is sufficient to get good reliable components on a decent frame.
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Old 01-15-14, 07:39 AM   #17
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I really appreciate all the help guys I really do, But Im only asking about the components.
Its the one thing about bikes that I need to really learn.
I know $700 is not alot of money, I know not to buy from Target and I know that my LBS or LPB is the best place to go. And I know $700 at my LBS will get me a tire..... maybe!
I just bought a Fuji Roubaix at PB in Nov. So when I look at other bikes and compare them to mine, all I really look at is the design of the bike.

I just need to educate myself on components and what makes them quality and like Jeff Wills said, the invisible parts.

2 friends now have asked me for help in buying a bike and I refer them to "my guy" at PB.
Thats all well and good, but I want to have that knowledge where I can answer the questions and not refer him to the "pro".

Thanks again for all the comments.
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Old 01-15-14, 07:51 AM   #18
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. And I know $700 at my LBS will get me a tire..... maybe!
I just bought a Fuji Roubaix at PB in Nov. So when I look at other bikes and compare them to mine, all I really look at is the design of the bike.

I just need to educate myself on components and what makes them quality and like Jeff Wills said, the invisible parts.
If $700 only gets you a tire, you certainly need a different shop!!

Fuji bikes are fine and they are Performance's "name brand" as apart from their house brand bikes. Since you can't disassemble a showroom bike to see the hidden items all you can go on is the brand's reputation and, to some extent, the price point. You will do well to take you friend back to Performance.
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Old 01-15-14, 08:13 AM   #19
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The best way to learn about components is to ride them and to service them. It's taken me decades to recognize what's working and what isn't with bike components. And I can only comment on the ones that i have personally used, have maintained, or have diagnosed and adjusted/repaired for others. And in 40 years, I haven't touched a fifth of what's out there...

Maybe what you can do for your friends is to say, "well, my Roubaix has ... components and I find that they ...." "For my next purchase, I think that I would be looking for ..., because my current bike doesn't..." or "Let's ask the salesperson at PB, maybe they'll be able to shed a little more light..."

The other thing that you can do would be to ask about a specific component for a specific use, here on Bike Forums. At least you'll get an experienced member sharing what they've learned through practice.

Learning about parts in the abstract won't be as helpful to you or your friends as you may imaging now. Learn by doing.
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Old 01-15-14, 08:47 AM   #20
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Learning about parts in the abstract won't be as helpful to you or your friends as you may imaging now. Learn by doing.

Thank you! That is helpful to know and pretty much what I suspected.

My 2nd friend asked me about a MTB and my first response, knowing his budget was Fuji or Diamondback.
When I asked my PB guy he confirmed Fuji. Fuji Absolute to be exact. So then my next question was "Why?" Why is the Fuji better than the Diamondback when they are nearly the same price. Now I didnt ask him because we were texting and I didnt have time, but I might still. But I also wanted to get some opinions from here too.

Heres the 2 I looked at and suggested to my friend. (By name alone)
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Old 01-15-14, 09:01 AM   #21
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NEVERRRRRR be afraid to ask "WHY". !!!!!

That is exactly what they are getting paid to do!
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Old 01-15-14, 09:13 AM   #22
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NEVERRRRRR be afraid to ask "WHY". !!!!!

That is exactly what they are getting paid to do!

No, I know, but like I said, it was in a text and he wasnt working so I didnt wanna take up too much of his time.
But if/when I see him this Friday with my friend, I will ask why.

Why Damnit Why?!
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Old 01-15-14, 09:20 AM   #23
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Thanks for the help.
Would you say these rankings are accurate?

https://circlecitybicycles.com/bikecomp.htm

Yes, as a general ranking system but see all the previous responses in this thread.
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Old 01-15-14, 09:40 AM   #24
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When I asked my PB guy he confirmed Fuji. Fuji Absolute to be exact. So then my next question was "Why?" Why is the Fuji better than the Diamondback when they are nearly the same price.
Two possible reasons:

1. The Fuji is better equipped than the Diamondback for the same money.
2. Performance has a better margin on Fuji than Diamondback.
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Old 01-15-14, 09:48 AM   #25
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The best of those two, depends on his usage, fit, likes, and style.

They are two completely different bikes.................
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