The Ultimate Guide to MTB Frame

The Ultimate Guide to mtb frame

Mountain bike frames are the backbone of any mountain bike and can have a huge impact on the performance, feel, and aesthetics of your bike. With so many options out there, it can be difficult to know which frame is best suited for your needs. To make the decision making easier, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to XC mtb frames. This guide explores the types of frames available, how frame materials influence your bike’s setup and performance, and the design features you should look out for.

Types of mtb frames

Mountain bikes come in a range of frame types, each with its own purpose and benefits. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular frame styles and how they impact the ride:

Hardtail Frames: These are the most popular frame type, as they are relatively light and affordable. Hardtail frames are designed around 80-100mm of suspension travel and feature a single front suspension fork. They are great for cross-country (XC) riding, and are often a more affordable option.

Full Suspension Frames: These frames are designed to provide a more forgiving ride on rough terrain. They feature two suspension systems, one in the front and one in the rear, which helps the frame tolerate larger impacts. Full suspension frames are ideal for downhill (DH) and freeride (FR) riding, but they are generally heavier and more expensive.

Materials Used in mtb frames

Mountain bike frames can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s an overview of the most common materials used:

Aluminum: Aluminum is the most popular material used in mtb frames and is often seen on entry-level models. It is relatively lightweight and generally more affordable than carbon fiber, but can be prone to flex and is not as durable as steel or titanium.

Steel: Steel frames are heavier than aluminum but can provide greater durability and increased shock absorption. This material is a good choice for heavy-duty bikepacking and freeride applications.

Titanium: Titanium frames are rare and expensive, but offer superior strength and shock absorption. These frames are often much lighter than steel and can be ridden for years without significant wear and tear.

Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber frames are relatively lightweight and provide good shock absorption, but they can be expensive and are not as durable as steel or titanium.

Designs you should look for

When choosing an mtb frame, it’s important to consider the design elements. Here are some factors you should consider:

Frame stiffness: Stiff frames provide good power transfer and responsiveness when climbing and cornering, but can be uncomfortable on rough terrain. Frames with more flex tend to be more comfortable but can be slower on hard-packed terrain.

Geometry: Frame geometry helps determine the overall performance and feel of the bike. If you want a bike that pedals well and corners quickly, opt for a shorter wheelbase. Bikes with longer wheelbases tend to be more comfortable and stable, but less responsive.

Wheel size: Bikes with larger wheels tend to roll over obstacles more easily, but can be slower to accelerate and more prone to going off-line. Smaller wheels can be faster and more nimble, but may get stuck more easily.

Bottom bracket: Low bottom brackets provide greater pedal clearance, but can be more prone to pedal strikes. High bottom brackets can be more stable at speed, but can be less agile when cornering.

Head angle: Bikes with steeper head angles tend to be more responsive and quick cornering, but can feel twitchy at speed. Shallow head angles can be more stable but less responsive.


When choosing a mountain bike frame, it’s important to consider the type of frame, materials used, and design elements. Understanding these factors will help you make an informed decision about the right frame for your riding style and budget. With this guide, you’ll be equipped to make an informed purchase and get the most out of your next mountain bike frame.

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