Do not accumulate “fatigue”
Unfortunately, carbon cycle frames also tend to accumulate “fatigue”. This process at the molecular level is different and slower than aluminum, but it does. And it manifests itself in microcracks of epoxy resin, which sticks together carbon fibers. As a result, the fibers will delaminate. But there is no exact time frame or lifespan for carbon frames yet.
The physical properties of carbon make it possible to achieve the required properties for certain assemblies and elements of the bicycle frame during production. In some elements, the maximum rigidity and thickness of the walls of the bicycle frame is required, in some, shock-absorbing properties, lightness and thin walls. all this can be done. At the same time, the carbon frame will not only be strong, but also lighter than an aluminum one (we will not say anything about steel). The cost of products bites, but when all the benefits of CFRP are needed to achieve any goals, then demanding riders should be ready to rummage in their wallet
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Depending on the level of the carbon frame, it can be produced from individual components or on a monocoque basis:
- Separate components. Certain units and elements of the carbon fiber frame are assembled separately, after which they are glued with the same carbon using a special technology;
- Monocoque Better and technologically advanced assembly option. In this case, during the production process, the entire frame is divided into two parts, in the end, these halves are glued together using the baking method. It is this technology that made it possible to increase the strength of highly loaded bicycle frame nodes, to carry out full intra-frame wiring of cables, hydraulic lines, etc.
Carbon frames break no more often than aluminum ones. And given the rapid technological progress of production in this area, in recent years, carbon fiber products are even much stronger than aluminum ones. The use of “folk” carbon fiber by riders contributed to the consolidation of this misconception among the masses. That is, thinking that Chinese carbon at a cost 10 times lower than the branded one has the same properties as the branded one. And later, their negative experience is attributed to all carbon as a whole.
Carbon has anisotropy of properties. that is, different characteristics at different directions of loads. Different brands, depending on their engineering ideas, during production can change the properties of certain frame units at their discretion. Since carbon is heterogeneous and the components are glued from many layers of carbon fiber, by varying the number of layers (the final thickness of the frame walls), the adhesive composition and other manipulations, it is possible to achieve the necessary properties of shock absorption, flexibility, softness, strength, torsional rigidity (torsional rigidity) of specific bike knots.
For example, in the case of road bikes, the entire frame is made as stiff and light as possible, with no cushioning properties. And in the case of harddales in XC or Trail disciplines, the rear triangle needs more or less shock-absorbing properties. Therefore, the feathers in carbon hardale are made more flexible, with the expectation of damping shocks and vibrations when riding on rough terrain. The overall weight of the frame increases, as the bike faces higher loads than in road discipline and the walls in the right places are made thicker.
The assembly of carbon frames is still done by hand. That is why their cost is much higher than aluminum or steel options.
Advantages and disadvantages of carbon
One of the most modern, durable and lightweight materials in bicycle production, in addition to many advantages, it also has disadvantages.
- Torsional stiffness. torsional stiffness;
- Strength. With correctly calculated parameters of a carbon fiber cycle frame, it will have not only strength comparable to the aluminum version, but also greater;
- Depreciation properties. Designed by engineers, the shape and thickness of the feathers of the carbon fiber frame can have the property of damping vibrations;
- The ability to create the required forms. At the stage of creating a carbon frame, it can be given almost any desired shape;
- The weight. With comparable strength to aluminum products, carbon has less weight.
- Manufacturing cost. The production of carbon fiber velor is done by hand, and carbon fiber is not the cheapest material.
There are some misconceptions about carbon bike frames. Let’s dispel a few of these misconceptions, the most popular.
Cheap carbon frames
It is impossible not to mention the option of purchasing “budgetary” carbon fiber velosites, so to speak, “for a try.” The Chinese brothers are already in full swing producing and selling carbon products, including bicycle frames. Such products can be found on the same Aliexpress.
