How to Choose a Mountain Bike Frame

How to Choose a Mountain Bike Frame
When shopping for a new mountain bike, no aspect of the bike is more important than its frame. With all the other features of your bike, you can upgrade or trade out parts as you desire. The frame, however, is what makes the bike, and it also comprises the majority of the cost of the bike. You can also buy a frame on its own and build a bike around it, allowing you greater control of its cost and features. Because of the significance of the frame with regard to the rest of the bike, it's important to know what to look for before dropping cash on a new frame.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Choose the material your bike frame will be made from. This decision will have a significant impact on the price of the frame. Titanium is the strongest material used and is ideal for the rigors of mountain biking, but it is heavier than aluminum and carbon-fiber, which are more commonly used for road bikes. Steel is heavier than those materials, but is cheap and widely available. A more expensive option is a hybrid of titanium and either carbon fiber or aluminum to create a lighter frame while retaining some strength.
Step 2
Measure your inner leg. The length of your inner leg determines the size of the bike frame. Deduct 12 inches from the length of your inner leg to find the bike frame height you should be looking for.
Step 3
Find a frame with bike handles that are both comfortable and padded. Due to the rugged terrain mountain bikes are built to travel, your bike will absorb a lot of shock, and much of the shock transferred to your body comes through your hands. Poorly padded handles can intensify joint problems in your hands and elbows, not to mention the general soreness you will be susceptible to in your palms. Gel-padded handles are among the most comfortable and popular types of handle for today's mountain bikes.
Step 4
Choose between front tire suspension or two-wheel suspension. Suspension forks are essential to comfort while biking, not to mention extending the life of both your joints and your bike. Front-wheel suspension has historically been the most common form of suspension, but in recent years two-wheel systems have become much more popular.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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