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I am curious if someone can refer me to a link or a thread to learn more about what to look for and what not to look for on a bike.I know very little about important things like quality tubing and things of that nature.I tried looking around in the components wrenching section but I didn't understand if they were speaking english or some other language.Just trying to learn more about bikes other than pedaling since I've got that skill down :thumbsup:


Thanks

Jos
 

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Generally, there are three manufacturers that make "drive train" components for bikes. All three make super-high race quality components, down to entry-level (some more entry-level than others). Below I listed the order for each from highest to lowest price. The further down the list the less you'll pay for a bike.

Beyond this there are many manufacturers that make specific components that may be substituted for any of these. In particular with cranks, you'll often see a different brand substituted in for a multitude of reasons. But if you look at a bike you can kind of judge it by the components - it will either be mostly Tiagra, or it could be a mix of Tiagra and 105 (for instance). Since 105 is a more expensive group, either the price of the bike will be more, or another component has been downgraded to offset the cost of the 105.

Shimano: Dura Ace >> Ultegra >> 105 >> Tiogra >> Sora

SRAM: Red >> Force >> Rival

Campagnolo: Super Record >> Record >> Chorus >> Athena >> Centaur >> Veloce


Tubing is harder to explain because every company's marketing department makes up names to differentiate it's tube sets from other companies. There's no standard to any of the naming, and the names can be misleading.

Generally frame come in either carbon fiber, aluminum, or steel. All three can be used to make great bikes. Each has their strong points and each their weaknesses - none is particularly better than the other. Instead of trying to learn all of the differences, it's better to concentrate on how a particular bike rides and if you're comfortable on it. Pick the bike that you want based on how it feels when you ride it.
 

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laffeaux said:
Tubing is harder to explain because every company's marketing department makes up names to differentiate it's tube sets from other companies. There's no standard to any of the naming, and the names can be misleading.

Can't you judge the frames quality by the welds (on metal frames), the weave (on carbon fiber), and the quality of the material used ex: 6061 Aluminum, etc...? Shouldn't the manufacturer have some type of label on the bike of the material used, or at least have it printed somewhere in a specs list that you can look up? If they do print the material, there has to be superior materials and inferior ones.

Just a guess here, feel free to call me an idiot if I am wrong.
 

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Nick09 said:
Can't you judge the frames quality by the welds (on metal frames), the weave (on carbon fiber), and the quality of the material used ex: 6061 Aluminum, etc...? Shouldn't the manufacturer have some type of label on the bike of the material used, or at least have it printed somewhere in a specs list that you can look up? If they do print the material, there has to be superior materials and inferior ones.

Just a guess here, feel free to call me an idiot if I am wrong.
It's not impossible to compares frame, but it's difficult. For instance, according to their respective web sites, Giant's top of the line road bike is made from "Advanced SL-Grade Composite" and Trek's is made from "OCLV2 SSL Carbon." Which is better?

What's better double butted 6061 aluminum, double butted 7000-series aluminum, or Scandium (which is not actually made from Scandium, but is another alloy of aluminum)? How is a newbie who didn't take a materials science class supposed to know which is better for them and why?

Was your aluminum bike heat treated, if so for how long and at what temperature? What was the temperature of the torch that welded it? What does a good weld look like? Can you still tell if the weld was good if it's been sanded down (like Cannondale does)?

Someone new to the sport, or most people that have ridden for years, can't really know most of what makes a frame good or bad. There's a lot of trust put in the person/company that built it - you trust that they picked the right materials and used them correctly, because as a consumer it's nearly impossible to really know.
 

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Calling it

Nick09 said:
Can't you judge the frames quality by the welds (on metal frames), the weave (on carbon fiber), and the quality of the material used ex: 6061 Aluminum, etc...? Shouldn't the manufacturer have some type of label on the bike of the material used, or at least have it printed somewhere in a specs list that you can look up? If they do print the material, there has to be superior materials and inferior ones.

Just a guess here, feel free to call me an idiot if I am wrong.
Are you a certified welding expert who can see through paint to determine weld quality without an x-ray machine? Or are you someone who can see through paint and see whether a weld has been ground down? Are you someone who can just look at a weld (through paint) and say "that's a great weld" or "that's a crap weld"? If yes to these questions, then judge the frames.

As for CF frames, you should know that the weave you see is most often purely cosmetic, and even if it weren't, there's a lot of material under that outer surface that you can see. You can't see how the tubes were joined, how the layup was done, what fibers were used, etc. If you somehow have the ability to see this stuff either through the paint or through the outer layers of the composite, then judge the frames.

As for Al frames (or steel or Ti) can you read the specification sheet and tell how the tubes were shaped and butted? Can you (as above) see the weld quality on visual inspection? Can you see how well the tubes were mitered before the frame was assembled? Again, if yest to these questions, then judge the frames.
 

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Didn't know that about Carbon frames. Good to know.

I do not have x-ray vision unfortunately, but I always hear people talking about the welds. Didn't know if it meant anything or not.

As for the materials science classes, who needs an edumacation when Google has all the answers. Just search Aluminum Grades... Though, you may run into a problem when companies put their own names on it (i.e. Advanced SL-Grade Composite" and "OCLV2 SSL Carbon.)

http://www.google.com/search?source...q=aluminum+grades&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

I am curious now... Are there different grades of carbon fibre??? I assume there would be, just like metals, but then again, something like fibreglass just as different weights, not really that much quality difference... maybe a little, but from my searches, just different weights and weaves... Maybe different weaves are better/stronger than others?
 
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