Carbon vs Alloy. What is better? PROS & CONS
And here there are several options. just “for nothing” and more serious:
- It’s just for nothing. this is when a carbon bike frame costs in the range of 150. 200. For comparison, a branded carbon handlebar costs an average of 140. 150! What can you expect from such a bike frame? Well, that’s how lucky. It can crack on the very first curb, or it can serve. It depends on many factors. But this cost is achieved due to the reduced number of layers of carbon fiber (if at all carbon), due to the inappropriate level of epoxy resin (if at all epoxy), due to the final processing of the product. User reviews vary. For some, it cracked, not even having time to go, but for someone it works quite well for itself;
- serious. There are also options for Chinese frames that are quite worthy of their price. They cost about 450. 500. This option will be held for those who want to try out the real advantages of carbon velor, but spend much less on them than would be necessary in the case of a branded version.
It should be understood that the cheapest options will not have the properties that high-quality carbon fiber frames have. They can be taken simply as a budgetary element of a bicycle and not place any special hopes on them.
How to make a cool DIY electric bike: a selection of links for electric motors and conversion kits
Making an electric bike with your own hands is quite simple. Quality ready-made kits available to convert your bike with the addition of a motor, battery and controller.
I offer a selection of links to ready-made conversion kits and proven electric motors of various types, batteries for mounting on a frame or in a trunk, controllers and screens for tuning and control, as well as accessories for an e-bike.
I would like to draw your attention right away: to select a specific set, you should decide on the type of conversion. Whether it will be a wheel motor, or a motor mounted on the rear carriage or the center axle. Immediately you need to decide on the voltage and layout of the traction battery assembly. And finally, choose a controller (screen) to control the e-bike.
Electric motor kits for bicycle carriage
The inexpensive bottom bracket / center motor mount kit. BAFANG BBS01B (250W approved) is a quick way to convert your bike. The powerful BAFANG BBS02B kit (750 W) will cost a little more. Both options have a good weight / price / power ratio and will work in most cases. There is an even cheaper model. this is a simple DIT motor that is suitable for beginners.
One of the most advanced options for converting to an e-bike is the installation of a motor-wheel with accompanying electrification. I recommend paying attention to the complete conversion kit of 1500W wheel motor from Bafang. The kit contains everything you need, with the exception of the battery (links to batteries below). The lot has a choice of options for 500W / 750W / 1000W / 1500W, respectively, we select a battery for 36V / 48V.
The heart of any bike is the frame. If you are remodeling your existing bike, then one of the kits above will suffice. And if you are assembling from scratch, or a deep alteration involves replacing the bike frame, then turn your attention to ready-made hybrid frames with an already installed motor. The frame for MTB E-BIKE 29ER is available here with an integrated 500 W central motor (maximum torque 120 Nm). If you want to make assembly easier, choose modern components, namely carbon parts. One carbon frame gives the bike a measurable weight reduction.
Battery for electrifying your bike. Fits directly under the bike frame, or on the trunk. We determine in advance with the engine and select the desired assembly voltage: 36 Volts or 48 Volts. There is a small selection in terms of total build capacity (13/16 Ah). Inside the LG 18650 cell, a charge / discharge controller is installed, as well as the necessary protections. Waterproof grade IPX4.
Central motor (set)
One of the most powerful options is the Bafang G510 frame mount center motor conversion kit. Available engine power. 1 kW. The voltage for the battery is 48 volts. Suitable for all types of e-bikes, including MTB, cargo-cargo bike.
Assembly accessories: controllers, control screens, programming cables.
For the convenience of controlling the modes of the electric bike, as well as for controlling the main parameters while driving, it makes sense to install a remote screen for the central motor controller. Some of these are the Bafang DPC18 and Bafang C965 screens, available here. In general, there are a huge variety of controller screens with color and monochrome displays and many functions.
And at the end of such a useful collection, I add video unpacking kits and video reviews of kits. You can evaluate the composition of such a set and the ease of alteration in the video below.
Unpacking the Bafang 1500W Wheel Motor. The kit includes everything you need to convert the bike. Well, except for the battery. we buy the battery for the frame or for the trunk separately.
Unpacking the BAFANG BBS01B 250W carriage motor.
Detailed review of the Bafang BBS02B 750 W motor. This model represents the optimal version in terms of weight / price / power ratio. We can recommend this particular model for beginners.
Unboxing the control screen for the bike’s central motor controller.
Below is a list of other screen models for the controller.
I hope this collection was useful to you.
