If biking is your hobby, it is crucial to know what is best for your bike. Especially the frame since it is the essential item of a bike. If you have a mountain bike and you are an enthusiastic rider, then this is the right place to know about MTB frames.
- Part 1: Beginning: Introduction to the Framework
- Part 2: Precautions for Frame Selection
- Part 3: Price Selection Considerations
- Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions
- Part 5: Summary
Part 1: Beginning: Introduction to the Framework
As has been noted, the frame is an important part of a bike. It is where the wheels and other parts of the bike are attached onto. Bike frames consist of two triangles, the main triangle, and a paired rear triangle. It is usually called the diamond frame. The head tube, top tube or cross-bar, down tube, and seat tube make up the main triangle. The seat tube, as well as paired chain stays and seat, stays, make up the rear triangle. The top tube of a mountain bike frame is almost always sloped downward toward the seat tube. The frames of a bike must be strong, solid, and not heavy, which they achieve through the use of a variety of materials and shapes. This is also applied for an mtb. Different mountain bikes use different kinds of frame. This means your MTB frames might be different from other bikes.
Frames can be made of different materials, the most commonly used are steel, aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium. Each of them has its own pluses and minuses. Even though it is heavier than the others, steel frame is considered as the most durable since it is not easy to break. It will bend before breaking, you can easily fix it. Thus, the cost of maintenance is relatively low. Aluminum is more corrosion resistant if compared to steel. Frames with carbon fiber are contemplated as the lightest and stiff. Even though raw carbon fiber is remarkably stiff, it is quite breakable and likely to crack and split. Carbon MTB bikes are more costly in maintenance. You need the assistance of experts to fix it. Titanium frames are not common (if not rare) to use. This makes it more expensive compared to other frames. However, it is easier to repair when breaking.
Part 2: Precautions for the Frame Selection
Choosing the right frame for your bike needs to be done precautiously. If you want to choose a carbon frame, make sure you find the best carbon mtb frame. If you are looking at the aerodynamics, then carbon fiber is the answer. When compared to aluminum, carbon fiber has greater climbing ability and provides more speed. It is because carbon fiber is lightweight. Despite the fact that carbon is extremely strong and can be extremely durable, unlike aluminum, it does not bend. This means they are more vulnerable to damage from sharp impacts or crashes when subjected to loads they were not designed to withstand. You can always straighten a bended aluminum frame, but this is not the case with a carbon frame. You cannot repair a broken carbon bike by yourself, you need to see an expert to do that.
There is an opinion among bikers that although carbon fiber has great strength, durability, and low weight, it will be dangerous for the rider when there is a crack, even a small one. This is because this small crack will be getting bigger without the biker realizing it. And this can be lethal for the biker since the frame can break at any time. But, this is not entirely true. Carbon bikes are now made better and better than they were in the old times. There are many options for the best carbon mtb frame. Carbon mtb frame can be divided into two parts: carbon hardtail frame and carbon full-suspension frame. The main distinction between them is whether or not the shock absorber is located in the rear. We will discuss these matters below. By looking at the purpose, you can choose the best carbon fiber mtb frame for you.
Carbon Hardtail Frame
There is only one shock absorber in this frame, which is at the front while there is none at the rear. In other words, it only uses the front suspension fork. A hardtail bike’s front suspension helps riders navigate difficult mountain roads. But, the rider will have less control over his bike once he gets to rough terrains.This kind of frame is lighter and better suited to riding on mountain roads with mostly flat tracks, not too bumpy. It can achieve faster acceleration when compared to the full suspension frame, and it is much less expensive. The MTB hardtail frame can be a choice when you are on a tight budget. Not only that, this kind of frame is also your best choice if you want to experience the speed but not on too bumpy mountain roads. Even so, a hardtail frame is suitable for all-purpose capabilities of riding.
Carbon Full-Suspension Frame
Carbon full-suspension bikes, as the name implies, have rear shocks and a suspension front fork. The full-suspension frame utilizes two shock absorbers, located at the front and at rear. This kind of frame is used by almost all kinds of mountain bikes since it makes the journey more enjoyable. A full-suspension system improves traction and wheel contact with the ground, which improves control and braking.The majority of the impact from big slopes and jumps will be absorbed by a full-suspension bike, allowing you to concentrate on the upcoming tracks. Bikers will get some advantages from a full-suspension frame, but it also makes the price of the bike higher. Not only that, a full-suspension frame can also make the bike heavier than a hardtail frame. Bikes using full-suspension frames are suitable for cyclists who are challenged and attracted with difficult and more demanding mountain terrains, especially extreme downhills.
