Bicycle Frames And The Differences Between Them

A bike’s frame is its skeleton. The frame is the most recognizable aspect of a bike from color to style to size to branding.

There are many different types of frames that make certain bikes better for certain purposes than others. Having a knowledge of different bike frames can help you choose the right bike, whether it’s for commuting, exercise, competition, or work.

The shape of a bicycle’s frame is referred to as its frame design. Frames can be designed for terrain, endurance, durability, comfort, or any combination of other purposes. Here are some of the most common frame designs:

Straight Frame

The straight frame, or “classic” frame design is the most popular one, and probably the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Bicycle”. Straight frame bicycles are designed for versatility and ease of use. Here’s an example of a straight frame:

Giant Cypress DX (2020) Straight Frame

Giant Cypress DX (2020)

Step-Through Frame

The step-through frame design is characterized by the top tube swooping down from the handlebars closer to the crank. Step-through frames are designed for easy mounting and dismounting, as well as to achieve a more “cruiser-looking” design for the bike as a whole. Here’s an example of a step-through frame:

Liv Flourish FS 1 Bicycle

Liv Flourish FS 1

Full Suspension Frame

If you’re planning on taking on some tough terrain like a mountain or trail, you may want to consider a full-suspension frame. Full suspension frames protect the rider from shock and impact from uneven riding surfaces, as well as protecting the bike from being damaged. Full suspension frames absorb shock from both wheels, as well as the seat-post and occasionally the stem of the bicycle as well. Here’s an example of a full-suspension frame:

Carbon Frame

At just a glance, carbon bike frames look no different than regular bike frames. The more noticeable difference is apparent when you ride them or pick them up. Carbon frames are only used for one purpose, which is to make the bicycle lighter. They are often used by serious cyclists looking to shave a few seconds off their run times. Carbon is significantly more brittle and fragile than the aluminum or chromoly frames that most bicycles have. By using a carbon bike frame, the rider is effectively trading durability for light weight. Here’s an example of a carbon frame bike:


Liv Avail Advanced 3

Liv Avail Advanced 3

Frame design is important to consider when buying a bicycle. A frame design that you are comfortable riding can make a huge difference, especially over an extended period of time.

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