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Bicycle Frames

Bicycle frames are among the main bicycle parts. Consequently, special care should be taken to ensure that the bicycle frame you choose fits you perfectly. In doing so, you will not only avoid unnecessary pain but will also be able to enjoy the most that your bike has to offer.

Throughout a bike’s life, many things will be replaced: bicycle chains, bicycle wheels and cables and many bicycle tires and tubes. You may also want to upgrade bike parts to stronger, lighter parts. However, the frame is the one constant in these many changes that most likely will remain.

Attempting to purchase the least expensive frame possible is not in your best interests. I would urge you to make certain, above all, that the frame is the highest quality part of the bike.

Bicycle Frames Materials

The cost of a frame is directly determined by the metal used to construct the frame. Two bicycles may appear similar; they may even be equipped with similar parts. However, the cost of the bikes could differ by thousands of dollars by different metals.

Why use different metals to construct a bike frame? Let’s look at some popular metals used in bicycle manufacturing, as well as their particular benefits:

Aluminum $$ stiff, responsive too stiff
Scandium $$$ very strong, very light too stiff
Steel $ comfortable, absorbs vibration heavy
Carbon Fiber $$$ light, absorbs vibration expensive
Titanium $$$ light, rides like steel, durable less aerodynamic, expensive

Of course, there is a lot of marketing hype that you will be exposed to when purchasing a bike frame. Companies are sometimes unscrupulous in their attempts to coerce you into purchasing their product. The benefits and criticisms listed above are general guidelines. If a particular bike frame fits you perfectly, is within your budget, and is produced by a reputable bicycle manufacturer, then you can ignore all of the seemingly endless marketing hype!

Anatomy of Bicycle Frames

Bicycle Frames

Before dashing off to purchase a bike frame, arm yourself with a basic knowledge of the parts of a bicycle:

Compared to mountain bikes, there is much less variation in the shape of road bike frames. Cyclo-cross bikes and fixed-gear bikes ("fixies") also follow this model. Different mountain bike manufacturers have different ideas concerning the "best" shape of bike frames. Consequently, mountain bike frames offer the most amount of variation. This variation can be exciting in the number of choices the potential buyer has, but also confusing to the novice mountain biker. Rear mountain bike shock are discussed in more detail here.

Choosing Road Bicycle Frames

Because of lesser variation in road racing bicycle frames, choosing the perfect one for you will probably be easier than choosing the right mountain bike frame.

Did you know...?

Bicycle Frames

Did you know that scandium frames contain aluminum as well?

A scandium bicycle frame is made out of an alloy of aluminum and scandium. It has thinner inner tubes and cross-sections than pure aluminum frames because the addition of scandium makes the frame stronger, reducing the need for a thick frame.

The most important thing about frame is that it fits! Although this may seem like common sense, it is surprising how many people inadvertently choose an ill-fitting bike in favor of visual appeal. Such a mistake often proves disastrous.

So how do you know if a road bike fits you? Although you may have the opportunity to purchase a frame by itself, only do this if you are certain of its geometry, and how it fits you when it is fully assembled.

The bicycle frame size chart below shows a general guideline to be used in road bicycle sizing:

Bicycle Frames Size
5'2" - 5'5" 27"- -29" 50- -52 cm
5'4" - 5'7" 28"- -30" 52 - 54 cm
5'6" - 5'9" 29" - 31" 54 - 56 cm
5'8" - 5'11" 30" - 32" 56 - 58 cm
5'10" - 6'1" 31" - 33" 58 - 60 cm
6'0" - 6'3" 32" - 34" 60 - 62 cm
6'2" - 6'5" 34" - 36" 62 - 64 cm

Top tube length can differ substantially between different bicycle manufacturers. As a result, your inseam should be used to determine the general size of the bike, and your arm length should be used to decide between different top tube lengths.

Although perfectly sizing a bike for a rider can be quite a science, here are some other factors to consider when sizing a frame:

  • There should only be a slight bend in the arms when hands are on the brake hoods.
  • There should only be a slight bend in the knees when at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
  • Riding weight should be 60% on the back wheel, and 40% on the front.
  • Fit is not static! Pay close attention to how your body feels when riding.

When choosing a road bike, you will get the best result by conferring with an experienced bike salesman. Try to choose a bike shop that specializes in road bikes to get the most specific information you need.

Choosing Mountain Bicycle Frames

Many of the same principles used to choose the correct frame for road bikes are used to choose bicycle frame size in the case of mountain bikes as well. Here is a simplified bicycle sizing chart that can be used to select the right mountain bike for you:

Bicycle Frames Size
5'3" - 5'7" 27" - 29" 15 - 17 inches
5'7" - 5'11" 29" - 31" 17 - 19 inches
5'11" - 6'2" 31" - 33" 19 - 21 inches
6'2" - 6'4" 33" - 35" 21 - 23 inches

Last Word About Bicycle Frames

Read more about bicycle frames and about bicycle technology. It offers a wide-ranging look at modern and historical bicycles. Again, consulting a qualified bicycle salesman will alleviate any concerns you may have regarding the right bicycle frame size.

Did you know...?

Bicycle Frames

Did you know that manufacturers measure bike sizes differently?

Different manufacturers use different systems to measure the bike size. The size can be measured using the length of the seat tube from the crank to the top of the seat tube where the seat post is inserted. Other manufacturers measure from the crank to the intersection of the seat tube with the top tube. It is recommended that you consult a specialized bicycle store salesman to get the right measurements.

Where to Buy Bicycle Frames?

If you are interested in buying bicycle frames you can buy them in one of these trusted online stores:

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