The Most Important Component on a New Bike? - Pinkbike Poll

Jul 15, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
When you’re looking to buy a new bike, which components matter most to you? Once upon a not-so-long-ago, the answer was simple: The frame. The frame is, after all, the heart and soul of a bike. You could always swap parts out when they eventually gave up the ghost.

But today? Today, “budget” wheels cost six-hundred bucks and a high-end fork can easily run a grand. In short, good parts were always important, sure, but now swapping out the parts that you don't like can burn a serious hole in your wallet. You better like the parts that come "stock" on that new bike. So, which component matters most to you? Which part had better be right on the money?

Pinkbike Components Poll


When you're shopping for a new bike, which components matter most to you?



MENTIONS: @vernonfelton




192 Comments

  • + 468
 slow evening at pinkbike hq huh?

next pole:

whats better? a bike or no bike?
  • + 220
 And they don't even give us the option to choose 'seatpost collar'!
  • + 73
 But your ass still voted.......
  • + 74
 @shaowin: gotta vote to see if anyone did not choose frame.
  • + 1
 Hahaha, I win.
  • + 8
 Just ride your ride.
  • + 1
 @shaowin: don't give a ...... about.
  • + 9
 2 bikes.
  • - 50
flag poah (Jul 16, 2016 at 2:09) (Below Threshold)
 no bike if its a 29er
  • + 41
 Pick a component, be a dick about it...
  • + 4
 I cannot believe there is no clock running for this to see who has KOM...then shares the "accomplishment" on Facebook.
  • + 13
 More choices obviously needed for the pole:
Wheels
Paint job
Anything metric
Any batteries to make things work
Is it " boosted"
  • + 3
 Enduro frame or All Mountain Frame?
  • + 9
 Where is the "all of them" choice...?
  • - 3
 @poah: yea I'd rather not ride a 29er myself.. let the people hate, but that's my choice
  • + 2
 The most important componant for me is the bottom bracket..... Said no one EVER
  • + 0
 @Rubberelli: I use a carbon one. I can definitely feel the weight savings on a trail.
  • + 13
 I heart nipples
  • - 7
flag weebleswobbles (Jul 17, 2016 at 8:06) (Below Threshold)
 @ViceGrips: haha only women's nipples
  • + 3
 Crafty Pinkbike market research and selling the results to the bike companies.
  • + 15
 @zer0c00l44: the companies would be pretty dumb to buy them when everybody can see the results for free
  • + 2
 @daweil: The public can't see where the responses are from geographically, nor by age, not by gender etc.
  • - 2
 Really negative props for this comment?? Strange
  • + 189
 How the f*ck is the frame considered a component?
  • + 14
 That was my thought exactly.
  • + 44
 Paste from dictionary: "a part or element of a larger whole, especially a part of a machine or vehicle."

