List of bicycle parts
Bicycles have a lot of different parts, and they’re easy to get confused. We’ve put together this complete list of bicycle parts, with a quick explanation of what each part is. Not every bicycle has every part. But if you’re unsure of what a part on your bicycle is called, you should be able to figure it out here.
- Axle: this is the part that attaches a wheel to a bicycle and provides support for bearings on which the wheel rotates.
- Bar ends: optional extensions at the end of mountain bike handlebars designed to allow for multiple hand positions.
- Bar plugs or end caps: plugs for the ends of handlebars that prevent the bare tubing from stabbing you in a crash and that hold handlebar tape in place.
- Basket: Bike baskets can be mounted in front or in back.
- Bearing: a device that facilitates rotation by reducing friction. Other parts like bottom brackets, pedals, headsets and derailleurs use bearings.
- Bell: Every good bike needs a bell. Just ask Pee Wee!
- Belt-drive: alternative to a chain. The Gates drive is a carbon belt drive that is well known for high end bikes. It requires no grease, but does not work with derailleurs and requires internal hub shifting if you want multiple gears.
- Bicycle brake cable: Bike brake cable can be hydraulic (usually for disc brakes), or wire based for rim brakes and also some non-hydraulic disc brakes.
- Bottle cage: a holder for a water bottle. Many bikes have two and sometimes more.
- Bottom bracket: The bearing system that the pedals (and cranks) rotate around. Contains a spindle to which the crankset is attached and the bearings themselves. There is a bearing surface on the spindle, and on each of the cups that thread into the frame. The bottom bracket may be overhaulable (an adjustable bottom bracket) or not overhaulable (a cartridge bottom bracket). The bottom bracket fits inside the bottom bracket shell, which is part of the bicycle frame
- Brake: devices used to stop or slow down a bicycle. Rim brakes and disc brakes are operated by brake levers, which are mounted on the handlebars. Band brake is an alternative to rim brakes but can only be installed at the rear wheel. Coaster brakes are operated by pedaling backward
- Brake lever: a lever for actuating a bicycle brake
- Brake shift lever combination: Many road bikes combine shifting and brakes into a single setup. Shimano calls the levers STI or Di2. SRAM calls them Double Tap or eTap. Campagnolo called them ErgoPower or EPS.
- Braze-on: a fitting protruding from a metal bicycle frame to provide attachment, typically for cable housings or other accessories. Brazing is similar to welding and used to attach metal parts to each other.
- Cable guide: a fitting that’s usually below the bottom bracket and guides a piece of bare cable around a corner
- Cable: a metal cable enclosed in part by a metal and plastic housing that is used to connect a control, such as a brake or shifting lever, to the device it activates. Cables can be routed externally on the outside of the frame, or internally inside the frame.
- Cartridge bearing: a type of bearing that is not user-serviceable, but must be replaced as a unit
- Cassette: a group of stacked sprockets or gears on the rear wheel of a bicycle with a rear derailleur. There can be anywhere from 5 to 12 gears in back on a cassette.
- Coaster brake the type of bike brake that slows you down when you backpedal
- Chain: a system of interlinking pins, plates and rollers that transmits power from the front chainring to the rear gears or cassette and turns the rear wheel
- Chainguard: A cover for the bike chain that covers all or part of the chain so that it doesn’t get your pants greasy if you touch your leg against it.
- Chainring: (one of the) front gear(s), attached to a crank. There are 1x, 2x and 3x chainrings that include one, two or three of these.
- Chainset: see Crankset
- Chainstay: parts of a bicycle frame that run from the bottom bracket to the rear fork ends, where the rear wheel attaches
- Chain tensioner: a device to maintain proper chain tension that usually uses a spring
- Chaintug: a device to aid in setting the proper chain tension
- Cluster: a different word for your rear bicycle cogs and typically either a freewheel, or cassette
- Cogset: yet another word for the set of rear sprockets that attaches to the hub on the rear wheel and typically either a freewheel or cassette
- Cone: holds bearings in place, pressed against the cup
- Cotter: pin for attaching cottered cranks on cheaper bicycles
- Coupler: to connect tubing together and often used on travel bikes that can be disassembled
- Crankset or chainset: composed of cranks and at least one chainring and up to three
- Cup: receives ball bearings which roll along its inner surface; integrated on most conventional hubs or can be pressed into older bottom bracket shells. See also Cone
- Cyclocomputer: a bike computer accessory that measures and displays instantaneous and cumulative speed and distance. Often provides other measurements such as heart rate or GPS coordinates
- Derailleur hanger: a piece on the rear dropout of the bike frame that the derailleur attaches to.