The pros and cons of the selected kits can be discussed in the comments.
Personal experience and links to other tested kits are welcome!
From the point of view of operation, for many, the characteristics of high rigidity and vibration damping are important. For example, due to the flexibility of the material, engineers were able to master the concept of double-suspended, non-hinged frames, in which the headstays or chainstays bend without structural deformation. This quality is precisely what determines the increased shock-absorbing ability of the carbon frame. At the same time, the weight does not increase at all in comparison with the same aluminum counterparts. the average value is 1100-1300 g. According to experts, such indicators are 200-400 g lower than that of traditional bikes. And this is not to mention the lightweight modifications, the weight of which fits into 1000 g. Otherwise, the characteristics are well within the established standards for the performance of bicycles. For example, carbon does not impose any restrictions on the use of existing wheel diameters. the average range varies from 24 to 29 inches. Now it is worth familiarizing yourself with other advantages of CFRP frames.
Serious breakdowns of carbon fiber frames are rare, but, as already mentioned, this happens in the form of cracks and chips already in the structure of the carbon itself. By the way, the aforementioned putties are aimed not only at preventing the formation of cracks, but also preventing their increase. What to do if structural damage was found? The restoration of a carbon frame for a bicycle is carried out using specialized means. these can be resins, particles of carbon fiber fabrics, rovings and individual structural blanks. Depending on the nature of the damage, one or another remedy should be used. As for the repair process itself, it involves both mechanical tools in the form of jigsaws, files and hacksaws for metal, as well as thermal impact devices, which will just make the carbon structure pliable for restorative deformation.
Choice of carbon bikes
Actually, the main choice for the non-professional user can be between road and mountain bikes. In the first case, it will be a variant of the universal type, but without a sharp bias towards sports. Standard road bikes with a carbon frame can be used for both high-speed rides and light, leisurely walks. This solution will be the best choice for urban use. Again, the low weight of the structure will facilitate the manipulation of the equipment if it is necessary to overcome areas that are not intended for cycling.
Mountain models, due to the specifics of the operation, are often provided with carbon fiber. If you plan to use the bike often for cross-country trips, then you simply cannot find a better option. Although this group has its own nuances of choice. For example, a folding bike with a carbon frame is best left for those quiet city rides where comfort is especially important. Such structures are not so strong compared to monolithic ones, which can manifest itself in a mountain range. The best option may be a representative of the cross-country segment, which, in terms of the totality of characteristics, is suitable for extreme driving.
Disadvantages of carbon
Like most new high-tech materials, carbon also has very noticeable negative aspects of operation. But it’s worth starting with a high price tag. Compared to the same steel and aluminum bikes, these models are 20-30% more expensive. Next comes the topic of maintainability, which is often cited as the main drawback of a carbon bike frame. The pros and cons in this case are interrelated, since it is the increased strength and rigidity of the material that make it difficult to restore it. But the repair work will be a separate conversation. It is also worth noting the negative impact on the structure from salt water. With such contacts, undesirable physicochemical processes occur, which in the long term can lead to a decrease in the performance of the bicycle. However, manufacturers produce special modifications for water sports, in which special protective treatments for CFRP surfaces are used.
Features of a carbon fat bike
This is a separate segment of cycling, the principal difference of which is the widened tires and the increased diameter of the wheels. This feature determines the high cross-country ability of the bike, which is appreciated by lovers of riding in mountainous terrain. I must say that fatbike bicycles began to be provided with carbon only recently, although the strengthening of the structure of such models is more than justified. over, the material finds its place not only in the frame, but also in other parts, among which the rims.
Carbon plastic can actually form the load-bearing base of bicycles, transferring its own characteristics to the overall structure. It would seem that by purchasing such a model, one can count on improving the driving and other performance characteristics. But there are some nuances here. First, manufacturers don’t always use all-carbon structures, leaving room for the inclusion of aluminum parts. Not to mention the fact that carbon itself is different, and you should not discount the desire of manufacturers to save money. Secondly, a carbon frame for a bicycle can improve some of its characteristics, but other elements, in turn, can remain at the traditional technical and ergonomic level. It costs engineers nothing to provide a carbon bike with average quality saddle, stem, handlebar and seatpost materials. Often there are modifications in which, along with carbon fiber, cheap bushings, rims and tires are used. This nuance should be taken into account, paying special attention to the rest of the bike configuration.
