Your motorcycle frame, also known as the chassis, holds your entire motorcycle together, yet it is one of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to motorcycle restoration and customization. Although torque, acceleration times, cubic capacity, etc., are important, you should not overlook considering a custom motorcycle body when you upgrade your ride.
In other words, your motorcycle frame is more than simply a piece of metal. Instead, the type of motorcycle frame you choose largely determines the characteristics and performance of your bike. Below is a review of the different types of motorcycle frames with insights as to how you can choose the right one for you.
The Different Types of Motorcycle Frames
Many bike owners are overwhelmed when sorting through the different types of motorcycle frames to choose the one they want. It helps to understand the basics for each type, which we discuss below. Specifically, the most popular types of custom motorcycle frames include the following:
- Cradle frames
- Twin spar frames
- Monocoque frames
- Trellis frames
- Backbone frames
A cradle frame, as the name suggests, cradles the engine; these frames are sometimes referred to as downtube frames or diamond frames. In other words, it holds the motorcycle’s engine inside of the frame. More specifically, there are two types of cradle frames, which are:
- Single-cradle frames – This has only one tube that goes under the engine; another tube goes above the engine for optimal support.
- Double-cradle frames – This has two tubes that go under the engine for additional support and one tube above the engine. This may be recommended for larger bikes and/or larger engines.
Twin Spar Frames
A twin spar frame is a common motorcycle frame type that is typically found on sports bikes. Sometimes referred to as perimeter frames, this frame type curves around the engine, forming a protective steel perimeter.
Specifically, there are two beams of metal (spars) that curve around the engine. A twin spar frame may be recommended if you value high performance with your sports bike. They are well-equipped to handle heavier loads and are a highly practical solution with an intriguing design.
A monocoque frame is well-respected and considered one of the highest quality frame types available. However, it is uncommon due to the complex nature of its design. This design comes from the car world, and the entire structure is a single piece of metal; all components (air boxes, throttle bodies, etc.) run through this singular frame. Famously, Ducati is the leader and most well-known brand that uses monocoque frames.
A trellis frame is somewhat similar to a twin spar frame. However, instead of wide beams, welded steel beams form a triangulated structure that are responsible for holding the motorcycle’s engine.
The triangle is the world’s strongest shape. Trellis frames are lighter due to their hollow structure, yet still offer excellent strength and dependability. In fact, they are both lighter and stronger than twin spar frames in most cases.
A backbone frame serves as the motorcycle’s spine. It holds essential elements of the bike together. One notable difference between a backbone frame and other motorcycle frame types is how it holds the engine. Unlike other types, the engine is not inside of the backbone frame. Instead, the engine hangs off of the frame (chassis); many believe this helps improve the riding dynamics.
This is a cost-effective frame solution. Backbone frames are commonly seen on older motorcycles, particularly of the smaller variety. If you desire a more classic and old-school design, then the backbone frame may be a viable option. However, they are not common or recommended for more modern designs or larger bikes with bigger engines.
Tips to Choose the Right Motorcycle Frame
The age of your motorbike may play a role in determining the right motorcycle frame. For instance, if you intend to keep the classic look of an older model, then a backbone frame may be best. Of course, your budget may factor into your available options as well. For instance, a monocoque frame will likely cost more than other frame types.
Lastly, the size of your motorbike also matters. A larger bike may require a larger and more supportive frame, such as a double-cradle frame. The best way to determine the appropriate frame type, however, is to speak directly with a motorbike customs and restorations professional.
Contact Robs Customs and Restorations to Personalize Your Motorcycle
Do you need a custom motorcycle body? Contact Robs Customs and Restorations if you are thinking about personalizing the look of your motorcycle body. Along with other considerations, we can help you decide between the various types of motorcycle frames for your custom ride, so you can bring the vision you have for your bike to life.