Build Quality of Various Brands

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9/18/2015 10:54 PM

I'm old, like thirty years old. I've been riding casually all my life, pretty much. Anyways, here's my question.

Is there any real difference in build quality between the various brands out there? I mean, shouldn't brands like Haro, Hoffman, and Specialized be producing the highest quality stuff considering they have been around the longest. And conversely, shouldn't all of these indie brands that have smaller operations be producing stuff of lesser quality.

I would like this thread to offer up some insider information as to where and how bmx components are made. Like are the coming from fab shops that are only doing bikes, or are the coming from places that make all kinds of things. Also, who makes the specifications. Just some general information would be awesome.

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9/19/2015 7:39 AM
Edited Date/Time: 9/23/2015 6:51 AM

As to the bigger brands making higher quality, I would say of those mentioned, Hoffman, Haro then Specialized as far as quality, being that Hoffman is BMX only, Haro does a LOT, but started from BMX, and Specialized has revamped and scrapped their bmx program a few times over the years, and they don't put a lot into it.

Honestly, the brands with the best qualities are the brands that ONLY do BMX, as they can better understand the needs of riders. Bike brands have dropped due to not really having riders only focused on BMX running the BMX stuff.

For the most part, American Made brands are considered highest quality, S&M, Standard, FBM, Profile, and so on.

Also, if it is made overseas, Taiwan is where you want it from. China made bikes are typically crappy. As to the manufacturing, the American made brands only make BMX stuff, for the overseas made stuff, a lot of brands are made in one place. For example Giant bikes and Specialized are made by the same place in Taiwan.

As to them making other things, I would assume they do, but they likely have different departments for each type of product.

And as to age, I am 30 in 3 months, I hear ya on being old.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

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9/19/2015 9:33 AM

Most of the brands that make stuff in the USA don't only do BMX though. FBM does a line of commuter bikes, and will also do custom mtb jobs. Standard makes a 26" dirt jump mtb frame, S&M used to make frames for Black Market (not sure if they still do) Profile also has a pretty big presence in the mountain bike and commuter world.
Honestly, how long the company has been around and what other ventures a company has outside of BMX have nothing to do with build quality. The only thing that affects it is whether or not a brand is willing to put in the time/effort to make a good bike.

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9/19/2015 9:44 AM

Collin_McClenahan wrote:

Most of the brands that make stuff in the USA don't only do BMX though. FBM does a line of commuter bikes, and will also do ...more

I'll give you that, but the bulk of their offerings is BMX, and they are BMX-Centric. Perhaps my wording was less than ideal.

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"Hey anybody ever make that mistake like right when you wake up in the morning and you believe in yourself?" -Kyle Kinane

"BIKES!" -Tom Segura

9/19/2015 9:44 AM

Interesting, Thanks for the replies.

I am currently saving up for my first BMX in, oh, maybe six years. The last bike I had was a 2006ish Eastern Jane and it rode like a dream, has been my favorite bike over the years.

I wonder if anyone has any technical information about the difference between a poor quality build and a high quality build, in terms of what happens at the machine shop.

There's only one bike shop here that carries BMX. They had a Haro on the floor, along with Specialized and Radio. ( I assume Radio is a terrible brand). I'm looking for a big, spacious feeling bike that rides smooth and is relatively light weight.

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9/19/2015 9:50 AM

Nah Radio isn't that bad. Most brands that legitimate bike shops carry will be at least half decent. Tbh fam I'd probably get a Radio before a Specialized because Radio isn't a massive corporate company as far as I know. Ask the people at your shop too what they think will be best for you.

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"Let it be heard: FOUR IS BACK MUH FUCKAZ"
Refs: Mobking, four, tomdon, Sickdude, xxOhioanxx onetrykid Krisner BMX
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9/19/2015 2:08 PM

Honestly my MacNeil Taiwan made frame has nicer welds on it than my S&m ltf frame had , S&m makes solid stuff but theirs a huge misconception that Taiwan made is bad , it's really good actually , the only real plus I can see as far as buying S&m,
Fbm, or standard is that your keeping money from going over seas

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9/19/2015 9:06 PM

Collin,

I have to ask, is that a picture of you in your avatar? Cus if it is i went to school with a guy who looks just like you and he was weird as hell.

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9/19/2015 9:23 PM

Just go in and ask your local and try out the bikes they have . We can say whatever but it's the consumer that decides it . I ride a Premium and most online members don't like them but for me it's been a good bike that's lasted a lot of new learns and miles on it . It just depends . Obviously some brands are more reputable than some but everyone will have they're own opinions , we can just steer you on a direction you like . Most of the time of you go to local skateparks and see what's being ridden or try out a bike at the shop you can tell if it's a good bike or not

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Instagram : braydenbuckingham
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9/19/2015 11:41 PM

Brayden_Buckingham wrote:

Just go in and ask your local and try out the bikes they have . We can say whatever but it's the consumer that decides it . I ...more

I'm tempted to grab a premium aurora frame. Right geo, has gyro tabs. Comes in gloss black.

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9/22/2015 3:09 AM

It is hard to see where the price differences come from.

