Which is the Best Bicycle Brand?

Whether you are looking to buy a bike in order to travel the world, or if you simply want to beat the traffic to get to the shop, it is worth while taking a little time assessing what you are going to buy before parting with your hard earned cash.

A question we are often asked is; “which is the best bicycle brand?”  The answer, however, is not exactly straightforward!  This is mainly due to the way that the bike manufacturing industry works.

Most manufacturers don’t really manufacture in the normal sense of the word.  What they do is assemble the bikes using frames and a variety of components from specialist component manufacturers.  The names of some of the big component makers will be familar to anyone with even a vague knowledge of the bicycle industry; Shimano, Campagnolo and Sram being some of the largest.  Other companies such as Mavic, DT Swiss, FSA, SR Suntour (and a whole host of others), specialise in the manufacture of a smaller number of components.  Mavic, for example, specialise in manufacturing wheels.  It is not unusual to find bicycles having components from several different manufacturers.

So back to the question of “which brand is best?”.  To answer, you will need to bypass the name that is written on the frame, and instead look at who made the components.  If you find that the brakes, gears, hubs, etc. all have reputable and recognisable names, then you can take it that the bike is a good choice.  If you are in any doubt, a quick internet search for each manufacturer will soon let you know whether they are reputable or not.

A few pointers to look out for.

If there is no manufacturer’s name on a bicycle’s components, they tend to be poor quality and best avoided.  If you are in any doubt about the manufacturer, ask the shop assistant, or look at the bicycle’s specification online.

For wheels and spokes, avoid materials that are liable to rust.  A bike might look all bright and shiny in the shop or online, but if components are liable to rust this will ineviatably lead to problems.  The best material for bicycle spokes is stainless steel.  Even if it costs a bit more it will be worth it in the long run.  Aluminium rims are not liable to rust.

Up to a certain point you get what you pay for! This applies when purchasing mid-range bicycles more so than for high-end racing bicycles.  In the case of high-end racing bicycles, the sky is the limit when it comes to price, however the law of diminishing returns definitely applies.

Don’t assume that just because you recognise a particular bicycle manufacturer’s name that the bike will be better.  Many smaller manufacturers make very good quality bikes.  By contrast, a number of the bigger companies sometimes use their own components, and these are not always as good as those from the specialist manufacturers.

A word about children’s bikes.

When it comes to buying children’s bicycles, the same rules apply.  There is a huge range of bicycles available at a huge range of prices.  Unfortunately, very many of the cheap bicycles are probably not going to be cheap in the long run.  If a child is old enough to be doing a reasonable amount of cycling, it is better to spend a bit more in order to get a bike with good quailty components. This greatly increases the chances of younger siblings being able to use the bike in later years.

In conclusion.

It really does not matter what name is written on the downtube.  If you buy a bike with good quality components you are buying a good bike.