Disclaimer: Bikexchange is reader-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links on our site.

Best Bicycle Frames to Build Your Dream Bike

By Sam Millers   /  Last updated - June 28, 2022   /  Best-Of-Reviews, Reviews

Colnago bicyle review

There is a wide variety of bicycle frames available online for each different cycling discipline, from MTB to gravel, to touring. Some frame styles have barely changed over the decades, while others incorporate modern design technology that has only emerged recently.

It’s important to buy the correct frame for the riding style you intend to partake in, otherwise, you could end up damaging your frame or injuring yourself. Here we examine the differences between each type of bike frame and the riding style that they’re intended for.

While most bicycles are built around a specific geometry that serves a certain purpose – there are always many more factors in play. Factors such as materials, design, fork travel, and many more that make the bicycle whole. While each of us has our own preferences in terms of how the bike should feel, there’s a lot that can be adjusted from frame to little details around it.

If you have already found the best components for your needs such as the right wheelset, tires for your riding style, but you are looking for a bicycle frame to build the bike from

Table of Contents

Mountain Bike FramesHardtail / Full-Suspension

Road Bike Frames

Gravel and CX Bike Frames

Track Bike Frames

Touring Bike Frames


Best Mountain Bike Frames


Best Hardtail Mountain Bike Frames

Hardtail MTB frames are considerably less complex than full-suspension frames. Although newer models have advanced geometry, hardtail MTB frames typically look like early mountain bikes. They consist of a traditional bike frame with two triangles split by the seat tube and a suspension fork on the front.

Depending on the style of riding the bike is intended for, hardtail MTBs have varying head and seat tube angles. This is largely to do with the amount of travel in the fork, which is usually more if the bike is intended for downhill riding.

 

Chromag – Rootdown ‘2020

chromag rootdown titanium frame

Head Tube: 64°   /   Seat Tube: 76°   /   Chainstay: 420mm
Enduro / Trail

MSRP $3,100 JensonUSA

  • Titanium
  • Designed for longer travel 160mm forks
  • Tire clearance: 29 x 2.5″ or 27.5 x 2.8″ tires
  • Headtube: 1.5″ Tapered
  • Cable Routing: Partial internal

Buy from Jenson USA


Santa Cruz Bicycles – Chameleon 29

Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon 29 Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 65°   /   Seat Tube: 74.1-74.6°   /   Chainstay: 425-437mm
Trail, XC

MSRP $1,049 Competitive Cyclist

  • Aluminum
  • Recommended fork travel: 130/140mm
  • Max Clearance:29×2.6″ and 27.5×2.8″
  • Headset: IS41/28.6 IS52/40
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


 

Trek – Stache C

trek stache bicycle frame

Head Tube: 67.8°   /   Seat Tube: 67.9°   /   Chainstay: 420mm
Trail

MSRP $1,700 TrekBikes

  • OCLV Mountain Carbon
  • Max compatible fork travel: 120mm
  • Max Clearance: 29″ x 3″
  • Headtube: FSA IS-2 1-1/8 top, 1.5″ bottom
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Trek Bikes


 

Marin – Alcatraz 

marin alcatraz mountain bike frame

Head Tube: 69°   /   Seat Tube: 69°   /   Chainstay: 395mm
Dirt Jump

MSRP $549 GovVelo

  • Series 3 Aluminum 
  • Max clearance: 26″ x 2.25″
  • Chain tension device
  • Headset: FSA No 57E
  • Single Speed

Buy from GovVelo


 

Evil – The Faction

Evil Bikes The Faction Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 69.5°   /   Seat Tube: 71.5°   /   Chainstay: 381-396mm
Dirt Jump

MSRP $630 Backcountry

  • Reynolds 520 Steel
  • Tire clearance: 26 x 2.3in
  • Fork travel: 100-120mm
  • Headtube: 1-1/8″
  • Cable Routing: External

Buy from Backcountry


Best FULL-SUSPENSION BIKE FRAMES

Full suspension mountain bike frames are the most complex of bike frame designs, with the most moving parts and mechanical components. They consist of two separate frame triangles on the front and rear, connected by pivots and links so that each one can move individually.

