The Bike Frame
There are a lot of things to factor in for a successful bike ride, whether it's something you do every day or only once. The bike has many different parts to it, but your bike frame is the most important part. Although the geometry of the bike frame may get changed by the frame manufacturers when they want a different look, there are still some measurements that can't be changed or messed with. If you're new to cycling, you're not really going to care all that much about fancy frames. However, if you're an old pro at cycling and have been doing it for years, you may have an interest in the different styles of frames. Just recently I was contacted by a reader asking why bicycle articles never go into detail about frames. So, I thought I'd spend a little time discussing frames.
The Difference in Frames
There are more differences to bike frames than just the color. Although most of us make a selection based on color, there are many other variations that can be found in bicycle frames. For instance, the Orbea Orca frame and the Trek Madone frame have many differences between them. Some of the differences we tend to forget about are the overall frame geometry, tube lengths, frame angles, etc. The reason these items are seldom listed or discussed is because when it comes right down to it, when you get your bike frame, you're going to have to be the one looking at it for a long time so you better like the color and design.
Basic Geometry of the Bike Frame
The basic geometry of the bike frame consists of the size of the chain stays, the distance between the bottom bracket axle and the back wheel axle, and the distance between the front wheel and the bottom bracket. These areas are the same for all bikes and are the basics of how they're made and cannot be changed or the handling of the bike will be affected.
Another Important Dimension
The seat tube length is designed to fit the rider and can be adjusted by using a long seat pin to adjust the height of the saddle. The angle of the seat will be dependent on the frame size or, at least this is the case with factory made frames. The smaller the bike frame, the steeper the seat tube will angle. This may need to be adjusted for taller or shorter riders, however. The more relaxed the angle is, the more comfortable of a rider there is going to be.