MTB Frame Review

As you know, the geometry of a bike is the second most crucial factor in determining its awesomeness. Still, it all depends on the shape of the tubes, the placement of the suspension components, and the general look of the MTB frame.

Part 1: Introduction

There are a variety of materials that make mountain bike frames. The most common is aluminium, lightweight, cheap, and relatively strong. The most advanced materials are carbon and titanium.

The former is light, durable, and good at damping bumps, while the latter is slightly heavier but provides a better bounce, which translates into excellent riding comfort.

bike frame mountain bike

MTB frame geometry defines how the bike will behave. The most important values are stack and reach. Stack is a parameter that determines the vertical distance between the bottom bracket axis and the sternum line. Reach is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket axis to the sternum. These are the basic parameters that tell us how much we stretch while riding standing up. The higher the stack to reach ratio, the position will.

Part 2: Buying Guide

Choosing a Mountain Bike Frame

Some questions are more accessible to answer than others.

There are compatibility questions that have yes and no answers. These are relatively simple things to get right.

But some questions are less black and white. Questions about usability, value for money and that have a “well, it depends” answer.

Let’s tackle the more straightforward compatibility questions first.
Frame size: a mountain bike with 27.5 and 29-inch wheels
Height: 150-160 cm and diagonal: 66-76 cm – 14-inch frame (with 160/73-76 I would also try on a 15-inch frame)
Height: 161-170 cm and diagonal: 66-78 cm – 15-inch frame (at 170/78-81, I would also try on a 17-inch frame)
Height: 171-183 cm and diagonal: 74-86 cm – 17-inch frame (at 182/84-89, I would also try on a 19-inch frame)
Height: 184-193 cm and diagonal: 79-91 cm – 19-inch frame (at 193/89-94, I would also try on a 21-inch frame)
Height: 194-198 cm and diagonal: 84-94 cm – 21-inch frame

It is worth remembering that if the manufacturer prepares a given model in the same size but with two sizes of wheels, then the diagonal in the model with 29-inch wheels will be about 2 centimetres higher. It is worth taking that into account when trying on a frame in a store.

When choosing a rigid MTB frame, we need to pay attention to several things.

Wheel Size

This is the most critical parameter.  We can choose 26, 27,5, and 29 inches. There are also many variations on the “plus” theme – some frames can accept wider tires.

Fork Travel

A rigid MTB frame also has a fork that it can work with. This is generally 100 millimetres. If you put a 140mm fork on a frame like this, the head tube might not hold up and break.

Wheel Mount Type

The mountain bike frame can have a hub mount with a QR axle (9mm), 12mm x 142mm, and 12mm x 148mm. These are the most prevalent standards currently on the market.

These are the most essential features of the frame, although not the only ones. Other essential features include the type of brake mount, rudders, and seat pillar diameter. If you have any doubts about the choice of the frame, please contact our consultants.

What Should Consider When Choosing a Frame

To ride comfortably and, above all, safely, it is necessary to approach the choice of these elements of single-track vehicles meticulously. In most cases (for MTB bikes etc.) the bike MTB frame size refers to the length of the vertical frame tube. It is worth mentioning that it is measured from the centre of the bottom bracket. On the other hand, in the case of road bikes, off-road bikes, etc., it refers to the length of the upper frame tube. The dimensions of such elements are in inches (less often in centimetres).

How to Choose Frame Size for Your Height

That this is where to start their search. However, the reality is a bit different. In the beginning, you should measure your diagonal. Knowing this parameter, it will be much easier to answer the question of what frame size is optimal for your height. So how to measure your diagonal? First, stand near a wall (a slight straddle will be suitable). Take off your shoes and socks. It would be good to place a spirit level between your legs. It is vital to move this measuring device upwards at such a height that you do not feel any discomfort in your step. Next, you need to precisely measure the distance from the beginning of the spirit level to the ground. In this way, you will know the value of the cross-section.

The Type of Bike

It turns out that different frames are selected for single-track mountain vehicles, road vehicles, and so on. Why?  The achieved speed is essential in road cycling, which translates into results. In this case, the frames are a bit bigger compared to, e.g., MTB vehicles. The situation is even different with city bikes. There, the lack of an upper MTB frame tube is often noticeable. Sometimes it is relatively low (such single-track vehicles are obviously chosen by women). The point is that the ride should be, first of all, very comfortable. There is only one conclusion. You need to match the size of your bike frame to the type of single-track vehicle as well. This is an important consideration that affects comfort, speed, and safety.