Connected to the front triangle and a pivot point on the rear triangle is a coil or air-sprung shock absorber. Rather than directly under the seat like on a motorbike, this suspension design pivots from the center of the bike so the rider doesn’t flip over forward on steep descents. When combined with a front suspension fork, this provides the best possible suspension that you can get on a bicycle.


Ibis – Mojo 4

Ibis Mojo 4 Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 65.4°   /   Seat Tube: 76.6°   /   Chainstay: 425mm
All-mountain / Trail

MSRP $3,199

Related: Ibis Mojo 4 – 2020 Review

  • Material: Carbon
  • Fork compatibility: 140mm, 37mm offset 
  • 130mm rear shock
  • Suspension Type: DW-link
  • Tire clearance: Up to 27.5×2.6″
  • Headtube: 1.5″ tapered
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Backcountry


Juliana – Roubion

Juliana Roubion Carbon CC Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 64.5°   /   Seat Tube: 77°   /   Chainstay: 426-435mm
Enduro / Trail

MSRP $3,949 Backcountry

  • Material: CC Carbon
  • Suspension Type: VPP
  • Rear Shock: 150mm travel
  • Recommended fork travel: 160mm
  • Max tire width: 2.6″
  • Headtube: SHIS IS41/28.6 IS52/40
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Backcountry


Norco – Optic C1

norco optic c1 frame mountain bike

Head Tube: 67.5-68°   /   Seat Tube: 75.2-73.7°   /   Chainstays: 420-440mm
Trail

MSRP $1,350 Jenson USA

  • Material: Carbon front triangle and seatstays, aluminum chainstay and linkarm
  • Fork: 140mm 
  • Rear Shock: 120mm travel Fox Float DPS Factory
  • Wheels: 27.5″
  • Headtube: 1.5″
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Jenson USA


Ibis – Ripmo AF Topaz 2020

aluminum alloy bike frame

Head Tube: 64.9°   /   Seat Tube: 77-76°   /   Chainstay: 435mm
Trail / All-mountain

MSRP $1,799

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Suspension Type: DW-Link
  • Rear Shock: DVO Topaz 3-position
  • Tire clearance: 2.6″
  • Headtube:
  • Cable Routing: Internal
  • Dropper-post Clearance: 150mm (S) 175mm (XL)

Buy from Jenson USA


Yeti – SB 115 Turq

Yeti Cycles SB115 Turq Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube:  67.8 to 67.6°  /   Seat Tube: 74.1-73.9°   /   Chainstay: 436mm
XC / Trail

MSRP $4,000 Backcountry

  • Material: Carbon
  • Suspension Type: Switch Infinity
  • Rear Shock: FOX Factory Float DPS 115mm
  • Fork: 130mm recommended
  • Tire clearance: 29×2.3″
  • Headtube: Tapered IS41/28.6 IS52/40
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Related: Yeti Cycles

Buy from Backcountry


Evil Bikes – The Wreckoning

Evil Bikes The Wreckoning Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 64.6 or 63.9°   /   Seat Tube: 76.3 or 75.7°   /   Chainstay: 430 or 432mm
Enduro

MSRP $3,750

  • Material: Carbon 
  • Suspension Type: DELTA Single pivot
  • Front suspension: 160-190mm recommended
  • Rear Shock: Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate 166mm
  • Tire clearance: Up to 2.6″
  • Headtube: 1- 1/8″ – 1-1/2″
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Backcountry


Niner – WFO RDO

Niner WFO RDO Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 64.7°   /   Seat Tube: 77.7°   /   Chainstay: 434mm
Enduro Race

MSRP $3,660 Backcountry

  • Material: RDO Carbon
  • Suspension Type: CVA
  • Fork: 180mm recommended
  • Rear Shock: FOX Float X2 Factory 170mm
  • Max tire width: 2.6″
  • Headtube: 1 1/8 – 1 1/2″ Tapered
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Backcountry


Evil Bikes – The Following

Evil Bikes Mountain Bike Frame

Head Tube: 66.9°   /   Seat Tube: 76°   /   Chainstay: 430mm
XC / Trail

MSRP $3,099 Competitive Cyclist

  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Suspension Type: DELTA
  • Rear Shock: 120mm travel RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT DebonAir, 2 tokens
  • Recommended Fork Travel: 120-130mm
  • Tire clearance:
  • Headtube: 1 1/8 – 1.5″ tapered
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Best Road Bike Frames


