The frame is the largest and most important part of a mountain bike which partially explains why mountain bike frames are the mostly expensive component of a mountain bike. A high-quality mountain bike frame provides a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable ride.
The selection of a mountain bike frame should be based on price and riding style. Determine how much you are willing to pay and understand your typical riding style and terrain. Shop online or at your local bike shop. You are more likely to encounter knowledgeable sales staff and high-quality mountain bike frames at a bike store than a large box store.
One of the key considerations for mountain bike frames is the frame material:
1. Steel – Steel is strong and relatively inexpensive, but is heavier than other materials.
2. Aluminum – Aluminum is generally lighter than steel, but has a higher strength-to-weight ratio.
3. Titanium – This is the most expensive material option, but provides the best strength-to-weight ratio and good corrosion resistance.
4. Carbon fiber – Relatively new on the market, carbon fiber provides a non-metallic option for mountain bike frames. Its advantages are its light weight, corrosion-resistance, and strength. However it is also an expensive frame material.
The size of the mountain bike frame should be selected based on two body measurements: your height and inseam. If you are between 5’ 3” and 5’ 7” and your inseam is between 27 and 29 inches, your suggested frame size would be 21 to 23 inches. Consult a size chart online or ask a sales person at your local bike shop.
The desired mountain bike suspension should also be considered when looking at mountain bike frames. Full suspension mountain bike frames provide shock absorption in the front and rear of the mountain bike while hardtail mountain bikes provide shocks only on the front mountain bike tires. Full suspension mountain bikes are generally more expensive but provide a more comfortable ride than hardtails.
A good shopping strategy is to check your local bike shop for mountain bike frames for sale and comparison shop online to get the best deal.