Other information about carbon MTB Bike
Carbon frames have long been touted as having superior ride quality. Carbon, or carbon laminate as a fiber composite material embedded in epoxy resin, is resistant to the elements and will not corrode. Carbon can be designed to be stiff in some directions while remaining compliant in others. This means that a carbon frame can be both comfortable over bumps and rough roads and efficient while pedaling. Carbon bike frames can last indefinitely unless they are damaged or unsatisfactorily constructed. Steel and aluminum, in fact, have a finite lifespan before the metal wears out and can no longer be used safely, whereas carbon remains stable indefinitely.Most manufacturers still recommend replacing the frame every 6-7 years. Carbon fiber, unlike plastics, aluminum, and many other materials, cannot be easily recycled, compounding the problem. It will not biodegrade, and recycling it is extremely difficult.
Part 3: Price Selection Consideration
The price of a bike is determined by the type and the color of it. Material used also plays an important role in deciding the price. Steel bikes are considered as the cheapest, even though some of them can also be costly. Not only the price but the maintenance is also considered low. As has been said before, whenever a steel bike hits something, it doesn’t break easily but it will bend first. You can either fix it by yourself or bring it to the nearest bike repair. The cost of a steel bike ranges from $400-$800, but the expensive ones can reach up to more than $3,000. Aluminum bikes are more pricey than steel bikes because they are not as corrosive as steel bikes, and they are fairly light. An aluminum bike can cost around $200-$499. The expensive ones can cost more than $5,000.
Compared to these two, carbon MTB is the most costly. This is because it is denser than the other two which makes it more durable and lighter.The kind of frame is another thing to consider. Some carbon hardtail frame bikes’ price in the market ranges from $425-$650. Some others reach $919, even there are carbon hardtail MTB bikes that cost from $2,000-$4,000. The MTB frame with full-suspension is considered as more expensive. The price in the market ranges from $3,000-$4,000. But don’t worry because there are some carbon mtb manufactures that really have a good intention to make the price more affordable to people who have limited budgets. You can get a full-suspension carbon mtb bike at price below $1,000.
Part 4: Frequently Asked Questions
- How durable are carbon frames?
Sometimes, people think that carbon fiber is not strong, but actually, It has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than steel.
- Is it difficult to break a carbon bike?
Carbon fiber, when properly manufactured, can be tougher and safer than steel. On the other hand, carbon-fiber components can easily break if manufactured incorrectly.
- Is it easy for carbon MTB frames to break?
Since carbon is not a metal but a composite material, the way it reacts to stresses is not like steel or aluminum.
- Are carbon frames susceptible to damage?
Carbon fiber is used to make the carbon fiber frame, which has a high tensile strength but a low shear strength.
- Is titanium a more durable material than carbon fiber?
The density of carbon fiber is less than half that of titanium. Carbon fiber has a high strength-to-weight ratio but it isn’t quite as strong as titanium.
- What happens if you collide with a carbon bike?
In a violent collision, the bikes will fracture, throwing the rider to the road and exposing the rider to more serious injuries. Even though it is not broken, it will have cracks which can cause danger later on.
- What is the lifespan of a carbon MTB frame?
Carbon bike frames can last indefinitely unless they are damaged or poorly constructed. Most manufacturers still recommend replacing the frame every 6-7 years.
- What makes carbon fiber so strong?
Carbon fiber is created by joining together crystalline carbon filaments in a tight, chain-like bond. This alignment makes the fiber extremely strong on its own.
- What makes carbon bikes so costly?
Carbon fiber is lighter and more flexible than other materials.
- Which carbon fiber is used in bike frames?
The most common type of carbon fiber used in bicycle construction is unidirectional carbon fiber.
Part 5: Summary
From the discussion above, we can see that choosing the right bike is not that easy. You need to know the needs and the purpose of your riding. If you want to experience an adventurous journey in the mountain terrains, you cannot choose a city bike. You must choose a bike that is durable for heavy duty, which is a mountain bike. After that, you can choose what kind of tracks that you want to try. Whether they are bumpy mountain roads with many slopes and jumps or tracks that are not too extreme. This choice will lead you to the frame choice. As has been noted, there are two kinds of frames for carbon mountain bikes: carbon hardtail frame and carbon full-suspension frame. For extreme mountain roads you cannot choose a carbon hardtail frame since this kind of bike is appropriate for mountain tracks that are less bumpy.
In this case, you need a carbon full-suspension frame mtb since this bike uses two shocks that can absorb the impacts from the tracks. After deciding the right mtb for you, it is time for you to prepare for the budget. For bikes that use carbon fiber as the material, the price will be much more expensive than a steel mtb or an aluminum mtb. Not only that, the kind of frame will also determine how much money you need to spend. Hardtail mtb bike will be less expensive than a full-suspension bike. This is because it uses only the front suspension fork while a full-suspension bike utilizes the front and rear suspensions which makes the rider have more control on the bike. So, which one is the best carbon fiber mtb frame to choose? It is all back to your need and purpose of the riding.