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Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Mountain Bike Frame: 12 Best Mountain Bike Frames
From wet, loose, loamy soil to hard-packed sand frying under a beating sun, mountain biking allows you to enjoy a wide range of outdoor environments. And for as many environments as you can explore via mountain bike frame, there exist twice as many mountain bike frame brands and models. Out of the total lot of bad, okay, good and great mountain bikes frame, we’ve picked our favorites bikes frame of 2017.1) IMUST Carbon Fat Bike Full Suspension Frame | 2) PZ Racing AE6.0FM AE6.0P Triathlon Frame | 3) Carbon 29er Full Suspension Mountain Bike Frame | 4) BEIOU 3k Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Frame | 5) BEIOU Mountain Bike Frame 26-Inch | 6) BEIOU Downhill Dual Suspension Mountain Bike Frame | 7) ICAN 27.5ER All Mountain Bike Suspension Frame | 8) Venzo RAPTOR Mountain Bike Frame | 9) IMUST Carbon 27.5+ 650B Trail Frame XP07 | 10) FASTEAM 29er Ud Matt Mountain Bike Frame | 11) IMUST 27.5er Mountain BikeFrame BB92 | 12) Rare 19" K2 Attack 2.0 Bike Main Front Triangle Frame |
Mountain Bike Frame Choices
There are questions about compatibility that have definite yes and no answers. These are relatively simple things to get right. But then there are questions that are less black and white. Questions about suitability. Questions about value for money. Questions that have “well, it depends” as the answer.
Let’s deal with the easier compatibility questions first.
Frame Compatibility with Your Existing Components
Starting at the front of the bike and working backwards, here are the vital standards to get right.
You’ll need to make sure any new frame accepts the wheel size of your existing wheels. There are three wheel sizes out there. 26in, 27.5″ and 29″.
Even if some wheels will technically fit into the wrong wheel size-d frame (26″ wheels will fit into 27.5″ wheel size-d frames for example) you shouldn’t do this as it will foul up how the bike handles.
Assuming your existing fork is a suspension fork, it’s important to match any new frame to the amount of travel that your suspension fork has. In other words, if you have a 140mm travel fork then you need to get a frame designed around a 140mm travel fork.
Having said that, there is a bit of leeway here. It’s generally okay to running a fork that’s slightly longer in travel than the frame is technically designed for ie. running a 160mm fork in a frame designed for a 140mm fork. We’d advise that you don’t want to run more than 20mm over the intended amount. If the fork gets too tall it fouls up the bike’s handling.
But we wouldn’t recommend AT ALL getting a frame that’s designed around a longer fork than your existing fork ie. getting a 140mm travel frame and running a 120mm fork in it. Running a shorter fork in a frame will make the bike really sketchy to ride.
This is again related to your fork. Frame head tubes technically only accept certain types of fork steerer tube (1-1/8th, tapered, 1.5in etc) so you need to check whether your existing fork’s steerer tube can fit in any new frame you’re contemplating.
There are however, ‘conversion’ headsets available that allow you to run incorrect steerer tubes in certain frames. The most common conversion headset being used to run older 1-1/8th straight steerer tube forks in new tapered head tube frames.
If you get a frame with a tapered head tube chances are it’ll be able to accept your existing fork. You’ll ‘just’ need the correct headset.
Speaking of headsets. This is the worst part of any bike build project due to the number of different standards out there!
Even sticking with the same general design – say, tapered – there are loads of non-interchangeable standards. Internal, external, integrated, integral.
Unless you’re really strapped for cash, we’d always recommend being prepared to buy a new headset with any new frame. Research the new frame’s headset type and/or contact your chosen retailer to find out what headset to get.
We certainly wouldn’t base any frame choice around what your existing headset is. It’s not worth it. If you have a really expensive existing headset – bung it on eBay and flog it.
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