Bicycle Terms Index
Bar Ends: an extension added to flat handlebars to add hand positions. When used on mountain bikes, for which they were originally developed, gripping the bar ends shifts the rider's center of gravity forward, which keeps the front wheel on the ground on steep climbs.
Bottom Bracket: bottom bracket refers to that frame member into which the bottom bracket cartridge is installed. Sometimes the term is used for the cartridge itself.
Bottom Bracket Cartridge: a non-serviceable, cylindrical unit that screws into the bicycle frame onto which the crank arms are affixed. Containing bearings.
Cassette: the cluster of sprockets, or gears, on the rear wheel.
Chainring: one of the front sprockets, or gears. Also called a ring.
Cleat: the hardware used on the bottom of a cycling shoe to fasten it to the pedal.
Coaster Brake: a brake that's built into the rear hub actuated by pedaling backwards.
Cog: one of the individual sprockets on the rear set of gears.
Crank: the arms onto which the pedals and chainrings are affixed.
Derailleurs: the mechanisms that changes gears by "derailing" the chain from sprocket to sprocket.
Disk Brake: brake in which friction is applied to both sides of a spinning disk which is mounted on the hub (left) as opposed to a caliper brake (right) which squeezes the rim.
Fork: the tuning-fork shaped frame member that holds the front wheel and facilitates steering.
Headset: the bearing assembly that connects the front fork to the frame and permits the fork to turn for steering.
Hub: the central part of a wheel that encases the axle and onto which spokes are attached.
Presta Valve: a thinner European style inflation valve found on nicer bikes where the valve must be opened manually to inflate the tire.
Reach: refers to the distance from the seat to the handlebars.
Rim: the hoop shaped part of the wheel that holds the tire and provides a braking surface.
Ring: one of the front sprokets on a bike, also called a chainring.
Road Shoe: a lightweight, stiff soled, smooth bottomed shoe where the cleat bolts to the outer sole
Schraeder Valve: the common inflation valve, like those on a car.
Shifters: the controls on the handlebars that operate the derailleurs.
SPD: Originally standing for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, but now a generic term referring to a shoe design that has the cleat recessed into the sole so you can walk in them.
Stand-over Height: refers to the measurement on a bicycle from the ground to the top of the top tube. Comparing this measurement to that of an individual from crotch to floor with their shoes on, tells by how much they will clear the top bar when they stand over it.
Stem: refers to the handlebar stem, that component that attaches the handlebars to the bike. Stems are made in a multitude of sizes and used to adjust the bike to fit the rider.
True: refers to the straightness and roundness of a wheel.
Truing: the process of making a wheel straight and round by tightening and loosening the appropriate spokes.
Wheel: refers to the whole assembly including the hub, spokes, and rim.
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Have a question about the world of bicycles? Whether it regards product information, technical issues, or riding the streets of Atlanta all you have to do is ask bicycle expert Mike Goodman, Intown Bicycles owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.
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