There are many types of mountain bike frames, such as XC MTB Frame, Trail frame, Enduro frame, Downhill frame, etc.
This article will be a guide to how to choose your mountain bike frame right. We only discuss three types of MTB Frame, Trail frame, Enduro frame.
When you’re in the market for a mountain bike or you’re looking to upgrade your existing bike it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shear amount of options there are.
There’s a lot to consider and when you’re new to the sport all these technical terms might be overwhelming.
Cross country, Trail, Enduro, what does this all mean and what differences are there between these frames? In this blog we’ll be comparing the different kinds of frames and what they are used for.
Each type of bike is designed to suit a particular terrain type and a frame is shaped to put the rider in the best position possible for riding these specific trails.
The components on the bike are chosen to further accentuate the advantages the specific frame provides. But keep in mind that there is an overlap to a certain degree and each type of bike frame has it’s limitations, the perfect bike doesn’t exist. But you can make a bike feel perfect to you!
An important difference between the types of bike frames is their geometry.
This is less obvious than how much travel the rear shock has or the wheel size you can fit but nevertheless it has it’s function. Geometry doesn’t only establish how you sit on a bike, it also determines the way a bike handles: the steering, control on a technical descent, the ease of climbing, how the bike maintains its speed…
Another reference point is the travel a bike frame uses. A cross country bike frame will have a lot less travel compared to an Enduro frame.
Which MTB frame is right for you?
Cross country frame (also known as XC)
Cross country races test the endurance, bike handling and skills of a rider but for most recreational riders this means long journeys on non-technical tracks and open fire roads.
The geometry of a cross country frame is made to be as efficient as possible.These frames will have a shorter wheelbase, a shorter reach and a steep seattube angle to give a more aerodynamic position.
This enables the rider to put maximum power down. The shorter wheelbase and steep headtube angle give this bike very nimble handling and great climbing capacities. The chainstay is relatively long compared to the shorter wheelbase.
A XC-frame is build to be lightweight, high-end model bikes weigh about 8 to 9 kilos. They are built with specific materials to make the frame as light as possible and as stiff as possible, often a XC-frames will be made out of carbon. The stiffness of the bike adds to the pedal efficiency, this is why lot of cross country bikes are hardtails.
But in recent years we noticed full suspension XC-frames gained a lot in popularity, even among professional racers . The rear shock adds some weight and sacrifices a bit of stiffness but adds a lot of comfort. The rear suspension, with a travel between 100mm to 120mm, gives better descending capabilities to the bike.
When we look at a full XC-bike build you’ll notice that all equipped components only have speed, weight and efficiency in mind: lightweight 29 inch wheels with a fast rolling tire, a relative short handlebar for maneuverability and a lightweight drivetrain.
Enduro bike frame
On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find the Enduro bike frame. Where the cross country bike is made with climbing in mind an Enduro-bike has its mind set on descending.
An enduro race is essentially a couple of liaison stages on some of the most difficult trails where only the downhill section of the course is timed.
Compared to a XC-frame an enduro-frame has a much longer wheelbase, which gives it more stability. The headtube angle is slacker for more capable handling on the downhills and a longer reach gives a more aggressive riding position.
All enduro bikes are full-suspension with a rear travel between 140mm to 180mm on the rear.
An enduro-frame is equipped with a lot beefier components than a XC-bike: bigger brakes up to 200mm for better stopping power. Rims can be 29 or 27.5 inch, or even a mix of both – 29” wheel up front and 27.5” in the back – with wide tires for more grip and control.
Enduro bikes will have a dropper seatpost, this enables the rider to mover more freely while descending and wide handlebars for even better control.
An enduro-bike will also lend itself perfectly for a visit to your local bikepark, if you think this is the type of bike you need we have the right bike for you:
Trail bike frame
The trail bike is the all-rounder of mountain bikes that sits between the cross country and enduro-bike. It’s right at home on technical climbs and capable of some heavy descends but doesn’t excel in it.
When we look at the geometry of the trail frame you’ll also notice it’s “in between”, to be as versitile as possible. It has a longer wheelbase but not as long as an enduro-bike, the headtube and seattube angle are a bit slacker than a XC-bike. This gives the bike a perfect mix of control and comfort. For extra comfort most trail frames will be full suspension with a travel between 120mm and 150mm.
Depending on the manufacturer a trail bike can lean more towards the cross country side or the enduro side.To me this bike is a perfect fit for the recreational rider that is looking to get the best of both worlds.You want a reliable and pedal-friendly trail bike, we have just what you need:
Choosing the right bike is not an easy choice and it isn’t one we can make for you. This decision comes down to you. You need to consider what type of riding you plan on doing mostly, which geometry suits the terrain, your riding style and personal preference. Even after you’ve built your dream bike you will still finetune the feeling of the bike with minimal adjustments, simply changing the tire pressure, tire width, handlebar width and stem or even the rebound on your forks will give you a very different feedback.But mostly we hope this blog has helped you in making the right choice for you.