What Makes a High-end Frame, High-end? Part 1
This is part 1 of a 3 part series.
There are so many frames on the market today, whether they be multi link, single pivot, or 4-bar from myriads of different manufacturers and a full-range of prices that it’s hard to identify what differentiates frames without a thorough analysis. So, we’ve complied a list of commonly asked questions and explanations that can help you evaluate the heritage and quality of a particular bicycle frame. Here goes:
(1). Can this bicycle company produce a frame in-house without using a subcontractor?
A bicycle company that is able to fabricate bikes has more control over their prototyping process and product development. Rather than outsourcing these functions, an in-house fabrication ability allows designers, machinists, and riders to communicate and develop product with immediate feedback.
This process is valuable for multiple reasons. First, designers receive first-hand experience and information with respect to fabrication issues with improved communication and control during the prototype manufacturing process. Second, designers can implement revisions much quicker and with more flexibility than working with a subcontractor. Last, subcontracting fees can really add up, creating an economic disincentive to try as many different possibilities for prototypes as possible. It’s not uncommon to try 3 or 4 different versions of a prototyped frame before a satisfactory bike is produced – the costs can be extremely high for a subcontractor to go through this revision process, and this cost is ultimately passed on to the consumer.
So what’s the moral of the story? If your riding a high performance boutique bike from a company that needed to outsource all of its product development and prototyping fabrication, chances are that the bike will carry a steep price tag, not necessarily because it is any better.
Stay Tuned for Part 2.
source: Alan Kang