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Component Quality

Old 10-06-09, 04:57 PM
  #1  
steve0257
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Component Quality

Tried to post this in general, but for some reason I can't start a thread there.

When asking about bikes to purchase people are told to look for quality components. How do I tell if the components are any good or not? Brand? Price? Anything as long as it's not big box? Where do I get the secret decoder ring to know the component quality?
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Old 10-06-09, 05:18 PM
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Niles H.
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Originally Posted by steve0257 View Post
Tried to post this in general, but for some reason I can't start a thread there.

When asking about bikes to purchase people are told to look for quality components. How do I tell if the components are any good or not? Brand? Price? Anything as long as it's not big box? Where do I get the secret decoder ring to know the component quality?
One approach would be to make lists.

You could ask around, here and on other forums, and determine where the cutoff points are. You could do this with each component. It may seem as if there are a lot of them, but it isn't that bad. Upper mid-range Shimano components tend to be good quality and a good value.

There are some no-name items that are fine. There used to be some twenty-dollar headsets, for example, that were quite durable.

In general, though, cheap department store bikes have significantly poorer-quality components.

Some people are fanatics about name and status. You can pay through the nose for components that are no better (or only marginally or insignificantly better) than some much lower priced items.

If you look at the components that are chosen by good, reliable, experienced companies, on their better bikes (and also on their cheaper bikes, and their best bikes), you can get a sense of what is going on. If you look at spec sheets you can find these things, online or in catalogs.

There is often some point of diminishing returns -- past a certain point, you can pay a lot more for very little real gain in quality. And sometimes you are just paying for a few grams of weight difference (which sometimes goes with a lower level of durability or reliability), or for the status and name.
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Old 10-06-09, 05:30 PM
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What do you have in mind ? used... new .. contemporary ?
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Old 10-06-09, 05:37 PM
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First, figure out what kind of bicycle you want and how much you want to spend.

For road and touring bikes, $800-$1200 is a good approximate starting point. You'll get decent quality stuff.

There are three basic groups of parts that you have to look at: 1) the frame, 2) the drive train (deraillers/shifters), 3) the wheels/hubs. But this information won't be useful to you without knowing what kind of bike you are looking for and how much you want to spend!
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Old 10-06-09, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
First, figure out what kind of bicycle you want and how much you want to spend.

For road and touring bikes, $800-$1200 is a good approximate starting point. You'll get decent quality stuff.
You from NY njkayaker or N. NJ ?
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Old 10-06-09, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
First, figure out what kind of bicycle you want and how much you want to spend.
I'm looking for a tour road bike at around $1000. Not a go fast bike, but one designed to be comfortable and stable. I'm pretty adamant that I'll purchase from a LBS and after dropping the ones that told me what I wanted instead of asking me I'll be looking at Raleigh, Diamondback, Specialized, and Bianchi (all from the same shop). Probably the Raleigh Sojourn although the LBS said I might want to look at the Clubman.

I'm also fixing up and old Schwinn World Traveler from the early 70s(Panasonic?) because I find the frame really comfortable.
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Old 10-06-09, 10:11 PM
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All those bikes will likely have basically the same quality level of components. Almost certainly Shimano mid level, the most bang for the buck. Choose the bike with the most comfortable geometry. Then after you've ridden it for a while, change what you don't like. That's normal.

A bicycle designed for loaded touring should minimally have 36 spoke heavy duty rims, mid ratio gearing, 3 water btl cages, drop outs for racks and fenders, and clearance for at least 35 mm tires. Otherwise, it's something less than a tourer.
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Old 10-07-09, 01:50 AM
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IMHO- "Component Quality" has many facets, often depending upon how & where the component is going to be used. Probably most touring bikes have shimano or sram drive trains- among drive train components something in the LX or X.7 seen to provide a good balance between service and cost. Build quality is an important element. A carefully built wheel with LX hub and alex rim is probably going to provide better service than a poorly built wheel with XT hub and mavic A719 rim, the XT/mavic are generally considered better quality components. Last spring my teenage son and I got exactly the same $30 stem on our bikes- he had grown some since his bike's set up, I wanted a slightly different handlebar position. He is pretty much a recreational cyclist, I more of a utility cyclist. So he rides his bike on nice days and then hangs it up in the shed. I let the rain wash my bike. So by july the bolts on my stem were showing rust, his looked fine. non-stainless bolts were fine quality for him, not for me. the item's "level", build and application are all components of quality.
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