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8 Tips about Bicycle Frames

Learn eight tips about bike frames from Silk Road Cycles' Brendon Nicholas in this Howcast bicycle repair and maintenance video.


Now we're going to talk about bicycle frames. There's many different bicycle frames and also many different materials that the bicycle frames are out made of. If you walk into your local bike store and you look up on their wall, they probably have bicycle frames that are made out of this, which is aluminum. It's probably one of the most common. Carbon fiber, which is pretty new, and steel. Those are the three main types of frame materials.

A lot of people think that steel is really, really heavy because you see those old heavy three speeds. Actually steel can be very, very light. It can be lighter that some carbon fiber bikes. Also aluminum can be lighter than steel. It just depends on what type of material it's made out of. There's higher qualities of steel, and higher qualities of aluminum, and as well as carbon.

Some things that you want to look at with your bicycle frames, you want to make sure that you're maintaining it properly. You want to clean your bicycle to make sure they can see if there's any imperfections in your frame. Sometimes if you get in an accident, or you have a collision, you may have a crack in your frame.

A lot of times what happens is right here on the head tube, it cracks right here on the head tube, it cracks. It may crack underneath here and it may crack at the bottom bracket shell. Those are the most common spots for it to crack. Especially if it's a carbon fiber frame, and it's a very light weight carbon fiber frame. Those tend to crack more often.

The lifespan of a carbon fiber frame is much less than a steel frame. A steel frame can last you a lifetime. A carbon fiber could last you three years.

Also if you do get in a collision, especially a front-end collision. We see a lot of bicycles come in the shop that get a front-end collision and what happens is it crimps right here. The frame will actually crimp up right here, and you actually feel like a big lip on the frame and usually you can see it. It looks like the fork is pushed back. That's really dangerous. What could happen is there's a lot of forces on the actual fork pulling this way as you hit bumps. So it could actually pull off the front-end eventually, which is really dangerous.

You also want to make sure that your frame is not bent, so making sure that the fork arms look straight. Make sure that the back-end looks straight, and make sure that the wheels look like they are sitting in straight. They could be out of dish if they're not sitting in straight. But they could also be that the frame is bent.

If you have any imperfections in your frame you either want to get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible, because it could lead to your frame failing and then you falling on the ground and hurting yourself. You want to make sure that you're constantly checking over your frame and making sure that it doesn't have any imperfections.

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