If you’ve ever been stranded on a mountain bike, you’ll know the difficulties you had to negotiate with your cumbersome machine. Mountain bikes have to be sturdier than road bikes because of the terrain they have to navigate, but when you are tired after a long trek, this does make them more difficult to handle, and difficult to stow if you need rescuing, especially if your bike has a heavy, rigid frame and full suspension, which adds greatly to its weight.

The first mountain bike frames were made of steel and extremely heavy. They had a long wheel base, which gave comfort on rough roads but no speed. These steel frames did get lighter over the years thanks to thinner tubes and joining materials, but they were still heavy by today’s standards. These progressively gave way to alloys which made for much lighter frames. Shape, too, played a role in speed efficiency as more aerodynamic designs were introduced. Carbon forks and chains also clipped pounds off the weight and these became the most popular and affordable choices of mountain bike frames.

Nowadays the lightest, but most expensive frames are made of titanium and very nice – if you can afford them. More efficient, but equally expensive are carbon frames and a combination of titanium main tubes with carbon forks seem to be the best frames available today. When buying mountain bike frames it is always worthwhile buying the best you can afford as you will certainly be happier in the long run.