Cannondale Supersix 5 105
The Cannondale Supersix 5 105 is a versatile carbon bike for professional riders. The road bike is designed for high-speed rides.
Cannondale Supersix 5 105 is equipped with quite expensive equipment:
- Gossamer Pro BB30 cranks;
- Soft and durable Prologo Scratc saddle;
- mounted rigid fork SuperSi;
- Tektro R580 delivers powerful braking power;
- transmission from the Shimano company;
- durable and reliable Schwalbe Lugano tires.
Road bike available in different color options.
The benefits of Cannondale Supersix 5 105 include:
- a special carbon fork is installed, which has a tapered stem;
- you can participate in races;
- comfortable saddle;
- excellent handling;
- comfortable ride;
- good wheels installed.
The disadvantages of Cannondale Supersix 5 105 include:
- high price;
- modest scope of delivery.
Carbon road bikes. the best models, prices
Trek Madone 7.7
Trek Madone 7.7 is the original carbon bike from a reputable manufacturer. It is very popular with professional racers.
The frame is made of special Ultralight 700 carbon fiber. The frame is highly rigid with minimal weight.
The bike is equipped with quality equipment:
- soft and high quality Bontrager Paradigm saddle;
- comfortable plug Madone KVF;
- durable and reliable BontragerR tires
The benefits of Trek Madone 7.7 include:
- unique carbon frame;
- light weight;
- unique braking system Bontrager Speed Limit integrated;
- comfortable fit.
The disadvantages of TrekMadone 7.7 include:
- base brakes are of poor quality;
- high price.
Specialized Tarmac 4 Expert
The Specialized Tarmac 4 Expert is a versatile carbon bike. The Specialized Tarmac 4 Expert is great for local racing and training. Frame made of special materials.
Updated geometry ensures proper fit. High quality FSA cranks are included. Equipped with Specialized Turbo Pro tires.
The benefits of the Specialized Tarmac 4 Expert include:
The disadvantages of the Specialized Tarmac 4 Expert include:
- quite heavy weight;
- high price;
- suitable only for men.
Road bike characteristics
There are several types of road bikes. Each type has its own characteristics.
- Fitness road racing. As a rule, a straight steering wheel is installed. Such models are equipped with wide tires. The tire width can be up to 32mm. A characteristic feature of these bikes is a shortened frame, which provides a comfortable fit.
- Road racing. Such models are equipped with a special flat steering wheel. The special shape allows the cyclist to lie on the handlebars. The main design difference is the aerodynamic frame. The weight of the bikes varies from 8 to 10 kg. Special paddle wheels are used.
- Comfortable racing. Such models are used for long training sessions. They are very popular with racing enthusiasts. The main design feature is the soft rear triangle of the titanium frame.
- Racing mountain. The frame is made of special round tubes. These bikes are lightweight.
- Racing aerodynamic. The main distinguishing feature is its excellent aerodynamic performance. The wheels have a high profile. Racing aerodynamic bikes are designed for riding on flat and hilly terrain.
General characteristics of road bikes:
- Steering wheel. As a rule, the handlebars are made of carbon or aluminum alloys. The steering wheel has a special shape. You can change the grip if necessary.
- Transmission. The more expensive the bike, the better the equipment.
- Fork. Bicycles are equipped with aluminum or carbon suspension forks.
- Tires. Wide tires are used for driving in difficult conditions. And narrow tires are used for driving on flat roads. As a rule, bicycles are equipped with tires without tread.
- The weight. Weight ranges from 5 to 10 kg.
- Knitting needles. The number of needles varies from 18 to 20 pieces.
- Frame. The bikes have a rigid, closed frame. The frame is made of carbon and other materials.
- Wheels. Wheels of several types are used (high-profile, medium-profile, low-profile). High profile wheels are only used in racing. Medium-profile wheels are a universal option.
- Brakes. Lightweight caliper brakes are applied.
