The Best Bicycle Frame
Best Bike Frames For Your Project
So you're building up a bike from scratch, and you want to make sure that you choose the best bicycle frame and components available. What's the best material for your bike frame to be built out of? There are many schools of thought regarding this, and this article will hopefully allow you to sort through that and make an educated decision.
Since a custom bicycle is a long-term investment, make sure that you choose the best bicycle frame for your style of riding. This article will describe that in detail, and hopefully narrow down your field of choices.
Carbon Fibre Bike Frames
Is Carbon Fibre Right For Your Bicycle?
Ok, so you've probably heard of carbon fibre if you've done any research into the best bike frames available. Carbon fibre as a material is light, strong and moldable. It can be shaped into virtually any shape that's required, so it's perfect for a bike frame.
Carbon fibre bike frames are literally woven from strands of carbon, then coated with a special type of lacquer and heat-hardened. This process means that they are around ten times stronger than a comparable piece of steel. Not only that, carbon fibre bike frames are significantly lighter than their steel counterparts, so you get a stronger frame with a huge weight saving.
So it seems obvious that carbon fibre bikes are the best bicycle, right? Well, not necessarily. Carbon fibre is expensive to produce, so you can expect to spend a lot more than you would if it were steel. Carbon fibre is also expensive to repair; it can't be bashed or welded back into shape like steel counterparts.
The Best Bicycle Frames: Steel
Is Steel Right For Your Bike Frame Material?
Steel is the most common and popular option for most bike builds. But is it the best bicycle frame option available?
Steel is strong, and few materials out there are able to compare to it's strength to weight ratio. Its strength is increased further when alloyed with other metals. Cro-moly frames are a combination of steel and molybdenum, and they're even stronger than high-tension steel.
Steel is one of the best bicycle frame options because it's cheaper than most alternatives, and can actually be quite light. Modern technology has increased to the point that most steel bicycle frames can have metal that is less than a quarter of a millimetre thick.
Steel is marginally heavier than aluminum or carbon fibre, and not quite as strong (technically speaking) as carbon or titanium. However, for most intents and purposes, steel is one of the best bicycle frame materials available, and it's definitely among the most affordable choices.
The Best Bicycle Frame: Aluminum and Titanium
Is Aluminum or Titanium A Good Bike Frame Choice?
Aluminum and titanium, as frame materials, both have advantages and should be considered in the best bicycle frame debate.
Aluminum is light and strong, considerably lighter than steel, and it avoids many of the oxidization and rust problems that steel bicycle frames face. Aluminum is a common element, and can be forged fairly inexpensively.
Aluminum isn't quite as strong as steel, and the tubing needs to be specially molded to optimize its strength. Welding aluminum is more expensive and tricky, so the cost of such a frame is a little bit higher on average. Repairs cost more too.
Titanium is incredibly strong and rigid, far stronger than steel. It is light and one of the best bicycle frame options out there. Unfortunately titanium is rare, difficult to manufacture, and even more difficult to weld. Titanium bicycle frames probably the most expensive of the options out there; you'll pay a lot for a bicycle frame of titanium.
The Best Bike Frames: Which One?
There is no easy, clear-cut answer in the best bicycle frame debate. Each one of the options here, from carbon fibre to titanium bicycle frames, are fantastic choices. Your best bet is to look at your budget and your riding expectations, and make the choice that best suits your needs.
Feel free to comment, I'd love to hear your opinions on which ones you think are the best bike frames. Did I miss anything?