Bianchi – Oltre XR 4 Disc

Bianchi XR4 Disc Carbon Road Bike Frameset

Different Color Schemes Available

Head Tube: 72-73°   /   Seat Tube: 74-72.5°   /   Chainstay: 400-411mm
Race

MSRP $5,900 Competitive Cyclist

  • HM Unidirectional Carbon Fiber with Countervail
  • 700c
  • Compatible with Electronic and Mechanical groups
  • Included Headset: FSA Orbit 1.5″
  • Full Carbon Oltre Aero Seatpost
  • 5-year warranty

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Bianchi – Infinito

Bianchi CV Disc Road Bike Frameset

Head Tube: 70.5-72.5°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73°   /   Chainstay: 415-420mm
Race

MSRP $3,900 Competitive Cyclist

  • Infinito Countervail Carbon
  • 700c
  • 1-1/8 – 1-1/2″ Tapered head tube
  • Headset: FSA Orbit C-40
  • Internal cable routing
  • Compatible with electronic, mechanical drivetrains
  • Aero seat post
  • 5-year warranty

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Cervelo – R-Series Disc

Cervelo R-Series Disc Brake Road Frameset

Head Tube: 71-73°   /   Seat Tube: 73°   /   Chainstay: 410mm

MSRP $3,000 Backcountry

  • Carbon
  • FSA IS2 1-1/8 – 1-1/2″ Tapered head tube
  • Max Clearance: 700c x 28mm
  • Cervelo Carbon SP19 Seatpost
  • Cable Routing: Internal
  • Weight: 3lb 6.4oz
  • Lifetime Warranty

Buy from Backcountry


Ridley – Helium SLX Disc

Ridley SLX Disc Road Bike Carbon Frameset

Different color schemes available

Head Tube: 71.8-74°   /   Seat Tube: 75-72.5°   /   Chainstay: 405-408mm
Classic Road

MSRP $3,500 Competitive Cyclist

  • Carbon Fiber frame & fork
  • 700c
  • Max Clearance:
  • Headtube: 1-1/4″ – 1 1/8″ tapered
  • 5-year warranty

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Best Gravel and CX Bike Frames

Gravel bikes are very versatile and cover a wider range of disciplines than simply gravel riding. These days, many bikepackers use gravel bikes for short or long expedition trips that involve rougher terrain than pavement.

Simple to touring bike frames, gravel bikes typically have longer chainstays, slacker seat and head tube angles, a lower bottom bracket, and a longer wheelbase. This makes them more stable at speed over loose terrain or when loaded with luggage.


Niner – RLT 9 Steel

niner rlt 9 steel gravel bike frame

Head Tube: 70-72-5°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-72.5°   /   Chainstay: 435mm
Gravel

MSRP $899 Jenson USA

  • Reynolds 853 Steel and RDO Carbon fork
  • Max Clearance: 700c x 50mm or 650b x 2.0″
  • Built for 140mm rotors, can be used with 160mm spacers
  • Bottle cage, rack, and fender mounts
  • Cable Routing: External
  • 5-year warranty

Related: Best Gravel Bikes

Buy from Jenson USA


Santa Cruz Bicycles – Stigmata Carbon CC

Santa Cruz Bicycles Stigmata Carbon CC Gravel Bike Frame

Head Tube: 71-72°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5 -73.5°   /   Chainstay: 425mm
CX / Gravel

MSRP $2,899 Backcountry

  • Santa Cruz Stigmata Carbon CC
  • Max Clearance: 700c x 45mm or 650b x 2.1″
  • Headtube: Cane Creek 110 IS Integrated headset
  • Cable Routing: Internal
  • Brakes: Flat Mount Disc
  • Lifetime Warranty

Buy from Backcountry


Marin – Headlands

marin headlands frame gravel bike

Head Tube: 70.5-71.5°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73.5°   /   Chainstay: 420mm
Gravel 

MSRP $3,000 GovVelo

 