Sounds accurate
  • + 93
 @DatBikeDo: ...hey naw, we don't fancy none of that book learnin' crap round here naw ya hear! Git!...git on naw...
  • - 7
flag AdustytrunkMonkey (Jul 15, 2016 at 21:42) (Below Threshold)
 @loopie: Pfffftahahahaha comment of the year!
  • + 5
 That's why I picked brakes.. Wait.... Noooo!
  • + 2
 Component: a part or element of a larger whole
  • + 13
 Make your bike without your frame component. Send me a picture when you next ride your pile of non-frame components.
  • + 35
 Lol....but seriously, @vernonfelton posed the question as if,(paraphrased) "hey we all know the frame is the heart and soul of the bike, but what's the next most important component?" And then the poll has a frame option.
  • - 1
 When it's metric
  • + 10
 would you consider the chassis of a car a component?
  • + 3
 @poah: if you change the chassis its a different car
  • + 3
 @the-barn: but its not called a component, like a brake disc, suspension arm, gearbox etc
  • + 3
 @DatBikeDo: hey you!! We don't take kindly to your types around here!!
  • + 2
 I mean that's the first thing you choose the brand of your selection, why would you buy a complete bike that you plan on change the frame? to this pol is nonsense, I have to say drivetrain, but I say rear hub really REALLY matters, as fast engagement is a pretty important deal.
  • + 1
 @Triber66: Therein lies the problem.
  • + 51
 Streamers
  • + 4
 winner winner, chicken dinner!
  • + 14
 what about the baseball card in the wheel?
  • + 9
 @bmoore34: ...but the baseball card would need to be upgraded to a hockey card. So even that factors in to your bicycle purchase. BOAT...Bust Out Another Thousand
  • + 45
 Handlebar. I need to hold on to something while running through the woods with, whilst dreaming of other components I will eventually get.
  • + 42
 Grips, if they aren't colour matched to the derailleur hanger and front axle, then the bike was not designed with match spec components. It would need a seriously good seat post clamp for me to look at getting it.
  • + 4
 so...black?
  • + 2
 @j-t-g: I mean, mine are all anno red...
  • + 32
 For me, it's that the reflectors are correctly fitted to the frame and the wheels have them in too Health and safety is no laughing matter
  • + 5
 I hear you brother and a secure spot to mount your safety flag.
  • + 21
 Anything that works,all my shit seems to do lately is fuck up for no reason.
  • + 6
 Absolutely, I have 2 reverbs and a vivid air on my spare parts box and an rc4 with a normal seat post on my bike so I can actually ride it. For me the reason seems to be rock shox.
  • + 9
 @kanioni: my two cents...get something other than a reverb...."fool me twice" ya know?
  • + 1
 @billyballa33: Shame on me. 9.8 posts look promising, but better get rid of the old stuff first. Anyone want leaking RS stuff for cheap? Big Grin
  • + 2
 @kanioni: @kanioni: in the last year and a half i got the reverb 3 times warranied(and need's to go again) a monarch wich was there 2 months, 2 times a pike warrantied and it's there again, if i had the cash i would stip any rock shox component out of my bike.
they work good, but are made self-destructive matereals
  • + 2
 @kanioni: I have a couple of reverbs for my different bikes. Only once had an issue with one of them after 2 years of ownership. Sent it in to RS (remember, 2 years old) and they warrantied it and sent it back free of charge. Why not try having them fixed? I still haven't come across a dropper I like better.
  • + 6
 @cueTIP: I was in the LBS the other day, to pick up some more Maple Bacon GU; guy came in said his reverb wasn't working dindn't drop no mo. It looked pretty new, he read how sucky they were and now his was bad too. He was from Iowa. While I was waiting, I asked him if he checked the air pressure? "whaaa?" So I pulled it out, pumped it up to 220 or so, It worked perfectly. He had it over a year but never read the instructions.
  • + 2
 @kanioni: yes please! o-rings are cheap and replaceable.
  • + 2
 @SteveDekker: sounds like operator error to me!
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker: the problem i dah with mine(always at the pressure that says on the cover) were they started sagging, when you pedaled on the sadle it would have like 1to 2 cm of travel.
now it's with way too loose, and was new from warranty like 4 months ago
  • + 2
 @tiagomano: Mechanical stuff... Even still a good mechanic can rebuild the thing good as new for 60 bucks or so. I think shops with poor service that rely on warranty service from RS have them stacked up. My suspension guy rebuilds them and has only good things to say about them. Everything needs to be serviced sooner or later.
Yeah I have a suspension guy. For the first time in my life an LBS has excellent inexpensive, same day suspension service.
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker: yes i know, but if a thing is relatively new,(and rode less than it's service time) i won't be paying for something that is a defect. i had a normal reverb for 2 and half years without any maintainance and never given problem's, the sthelth is a diferent story, will se if i can exage it for the new one only payinf the difrenc in ps

