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n00b question regarding quality frames

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n00b question regarding quality frames

Old 02-24-06, 10:18 AM
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Theresadog
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n00b question regarding quality frames

Hello all, my question refers to a common statement that I read in these forums all the time..."Buy the frame, not the components." How does someone just getting into it know how to spot a great frame from a decent frame to a crap frame? Does one just assume that generally $$$ = better? As a relatively new cyclist that is looking to get into road bikes soon (my current ride is a Trek 7500FX), what should I be looking for? What are some telltale signs that a frame is "good"?
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Old 02-24-06, 10:45 AM
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Idunno445
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As far as frame quality goes, I think any well-known/reputable company makes a frame that's not gonna break or something on you. In fact, I've heard that a lot of the companies have their frames made in the same factories....

I think what people mean when they say "Buy the frame, not the components" is to buy the frame that feels best to you. For example, I rode the Specialized Roubaix, a very nice bike, and the frame and geometry felt good to me. But the Lemond spine bikes felt better so I opted for the Zurich. When you're buying a bike, don't worry about the components on the bike, those can be upgraded at some point (though admittedly at a higher price). The geometry and feel of the frame is the heart of the bike and should be your top priority in bike shopping. That said, if you can get the best feeling frame with the components that you want on it, that's just icing on the cake.

WHen you do start looking at bikes, find a good bike shop, and ride as many bikes as you can and choose what feels best.

That's my .02 on that matter.... Have a good one.

Nick
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Old 02-24-06, 11:28 AM
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MichaelW
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The qualities you need in a frame are
Correct fit for you.
Appropriate steering geometry/design (avoiding toe-clip overlap)
Sufficient strength/stiffness for your style of riding.
Well aligned, faced and tapped.
Neat joins.

Most big brand frames at the mid-level are plenty good enough.
Alignment of the frame can be poor even in expensive frames.

There is some good reading at
http://www.torelli.com/tech/techinfo.shtml
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Old 02-24-06, 11:36 AM
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What Idunno said. Go check out a lot of bikes at various shops and test ride them. Make sure the shop guys get you decently fitted to the bike and don't just have you hop on and go out the door. If the fit isn't right; you won't be comfortable, you can have feet, back, shoulder/neck problems, and you won't ride the bike.

I had never heard of Orbea before I bought mine but it felt better than the other bikes I had ridden. And I didn't know the difference between Ultegra or Sora, double vs. compact, nothing. Didn't matter.

With a brand like Trek, you can get the same frame in good, better, and best component grades. If you were looking at the 1000, the 1200 and 1500's are the same frame with better components. Get the best component group you can afford while still leaving room for shoes/pedals, extra tires, tubes, etc.

What bikes have you been considering?

btw, I like that Trek 7500 FX; thinking about getting one as a beer run bike.
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Old 02-24-06, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bbattle

What bikes have you been considering?
My "short list" includes:

Cannondale R700
Specialized Allez Sport
Bianchi Forza
Giant OCR2
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Old 02-24-06, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Theresadog
Hello all, my question refers to a common statement that I read in these forums all the time..."Buy the frame, not the components." How does someone just getting into it know how to spot a great frame from a decent frame to a crap frame? Does one just assume that generally $$$ = better? As a relatively new cyclist that is looking to get into road bikes soon (my current ride is a Trek 7500FX), what should I be looking for? What are some telltale signs that a frame is "good"?
You can't - it takes a couple months to digest what you read here.
Can I tell what a good watch is? [I have no clue about watches] - so homework must be done to appraise things

For the most part - in life, you get what you pay for.
That being said - an entry level C'Dale CAAD's have the same frame as the higher ends..
A lot of companies make a handful of frames and then spec them differently according to price point.
Look for this trend and see if you can score a good frame - and not having to pay for race bits you don't necessarily need....

What exactly do you want on your ride?
A generic response:
Shimano Tiagra/Campagnolo Mirage is a good starting point for components.
A good set of wheels - not race - but reliable. [ie. Mavic Open Pro's with choice hubs]
A DAMN good fit. I've been riding for almost a year - and I still second guess my fittings...

The frame is really up to you - just get one that makes you want to ride the bike.
I'm a superficial basstard - so I choose my frames solely on shape, colour, & overall appeal.

A decent indicator of what a "good" frame is - material, company reputation & popularity in our community.

Material - Aluminium/Steel/Carbon/Titanium/Bamboo/Scandium are probably materials you want on your frame...
Company Reputation - check the websites - see if you can read through marketing BS.
In this forum some popular brands

Trek
Specialized
Cannondale
Giant

Give time for yourself to buy this - you only get so many chances..

Good Luck!
-simplyred
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Old 02-24-06, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Theresadog
Hello all, my question refers to a common statement that I read in these forums all the time..."Buy the frame, not the components." How does someone just getting into it know how to spot a great frame from a decent frame to a crap frame? Does one just assume that generally $$$ = better? As a relatively new cyclist that is looking to get into road bikes soon (my current ride is a Trek 7500FX), what should I be looking for? What are some telltale signs that a frame is "good"?
There is really no answer to this question. While almost all of the name companies build good bikes, they are all slightly different. Most of these differences are so subtle that there is no way a person without some experience on a road bike is going to be able to fully appreciate them. Alot of it is totally subjective. I am much more willing to take one of my bikes deeper into a curve than the other one, even though there is only a few millimeters difference in the geometry of one from the other. Some people even insist that my belief that my steel bike has a more comfortable ride than my aluminum bike is all in my head. Some of the differences you feel may not even be from the frame, but components like a stiffer bottom bracket, bigger tires or lighter wheels.
My advise is to get a bike that fits but don't spend alot of money on a bike until you know what you want. This will probably be after you have but about a hundred hours on your bike. At that point, you will probably be able to have a meaningful test ride.
Unless you buy a bike from Wallyworld or some other discounter, the odds are that your frame isn't going to break unless you have a serious accident. If it does, they all have warranties, most of them for as long as you own the frame.
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