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A bmx frame is an aftermarket frame body that you mount all your bmx parts to. They come in many different colors, top tube length, materials, and geometry. You buy an aftermarket BMX frame when you out ride your stock frame or want more control of how your bike handles. General rule of thumb is that you want a frame to last 2-3 years. It's your decision how it rides by picking the frame that best suits you.
Let's start with color, because that is what you see first when researching a new BMX frame. Any aftermarket frame is going to be chrome plated, oil slick, or powder coated. Powder coated frames are you standard color frames and are super heavy duty to prevent scratches or flaking. Powder coating is charged with electro-magnet to make the paint clings to it, then baked in a large oven to make the coating super smooth. This is what scaffolding is painted with, so you know it will hold up to a beating. Chrome plating is a 3 metal coating process that is super heavy duty and give a lovely shine for years. Chrome tends to be $10-30 more because of the process and the disposal of waste. Oil slick or Rainbow is a anodizing process that is done after chroming and give any product a purple, green, gold appearance. This is a very difficult process and raises cost $10-200, but looks amazing.
Geometry is a huge part when selecting a new frame because it makes the bike ride a certain way. If you ride street, park, dirt or flatland you will choose what best fits your style. We will start with top tube because it is usually your main choice in frame choice. Frame size has a general rule of thumb but is only a suggestion, will will explain. the top tube is measured from the center of the head tube to the center of the seat tube. 20" top tube and smaller are recommended for riders 4'6" to 5'3". 20.25" frames are recommended for riders 4'11" to 5'5". 20.5" are recommended for riders 5'4" to 5'7". 20.75" frames are recommended for riders 5'6" to 6"+. 21" frames are recommended for riders 5'10" to 6"+. 21.25" are recommended for riders 6"+. We said the top tube size is suggested because if you lean towards a smaller or larger frame recommended it will make the bike ride different. Lean towards a smaller frame will make spinning tricks (180's, 360's, 540's) easier, tail whips and nose manuals easier to perform. If you lean toward a larger size frame it will track straighter, enhancing long distant jumps and manual (wheelies). Head tube angle helps with either noses manual or tracking straight on big jumps. A steep 75 to 76 degree head tube will help with nose manual due to pushing the front toward the back of the bike giving you a quick pivot point. Street rider & flat land rider tend to go this direction. A mellow 73.5 to 74.5 degree head tube will give you better stability for long jumps and going fast. This is often chosen by dirt or park riders. Short or long rear ends are pretty similar to head tubes but effect the back wheel balance. Short rear 12.7" to 13.25" rear ends make it easier to manual or do ice pick grinds. This is the new age street rider prime choice. A long 13.25" to 14" rear end give the bike a lot more stability for large jumps or big gaps. It helps prevents looping out and is dirt jumper or park riders primary choice. The bottom bracket height is helps with manuals, grinds, and stability at fast speeds. A high 11.8" to 12" B.B. height is usually selected by dirt or park riders because it gives more stability in transitions at high speeds preventing you from looping out. A low 11.5" to 11.7" B.B. lowers the center of gravity for the rider and makes manuals much easier.
The material & construction of a frame is what makes a frame wrong or light weight, as one increase the other decreases. All aftermarket frames are full Chromoly and come with integrated headset which are way stronger than the old school push in cup/bearing. It prevents stretching the frame out and compresses very easily to keep you handlebar bearings spinning freely without shaking. Gussets are internal or welded on the top tube & down tube to create longevity. This is where most frame break or fail, we highly suggest this feature if you are rough on your bike. Butted top tubes or down tubes are internally machined out to make the tube thick near the junctions of the tube making it lighter and stronger. Some down tubes are oval or have waves to prevent denting, usually selected by street riders. Seat tube are machined internally or externally to reduce weight. Integrated seat clamps are welded on and keep the frame light weight. Non integrated need a seat clamp, which most frames include and prevent damage to a frame when extremely tightening up the seat clamp. Internally and externally machined bottom bracket reduce weight or help with grinds. Chain stays & seat stays are the tubes that connect front triangle to the rear dropouts (where you bolt the rear wheel). They come tapered for light weight or wish bone for stiffness. The dropouts are available in laser cut and welded on which are a little less expensive. Invest cast drop outs are are casted in on piece and the chain stays are welded to it giving it a incredible amount of strength. These are slightly heavier, more expensive, thicker, usually come with chain tensioners and are highly picked by street riders.
All of these factors make a frame ride a certain way, now pick and choose a frame that will suit how you are trying to ride.
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