- Derailleur: an assembly of levers, usually cable actuated, that moves the chain between sprockets on a cassette or chainring assembly. You can have front and rear derailleurs.
- Down tube: tube on the bicycle frame that runs from the head tube to the bottom bracket
- Dropout: a bicycle rear fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain.
- Dustcap: any cap serving to keep dirt and contamination out of an assembly. Common over crank bolts, often plastic
- Dynamo: bicycle lighting component, also known as generator. Used for front and taillights and sometimes even to charge a phone.
- Eyelet: An eyelet can be an attachment point on frame, fork, or dropout for fenders, racks and also a hole through which the spoke nipple passes through the rim to attach.
- Electronic Gear-Shifting System: Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo all have optional battery powered and motor-driven derailleur systems. SRAM calls it eTap. Shimano calls it Di2. Campagnolo calls it EPS.
- Fairing: a full or partial covering for a bicycle to reduce aerodynamic drag or to protect the rider from the elements. Many recumbent bikes have fairings.
- Fender or mudguard: pieces of metal or plastic above the tires that block road spray thrown up by the tires, allowing the rider to remain cleaner and drier.
- Ferrule: This part is a metal or plastic sleeve used to terminate the end of a cable housing so that the bare cables don’t stick out and fray.
- Fork: the part that attaches a bicycle’s frame to its front wheel and handlebars and also allows steering because of the rotating steerer tube
- Fork end: Slots or holes on a fork or frame at which the axle of the wheel is attached. Also sometimes known as dropouts.
- Frame: the main element of a bicycle that provides points of attachment for the various components that make up the machine. Usually consists of a head tube, top tube, down tube, seat tube, seat stay and chain stay, connected together into a frame.
- Freehub: a ratcheting assembly onto which a cog or cassette is mounted that allows the bicycle to coast without the pedals turning and allows turning the pedals backward while riding.
- Freewheel: a ratcheting assembly that incorporates one or more cogs and allows the bicycle to coast without the pedals turning. Freewheels were the precursor to freehubs and cassettes.
- Gusset: plates added to the outsides of frame tubes to strengthen joints. These are more commonly seen on off road bikes that need to be sturdier.
- Hanger: part of frame or an attachment to the frame to which the derailleur is attached (see Derailleur hanger)
- Handlebar: Allows steering and provides a point of attachment for controls and accessories such as shifters and brake levers. Typically attached to the stem.
- Handlebar plug: see Bar plugs
- Handlebar tape: a tape wound around dropped handlebars (the type found on road bikes) to provide padding and grip. Often made of cork, cloth or synthetic materials. Comes in many colors and styles.
- Head badge: manufacturer’s or brand logo affixed to the head tube on many metal frames. More common on older bicycles.
- Head tube: the tube of a bicycle frame that contains the headset. Attaches to the down tube and top tube.
- Headset: the bearings that allow the frame and fork steerer tube move and steer the bicycle
- Hood: the rubber cover on brake levers or brake and shifter combination levers on bikes with drop style handle bars.
- Hub: the center part of a wheel that contains bearings and is where the spokes attach and then connect outward to the rim.
- Hub dynamo: a generator inside one of the hubs for powering lights or other accessories without the need for a battery when the hub is turning.
- Hub gear: a gearbox mounted inside the hub, 3-speed is common, 5, 7 are available (“Sturmey-Archer”) and Rohloff make a 14-speed hub. Cable operated by one or two cables. Shimano also makes an Alfine internal multi speed hub.
- Indicator: a turn signal found on some bicycles.
- Inner tube: Interior part inside tire that allows air to inflate. Has a Schraeder, or Presta valve for inflation and deflation
- Jockey wheel: one of two small sprockets of the rear derailleur that guides the chain onto the cassette
- Kickstand: used to allow a bicycle to stand up on its own. Usually mounts to frame near bottom bracket, sometimes near rear dropouts and can be raised or lowered at will.
- Lawyer tab: also called “lawyer lips”, a device on the dropouts of the front fork to prevent the front wheel from falling off in the case it is not properly secured by the rider. Makes it more difficult to swap wheels quickly.
