The frame of the mountain bike is without question the most important factor to determine whether the bike could make the grade or not.
Like most goods that are for sale, the better the quality is, the more expensive the goods become and so the materials used in mountain bikes determine in large part the price tag that it will have. Generally, the lighter the frame of the bike, the more expensive it becomes. Special alloys have been developed to make the mountain bike so. This is done because the last thing that a mountain biker would want when riding is the added weight. Frames being the heaviest part of the bike have to be made lighter. This is the ideal especially for competitive biking; however market forces will always dictate that options are made varied.
Mountain bike frame materials
Cro-moly – bike frames that are made from cro-moly are often the choice for starter mountain bikes. Cro-moly though being made from steel is heavy. On the other hand, cro-moly has the ability to flex over bumps that the ride of the bike could be slightly smoother. There is nothing wrong with a cro-moly frame provided the rider is not bothered by the added weight. As cro-moly is used for basic bike road bike frames, the rider has to test it out and compare it with other bike frame materials. The added weight of the steel will hinder competitive riding although this may not matter much when mountain biking is done purely for the fun of it.
Aluminum – Aluminum bike frames are lighter bike frame materials and are a more popular choice than cro-moly. Aluminum however is not as strong as steel. To make it more durable, the frame has to be made stiff that translate into bulkier frames. Stiffening the aluminum also result into a stiffer ride.
Carbon fiber – is an ideal material although its main use is for the front fork of the bike. For carbon fiber to be used for the whole frame will mean more expense on the buyer, but carbon fiber being a lightweight and yet very strong material will provide a truly high performance ride.
Titanium – titanium is amazingly light and strong at the same time. This should be the best material for high performance very sophisticated bikes. The price though could be well beyond the reach of most mountain biking enthusiast and competitive bikers.
Mountain bike frame sizing
Another important factor in considering a bike frame is its size. The correct size of a mountain bike is of vital importance since the bikers comfort and agility will depend much on this. Mountain bikes are made smaller than the ordinary road bikes. To get the ideal size, the mountain bike should be at least three inches smaller than your ordinary road bike. Another way to do it is to put the bike between the legs with the tip of the saddle touching your back. Lift the front wheels until it touches your crotch. The front wheels should be about 10 centimeters off the ground.
The angle of the bike’s frame translates drastically on how the mountain bike will perform. Critical angles are the head tube and the seat tube. Angles that are steeper are ideal for uphill pedaling while slacker angles are good for stability and high speed pedaling.