Mountain Bike Frames
The heart of any mountain bike is the frame. It's the part that holds everything together and sets the standard for the bike as a whole. The frame can also be one of the most expensive components. It also determines how well the bike fits the rider, something that's very important, as a frame that doesn't fit will punish you every day. Always take the time to find the right frame for your mountain bike needs.
Mountain Bike Styles
The most common kinds of mountain bikes are trail bikes. Unlike other models, these bikes aren't for any kind of racing, but rather for a comfortable ride in a wide range of conditions. Cross-country bikes are a step up in competitiveness, but still good for the casual rider. Beginners may prefer so-called "fat bikes" which offer much wider tyres for better traction in difficult terrain.
Mountain Bike Suspensions
The simplest suspension is no suspension at all; what's called a rigid bike. These bikes are good for casual riders and perform best on flat ground or roads. Moving to a front suspension adds cost, but also comfort in rough terrain. The full suspension option gives you front and rear suspension, which is a huge advantage for riders who go for long rides on rugged terrain.
Mountain Bike Materials
Most frames are made of metal: aluminium mountain bike frames are popular for their lightweight and stiffness. Steel is the strongest and most durable option but it's usually the heaviest, too. Titanium is light, but also very expensive; it's not for the casual rider. Going with a carbon fibre mountain bike frame offers great strength and lightweight without the expense of titanium.
Fitting Your Frame
It's not enough that your frame fit your body; it also has to fit your other components as well. You need to be sure the seat tube fits your existing seat post, and that the wheels fit the frame. It's a balancing act that doesn't stop until the entire bike is fully assembled.