• 16 Jul 2020

      What to look for when comparing bicycles?

      Posted at 12:02 pm , on July 16, 2020

      What to look for when comparing bicycles?

      A gym membership or a new cycle? MTB or a road bike? Single-speed or geared?

      It’s fascinating—the number of decisions you took to get here. And many more to go before finding your perfect bike.

      Well, give yourself a big pat for choosing cycles over n other options. Here’s why you’re doing yourself and the world at large a favor by doing so.

      At Frog, nothing gives us more pleasure than to bring a true cyclist to their perfect machine.

      So, we’ve curated a list of the most important factors to consider while comparing cycles—

      Ride quality
      Cycles have long had the ill repute for being uncomfortable. And for good reason! ‘Boneshaker’ doesn’t really paint a pretty picture of a serene, relaxing ride, does it?Allow us to change that around for you. What makes for a comfortable ride?

      Bike geometry: How would your bike feel? Test riding your new bike is an obvious way to find out, but learning about the bike’s configuration is a close enough alternative. Further, shortlisting bikes based on these numbers prior to the test ride will save you quite some time and effort.
      There’s a whole lot of metrics at play when it comes to understanding the bike geometry. For instance, the stack and reach of a bicycle help determine the ride position. A greater reach would mean you are more stretched out and in a more aggressive position, thereby improving the aerodynamics and hence, the speed. Similarly, for a specific reach, a higher stack would mean you’ll be in a more upright position, offering a better handle on control and comfort.
      The important thing to understand is, none of these measures work in isolation in contributing to the overall feel of the bike. Fork rake, trail and headtube angles are all measures to help understand the handling of the bike. Hence, comparing a single measure by itself across brands will offer a rather vague idea of the feel.
      If you are buying a cycle online, we recommend using a bike fit chart that will help calculate your best fit. 

      Weight: Weigh your options, literally! A lightweight bike is easier to handle, offers maximum speed, and climbs better.
      It is true that bicycles have greatly advanced over the years. But it is still a fairly limited machine, in the sense that every component that goes into the mix ought to be carefully thought of. Every additional feature is going to cost you in terms of your bike weight. This would in turn offer higher resistance, calling for more power to pedal through.
      The choice of the bike frame and the features contribute to the cycle weight. For instance, carbon frames are most popular on high-end bikes for they are lighter than their cheaper alternative, steel. Similarly, a single-speed bike would save some weight with regards to the derailleur, cogs and other components compared to a geared cycle. 

      Suspension: Bicycle frames and tires are designed to absorb some amount of shock. A rough terrain would however call for additional systems in place.
      Depending on the trail, bikes may have no suspension (rigid), only front suspension (hardtail) or a full suspension. Most MTBs are equipped with a full suspension to allow for higher drops. For instance, Frog offers zero shock suspension on its various MTBs and FTBs for the ultimate biking comfort.
      The next big question is to choose between a coil or an air spring suspension. Coil shock is heavier than air but offers a fairly linear spring rate. Air suspension, in contrast may not offer a consistent spring rate, but contributes to reducing the overall weight of the bike.

      The build of the cycle
      Frame material : What should you look for in a frame? Lightness, durability, and shock absorption are all desirable qualities. Bike frames are mostly made from steel, aluminum, titanium or carbon.
      Steel frames are the least expensive, strong and easy to mend, but heavy and prone to rust, making them common on low-end bikes.
      Aluminum is a popular choice as it offers maximum value for the price. They are a lot lighter than steel, resistant to corrosion and yet affordable. The only downside is its poor shock absorption property, making it rather unforgiving on rough trails.
      And that’s one in favor of Titanium frames. They absorb road vibrations really well, allowing for a smooth ride. In addition, they are lighter, stronger and could last years, if handled well.
      Carbon frames make the top of the list, being lighter than all other options. Carbon fibers are molded together using resin to make these frames, allowing for great creativity in design and excellent shock absorption. But carbon can be brittle, making them susceptible to cracks and fractures, that would ruin the frame.

      Bike components : The mechanical parts of a cycle involved in braking, shifting, and running the drivetrain are collectively called a groupset.
      The top 3 brands—Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo offer groupsets in hierarchies depending on the gear range they offer, the weight of the components, the material used, etc. A bike fitted with a higher level groupset would ensure superior riding. However, most cyclists would agree that unless you make a major upgrade in the hierarchy, you stand to gain very little in comparison to the price you would pay.
      Lastly, get your machine from a trusted brand, because a bicycle purchase calls for a long-term engagement with the cycle manufacturer. Brands like Frog take special care to cater to the needs of their customers. From on-call support and technicians on hold to help you at your doorstep, we ensure our cycles and cyclists are well taken care of!
      Give us a call and we’ll be delighted to help you find a bike best suited for your needs.

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