Pros and cons of carbon road bikes
Carbon road bikes have both positive and negative sides.
The benefits include:
- Light weight.
- You can develop fast speed on straight tracks.
- The frame perfectly dampens vibrations from unevenness.
- Narrow wheels are used.
- Vibration from roads is almost invisible.
- Can’t install trunk.
- Lack of rear and front shock absorbers.
- Not suitable for cycling trips.
- Can’t drive on country roads.
- Frames are fragile enough and are afraid of blows.
Scott CR1 Comp
The Scott CR1 Comp is a quality carbon bike. The frame is made of high quality carbon fiber. The main advantage of the model is a comfortable fit. The Scott CR1 Comp is great for long trips. In addition, the bike can be used for training and competition.
The unique Scott SDS vibration damping system is used. The fork is made of durable carbon fiber. The ScottCR1 Comp has a Shimano 105 drivetrain. This equipment shifts quickly and smoothly.
The advantages of the ScottCR1 Comp include:
- democratic cost;
- stylish design;
- comfortable fit;
- light weight.
The disadvantages of the ScottCR1 Comp include:
- cannot be used in the winter season;
- poor quality brakes installed.
The Bianchi Infinito is an innovative carbon bike. It is designed for driving on poorly paved roads. The Bianchi Infinito frame is made of special Countervail material. Bianchi Infinito is equipped with Shimano disc brakes.
Fitted with wide tires that provide a high level of comfort. Product weight is 7.4 kg. The Bianchi Infinito has a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain. This transmission provides smooth and precise gear shifting.
The benefits include:
- high quality of all components;
Magnesium alloy frame
This is a rare material, and the quality of magnesium frames is still debated today. The main advantage of magnesium alloys is their low weight, but most professionals doubt its reliability. Today, magnesium alloys are more often used as a material not for the frame, but for the suspension fork.
Pros of magnesium: the lightest material, which allows you to get high driving dynamics; good roll.
Minuses of magnesium: corrosive and unstable to shock and damage; high price, fragility (service life does not exceed three years).
There is a debate about the strength of magnesium frames. manufacturers claim that this material is very durable if used correctly, and you can hear the opposite from the lips of athletes. Over time, perhaps this dispute will be resolved, but for now we will turn our attention to the most unusual material for a bicycle frame. carbon.
Aluminum bike frame
Saying “aluminum” always means an alloy with zinc, magnesium or silicon, sometimes scandium. Alloys are different, they are marked with numbers (6065, 7000, 7005, and so on). The best characteristics are possessed by aluminum alloys with a seven thousandth grade. Alloys of aluminum with scandium are comparable in characteristics to titanium, but they are rarely used due to the complexity of their manufacture. The aluminum frame is always easy to distinguish by the large diameter of the pipes. But due to the light weight of the material, aluminum frames are one of the lightest, aluminum is used to create bicycles of almost all brands. Felt bicycles, for example, are often equipped with aluminum frames.
Pros of aluminum: low weight; good dynamics and sensitivity to the road; resistance to corrosion (but do not forget that all bushings and bearings are in any case made of steel, therefore, the aluminum frame needs care); the aluminum frame has good “carrying capacity”. it will withstand a heavy cyclist.
Minuses of aluminum: poor vibration damping; poor roll-forward (coasting motion without acceleration); accumulate fatigue, so they can break down after long-term operation, and are difficult to repair. Frame service life. approximately 10 years.
Steel is one of the most common materials and is simple and cheap to make. For bicycle frames, simple alloys (Hi-Ten) and chromium-molybdenum (Cro-Mo) are used. Butting technology is also often used in the manufacture of steel frames, but if in aluminum frames it is designed to increase strength, then in steel frames it is used to reduce weight by thinning the frame in places where the load is small. But using butting raises the price significantly for an inexpensive, overall steel frame. Steel frames are specially hardened to increase strength.
Today, simple steel is used only in inexpensive models; only chromium-molybdenum alloys can compete in performance with other materials.
Advantages of steel (Cro-Mo): relatively low price; Flexibility of the frame, which allows you to soften vibration and shock, as well as smooth cornering; good roll forward; high strength and durability of the material; good maintainability.
