WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT? – FRAME vs COMPONENTS

Shaun George BOTS Guides, Mechanics, Tips & Tricks

The all famous, frame vs components debate has been going on amongst cyclists for quite some time. It’s something that riders still discuss to this very date. It often divides opinion but there’s a better understanding of it now. With a wide variety of bikes in the market, there’s always the question of “which one is better?” You may find that some bikes offer similar features than its competitors at a much lower price point. Why is this?

FRAME

Arguably the most important part of the bike – the way the bike handles, fits, rides, and reacts is all dependent upon the frame. It is also usually the most expensive part of the bike – manufacturers invest a lot in R&D for bike frames alone.

A bike fit is the most important of buying a bike. You need a bike frame that suits your body, riding requirements and dimensions. Don’t adapt to a bike simply because its priced cheaper.

Allez Sprint

When selecting a frame, make sure the geometry allows for plenty of adjustability in your riding position so that it can adapt to suit your needs in the future. You do not want to end up on a bike that compromises stability and handling in order to achieve your riding position or one that cannot be adjusted to accommodate for positioning changes as you grow as a cyclist. 

Do not worry about what brand or model of bike your friends or professional athletes ride when choosing your bike – their use, size and positioning needs may bear little resemblance to yours. You need a bike that has stiffness, comfort and handling traits that suit you, as an individual.

COMPONENTS

A frame and its components go hand in hand – complementary to each other. A bike’s components bring the whole riding experience together for the rider.

The groupset keeping the bike moving smoothly and efficiently. The brakes ensure you stop just as fast as you accelerate. Groupset wise, you can never really buy a bike with a “bad” groupset. The higher up you go, the better the shifting gets. You have a greater gearing range and smoother shifts. This is not something everyone will particularly benefit from. Riders who ride regularly or who are more inclined towards speed may want to opt for more speeds and lighter groupsets.

Most manufacturers these days don’t usually provide “full groupsets” on bikes. It’s usually a mix and match from lower groupsets or even different brands. It’s usually the brakes and cranksets that are usually subject to this kind of mix and match. This is done to keep the overall bikes price in check.

WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?

Considering all factors that make a bike a true performer its clear to say that the bikes frame plays the most crucial role in determining how good a bike is.

Let us explain. The frame is the heart of the bike, and the characteristics of the bike are determined by the frame. How responsive, agile, comfortable and fast a bike is, is determined by the bike’s frame. This is why it’s no surprise that brands spend so much on frame development.

When it comes to frames there’s a lot of different types of frame geometry’s and frame materials. Race and endurance bikes for example differ a lot in overall ride simply because of the frame. Frame materials include – steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium are the most common types used these days. Each material has its own unique characteristic that may make one more suitable than the other for your requirements.

Bike components also play a big role in how a bike feels and rides but just not as significant as the frame itself. Probably the most impactful component on a bike is its wheels. How fast you roll, how easily you roll and how responsive your bike is, is also determined a lot by the wheels.

If you must make changes to your components, your wheels should be your first consideration.

Other components such as brakes and the drivetrain don’t make as much of an impact. Think about it, have you ever head of someone winning or losing a race because one rider had a Shimano Dura-Ace groupset instead of an SRAM Red groupset? Most likely not – it’s simply not that impactful.


Prioritize you frame over everything else. Bike components can always be swapped over later on if you feel that they are insufficient. The frame is not something you can just swap – it’s not economically worth it. You’re better off with a new bike in that case.

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