Part 3: Recommendations

It is sometimes said that once upon a time there was only one MTB in all conditions, and specialization is a marketing invention. The truth is that despite the seemingly minor differences in appearance, the riding experience is entirely different.

They differ primarily in frame geometry, specifically head tube angle and seat tube angle, shock absorber (or shock absorbers) travel, handlebar width, brake disc size and drivetrain, and tire width.

Part 4: Selection Guide

An MTB frame is a primary component of a bicycle. It forms the backbone of the bike and is used to assemble all the other bike parts. A classic bicycle frame has a triangular structure of top tube, down tube and seat tube. The top tube and bottom tube are joined at the head tube. There is a sleeve for attaching the crank at the junction of the down tube and the seat tube.

Bicycles can have different geometries due to the frame used. In the case of mountain bikes and road bikes, the top tube is elongated, while the seat tube is strongly inclined, making the rider’s silhouette more lean and aerodynamic. Touring and city bikes, on the other hand, tend to use short top tubes, so the figure is more upright when riding.

Different types of materials are used for bicycle frames. On them depends the strength of the frame, its ability to absorb shocks, and its weight, so it is worth paying attention to the material when looking for a bike.

Stainless Steel Frames

For a long time, they were the most commonly used. Common structural steel makes the cheapest steel mountain bike frames, while the more expensive ones also have a mixture of chrome and molybdenum—they’re called chrome molybdenum.

These frames are solid and cheap, but they are heavy. Also, they corrode easily. Varnish protects them well. More expensive high-performance models have them too. This is because Cr-M steel dampens vibration well and resists fatigue.

Aluminium Frames

Currently, they are trendy. They are made of durable, lightweight aluminium alloys, so they are often used for different types of bicycles – those urban, touring, MTB, and road bikes. However, compared to steel frames, they are less durable and dampen vibrations less well, but they really last for many years when they are of good quality. Some manufacturers also give lifetime warranties on their aluminium frames.

Carbon Frames

Made from carbon fibre mixed with resin and formed into sheets glued together, this type of MTB frame is generally the lightest yet strong and stiff enough to handle even the most challenging rides. Carbon also has a reasonably versatile structure, which makes the entire structure much more resilient.

The main advantage of carbon as a mountain bike frame material is its stiffness. Because carbon fibre is flexible in one direction and stiff in the other, the sheets can be layered so that different frame parts react differently. This means that, unlike metal, a frame tube can have different properties and structures.

This allows mountain bike frame designers to build both laterally stiff and torsionally rigid yet vertically pliable bikes. This means they respond more quickly to the rider’s commands, giving the impression that the bike can corner harder, climb faster and use the suspension more efficiently.

TITAN Frames

The most impressive feature of titanium is that it is as strong as steel but much lighter. This gives frames made from it an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Furthermore, it is a tremendous shock-absorbing material due to its flexibility while maintaining its shape. However, it is also the most expensive on the list.

It is expensive to extract the raw material, and it is also difficult to weld. But if you are on a budget, a Litespeed T2 mountain bike frame handmade in the United States is an excellent choice. Remember that it’s more than twice the price of a high-performance Marin mountain bike, so you really need to weigh your financial options.

You’ll be happy to hear that titanium doesn’t crumble with age if you’re considering it, and its flexibility remains the same. As a result, a 20-year-old titanium frame rides almost exactly like it was built. But this may not benefit in the long run. After all, technological advances are changing the standards in this area.

Part 5: Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best MTB Frame

The top ones are aluminium, steel, titanium, and carbon. Naturally, each one has different properties, advantages, and drawbacks. You need to consider all these aspects before making a choice to ensure you are making a positive investment in your future.

How Important Is MTB Frame Size

A larger frame will give you a larger wheelbase (the distance between your two wheels is greater). This will make your bike feel more like a monster truck than a precise scalpel fit for carving up the trail.

Does MTB Frame Matter

mountain bike frame material certainly plays some role in a bike’s overall character, but it’s far from the only thing that contributes to its feel and performance. So when you hear that aluminium leads to stiff and harsh riding while steel and titanium make for a smoother experience, the truth is more nuanced than that.

How Is MTB Frame Measured

Most manufacturers now measure the frame from the centre of the crank axle to the top of the seat tube.Most road bikes are in centimeters (cm), whereas mountain bikes are generally using inches (in).

What Is the Strongest MTB Frame

Titanium. Another bike frame material popular with custom bike builders, titanium, shares many of the same properties as steel but has more excellent resistance to corrosion and fatigue (it has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of all metals).