Cons of steel: heavy frame weight; danger of corrosion; there are restrictions on the weight of the cyclist.
In general, buying a bicycle with a steel frame is a long-term investment because with good care it can serve you for years.
Bike frame material
Bike frame and material selection
There is no definite answer to the question of what material the best bicycle frames are made of. Every owner will praise their frame and put its benefits above the rest. The opinions are unanimous on one thing. a good frame should be light and strong. Better yet, lightweight, durable and inexpensive. How to choose just such a frame? To get an objective assessment, you need to compare each material in terms of its advantages and disadvantages, and then choose what is best for you.
Titanium bike frame
Titanium alloys used to make bicycle frames perform well but come at a high price. Therefore, it is rarely used by amateurs. this material is for professional cyclists. But the titanium frame is also durable, which for many is a decisive criterion when buying.
Advantages of titanium: very durable (service life is calculated in decades); resistant to corrosion so much that it does not even need painting, so the article “how to paint a bicycle” is simply not useful for you with such a frame. The titanium frame is shock and scratch resistant, so it retains an attractive appearance for a long time; softens vibration and is very durable, therefore ideal for a mountain bike; is lightweight.
Cons of titanium: high price and low maintainability. But given the fact that the frame has increased strength and in conditions of non-professional sports it is very difficult to damage it, there remains one drawback. the price.
Carbon is a composite material based on carbon fibers bonded together by resin. The characteristics of this material differ significantly from any metals, since carbon has a fundamentally different origin and structure.
Carbon frames can be one-piece (monocoque) and composite, in which carbon tubes are connected by metal parts. Monocoque frames are more durable, due to the unity of the material, greater rigidity and lightness of the frame is achieved. Carbon is a very flexible material, so monocoque frames come in a wide variety of shapes. There are also combined frames with a metal frame. They have very high running characteristics, but they contain all the pros of both metal and carbon fiber, as well as all the minuses.
Several factors affect the hardness and strength of CFRP. The first is the amount of resin that holds the fibers together: the less, the stronger. The second is the number of layers. If there are many layers and they are located in different directions, the strength increases. On a bike with a carbon frame, the bunny hop jump is easier because the frame is lighter. Carbon is the only material where rigidity can increase not only in certain places, but also in certain directions (due to the location of the carbon fibers), which is why carbon frames are often used in professional cycling.
Pros of carbon: low weight; strength and durability (if used correctly); the possibility of strengthening the frame both in any place and in any direction; unusual frame shapes.
Cons of carbon: very high price, for non-professional frames. the risk of breakage due to improper design, as well as instability to impacts, as a result of which the entire frame can collapse; danger of corrosion in metal assemblies of composite and combined frames, complete inability to repair.
Bicycle frames are mostly made from metal alloys. These are steel, alloys based on aluminum, titanium and magnesium. Another material. carbon, is carbon fiber, so it should be considered separately.
The most important characteristic of a metal is its rigidity, the higher it is, the less the metal is subject to deformation. But it is directly related to density, which in turn affects the weight of the material. Therefore, the higher the rigidity of the metal, the heavier the frame made of it. Steel (30) has the highest rigidity, followed by titanium (15-16), and the lowest is aluminum (10-11). But this does not mean that aluminum frames automatically become outsiders.
Thanks to a more massive structure and the use of butting technology (pipe walls have different thicknesses, increased in places of heavy load), aluminum has quite decent characteristics. Let’s consider in more detail.
Structural parts of frames
Bicycle frames come in a wide variety, but the design is much the same. There is a basic set of structural parts that are found in the structure of almost all frames.
- The front triangle (despite its name, is made up of four tubes, not three) includes:
- head tube;
- three tubes: main, upper, seat.
Also, any type of frame is equipped with individual elements that are needed to install some specific components:
- the steering column is inserted into the head tube;
- the carriage is placed in a special hole;
- the seat tube, together with the seat, is also inserted into a special hole.
Functions and requirements
A bicycle frame is like a human skeleton. This rough comparison allows us to visualize the functionality of this important detail. Only this structural element cannot be replaced with a new one. If it breaks down, you will have to buy a new vehicle.