  • Unidirectional Carbon Beyond Road Platform
  • Max Clearance: 700cx45mm or 650bx50mm
  • Headset: Upper: FSA Orbit IS, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, 1 1/8″ x 1 1/2″
  • Fenders, rack, and accessory mounts
  • Cable Routing: Internal

Buy from GovVelo


The Chamois – Hagar Gravel

Evil Bikes The Chamois Hagar Gravel Frameset

Head Tube: 66.7°   /   Seat Tube: 73.5° – 74.5°   /   Chainstay: 430mm
Gravel & Bikepacking

MSRP $2,800 Competitive Cyclist

  • Unidirectional Carbon Fiber
  • 700c
  • Cane Creek 40-series headset
  • Internal cable routing
  • 3-year warranty

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Specialized – Diverge E5 Evo

specialized diverge e5 gravel frame

All-Road / Gravel / Commuting / Touring

MSRP $1700 GovVelo

  • Diverge E5 Aluminum and FACT carbon fork
  • Future Shock Absorption frame suspension 
  • Max Clearance: 700c x 47mm / 650b x 2.1″
  • Flat mount discs

Buy from GovVelo


Ibis – Hakka MX Disc

Ibis MX Disc Frameset

3 Different Color Schemes Availalbe

Head Tube: 70.5-72°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73.5°   /   Chainstay: 430mm
CX – Cyclocross / Gravel

MSRP $2,000 Competitive Cyclist

  • Carbon Frame & Fork
  • 700c / 650b
  • Max Clearance: 27.5″ x 2.1″ / 700c x 40mm
  • Cable Routing: Internal
  • 7-year warranty

Buy from Competitive Cyclist


Ridley – Kanzo

Ridley Kanzo Adventure Gravel Frameset

Head Tube: 70.5-72°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73°   /   Chainstay: 435mm
Gravel

MSRP $2,600 Backcountry

  • Carbon
  • Headtube: FSA 1-1/8 – 1-1/2″ tapered
  • Flat mount disc
  • Tire clearance: 700c x 47mm / 650b x 47mm
  • Cable Routing: Internal
  • 5-year warranty

Buy from Backcountry


Best Track Bike Frames

Track bikes usually have the most intense and aggressive frame geometry, placing the rider far forward over the handlebars in the most aerodynamic position. This is the perfect position to exert the most amount of power on the pedals and get the most speed out of the bike.

Track bike frames have the shortest wheelbases, very steep seat and head tube angles, and minimal fork rake. They are also designed with very stiff materials for maximum power transfer on the drivetrain.


State Bicycles Co – Black Label 6061 v2

state bicycle co. Black Label v2 Frame Set

MSRP $400 State Bicycle Co.

  • Weight: 5lbs 3oz – 5lb 11o
  • Aluminum frame, carbon cork
  • Sizes that fit riders from 5′ to 6’6″
  • Headset: FSA No.42/ACB

Shop on State Bicycle Co.


All-City – Thunderdome

Image of All-City Thunderdome - Frameset - 2021 - hot pink

 

Head Tube: 72-72.5°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-75°   /   Chainstay: 396mm
Track / Velodrome

MSRP: $899 Jenson USA

  • All-City Alumasonic and carbon fork
  • 1.5” Tapered headtube
  • Tire clearance: 700 x 28c
  • UCI Certified track bike

Buy from Jenson USA


State Bicycle Co. – Undefeated

Undefeated Track Frame & Fork Set

Head Tube: 75.5-72°   /   Seat Tube: 75-74.5°   /   Chainstay: 396mm
Track/Road

MSRP $600 State Bicycle Co.

  • Y9 Aluminum frame and carbon fork
  • Weight: 4lb 3oz – 4lb 11oz

Buy from State Bicycle Co.


Best Touring Bike Frames

Touring bike frames are traditionally built with steel and designed to be as stable as possible due to the heavy loads they carry. They usually have slacker head tube angles and tapered forks to provide more ‘fork trail’. This makes steering slower but more stable, particularly if you are carrying heavy front panniers.

