I was hoping to start a thread for discussing different 36er frame options and documenting the existing frames people might either see on the trail or online. There are quite a few options now and I’ve not seen that much in the way of comparative reviews…
My ulterior motive in this is that I’m considering upgrading my 36er frame this summer. I thought that a better resource for 36" frames might be useful!
I’m going to start things off by doing some feature comparisons as best I can from the information online. I’m hoping that other folks can follow up with their experiences, reviews and comparisons on these frames plus a bit of history where available!
For starters, here’s a rundown of some significant frames in 36er land:
The standard round-crown steel frame:
Features: Stamped bearing holders, steel construction, chromed.
I’m just giving a like to a UDC variant of this. There have been various 36er frames like this over time, some with different bearing spacings. It’s just a scaled-up version of the standard entry-level frame design and doesn’t have any special features. The UDC 36ers, Cokers and Qu-Ax 36ers have all used frames in this style.
The (Rick) Hunter 36":
Features: Machined bearing holders, brake mounts, various custom modifications!
These seem to be rarely-mentioned beasts these days - I guess now there are more nice 36" options out there. At first glance the frame design looks like the Nimbus 36" (a much later product) however there are some telltale differences (smaller angled V between the uprights, no support plate above bearing clamps, only a single strut between the uprights at the crown). The basic Hunter design was also available in smaller sizes.
They seem to have brake mounts and I’m sure they have machined bearing holders but really they’re somewhat custom as they were hand built. I’m sure there are plenty of these still out there as they used to be one of the options for a high-quality frame.
Features: Aluminium construction, machined bearing housings, Magura mount points.
These look like their sister frames in the Kris Holm stable - straight forks, single square crown, aluminium construction with KH blue powdercoat.
Features: CroMo steel, machined bearing housings, a pre-drilled hole for old-style Schlumpf hubs (for the reaction arm - but the frame needs to be bent to fit the bearing width of these), Magura mount points.
The Nimbus 36" frame takes obvious design cues from the Rick Hunter frames but adds an additional reinforcement plate at the base of the forks and an extra strut at the crown. Mass produced and now available in a variety of colours.
Features: As above but with a disk brake support.
A variant of the Nimbus 36" frame with a disk brake caliper mount.
Features: Titanium construction, magura mounts, machined bearing holders.
Titanium-built, expensive, low volume. I don’t know how much customisation is available normally with these but I’ve seen quite a few variants incorporating disk support or multiple Magura mounting points. I’ve seen some favourable reviews of the feel of a Titanium frame on here.
Features: CroMo construction, V-brake mounts, unusual quad-crown frame. Machined bearing holders?
A new design from the company that started the whole 36er thing. The V2 frame has an unusual design that I’ve seen called “quad crown” or “squid” due to it’s symmetrical design with four uprights. I assume that as a higher end frame this has machined bearing holders but I can’t tell from the pictures. I’ve not seen much discussion of this frame out there actually.