The frame must be strong, reliable, with a long service life. Only in this case will it be able to withstand the load that occurs during driving.
Also, the bike frame should be light, but this requirement is secondary in importance. Therefore, you should not chase lightness and base your choice of cycling on this indicator. This can lead to choosing a bike with poor ride performance.
A few more points can be added to this list of requirements:
- vibration damping demonstrates the frame’s ability to smooth out shocks and reduce operating vibrations;
- maintainability of the frame allows the user to carry out repairs after the end of the warranty period.
Bicycle frames are made from all kinds of materials, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- The steel frame comes in two varieties: made from chrome and molybdenum, or made from structural tensile steel. The first option is more preferable due to the use of butting technology. The chrome-molybdenum pipe turns out to be lighter when compared to similar models made of structural steel. Steel frames look sleek, but they are afraid of corrosion. this is their biggest problem. It is easily solved by keeping the paintwork in good condition.
It is necessary to remove cracks and scratches in a timely manner so that moisture does not get through them.
- Aluminum frames are not made from pure aluminum because it is very soft. To increase the strength characteristics, silicon and zinc can be added to it. By the first digit of the alloy designation, you can find out about the base metal, which is also called alloying. In the 5000 series, the reinforcement is achieved by magnesium, in the 6000 series by silicon. Compounds 7000 are based on aluminum and zinc, magnesium is present in small amounts. Raw materials with a large amount of magnesium are most susceptible to corrosion. The main disadvantage of aluminum structures is the ability to accumulate fatigue deformations. Because of this, welds and contact joints are weakened.
It is better not to use an aluminum frame for more than 10 years, there are exceptions, but they are very rare.
- The titanium construction stands out for its long service life. Its strength is on par with steel frames. The main advantage is its high resistance to corrosion. Titanium structures are difficult to work with, because such frames are distinguished by an impressive cost. Such parts are commonly found on expensive sports bikes, which are selected by professionals. Not every novice athlete or just an amateur can afford such a purchase.
- The carbon bike frame is created from a multi-component material where thermosetting resins and carbon fibers are present. Only in carbon fiber can the stiffness be changed in the desired direction. Even at the production stage, the direction in which the carbon threads will be weaved is chosen: it can be transverse or longitudinal. The strength of the product depends on the amount of resin between the carbon “matter”: the more it is, the lower the indicator will be. During overloads, brittle resin is primarily destroyed, only then the threads suffer.
Carbon fiber frames are available in two versions: composite and monocoque. In the first case, the structure is assembled from separate parts. The second option is more reliable, since the frame is one-piece.
Carbon structures have the highest strength.
- Magnesium frames are very rare because this material is expensive. There is no lighter frame yet. Such designs perfectly reduce vibrations, but they are powerless before pinpoint impacts. Also, magnesium is afraid of corrosion and exposure to aggressive environments. Magnesium is absolutely not suitable for cycling tourism, since heavy loads are destructive for frames of this type.
All existing frames, which are the backbone of bicycles, fall into two broad categories.
- Female species can have a slightly lowered top tube, or they can be produced without it at all. When creating such designs, the features of the female body are taken into account, therefore they are the most convenient and comfortable option for cyclists.
- Men’s frames are familiar to all designs, without any obvious differences.They are more common.
There is also a more detailed classification, which is based on the operational features of the frames and their purpose.
Off-road bike frames are divided into the following types:
- the hardtail has no rear suspension and no rear shock absorbers, so this design is ideal for MTB (mountain bike);
- soft-tail is designed for off-road vehicles with a pair of shock-absorbing devices, this type of frame is not designed for jumping, but it copes perfectly with bumpy roads;
- the two-suspension version with a rear shock absorber is designed for active driving, installation of a trunk is not provided;
- tandem off-road frame allows for wide tires and suspension forks.
Road structures are available in the following varieties:
- the classic version is developed for a city bike, has a vertical seat arrangement, allows you to install a trunk;
- the road bike frame is characterized by excellent aerodynamics and dynamic coasting, it is designed for low landings, there are no fastenings for the trunk;
- Rigid is available for bicycles without shock absorbers, which can be used on an extremely flat road for a hard ride;
- cyclocross is needed to perform maneuvers, as well as to drive on uneven roads;
- bicycle frames touring. the best option for long arrivals and travels, they have a streamlined design and are distinguished by a high level of comfort, it is possible to install two trunks at once;
- tandem frames are designed for two-seater bikes.