put all rock shox product's have been giving me troble as i said up there
  • + 2
 @tiagomano: Good plan. Yeah I'm not crazy about RS stuff either, I tolerate the reverb.
I'm going to try the new Fox dropper on my new build.
  • + 1
 @SteveDekker: if i can't switch for the new reverb probably me too, now, the pike and monarch are going away certanly on the next build
  • + 1
 @unrooted: Yea o-rings are cheap (unless you buy them in a service kit) and I've replaced them many times enough to get bored of it. I rather spend that time riding. On top of that my Vivid Air doesn't work in cold even with fresh seals in it, but coils do.
  • + 1
 @kanioni: do you want my address?
  • + 1
 @unrooted: Haha send me a pm if you're serious
  • + 19
 I wonder if Pinkbike have ever considered doing a poll about the most inane question ever posed in a Pinkbike poll
  • + 12
 Stoke is the most inportant component end of discussion. Most of us (hopefully) will ride nearly anything down a trail because lets be honest, sometimes riding a nugget down a trail it has no right being on is just super fun!!
  • + 5
 You forgot beers swilling mates recounting each others' stacks & taking the piss after a day in the saddle- boy I miss New Zealand...
  • + 2
 This guy right here knows what's up.
  • + 12
 Some good motor oil. Keeps the brakes from squeaking and keeps my hair slicked back
  • + 9
 You could have the best suspension set up possible but if the frame is poor quality or lacks proper geometry the bike will not perform well
  • + 14
 You can flip that sentence and it would be just as true. "You could have the best frame out there and shit suspension and the bike will feel like garbage." A good bike is the best one you can afford and ride hard.
  • - 2
 @lostlunchbox: but what suspension is really bad tho? Cheaper stuff is pretty reliable and works. And if you get a bike with cheaper suspension, it's not like the bike will come equipped with xtr so it won't stand out as bad.
  • + 2
 @Downhill29erplease: and which frame is really bad nowadays? Not counting target / walmart bikes, which all-mountain bike frame would you consider bad?

Since I don't consider the frame to be a "component", the suspension is the most important IMO just because its the most expensive component to swap.
  • + 8
 @SK250: The Demo is a death trap, it broke Loic's collarbone when he wasn't even riding it #protourfacts
  • + 1
 @lostlunchbox: Precisely why I prefer frame up builds over completes. Zero compromise and zero waste.
  • + 4
 Seems a bit pointless of a question, if the frame is rubbish your not gonna buy the bike are you! Its also usually the most expensive part. If I have to change anything on a bike I'd rather it be brakes and wheels, I'm fussy about these and alot of the more affordable bikes have terrible spec brakes and wheels.
  • + 5
 With decent stuff like a gx drive train, solo air pikes, and even deore brakes, it just comes down to the bike company and their reputability when it comes to customer service.
  • + 7
 Run this again without the frame option, the results would be much more interesting.
  • + 5
 I don't buy new bikes so my main criteria for buying a bike is if it has spent the last 5 years in a garage not seeing the light of day
  • + 3
 With the constantly changing "standards" (and ignoring the fact that the frame isn't a component) you have to say frame because it's setting what you can even buy. Just got the latest metric boost wonder machine? Well, there's only one manufacturer making what you need in each component category that will even work, so it's not really much of a choice is it?
  • + 6
 The rider is the most important component... closely followed by spokey dokeys......
  • + 7
 The discount.
  • + 2
 HT: fork is #1 (my ROS9 frame can be found cheaper than the fork I have on it now)
FS: frame is #1 (can't find any decent frame for cheaper than a fork, maybe a Meta AM V4)
Wheels: plenty of people think stock wheels suck, so I can happily find practically new DT M1700s cheap
Brakes/Drivetrain: SRAM street prices are ridiculous... Shimano and JensonUSA have my back. Whatever drivetrain comes with the bike eventually needs replacement
  • + 2
 The frame is the bike. I wouldn't consider buying a bike built around a frame I don't like, whereas I would and have bought bikes with wheels and drivetrain I don't like.

