Most people know the basics parts of the bike: wheels, seat, frame and handlebars. However, there are many more components that make up the anatomy of a modern bicycle. The type and style of a bicycle vary based on the intended use, body type and riding style. Here we’ll cover the basic core components that make up the diverse world of bicycles, catering to diverse needs and preferences of riders everywhere. So the next time you’re out riding with your bike group or at the bike shop you can sound like an expert.
Wheel: More than just a tire, the wheel also consists of the rim, spoke and hub. Depending on the style and intended use of the bike, the tire can be thin/narrow with no tread. This is good for roads and smooth/level ground. Wider, knobby tires are suited for off-road adventures. The spokes connect the rim to the hub and provide the support and shape of the wheel. The greater number of and higher the gauge (thickness) of the spokes equates to the support and rigidity of the tire. The hub is at the center of the wheel and connects the spokes to a central point and contains the axle, which provides the connection point of wheel to the bike frame/fork.
Frame: The frame can vary in shape, size and construction. It can be made from steel, aluminum, carbon fiber or magnesium composite. It provides structural integrity and houses most of the other components. It consists of the top tube, head tube which connects the fork and handlebars to the frame, down tube, seat tube, seat stay and chain stay.
Seat: Also known as the saddle. It can vary in size, shape and padding thickness and is highly customizable based on the rider’s preference.
Handlebars: Similar to the seat, the handlebars can vary in size and shape depending on the style of the bike and rider preference. The brake levers and gear shifters are, usually, attached to the handlebars.
Crankset/chainset: This is what makes the bike move when you pedal. The pedals are attached to the crank via the crank arms, which are attached to the chainrings (front gears of the bike). The chain attaches to the chainrings in the front and the cassette on the rear tire. The cassette is the cluster of stacked gears or sprockets the rider can shift. The rear derailleur moves the chain from one sprocket to another when you shift gears. The jockey wheel keeps tension on the chain when you’re shifting gears. If a bike is a single or fixed gear, it will not have a jockey wheel.
Pedals: Like brakes, there are two main styles of pedals. Flat/platform pedals are flat and your feet freely sit on them. Clip-in pedals require special shoes that clip-in and provide better connectivity that can deliver more energy and reduce slippage.
Brakes: There are two main styles of brakes: rim and disc. Rim (also called cantilever) brakes apply pressure to the rim to slow or stop the bike. They are the most common because they are light, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Disc brakes provide better stopping ability and work better in wet conditions. They are attached to a metal disc that sits on the hub of the wheel.
This is a beginner’s guide to a bike’s components. There are additional parts and accessories that are elements of certain styles of bikes that can be added based on the intended usage and a rider’s needs and preferences. This basic information is provided to aid a rider in understanding the different components of the bike. It will also help in explaining and diagnosing any issues that may arise.