The Chainlink

I know my stuff when it comes to keeping my bike rideable. I even know the pros and cons of different style components (usually)... but people seem to go bonkers for a great frame. I only know to care about general weight, durability, and sizing. I guess the dropouts and bottom bracket should be OK, but what is it - really??

I'm not talking about carbon fiber racers here, or the difference of a few grams. It just seems that people seem to shrug at frames I thought were great or jump at ones I assumed were so-so. I often fall for an old school style or funky colors, but that's not right.

So, who can tell me what really makes a frame great?

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Well there are a few considerations to look at; Geometry, Material, Fit, Bling Factor.

Geometry: Some prefer snappy handling frames with a steep headtube angle, to the point where you literally just have to think about what you want to do and the frame will take that line. But those frames can also be a little tiring on a long ride as they require constant attention to where you are going. Apart from that some will prefer a compact frame while others gravitate towards a traditional geometry frame.

Material: There are a ton of resources online about materials, but every material has its advantages and disadvantages.

Fit: Every manufacturer has small differences about how their frames fit people. A Cannondale will fit person A better while a Specialized will be a better fit for person B.

Bling Factor: Let's face it, some manufacturers' frames will turn heads more than the other one. Colnago vs Trek is a good example.

Also there are other considerations to keep in mind. Personally any bike I buy has to have a replaceable rear derailleur hanger and 2 bottle cages. Just personal preference...

-Ali
I can tell you what I look for in a frame.
Appropriate geometry for the intended function of the bike, gender of the client and body fit.
The type of the tubing for the intended function i.e., butted or strait gauge and the tubing's mechanical properties.
The quality of construction i.e., welds, lugs, fillets, finish and paint.
History of the frame or it's lineage i.e., design, builder, company, former rider, paint scheme, etc.
OK - I'm still going to keep asking folks, but officially - the word is out... Little Jody is looking for a frame!

- Small as possible, but not kid sized
- step-through, women-specific, or mixte style
- lightweight as possible w/o being high end snazzy
- more attracted to old school unique funk than shiny new-ness
- building for commuting and being left outside a lot!

What else should be on my requirements list? Did Sheldon Brown leave us any specific pointers in this area??
I don't know a lot about good frames but I do know that you can make an awesome bike out of a crappy frame too!
Frame is one thing on a bike that you don't want to go cheap on. It makes a huge difference in your riding experience as well as safety. Trick to finding a good frame is riding all the ones you can get your hands on and find something that meets your needs...

-Ali

root said:
I don't know a lot about good frames but I do know that you can make an awesome bike out of a crappy frame too!
Jody said:
OK - I'm still going to keep asking folks, but officially - the word is out... Little Jody is looking for a frame!

- Small as possible, but not kid sized
- step-through, women-specific, or mixte style
- lightweight as possible w/o being high end snazzy
- more attracted to old school unique funk than shiny new-ness
- building for commuting and being left outside a lot!

What else should be on my requirements list? Did Sheldon Brown leave us any specific pointers in this area??

http://somafab.com/bvistapix.html
This lil' Miyata mixte might be worth a look:
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/1096445827.html
Sure, I think that a quality frame is a great investment. When I finally sought out an upgradeable, modern frame I didn't really have the cash to drop on anything fancy, and I already knew I'd be spending a lot more on components over the year. So I went with a KHS Flite 100 complete and have made it a customization project since. Well, here I am over a year later still loving the same crappy ol' frame. In fact, I'm having a hard time deciding what to move on to!

Cheapo frames aren't ideal, but I think that for some it can be intimidating to make such a large investment, and for them I say, "Relax. Build out a lesser frame if you want. Most importantly, just have fun."

Ali said:
Frame is one thing on a bike that you don't want to go cheap on. It makes a huge difference in your riding experience as well as safety. Trick to finding a good frame is riding all the ones you can get your hands on and find something that meets your needs...
-Ali root said:
I don't know a lot about good frames but I do know that you can make an awesome bike out of a crappy frame too!
I like my frame to be thick, but most importantly well balanced so that if I want to ride handless and sit back stright up, the bike follows the road, even around turns without losing my balance.

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