- Locknut: a nut designed not to loosen due to vibration from cycling
- Lockring: a ring, usually metal, of varying design, that serves to retain a component in place so it won’t fall off
- Lug: a metal connector used to align frame components where they join each other and usually part of a metal bike frame
- Luggage carrier: any accessory equipment designed to carry tools, gear or cargo on your bicycle
- Master link: a bicycle chain accessory that allows convenient removal and reconnection of an installed bicycle chain without the need for a chain tool. Some are only usable once.
- Nipple: a specialized nut that most commonly attaches a spoke to a wheel rim or rarely to the hub
- Pannier: storage bags that mount to sides of bicycle racks. Pronounced pan-ear, or pan-yer (an old English word, which is derived from an old French word)
- Pedal: mechanical interface between foot and crank arm. There are two general types; clipless pedals secure the foot to a special pedal and flat pedals have no connection to lock the foot to the pedal.
- Peg: short metal tube, about 6 inches long and 2 inches fastened to one or both ends of the wheel axles to either enable the rider perform certain tricks or provide a place for extra riders to stand or rest and is often on bmx bikes
- Portage strap: a strap (sometimes made of leather) attached to the inside of the bike frame, designed to make carrying the bike over one’s shoulder easier
- Quick release: a skewer with a lever on one end that loosens when the lever is flipped. Used for releasing wheels and seat posts without tools
- Rack: a rack that attaches behind the seat or in front of the handlebars that serves as a general carrier
- Reflector: reflects light when illuminated by headlights of other vehicles. Often required by law
- Removable training wheels: used for assisting balance. Useful for teaching children to ride a bike
- Rim: that part of a wheel to which the tire is attached and often forms part of the braking mechanism unless you are using disc brakes
- Rotor: the disc component of a disc brake.
- Safety levers: Secondary brake levers used to apply brakes in order for the bicycle to slow down or suddenly stop
- Saddle or Seat: what a bicyclist sits on
- Seat rails: a metal framework over which saddle covering is stretched. The seat post attaches to the seat rails by means of a clamp
- Seat lug: a frame lug on the top of a bike’s seat tube serving as a point of attachment for a clamp to secure the seat post
- Seat tube: the roughly vertical tube in a bicycle frame running from the seat to the bottom bracket that holds the seatpost and saddle.
- Seat bag: a small storage accessory hung from the back of a seat to carry items like spare tubes and tools
- Seatpost: a post that the seat is mounted to that slides into the frame’s seat tube and can be used to adjust ride height depending how far into the seat tube it is inserted
- Seatstay: part of the bike frame, small diameter tubes running from top of seat tube to rear dropouts
- Shaft-drive: alternate to chain-drive
- Shifter: gear shifting control. Sometimes on the down tube and sometimes on the handlebars
- Shock absorber: for bicycles with suspensions, a device that is part of the front fork or rear frame that limits the rate at which suspension rebounds after absorbing an impact
- Side view mirror: aids in looking at the sides prior to moving slowly or turning to the left or to the right
- Skirt guard or coatguard: a device fitted over the rear wheel of a bicycle to prevent a long skirt, coat or other trailing clothes or luggage from catching in the wheel, or in the gap between the rim and the brakes
- Spindle: an axle around which a pedal rotates; threaded at one end to screw into crank arms
- Spoke: connects wheel rim to hub. Usually wire with one end swaged to form a head and one threaded end. A typical wheel has 36 spokes
- Sprocket or cog: wheel with teeth that meshes with the chain; one of the wheels in the cogset or crankset
- Steerer tube: a tube on top of a fork that is inserted through frame and serves as an axle by means of which bicycle can be steered
- Stem: a bracket used to attach handlebars to steerer tube of fork. Usually secured by pinch bolts
- Tire: as in common usage. Usually pneumatic. A tubular tire is glued to the wheel rim; most tires use tubes, but tubeless tires and rims are increasingly common
- Toe clips: a metal or plastic cage attached to a pedal. Usually has an adjustment strap. Secures foot to pedal for increased control and more effective transfer of power from foot to drive chain
- Top tube: part of bike frame leading from head tube to seat tube
- Valve stem or simply valve: port for adding or releasing air from the inner tube. Two types are commonly used: Presta and Schrader. A third type, the Woods/Dunlop valve, can still be found in Europe and Asia.
- Wheel: as in common usage. Traditionally and most commonly spoked
- Wingnut: for attaching wheels without tools before the development of the quick release skewer
Did we miss any bike parts? Let us know and we’ll add them.
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