The wheels used to be the least important because my old wheels could just be swapped over to the new bike. Worst case I'd have to lace some new size rims to my existing hubs. Not so much anymore. Most components are either all generally good, or cheap enough to replace. Wheels on the other hand are always expensive, and most OEM sets are utter crap. Once you ride a good wheel, going back to a shit hub and a rim made of butterscotch because your new frame is +boost-ultra+ sucks!
  • + 4
 The rider. You can have loads of cash and buy the best of everything but if you can't ride worth a damn then your just trailhead decoration.
  • + 2
 I think theyre forgetting something. What about pedals!? I go to Trek Store and see bikes over $2000 with plastic pedals lol Also id never buy a new bike. 26" for life. i just bought a used bike and yes its 26.
  • + 1
 I choose the fork, because the frame is a given. I would like to afford multiple bikes, but that's not happening at the moment. So I want a do-it-all bike. Seems like the bikes that could work best for that purpose come with 32mm forks. A do-it-all bike with flexy forks is no good, and therefore can't do it all. I can deal with shorter travel, cheaper wheels- but flexy fork not a good feeling. So what you end up with for a do-it-all bike is a bigger travel bike that isn't as fun on easier terrain, but hey, you have a beefy fork.
  • + 1
 Any sort of TOL bike equipment is expensive, but I would say having a strong frame is a big plus, because if the frame breaks you're screwed. That being said, you never really know what the failure point might be on a specific bike.
  • + 1
 I usually pay close attention to what kind of brakes and fork combination the bicycle has running upfront. I mean every component on a bike is of importance, the chain and tires are the most moving parts, right after brakes and suspension
  • + 6
 kickstand
  • + 1
 I like this poll. The frame just goes without saying though. I feel like (and the industry seems to agree) that its all about the down. So why cant i buy a good frame with high end suspension, higher-ish wheels and mediocre everthing else? For the sweet spot price (maybe 3-4k ish)? I can live with house brand bars that should be replaced every year anyway. Tires ware out. Drivetrain? It works good at first but how many rides does that last for? Even if i dont smash it off a rock it wears out. Coming up with a few hundred bucks for anything... like a dropper post, is a pain but its within reach. 2k+ for better suspension is not.
  • + 1
 Personally, I listen to all the dumb shit everyone says, especially the ones that dont ride bikes, opinions of the uneducated are the most valuable tool when purchasing a bike. I pick depending on a blindfolded taste test if opinions are in short supply.
  • + 1
 all components are important to get the way YOU want it ,the rider is most important ,then the frame is very important as well all the components you trust to do the job (intended use) its amazing the confidence you get from a bike you have custom built from the ground up for a intended purpose ,people who buy full/compleat bikes miss this vital part out .
  • + 4
 Frame. The soul of a bike
  • + 4
 Definitely, though I haven't bought a complete bike since 1992
  • + 1
 Not sure... I am currently looking for a used bike and I cant decide whether I should buy a 26" bike with sweet components for a good offer or whether I should search for a 650b model with possibly worse components
  • + 1
 You're better off buying the frame you want and shopping around for cheap new old stock (2015) components. Shop hard you can build the bike you want for half the retail price.
  • + 1
 I bought a Cube FS because the kit on board was the best value package in my budget and the bike does well in EWS, However when it comes to hardtails it's the frame everytime.
  • + 1
 When i bought my fuji hardTail, i thought, i should replace the components, from brakes to wheels. Then, i completed everything, i wanted to choose the frame. So i'd say the whole bike would be what i wanted to upgrade
  • + 0
 Brakes : if you're not happy, pair of slx does the job for 90€.
Drivetrain: easy to go one by if it's not stock.
Tires : get used quick enough.
Wheels : crossride/m1900 is enough, just a bit narrow.
Bar & stem : easy to change and quite personal anyway.
Fork : ok another one is expensive, but you don't have to pay 1000€ and selling the stock one helps.
Shock : same.

