When you go to build your custom motorcycle, the frame will determine the overall look and feel of your motorcycle. Due to aerodynamics and physics, your bike's frame will also change the safety and handling of your bike. Essentially, the frame is like a skeleton. You attach the extra elements of your bike, the engine, tanks, and support parts to it. In terms of materials, it is common to find aluminum, steel, and carbon fiber. Several frame types are available; read on to learn which is the best for you.

Single Cradle

This type of motorcycle frame is dead simple. Some of the earliest known bikes used this frame. For the spine of the bike, a large tube runs through the middle. Smaller tubes shoot off this main tube and provide support (a cradle) for your engine. Off-road motorcycles are known to use this design. 

Double Cradle

This type of frame evolved from the single cradle style. Instead of one cradle, there are two cradles that each hold a side of the engine. While formerly popular, perimeter frames have largely taken their place.


Racing motorcycles are supposedly the first bikes to use these frames. There is a very short distance between the swingarm and the steering head on these. This minimizes torsion and flexure. They can be made from steel, but it is common to make them from aluminum to reduce the overall weight when racing.


These rare frames are specially designed for certain situations. A metal backbone shape, made from solid metal, is the structure on which the engine is suspended. The look is unique, and the frame is simple in design.


Monocoque is another special kind of motorcycle frame. This frame is known for its heavy weight and rigidity. It has a mounted seat, tank, and tail that all connect to a single metal frame. Competition bikes will often employ this frame.


This design for motorcycle frames originated in Europe. It appears similar to the perimeter frame. A series of tubes, short in length, comprise the frame itself. This results in a strong frame with unique design aesthetics.

Your motorcycle frame is an important part of your bike. Some would even argue that the frame defines the bike and is therefore the most important element. Therefore, be sure to compare your options. The chances are that one of the major frame types can suit your needs. If not, customization is always an option.