Frame

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The frame is the core of your bike. It is the largest factor of how your bike handles. There is different materials and combinations of materials, they are made of.

1. Cro-Moly
2. Tri-Moly
3. STEEL.
4. 6061-T6 Aluminum
5. 7071-T6 Aluminum

Cro-moly frames are 4130 High Carbon alloy. It is the strongest of the 4 materials. Currently, the best frames a company offers are 4130 Cro-Mo. The problem is, not all Co-Moly is the same. Chinese metals are not up to US standards. So, if you're riding a "Made China" 4130 and blowing it up... Be careful. The reason it's not breaking is because it's flexing. That's bad too. I'm riding an S&M because it's made from US materials, welded my Mexicans, and has never crossed an ocean. Co-Moly is good for Racing, jumping, street, and park.

Tri-moly is when your bike company saves money on material. Tri- means that 3 tubes of your bike are Hi-Tensile steel. We call it “Pig Iron.” the tubes need to be thicker, they flex, and your bike is heavier and rides sluggish. This combination of materials is meant for new riders around 12 that don’t weigh enough to break a bike. If you are 16 or older and plan to really ride… tell your parents, "pay the money here, or at the hospital. This is cheeper."

Steel is all Hi-Tensile steel. It's for pedaling a neighborhood.

6061 Aluminum is a good quality aluminum meant for racing. Aluminum is more rigid than Cro-Moly, but not as strong. Aluminum also will stress fracture and should be changed out every 6 months to a year depending on the rider. For racing, it is a good option. The exception was the 2-Hip Pork. It's out of production.

7071 Aluminum is an Aircraft quality alloy. So, it’s more rigid than 6061, and the welds will hold up better over time. If you are a serious racer that like aluminum frames, this is your “Safer Bet.” -Don’t die.

Top Tube

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Many manufacturers use double butted tubing, as a result we’ve noticed tube wall thickness becomes vulnerable to bending and folding when too much weight is shaved. The length is a critical measurement. Every rider must decide for himself.

Chain Stays

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The rear triangle is a large factor in the strength and life of your frame. Even in full Cro-moly frames, many manufactures are shaving weight by using tubing that’s far too thin leading to the twisting of the rear end or even worse a broken frame. Chain stay length is an important measurement.

Chain stays are a good place NOT to put 990 Mounts. In the early 1990’s we started moving 990 mounts from the chain stays, to the seat stays while making Soul Bikes. We made the change to avoid constantly clipping our ankles on them.

Dropouts

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Look for quality workmanship…Laser cut, properly heat treated dropouts will add to the strength of the rear triangle. To shave weight and preserve life most rear dropouts are minimal in size. They can be cut to fit 10mm or 15mm axles.

Bottom Bracket

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Frames use either the longer lasting mid or ‘Spanish’ size bearings or a smaller threaded European bottom bracket. Euros tend to need replacement sooner do to smaller bearing size. A properly machined bottom bracket shell won’t ovalize.

Head Tube

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As with bottom bracket shells a properly machined head tube will add to the life of your frame. It's more common to see integrated headsets. This was a big improvement. If you really plan to ride, don't get a bike with Cups. Make sure its a machined head tube with an integrated headset.

Seat Stays

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As with chain stays, a full Cro-moly rear end built with proper tube thickness for the style of riding is necessary. This is where you put your brake mounts. If you ride brakes.

Gusset

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When you see a gusset, the idea is to stiffen the frame. They can add strength, but they prevent flexing more than anything. Every frame flexes. It has to flex some. Big gussets can cause frame failure by not allowing the frame to flex.

Down Tube

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The down tube is a potential place to save weight in building frames. Contributing factors in the strength of the down tube are the head tube gusset, heat treatment and cooling, and tube thickness. Many companies use double butted tubing(thicker tube walls at the ends).

Seat Tube

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Strength of the frame’s seat tube is related to seat post height. This is why we recommend a decent length of seat post.