Trellis Frame: Design, Construction, & Advantages

Trellis Frame design

What Is Trellis Frame in Motorcycles?

The word ‘trellis‘ means a mesh or framework. It is a type of motorcycle frame. As the name suggests, the trellis frame contains a number of small straight tubes welded together in numerous ‘triangles’. Manufacturers use either steel or aluminum to make these triangles. This chain of triangles gives this frame high strength and stiffness required to withstand various forces.

Trellis Frame design


A trellis frame connects the steering head to the swing-arm pivot directly. It uses numerous metal tubes welded together in a triangular construction. Manufacturers typically fabricate a trellis frame by using small, round or oval-shaped metal tubular pieces. These pieces are welded together to form the mesh-like frame structure.

Trellis Frame Design:

In this design, the engine attaches below the frame. The engine also acts as a stressed member. This means that the engine equally endures the stress just like the other tubes in the frame. The engine is considered a part of the frame itself and further raises its rigidity. A well-designed frame provides a strong, lightweight structure. As a result, the placement of engine & components becomes easier and gives better access for servicing and maintenance.

KTM 390 Duke (Courtesy: KTM)
KTM 390 Duke (Courtesy: KTM)


Furthermore, the advantage of the trellis type frame is that it has a lower weight than the cradle type. This is mainly on account of the use of the engine to carry out the structural duties. As a result, the engine also needs to be reinforced. Hence, it costs more to manufacture this type of frame than a cradle frame.

Due to its overall low weight, manufacturers prefer this frame over other designs. Most modern naked street bikes and sports bikes make use of the trellis type frame. The process for the construction of a trellis frame is more complicated than an alloy beam frame. However, it only requires a simple jig and a skilled technician.

Ducati Monster 821
Ducati Monster 821

It neither requires hefty investment nor huge expenditure for manufacturing. So, this type of frame is perfect for manufacturers that make motorcycles in comparatively small numbers such as start-up companies. However, in recent times, most manufacturers employed this design for its cost-effectiveness. For this reason alone, many manufacturers favor this frame for their motorcycles.

Furthermore, performance-oriented motorcycles prefer this type of lightweight frame. Some of the bikes that use the trellis frames in their chassis design include KTM 390 Duke and Ducati Monster 821.

Watch a motorcycle having Trellis Frame in action here:

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