Touring frames usually have longer chainstays (up to 470mm) to provide better stability and more heel clearance for carrying rear panniers. Traditionally, touring bikes had low bottom brackets for better stability but on more modern bikes built for off-road conditions, this can be higher.


Surly – Disc Trucker 700c

steel road bike frame

Head Tube: 72°   /   Seat Tube: 73-72°   /   Chainstay: 460mm

Touring / Commuting

MSRP $575 JensonUSA

  • 4130 Chromoly Steel Frame & Fork
  • Disc-brake specific
  • Max Clearance: 26″ x 2.1 / 700c x 42mm
  • Headtube: 34mm
  • Cable Routing: External
  • Multiple rack mounts

Buy from Jenson USA


Surly – Steamroller

surly steamroller bike frame

Head Tube: 72.5-74°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73°   /   Chainstay: 398mm
Touring / Road / Trail / CX / Commuter

MSRP $599 Jenson USA

  • 4130 Chromoly Steel
  • 700x38mm tires or 700x32mm tires with fenders
  • ED coating
  • TIG-welded
  • Fender mounts

Buy from Jenson USA


All City Bicycles – Gorilla Monsoon

All City Bicycles Gorilla Monsoon Frameset

Head Tube: 70-71.5°   /   Seat Tube: 74.5-73.5°   /   Chainstay: 430mm
Touring

MSRP $1,150 Backcountry

  • 612 chromoly steel frame
  • Flat mount disc brakes
  • Max Clearance: 27.5 x 2.4″
  • Headtube: 1-1/8in
  • Cable Routing: External

Buy from Backcountry


FAQ

 

Where to look for the best bike frames for sale?

Check out our Best Bike Deals review, or look for:

  • JensonUSAA wide range of mountain-, road-, and gravel bike frames
  • TREKbikesQuite a selected which only a few can be ordered online. Road/Fat/MTB
  • Competitive CyclistTop bicycle brand frames available – Evil bikes, Ibis, Yeti, Niner, Pivot, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Juliana, Devinci
  • PlanetCycleryRoad bike frames starting from $380

What are the best bicycle frame brands?

  • Santa Cruz Bicycles – Offers a wide variety of mountain bike frames, both full-suspension, and hardtail
  • Surly – One of the best steel bike frame brands
  • VAAST – Known by their magnesium frames
  • SAGE Titanium Bicycles – High-end bicycles built on Titanium frames

Aluminum / Steel / Carbon / Magnesium / Titanium Benefits

(C) The Carbon fiber bike frame is characterized by ultra-durable, lightweight, and vibration reduction characteristics. Being more expensive than steel and aluminum frames, carbon is one of the most used road bike frame materials on higher-end bikes. Also, carbon bike frames are used on most mid-high end bicycles on the mountain bike range as well.

  • Vibration-reduction, super lightweight, tough weight to stress ratio

The Steel bike frame used to be the main material for decades. Today, steel frames are still widely used by their low production cost and durable characteristics. Surly bikes is one of the most known bicycle brands to use Steel frames on all their bikes’ range. Most cyclists prefer steel due to their solid feel of the ride with no flex on the frame.

  • Affordable, traditional, has a distinct solid feel to it

(Al) Aluminum alloy bike frames are among the mass-produced bicycle frame materials due to their lightweight and low manufacturing cost. Often seen on the entry-level road- and mountain bikes. The only downsides are that it is difficult to repair an aluminum frame, and aluminum tends to fatigue over time.

  • Lightweight, affordable, corrosion-resistant, stiff and responsive

(Ti) Titanium bike frame – Most likely the rarest and most expensive materials to use. Although titanium is mainly used on higher-end bicycle components, a full-titanium bicycle frame is rather uncommon and used on limited or higher-end bicycles. One of the most iconic bicycle brands that use titanium on all of their bikes is Sage Titanium Bicycles.

  • Great corrosion resistance, the frame itself won’t fatigue

(Mg) Magnesium bicycle frame – Magnesium bicycle frames started to come around the 80s. Some of the more popular magnesium bike frame brands: Pinarello, VAAST. Although due to difficulties in manufacturing and build quality issues, magnesium frames are a rather niché product these days.

  • Strong, great weight-to-strength ratio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Bikexchange
Logo