Folding bike frames deserve special attention. Most of them are characterized by their small size and the presence of a hinge in the middle of the pipe. Selected models are equipped with a telescopic mechanism that makes it easy to extend / fold the handlebar and saddle.
This concept plays an important role in the formation of the main characteristics and functional features of the cycle frame. Geometry is directly related to the shape, dimensions of the pipes, the angles at which they are connected to each other. The most important of these are the following characteristics:
Many manufacturers indicate on their models the dimensions that refer to the frame. You need to be guided by these indicators, because it is on them that the choice of any bike should be based:
- Saddle height refers to the height of the seat, in other words, the distance from the center of the carriage and the midpoint of the saddle;
- Stack is the vertical distance from the center point of the bottom bracket to the topmost area on the steering column;
- Reach refers to the horizontal distance that starts at the center point of the carriage and ends at the top of the steering column;
- the concept of Bottom braket drop can be translated as carriage offset, which will indicate the degree of lowering of the center of the carriage in relation to the center of the rear hub;
- Handlebar drop means the handlebar offset or the vertical difference between the upper extreme points of the saddle and the handlebar;
- Saddle seatback denotes seat offset or the horizontal distance of the front of the saddle from the center section of the bottom bracket;
- Standover height refers to the total height, in other words, it is the distance between the ground and the top pipe that belongs to the front triangle;
- Front center denotes the gap between the center points of the two components: the carriage and the front hub;
- Toe overlap refers to the distance from the user’s foot on the pedal to the front wheel when making a turn.
- The top tube starts at the center of the headset and ends at the center of the seat tube. The stability of transport and its maneuverability depend on this value. with an elongated pipe, transport will behave better on the road.
- The angle of the steering well (glass) is formed between the desired element and a vertical line located exactly parallel. Increasing this parameter improves the bike’s ability to maneuver.
- The seat post angle is obtained by tilting it in relation to the straight parallel. The shift of the center of gravity, the predisposition of the bike to extreme riding and the quality of grip on the road surface depend on it.
- The wheelbase is determined by the distance between the center points of the two hubs. An increase in the indicator will entail an increase in stability, maneuverability, stability.
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- The chainstays of the rear triangle usually start at the center of the BBC and end at the center of the rear wheel hub. The shorter this length, the higher the strength and reliability of the frame structure. Also, the grip indicators go to a higher level.
- Ground clearance is the distance to the bicycle bearing assembly. This indicator has a direct impact on cross-country ability and speed capabilities. With an increase in clearance, the bike’s behavior becomes more confident, which is important for difficult road conditions. Along with this, the speed indicators are falling, therefore, the “golden mean” is important in this indicator.
- Stark is one of the most affordable brands to look at. This is not just another Chinese firm with low-quality fakes, but a promising manufacturer with big ambitions and plans for the future. Trial frames stand out from the presented assortment.
- The Merida is not respected by all cyclists, but we still find a place for it in our ranking. It was in this production that lightweight magnesium alloy frames began to be produced, which were offered at an affordable cost. The bicycles of this company are characterized by an optimal ratio of cost and quality.
- Author is the most promising firm in our ranking. The XC frames deserve attention. They are rolling and moderately tough, therefore they are equally suitable not only for races, but also for marathons and tourism.
- Scott is an American firm that enjoys high popularity in the global market, not to mention the national one. The assortment consists of many models, among which each user can choose the desired option.
- Gary Fisher is the most famous firm in the world cycling market. The giant of the industry, in which it has established itself exclusively on the positive side. This company owns a large number of brands. High quality, decent performance, innovation, exceptional performance. what else does a cyclist need?
- Trek is a worthy competitor to the previous manufacturer. It has earned high recognition among Russian users. Many models from entry to professional level, with sturdy frames created from innovative alloys.
Bicycle frames: varieties and selection criteria
A bicycle consists of a large number of parts, each of which performs important functions and is irreplaceable. One of these is the frame.