Motorcycle Frame (Courtesy: TVS)

Motorcycle Frame: Types, Design & Construction


 | 7 minutes read

What Is a Motorcycle Frame made of?

Firstly, let’s know what a motorcycle frame is made of. The material is an essential quality of the frame. The frame’s rigidity, cost, and capability all these qualities depend upon its material. Conventionally, manufacturers use steel for budget-oriented motorcycles such as commuter bikes & mopeds. These frames make use of steel tubes. The tubes are bent or welded together to suit a specific purpose/design.

Steel & Aluminum Alloy

Motorcycles with low to moderate performance parameters use steel, which is reasonably strong, cost-effective, and appropriate for its frames. However, modern motorcycles need their chassis to be stiffer, more lightweight. Besides, they should also look aesthetically better than traditional steel tubes. Hence, modern motorcycles make use of aluminum and alloys for the purpose. Aluminum and alloys deliver high performance to most mainstream motorcycles.

Exotic Materials in Motorcycle Frame

However, some high-performance sports bikes need even lighter and stiffer materials. For such motorcycle frames, manufacturers use exotic and expensive materials such as carbon-fiber, magnesium, and titanium. Some manufacturers also use composites made of these materials and newer materials, which are even more costly. Such expensive materials improve the performance of extreme racing machines, like the ones in MotoGP. However, they have limited use in mainstream street bikes. For most general-purpose motorcycles, the performance of an aluminum or alloy chassis is more than satisfactory.

Following are the types of Motorcycle Frames by construction

Just like tires, different motorcycles need different types of frames. The motorcycle frames are categorized depending upon their construction and application. Various performance parameters of a motorcycle need different frame designs.

1. Backbone Frame

This one is one of the most basic and economical types of motorcycle frames. As the name suggests, this one resembles a spine. However, it is not a complete skeleton and keeps different motorcycle parts in place.

In this design, the amount of steel used is lesser than other types of motorcycle frames. Thus, it makes the construction of this type of frame very economical. In this design, the engine is bolted on to the backbone frame. Generally, the engine hangs off the backbone frame. It is neither cradled nor does it contribute as a stressed member.

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