Parts of the Bike
One of the biggest challenges every cyclist has to go through at some point is learning the names of the parts on their bikes and what they do. We’ve all been there. We walked into a bike shop when we decided we wanted to buy a bike, and for all we knew, they were speaking some foreign language.
By knowing the parts of the bike, it will be easier to get help when mechanical problems occur and will make you more confident when dealing with bike shop salespeople, mechanics and more.
Here, I will lay it all out for you. All the various parts of the bike with pictures….just to help you out.
aka…bull horns. Back in the day I used to use them on my mountain bike. Now I have a set of Ergon Grips with the GP5-L Bar Ends. Lots of hand positions with a comfortable hand grip.
A shell with ball bearing and spindle bearings through which the crank goes. This makes for smooth pedalling.
aka bosses, these little threaded sockets allow you to mount fenders, racks, bottle cages, and bags to various places on your bike.
Usually known as water bottle holders, these can also include cargo cages.
The collection of gears attached to the rear wheel of most modern bicycles. Generally available with between 7 to 12 cogs (rings) allowing the cyclist to climb bigger mountains and fly down them.
These are the gears attached on the right side of the crank arm. They usually come in single, double, or triple cranks, which means they either have 1, 2, or 3 chainrings.
For bikes that don’t have a cassette on the back of the bike, they may only have a single cog, which may be attached to an internal gear hub or the bike may only have 1 speed, in which case we call this a ‘single-speed’ bike.
The crank arms run through the bottom bracket. The pedals are attached to the ends of the crank arms and this allows you to pedal.
These devices are bolted onto the frame of the bike and control the movement of the chain when shifting gears. The front derailleur manages the shifting for double and triple cranks and is usually controlled by the left shifter, while the rear derailleur pushes the chain up and down the cassette and is controlled by the right shifter.
This small part is where the rear derailleur connects to the bike frame. While usually build as part of the bike on steel and titanium frames, they are a separate replaceable piece on aluminum and carbon fibre bikes. It’s a good idea to have an extra when bike touring.
Drop bars are the types of handlebars usually found on road bikes, cyclecross and gravel bikes. The downcurve of the drop bar allows for varied hand positions. With the grown of gravel bikes, drop bars are starting to flare out at the bottoms to provide a wider grip option when riding in technical terrain.
These are the little u-shaped notches at the bottom of the forks at the front of the bike and at the bottom of the rear triangle at the back of the bike. These allow quick release bikes to be quickly fitted onto a bike. Now with many bikes being made with thru-axels, dropouts may become a relic of the past.
A dynamo hub is a bicycle hub that can be used in place of a regular bicycle hub. This allows the cyclist to use a bit of their ‘power’ to create electrical power and then be able to charge batteries, etc.
A fixie is the preferred name of a fixed gear bicycle, which only has one gear, without the addition of a free-wheel. This means that you are unable to coast on a fixie but must always be pedalling. This can be quite challenging when descending a mountain at high speeds.
Flat bars are more commonly found of mountain bikes and touring bikes. They allow for a wide grip, which allows the rider more control of the bike when riding technical terrain. There are many different flat bar designs, with some curving backwards slightly to relieve pressure on the wrists.
Fork ... or ... Front Fork
The fork is the part of the bike that attached to the front wheel and looks like a 2-pronged fork.
The main part of the bicycle, the bicycle frame can be made of a variety of materials: aluminum, steel, titanium, carbon fibre and even bamboo. Traditionally designed like to triangles butting up against each other, there are some other designs that differ, such as on folding bikes. Composed of a top tube, down tube, seat tube, bottom bracket shell, seat stays and chain stays.
The freehub is a part of the hub on most bicycle rear wheels. It allows the cyclist to coast without always having to pedal. When the cyclist starts to pedal, the freehub engages with the hub and power is transferred back to the wheel. The cassette attaches to the freehub body.
The collection of bearings that hold the steerer tube in place, which in turn keep the forks aligned on the bike.
The central component of the wheel (literally). It contains the casing to which the spokes are attached to the bicycle rim. The hub also contains the ball bearings through which the skewers go, which allows the wheel to roll smoothly.
The small fitting that holds the spoke in position on the rim of the wheel. Turning the nipple with a spoke wrench allows a mechanic to adjust the wheel when they get bent slightly.
The outer hoop to which the spokes attach and the tire goes on. Rims are usually made of aluminum but can also be made of carbon fibre.
Rim Tape or Rim Strip
The cloth, plastic or rubber strip that goes inside the rim to protect the tube from rubbing against the ends of the spokes and causing a puncture. They are also necessary for a tubeless setup so that air doesn’t leak out of the tire.
A type of handlebar with a u-shape in the middle which allows the handlebars to “rise”, allowing the cyclist to maintain a more relaxed body position.
The cyclist version of the word for bike seat.
The bar that goes from the saddle to the bike frame and which you can adjust to ensure the saddle is at the correct height for you. These are usually made of alloy, steel, or carbon fibre.
The seatpost clamp allows you to adjust your bike seatpost to the correct height and then clamp it tight in order to keep it at that height.
The part of the fork that extends up through the headtube allowing the bearings to create a smooth steering process.
The part that connects the handlebars to the steerer tube. They can range in length from 35mm to 120mm or more. Pro riders tend to use longer stems so that they can use smaller bike frames and keep the weight as low as possible.
The wheel is the complete assembly of a hub, spokes, rim and tire.