That seems obvious, but the frame is the most overlooked part when considering a new bicycle! It is the least researched by the consumer, the least talked about by the magazines making it the most difficult part of the bicycle to research. So what should be considered when looking for a new bicycle?
- The RIDE! -
The frame not only holds all the parts together, but it has the single greatest influence on the ride. when you consider a new bicycle, much more important than the "where it's made" is the design philosophy, which most influences the ride. All the rest takes care of itself if the designers philosophy and your needs match.
First, what will the bicycle be used for? Road, off road, down hill, commuting, just knocking around with the kids. We are flatlanders, so for us it's road, off-road (light trails) or comfort / family style riding, unless you have a home or very close friends in the Texas hill country or Colorado.
Then you have to look at what your riding buddies have. If they all have road bikes and you show up on a Hybrid, you will never have fun and probably won't be able to keep up. If you do keep up, you will get more exercise that anyone out there! By the same token, you will tear a Hybrid up trying to keep up with mountain bikes-- off-road. Maybe you just want to ride comfortably with your kids. . . or non cycling spouse & friends. . .
Lets begin at the beginning- in the Warranty Department
All bicycle frames are tested on a "Tarantula" bump test machine. Mountain bike frames have to withstand a level "50" test or the Warranty Department won't approve. In fact, any bicycle that has off-road in its descriptors has to have a heavy duty enough frame to pass muster. That means thicker tubes and more weight. Road bikes on the other hand, only have to test to a level "20". That means the tubes can be much thinner and subsequently lighter. Also, the finish work on road bikes is much nicer because it is necessary to do a better job when working with extreme materials. Better workmanship also means more experienced craftsmen on the job which means a little higher price.
So the first aspect of the decision is what kind of bike should I consider- Road, Mountain or the mushy middle: a Hybrid
NOTE:: If what you really want is a high performance racer (for on or off road), but you also want a bike to ride with the kids or your non-cycling spouse or friends, consider a second bike. Our comfort bikes are fairly inexpensive ($239. - 469.) and will make you a pleasant cycling companion instead of a speed oriented demon.
No matter how brilliant the designers philosophy is, if the latest innovation will not pass muster, it will not be produced. So choose well from the beginning.