As an avid cyclist, the only way to truly get the best cycling experience is to consider building your bike from the ground up. Yes, you will be having a bike that you buy as standard, but understanding all the different bike parts means that you know where and which changes to make. This bike part diagram article should give you some insight.
One of the main reasons for fully understanding the anatomy of your bike is when the bike breaks or when it requires some maintenance. If you have a basic understanding of the components, it should be much easier to make these repairs. Additionally, you will also know where to consider looking for bike parts and which of them are the best.
The following in-depth guide should make it much easier for you and help you better understand all of the components to keep in mind. This article aims to make sure you understand all the basics and to ensure that you have the most comfort. You should not have an excuse for not understanding your bike anymore.
Table of Contents
Main Bike Components Explained
As with almost anything you buy, the bicycle is also broken up into main components and secondary components. The main components refer to the most important parts of the bike and the bike should not be able to function without these components. Here is a basic breakdown of the different bike components:
Anatomy of a Bike Frame
Choosing the right bike frame is essential for any cyclist. It’s important to consider the type of riding you will be doing, as well as your budget when selecting the best bike frame for you. Different types of frames are designed for different styles of biking and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration.
- Mountain bikes generally have strong frames made from aluminum or steel, with wide tires designed to handle rough terrain.
- Road bikes typically have lightweight frames made from carbon fiber or aluminum, allowing them to go faster but still providing stability when cornering.
- Hybrid bikes combine features from both mountain and road bikes, making them a great option if you plan on doing multiple types of riding.
- Cruisers are ideal for casual rides around town thanks to their comfortable design and wide handlebars that make it easy to navigate urban environments.
Parts of a Bike Frame
The head tube of any bicycle is located at the front and the front most of the frame. The tube is cylindrical and is responsible for housing the fork steerer. Two ball bearings are located on the inside of this tube and these bearings allow the steering wheel to pivot freely and make turning possible. Additionally, rear brakes also run alongside the top tube, but for many high-end bikes, the rear brakes can run inside the tube as well.
The top tube is another important part and it connects the rear tube to the head tube at the front of the bike. The top tube is designed to give you the riding style that you desire and it runs parallel to the floor. Having a longer top tube allows for more aerodynamics and should make it possible to ride more aggressively.
Alternatively, a shorter top tube is perfect for climbing and while it sacrifices some of the aerodynamics of the bike, it enables you to have better control over the bike and you should have more comfort when climbing uphill.
You will also notice that almost every bike has a down tube and the down tube runs parallel to the ground but at an angle. The tube is used to connect the components on the lower side of the bike to those at the top and it also adds some additional stability to the bike to ensure that it does not wobble when riding.
Cables from the rear derailleur will generally run next to the bar as they make their way up to the top of the bike and the handlebars. However, many modern bikes have these cables located on the inside of the down tube for more protection.
The seat tube is another important part of the bike and it is located at the rear of the bike. It runs from the down tube to the top tube and connects the two tubes to ensure that you have stability. The seat will slide into the seat tube, which means that the seat should be comfortable and in the correct position.
Keep in mind that the angle of the seat will make a huge difference and the more angle the seat has, the better it will be for aerodynamics and aggressive pedaling. However, you will sacrifice some of the control you have over the bike. The slack seat tube is often better for beginners and it will give you more stability and comfort.
The seat stays are just as important and they run down the sides of the frame. One seat stay will; run down each side of the frame and this will give the overall frame some additional rigidity. The seat stays generally provide their brake mounting points. However, they often serve as mounting points for other features of the bike as well.
Chainstays are additional solid components that connect to the rear of the bike. They connect to the seat stays and play a big part in the setup and the location of the chain on the bike. Since the chain runs below and above the chainstays, many people generally have some kind of protective features mounted on the chainstays for the chain.
When mounting some protective measures on the chainstays, you will be preventing any potential damage that might occur. The protective measures should ensure that your bike is far more efficient and functional when you use it.
Front Parts Of The Bike
Now that you have seen some of the components, you might also notice the intricate front parts of the bike. Almost every bike has some intricate components and we will break these down. These components are located at the front of the bike and should be important when building up your bike for performance.
Whether you know it or not, but every bike has some kind of fork and the fork is one of the most important parts of the bike. The fork runs parallel to the front wheel and two parts on either side go down and connect to the front tires. Generally, the fork also holds the suspension and the fork comes together above the suspension at the fork crown.
Forks vary from bike to bike, but they are essential and they make the steering of the bike much easier. If you want to have comfort steering your bike, you will be looking at the fork. There are a variety of different features and often you could even have some additional mounting points to work with.
Types of Bike Forks:
- Rigid forks can be used on bikes of all types – from mountain bikes to road bikes. As the name suggests, rigid forks are rigid and have no suspension or shock absorption abilities. This means that when riding on rough terrain, it is important to take extra care in order to avoid damaging your bike or injuring yourself.