No really, the only thing stopping me from buying the jeffsy Al comp 1 is the frame sizing. I want XL length with L seat tube. And 150mm reverb!
  • + 1
 I wouldn't buy a new bike, my bikes have been evolving for over twenty years now so they all have 26", 135mm rear ends, apart from a 24" jump bike.
I'd want a front mech and external routing so Banshee maybe
  • + 2
 Going to to have to go with frame on this pole, as the geo's are better for my preference but I dislike the stock spec on most bikes so I would immediately be swapping parts
  • + 0
 I don't see myself ever buy a complete bike now that I've got enough good, carefully chosen stuff kicking around and on the bike it is supposed to replace. Even if I'd update everything to the current/popular standards (wheel size, hub spacing etc) I still have enough small parts (cranks, brakes, handlebar etc) that could transfer to the new bike so that getting it all new isn't necessarily cheaper. The lowest spec Kona Process 134 goes for 3000 euros. They don't sell the frame separately but I'm pretty sure I could get an Alutech ICB2.0 (more or less similar frame) and, for that kind of money, spec it considerably nicer. If I transfer components from the old bike, the new components can be even better. I still don't get why people buy complete bikes instead of a frame.

I voted frame as it was impossible (for me) to not vote that now that the option is presented. But otherwise I'd have chosen the (not presented) option "rear shock" in case of a full sus bike. These are expensive and often have a factory tune for that frame.
  • + 3
 Doesnt matter how high end the parts are on a bike, if you dislike the geometry you will still hate it.
  • + 1
 Best bang for the buck is the wheels. Most top frames and even many Chinese frames perform well. You will definitely feel a difference in a wheel upgrade before a frame upgrade, with equal amounts being spent on either.
  • + 1
 Forgive me as I've been drinking Scotch, but..

I don't think the question should be 'The Most Important Component on a New Bike?'

Rather..

What 'Is' The Most Important Component on a New Bike?'
  • + 4
 Maybe it's a trick question. Maybe they mean what could you use from your bike to survive a Gay-Zombie apocalypse? I take the right crank arm with 38t chainring and no bashguard,
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: would this impact the straight population? Just to be safe I'd carry a spoke.
  • + 2
 The most important things I look for in a bike are either the grips or the headset cap.
  • + 3
 I wish they had not included the frame there.
  • + 0
 A rider with balls is the most important part. You can have a mad setup and mad skills, however if you don't have the balls to hit it you won't. Other than that brakes and wheels for me.
  • + 3
 Suspension and brakes makes the biggest difference .
  • + 4
 This is stupid.
  • + 3
 +1 Spokey Dokeys

