You’ve been thinking about adding yourself among the gamut of people who are fond of biking on road on their lovely road-bees. You’ve all that needs to be there in the mind like color, brand, price range, etc. of the road bike you intend to buy. You hence go the the store, shake off the amount you had from your pockets or the credit card & then while riding you came to notice troubles like backpain, wristpain, discomfort for short as well as long duration of biking. What stood in the end was a big mess which was not as easy to reverse using the Time Stone like Dr. Strange or Thanos from the MCU.
So where was the trouble? If you are somebody who hasn’t done this mistake as narrated above then you are safe. However, for those who have committed the error, if you want to not repeat the error again, read this article to have an idea before making an exchange. This will help you to choose the right road bike frame.
What Is A Road Bike Frame?
A bicycle frame is the heart of any cycle. It is the base on which the cycle is created while mounting & fitting the wheels & other components.. The modern & the most common frame design for is based on the safety bicycle. The frame description can be seen in the form of of two triangles – the main triangle at the front of the bike & the rear triangle. Together these two form a diamond shape.
Road bike frames generally follow the classic ‘diamond’ design but even so there are many different types designed for the needs of very different riders. From super-stiff racing machines to comfortable long-distance tourers, from entry-level all-rounders to cutting-edge carbon fibre speed weapons, things are pretty much covered when it comes to framing. The frame is measured in centimetre or inches based on the various bikes.
There are various terms associated with road bike frame & the most important ones have been mentioned as follows:
- Head TubeThe head tube includes the headset & the bearings for the fork through steerer tube.
- Topt Tube or Cross BarThe top tube is the connection point of the top of the head tube with the top of the seat tube. It may be in inclined position or run parallel to the ground varying from bike to bike.
- Down TubeIt connects the the head tube to the bottom bracket of the cycle where the paddle & crank arm fit together. It will have derailleurs running over it or within the tube.
- Seat TubeThe seat tube, as the name indicates is the tube on which the saddle or seat is mounted. The seat tube, together with down tube & the top tube forms the first triangle of the frame.
- Chain StayThis is the tube that runs parallel to the chain from the paddle to the rear forks of the bike. On the rear sections, this is where the wheel is fixed. The rear gearing system runs through it as well.
- Seat StayThis is the tube connected the back of the chain stays to the top of the seat tube. Together, these three form the second triangle of the bike.
Frame Materials & Frame Geometry
Since we have understood the main parts of what constitutes a bicycle frame tpgether, let us venture into the frame materials. Yes, ever since the beginning of the dandy horse when the cycles were made of wood, things have come up to the point of various materials available for bikes where based on the requirements & the budget, decision of choosing your ideal frame can be completed.
The improvements in technology & materials of bike frames mean that excellent quality frames are available to riders at the budget side of the coast too. The main materials are as follows:
- Aluminium:Relatively inexpensive to manufacture, such frames are found on many bikes in the low- to mid-range segment. They offer reasonable performance at a good price. The main advantage comes in the form of lightweight, strong & stif frame. People often seem to compare between top-end aluminium frames & lower-end carbon frames citing huge differences but, there’s not much of a difference there.
- Carbon FibreThe majority of bikes for the bikers of the pro category have long been built around a carbon fibre frame. This is because carbon fibre is strong, stiff & lightweight, just like aluminium. However, carbon has a plus in terms of the vibration damping properties it has which renders it comfortable for long distances as well as an effective & efficient hand at power transfer. With technological advancements, carbon frames have become slightly cheaper & now allow people from the mid-range budget to buy bikes with carbon fibre frame as well.
- SteelSteel frames offer a tidy ride to those who prioritize ride comfort over optimum stiffness & weight. Since steel frames are a bit heavy, they aren’t preferred by the pros. Though, not many companies manufacture it anymore, it remains a popular choice for long-distance tourers & lovers of the classic steel ‘spring’.
- TitaniumIf there’s a boss in bicycle frames then it is titanium. It is lightweight, strong & supple. Such frames offer a complete all-round performance. However, they are a bit premium in terms of the pricing given the fact of moulding process of it which is tough & requires sweat. It is the ideal Captain America who won’t mellow with age & give the tough performance that it promised. Besides, it doesn’t corrode as well.
Materials aside, road bike frames are classified as having ‘traditional’ or ‘compact’ geometry. Traditional frames feature a horizontal top tube while compact frames feature a sloping top tube. There are advantages & disadvantages in both with traditional frames being stable & comfortable while compact frames being quicker & more responsive.
Frame Types & Choice
Making a good choice for a new road bike means knowing things about one’s own self than that of bikes. What sort of position can my body be comfortable to without causing an injury, what’s the purpose or the road that I’m going to ride it on, what are my pros & cons as a rider are some of the questions where the homework is needed.
The first step here is knowing about the posture while riding since the posture that allows comfort & power efficiency along with stability while riding will lead to a good biking experience. The position preferences vary from person to person because of our own unique physical characteristics like flexibility & strength, leg & arm length, etc. These characteristics decide the ideal riding position.
With different materials available at disposal, the manufacturers present bikes with three different types of road frame:
- AeroAero road bikes are made to be aerodynamic. They have lesser drag & go faster in straight lines. The frames are cast into aerofoil shape. Ride comfort isn’t there as the aero shaped tubes create a lot of stiffness. Cornering & handling are also unstable.
- EnduranceAn endurance frame is the preferred choice. It is comfortable & allows cycling minus the tight hamstrings & bad back issues. They also absorb road shock so they are comfortable. The body position is also upright. Endurance bikes are mostly made to accommodate wider tyres so as to improve comfort & handling over all types of terrain. Most of them come with disc brakes.
- Race or LightweightMade for long climbs, these bikes strip weight by using the lightest materials, but may not be as good for all-around use.
Making A Choice
Coming to the final word of which one to go for after all the research,we recommend you to frame up your purpose, your own strengths & weaknesses along with your budget. You can then go ahead to the store & take advice from the certified experts there who’ll guide you well. Remember that the bike fit will also be a matter of concern for you since a bike of wrong fit will only increase troubles for you. Make sure to test the saddle height & set it to a level where you don’t feel uneasy. Also, the type of terrain that you’ll spend time upon with your bike is also one factor. Under all such cases, you should ensure giving a test ride as well to the various choices you make. Once that’s covered, it’ll be much easier for you to choose the right road bike for yourself. If you’re a woman, don’t worry much & go for brands that offer women-centric bikes since they are also a thing which allows women to have a better cycling experience too. The saddle width, crankarm length, toptube length, etc are suited to female riders & hence there shall be no issues while biking.