As already mentioned, the cheapest (best value seeming) bikes are typically made in China rather than Taiwan. This in itself doesn't have to mean that they are worse (most high end carbon road frames are made in China) but there does tend to be a correlation in BMX.
The quality will manifest itself in the fit of the joints prior to welding. You know the old "measure twice cut once" saying? Well when all that matters is price its "cut fast and fuck the fit we can hide that with the weld". The problem is that a poor fitting joint leads to a weaker weld and more distortion.
Similarly, laying up in the jig takes a little time, if all the joints are slightly loose its quicker (so cheaper) but again the weld strength suffers and you get more distortion.

More distortion leads to a further loss of strength (the top and down-tubes might be fighting each other the whole time and adding unnecessary stress) but also can mean the bike itself is crooked. You know how you sight down a piece of lumber at the wood yard before accepting it? Well do the same with a bike, you'd be amazed how often you can clearly see the back end of the bike way off-line or twisted. Even a slight bend or misalignment of the dropouts say will make it hell to get the wheel straight in the frame and make it ride like crap.


The problem is that most buyers look for a few buzwords and assume everything else is equal. This frame is 100% chromo so it must be better than that bike over there which only has a few tubes of chromoly... Yeah right. There is nothing wrong with a bit of HiTen in a frame if it has been built right. It's just going to add a little bit of weight (assuming the bike company accounted for the weaker tube spec by making it thicker), but better to have a straight slightly-heavier frame than a warped and weak, but slightly lighter one.

Full Disclosure: I work for Odyssey/Sunday/G-Sport, so I'll happily plug the Sunday stuff. We put an emphasis on overall quality and we work hard to make the best bike we can for the price, but on a $300 bike you HAVE to make compromises. You simply cant have everything. So we try to make a bike that is as good as it can be overall at that price. Unfortunately a lot of buyers will buy based on a spec sheet without ever laying hands on the bike and so a cheaper, maybe made in China, bike can be as bent as you like, but if the spec says its full chromoly they will sell plenty to people who never really look at it before they lay the cash down. This is why it IS worth going into your local bike shop and seeing the bike and talking to the staff and paying that slight premium for their expertise and support...

I hope this makes sense and seems reasonable and is helpful... oh, and if you are coming back after a gap (especially if you have ridden bigger bikes like MTB's inbetween) you might want to try to get a test ride on a Model C (24") might be just what you are looking for...

smile
G.

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9/22/2015 10:37 AM

NoSkillzzz wrote:

Interesting, Thanks for the replies.

I am currently saving up for my first BMX in, oh, maybe six years. The last bike I had ...more

I have a Jane, in the kind of burgundy color. Love that frame!!
OK, /csb tongue

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9/22/2015 11:21 AM

biggybuggy wrote:

I'm tempted to grab a premium aurora frame. Right geo, has gyro tabs. Comes in gloss black.

Same for a new build . The Aurora 2 in green looks amazing . From the experience with my CK frame , I'm sure it would feel amazing .

Also , a local pro named Wade Danchuk won one and has been riding it for years and it's still going and he backflips and flairs everything , I'm sure everyone biker in Vancouver knows who he is , kid rips anything he touches and he said he likes it . He has a really old YouTube video somewhere at my old local bowl before it got removed.

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9/22/2015 1:26 PM

Gsport George wrote:

It is hard to see where the price differences come from.

As already mentioned, the cheapest (best value seeming) bikes are ...more

Hi George,

Quick question about "weaker weld and distortion", is there a way to spot those without using x-ray or other clunky tools?

Is there a way to just eyeball a weld and say "not buying this frame, too much distortion on the welds"?

I'm not an engineer or a welder but i can spot a shitty weld.

To quote a childhood friend of mine who works in a shop, "looks like they used chicken shit as glue and painted it gray".

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9/22/2015 2:23 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/22/2015 2:24 PM

NoSkillzzz wrote:

Collin,

I have to ask, is that a picture of you in your avatar? Cus if it is i went to school with a guy who looks just like ...more

,lol nah. That's Topsey

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"Let it be heard: FOUR IS BACK MUH FUCKAZ"
Refs: Mobking, four, tomdon, Sickdude, xxOhioanxx onetrykid Krisner BMX
FBM Pizza Beer Roast Machine

9/23/2015 4:23 AM

one try kid wrote:

Hi George,

Quick question about "weaker weld and distortion", is there a way to spot those without using x-ray or other ...more

Unfortunately not directly, but there will often be clues. Eye-ball the frame, is the back-wheel aligned with the seat-tube, is the seat-tube aligned with the headtube, is the back wheel aligned with the top-tube? If everything is pointing off in different directions it tells you a whole lot.
And look closely at all the joints. Are there blobs and holes in the weld, does the top tube stick out the same amount each side of the seat-tube etc.

smile
G.

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9/23/2015 8:19 AM

From what I understand, there are under 10 different bicycle frame manufacturers in Taiwan. Maybe only 3 do BMX related things, but you really can tell the difference between manufacturers. A person's weld is as different as another painter's brush stroke, there are some determinable but suddle differences. FBM welds are OBVIOUSLY different from an S&M frame.

S&M had horrible welds, you can really tell by the inconsistent bead and the smallness of them. My Funday had beautiful welds, frame geo just wasn't for me.

I can guarantee that several brands use the same manufacturer, where the only difference is the stickers and stuff.

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