They are my childhood
  • + 1
 Not even on the list, but tires are super important. Pretty much the only component you see pros openly running from non-sponsors.
  • + 5
 Tires are (relatively) cheap and get replaced often, what ones come on the bike isn't a big deal.
  • + 1
 @src248: true. Wasn't thinking so much about a NEW bike.
  • + 1
 Drivetrain because it locks you in to buying expensive replacement parts (SRAM), when you could be spending way less(Shimano) .
  • + 4
 26" wheels
  • + 4
 Your bridge is ready sir...
  • + 1
 Some of you guys need to get a life, if you don't like the question then just don't participate, don't go out of your way to be a twat
  • + 1
 A good carbon frame is pretty nice. Me personally, I'd prefer a solid set of disc brakes. Frames are overrated, disc brakes are where its at.
  • + 1
 The sum of all the parts is grater then the parts seprat. And important like stated above is the rider. For me though it is the time to ride that is means the most.
  • + 3
 Brakes from Shimano. The rest is optional and exchangable
  • + 1
 The frame isn't a component... If I needed to swap out my frame I wouldn't be purchasing that bike... Fork all the way.
  • + 1
 I just ride.... don't care. Sure, I like good products but I'm fine riding with less bling.
  • + 2
 Joy? Appreciation you have first world problems?
  • + 1
 Dear Pinkbike, please include a "I refuse to vote when only Bullshit-Questions are allowed" in your further polls.
  • + 1
 Really need the whole package.....frames don't ride nice without wheels...brakes.....bars...etc Weird surveys
  • + 1
 Unless you're minted you look at the whole package, there's always some part you don't want, and a few that you do
  • + 1
 Most important part on your bike is the warranty. Especially if you've accidentally bought a NORCO!
  • + 2
 hahaha yes you must warranty this bike I tried to jump over a freight train lol, just be lucky there is even a warrenty on these bikes considering they are abused like their MX cousins with no warranty
  • + 1
 @meecraw:
A motocross bike can be ridden for a decade without cracking the frame.
The shocks almost never need service.
And none of the components ever fail just for the hell of it.
Comparing apples and oranges.
  • + 2
 a very philosophical, almost spiritual moutanin biking question
  • + 1
 presta or shrader...... I thought this poll was about things that matter most to the average rider.....
  • + 2
 Got to be the turbo
  • + 1
 More interesting pole if frame weren’t an option.
  • + 1
 whatever , the anwser wont be "the chain"
  • + 1
 Comfortable cockpit, good tires and fully functioning brakes!
  • + 1
 Carbon fiber...nothing matters unless it's carbon fiber!
  • + 2
 Your mom!
  • + 2
 The rider. Duh.
  • + 1
 Valve stems. Can't ride without them.
  • + 1
 Light weight fat rimmed bomb proof wheels that have a noisy buzz.
  • + 1
 I voted for the frame. But really I would say the dropper post.
  • + 0
 Eh what about pedals??? I seen bikes are the Trek store over $2000 with plastic pedals lol
  • + 1
 Frame. everything else can be replaced.
  • + 1
 Budget wheels don't cost $600.
  • + 1
 That red marked down sticker on the price tag!
  • + 2
 Dropper post.
  • + 4
 Yes, preferably none, so i can transfer my good one to it.
  • + 1
 Self justification over and over.
  • + 1
 Until man/lady balls is a component everything else is moot.
  • + 1
 Not that its inportant but *important. Hahah
  • + 1
 I always use brakes as the judge of how good a build spec it is.
  • + 1
 Pretty much anything but the rear derailleur can be used too. I guess companies are getting better at it but a few years ago you'd see full Deore with off brand cockpit, junk wheels, non tubeless ready tires, etc with an XT rear derailleur haha
  • + 0
 The most important price on a bike is weather or not the pegs on your pedals are titanium or aluminium
  • + 2
 A bell
  • + 1
 I ....ope no one said that , important is eeeeeeeverything .
  • + 1
 Boost is the most important component
  • + 1
 The flask that holds the bourbon
  • + 1
 bought a mountain bike, the bike's fine but the mountain cost more..
  • + 1
 Most important? Easy, the rider.
  • + 1
 The rider?
  • - 3
 You can shop for a rider? The poll asked "most important COMPONENT OF A NEW BIKE". Attempt at being funny failed.
  • + 2
 @Alias530: well that is a good thing, if it wasn't meant to be funny. It was pointing out the silliness and rampant consumerism that is such a party of mountain biking these days.
  • + 0
 @multialxndr: Some of us went to college and it isn't a hardship to buy new things. Our economy depends on people spending money and new things give people happiness so why not?
  • + 3
 @Alias530: wow that got personal lol. I don't know what going to college has to do with it. Ii wasn't taking a shot at you just saying that mountain biking can be more about what you buy than actual riding. You make my point by implying saying 'I can afford it and you can't', it is an attitude that is creeping into mountain biking that bikes are a status symbol rather than a tool to get stoked. FYI I have a college degree but there are also some extremely successful tradesmen etc that don't, and many lovely people who are great ridera who don't have a lot of money.
  • + 1
 Strava data
  • + 1
 Tape deck.
  • + 0
 what kind of question is this..................
  • + 1
 Don't drink and write
  • + 1
 lube. durhh
  • + 1
 Cable housing!
  • + 0
 Forks on a hardtail, frame on a full sus.
  • + 1
 Tires!!!!
  • + 1
 Streamers.
  • + 1
 .......and training wheels.
  • + 0
 Fireball
  • + 0
 Tires.
  • - 1
 Great job Pinkbike for not including the option off buying used.
  • + 0
 Does it have boost?
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