Tips to Choose The Best Aluminum Mountain Bike Frame

The aluminium MTB frame is still an option if you want your bike to be light and stronger than alloy. It’s still on par with carbon fiber in terms of strength and weight. An aluminum mountain bike frame can be your best part since it’s more affordable.

Part 1: Types of Bike Frame

The bicycle frame is the main component that greatly affects the selling value of a bicycle. When buying a bicycle, most people will first see the shape and appearance of the frame of the bicycle to be purchased.

After that, you may proceed by finding out what frame material is used and also the specifications. There are actually different kinds of materials that are often used as parts for making bicycle frames.

 aluminum mountain bike frame
Each material has its own plus and minus. To find out more about the characteristics of each bicycle frame, please refer to the following explanation:

Steel Frame

Before jumping into the MTB frame aluminium, let us talk about the steel first. This is the most traditional and easy-to-find frame type on the market.

However, in the industrial world, especially bicycle manufacturers, prefer to call these types of materials as Hi-Tensile Steel.

Talking about the price, steel is relatively the cheapest compared to other types of frames. Usually, bicycles that use this frame are intended for the lower middle class or novice users.

Aluminum Alloy

It is one of the most popular frames in use today, ranging from cheap bicycles to professional grades. The aluminum frame is anti-rust and lighter than the steel frame.

They are the two most common aluminum frames, namely, type 6061 and 7005. The difference is the mixture of materials used, like aluminum with a mixture of magnesium, silicon, and zinc. That’s why aluminum is often called an alloy because the word “alloy” itself in English means “mixture.”

In the current era, the model and shape of aluminum frames are growing, so they can be made to look more modern and futuristic. Although, it’s a fact that aluminum is not as smooth as the carbon frame. However, you can opt for aluminum mountain bike frame which is way more affordable.


Carbon frames are the lightest weight compared to other types of frames.

This material is more suitable for bicycles that require acceleration and speed, such as racing bikes. However, carbon frames are also getting popular as a material to be used for creating mountain bikes and others.

Part 2: Tips to Choose The Best Bike Frame: Size and Height

Now, it’s time to pick your best aluminum MTB frame. Choosing a bicycle frame is basically quite easy, especially for MTB and Road bikes. It is often found that there are sizes on each frame which is commonly known as sizing. This size difference aims to provide an optimal driving experience for each rider who has a different body posture.

There are four ways/methods commonly used to determine the ideal frame size for a rider, including:

Follow Factory Recommendation

This method is considered the most accurate for determining the size of the bicycle frame that should be used. Manufacturers or bicycle factories certainly understand every detail of the geometry of a frame that they create. Usually, you can see the size recommendations listed on the bicycle frame or the manufacturer’s website itself.

Let’s take an example, suppose we choose a 27.5-inch Xtrada polygon, and the rider has a height of 165, then the recommended size is M or Medium.

Frame Size Table / Online Calculator

On the internet, there are many sources of tables and size calculators that you may use as references in choosing the frame size. For some bicycle manufacturers who do not provide sizing recommendations, this method is quite helpful in choosing the optimal bicycle frame size to use.

The measurement table is basic enough to understand, and it usually does not bind between bicycle brands. These measurements are always fit to all bicycle brands, so the accuracy is not very optimal.

This method is not necessarily as accurate as of the manufacturer’s recommendations, but it is quite helpful in choosing the size if the manufacturer does not provide sizing information.

Standover Height Method

The Standover Height method is a traditional method that is widely used. The measurement is quite simple, and the rider simply stands on the bicycle, as shown below.

Riders can simply measure the distance between the groin and the top tube or what is commonly known as clearance. Ideally, on road bikes, there is a 1-inch clearance, and on MTB, there is 2 inches clearance. This method is the simplest, easiest to implement, and is quite widely used today.

Stack and Reach

The stack and reach method is a method used to find the size of the frame by comparing the frame currently in use and the frame to be purchased. In other words, this technique is used to find the frame size that was previously suitable for our use.

Stack is usually measured from the center of the BB to the horizontal pseudo line parallel to the top tube. The stack is related to the height of the bike.

Reach is measured from the Headtube to the vertical pseudo-line of the Bottom bracket. Reach relates to the control range of the bike. With the same stack and reach a size, in general, the sensation of driving two frames will be the same.

That was the basis of frame sizing or frame size selection. After that, the next step is to find the proper aluminum mountain bike frame bike fitting, which is a method of calculating the compatibility of each component size of the bicycle with the rider’s body. But, normally, this technique isn’t actually a must-do activity unless you have certain health conditions or problems.

Part 3: Aluminum VS Carbon

Before buying the aluminium MTB frame, there’s a point that you need to remember.

Indeed, MTB frame aluminium has long been in a position as a “cheap material” in the road cycling arena. Steel material is still considered a classic has a special place in the hearts of many people. Titanium material is also special as a super strong and lightweight material. Carbon remains at the top because this material can be formed into anything, tuned to produce the character at will.

How about mountain bike frame aluminum? It’s an understandable fact that most aluminum frames do have a character that tends to be rough.

But lately, construction technology has made aluminum on par again with carbon fiber. Shapes are now more flexible, just like carbon, so they can be thick, thin, or flat. Welding techniques are also better, making aluminum frames as rigid as carbon.

An example of the best aluminum mountain bike frame development comes from Cannondale. Cannondale is the most consistently developing aluminum frame. CAAD (Cannondale Advanced Aluminum Design) type bikes are always innovating. A few years ago, the CAAD10 was in great demand, being called the best alloy bike in history. Better than most carbon bikes.

Then came CAAD12, a refinement of CAAD10. The character is like a carbon bike but even more powerful than most carbon bikes.

Plus, the price is still more affordable and relatively more resilient. Not surprisingly, CAAD10 and CAAD12 are very popular among amateur racers, who want to have great bikes for a good price.

Part 4: Conclusion

Aluminum isn’t always left behind. In fact, it’s the kind of material that’s growing and becoming better and better following the bike companies’ innovative strategies. If you’re looking for a good bike at a great price, aluminum can certainly be an option.