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What makes a frame "a good frame"?
#1
Hi, I have been looking at getting a new mountain bike and don’t know what to look for in the frame. Doe’s the alloy of the material or the process used to form and join the frame really make much of a differences?

What’s all this "Fully butted A1 Premium Aluminum frame with double ORE", 6061, 6060 t6, hydroformed butted double butted, CNC headtube and etcetera etcetera etcetera.

And why are some bikes really crap components compared to others the same price? Also are all frames of bikes under £500 are so made in china?
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#2
There are more bicycles made in Dongguan Province than all of the rest of the world combined.

Butted means the tube is thinner in the middle, and thicker at the ends where it needs the strength. On tubes, the butting is on the inside. Take a look at a butted spoke, which has this on the outside.

Hydrofoming is a technique using a hard tool on one side, and some sort of liquid to push the metal into or around the form.

6061, 6060, etc are aluminum alloys.

T6 is a heat treatment process.

For me, the most important characteristics of a bike frame are:

1. geometry that suits me.
2. stiffness.
3. strength.

I only ride on pavement, and prefer chrome-moly frames.
Nigel
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#3
A lot of the stuff listed about frames is marketing gobbledy gook, but there are some real differences. Butted tubes are lighter than non-butted and have better ride quality. Double butted is better than single butted. How the tubes are formed or joined is probably not so important as any decent frame will be built with sufficient quality.

If you're looking at two bikes of similar price and one has much better components, it probably has something else much lower quality (wheels, frame, etc.) Most bikes are sold with pretty similar (and small) profit margins, so if they use more expensive stuff in one place, they use something cheap somewhere else. Unless the shop can give you a good explanation of why one bike seems like a better deal (last year's model, etc.) beware cheap bikes with a handful of expensive parts thrown on.

In general, it's usually better to buy something with a decent frame and wheels, even if the parts are a step down. You will probably end up replacing some drive train components, brakes, etc. anyway as you ride more and it's a lot cheaper to upgrade the small parts than the frame.

Anything below top price is probably going to be made in china, but that's fine. Chinese made bikes are generally as good quality as anywhere else with the caveat that you get what you pay for. a cheapo bike is a cheapo bike no matter where it's made.

As nfmisso says, fit is a big deal. Take the time to try a couple bikes. If one seems to fit better than others, don't overlook that because of a fancy derailleur.

Finally, try to find a shop or salesman who is willing to spend time with you and isn't pressuring you to buy something today or the bike he first pulled off the rack. Good salespeople really are knowledgeable and will steer you right, others will just sell you whatever they are getting a bonus on that week. And a shop you like will be there for you as you need adjustments, upgrades, advice, etc.
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#4
thanks for the answers, what frame geometry should i be looking for on a mountain bike im planning to do long rides on?

i was looking at a bike that says it has "racing frame geometry" what difference does that make?
  Reply
#5
(03-02-2011, 04:46 PM)Darrenjs92ni Wrote:  .....what frame geometry should i be looking for on a mountain bike im planning to do long rides on?
.......
one that fits you. You should feel comfortable and relaxed while riding.
Nigel
  Reply


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