- Suspension forks are especially beneficial for mountain bikers who ride over rough terrain. By diffusing shock from roots, rocks, and other obstacles, they can help riders handle steep descents with greater control and reduce arm fatigue. Additionally, cyclists who race downhill may find that a suspension fork gives them an edge in terms of stability when navigating sharp turns at high speeds.
The bike headset is a small component located at the front of the handlebars and it features a connection that goes into the head tube. It usually consists of two parts and these have ball bearings that make the steering possible of the bike. It will allow the bike to turn and steer in any direction comfortably.
Numerous headsets are available for bikes and each of these has its own special features. These headsets will inevitably make it possible to turn the bike more comfortably. The integrated system and the threaded headsets are the most common and you are bound to find these on the majority of modern bikes.
One of the most important parts of any bike is the stem and the stem connects the handlebars to the headset. There are numerous different stems, but some of the modern options have been front-loaded and this makes turning much easier. It should be much easier to turn the bike when you have the correct stem in place for the bike.
The modern stems are much more functional and since they have numerous screws, it is much easier to remove the stem without having to remove the entire handlebar. This is great for making a couple of upgrades when needed.
The headset cap is designed to preload the front stem of the bike with pressure. It is often one of the ways that mechanics use to ensure that all the components are in the correct position and to make sure that there is enough pressure on everything. If the stem cap is tightened correctly, it should be much easier to have the stem tightened and adjusted.
One of the most important parts of any bike is the handlebars and you must understand the handlebars and have the correct handlebars for your needs. The handlebars should be great for giving you comfort and making the steering of the bike that much easier. However, you need the right handlebars for the job.
You will find that handlebars can vary depending on the bike and some bikes have slightly different handlebars that are better for other purposes. In terms of anatomy, the handlebars can be integrated into the stem. This makes it much easier to use them and they should enable you to make turning easier.
We have prepared an article about the most important types of Handlebars.
Brake levers should be self-explanatory and you will notice that a bike cannot be functional if it does not have some form of breaking. Brake levers are small levers located on the handlebars and they generally have a cable connected to them on the inside. The cable will be what forces the bike to brake when you pull the lever.
Once you pull the lever, the cable will tighten, and depending on the type of bike you are using, it will either force the caliper brakes to slow down the bike or the disc brakes will lock to make the bike go slower. Nowadays, we have STIs or Shimano Total Integration. The STI is an advanced method that allows you to slow down the bike by shifting. These are also called shifters.
Grips And Bar Tape
Another thing you will notice on the handlebars is the grips and bar tape. The grips are made from texturized rubber and they often slide over the handlebars. The grips will be comfortable and they should ensure that your hands don’t slip off the handlebars when you are using the bike for off-road purposes.
Alternatively, you can consider looking at the bar tape. Bar tape is often used for road bikes and it also provides some additional grip. However, it is thinner and feels more comfortable for sprinters on the road. The bar tape is designed to give you comfort and to ensure that you have some excellent functionality.
Bar End Plugs
If you are prone to crashes or you simply want to improve the overall safety of your cycling experience, bar end plugs are important. While you don’t need to have bar-end plugs, they will take away some of the sharp edges of the handlebars and give you more comfort when you are falling. They simply remove these sharp edges for a less risky crash with little to no damage.
One of the main components of any bike is the brakes. The brakes will play a significant part when it comes to your bike and it is designed to make life so much easier when you need to stop. The brakes are the components that will reduce the speed of the bike and bring it to a complete stop when you need to stop. Here are some of the different brake options you might want to consider:
When riding at a competitive level, you will rarely find hub brakes on a bike. These brakes were reserved for city bikes and bikes that mainly went around cruising in the city. These brakes are functional and they force the rider to pedal backward when they are to stop the bike. However, they take some getting used to and not everyone can find them comfortable.
Rim brakes are the more popular of the mainstream brakes and they are generally chosen due to their inexpensiveness. Rim brakes are designed in three major configurations. You will find the V-brakes, cantilever brakes, and caliper brakes. While the design of these brakes is slightly different from one another, they work the same.
The rim brakes work by pinching the wheels and bringing the bike to a halt. They will clamp onto the wheels and this will create some form of friction that enables them to stop the bike effectively.
The disc brakes are the jewel of brakes and they offer additional stopping power the same way as the rim brakes. They work by pinching the wheels together and creating the same level of friction that brings the bike to a halt.
However, the cheaper bikes will make use of mechanical disc brakes and these brakes use a mechanical wire that runs up the bike to the brake levers. The hydraulic disc brakes are slightly more expensive, but they offer some excellent stopping power.
The brake cables are some of the most important parts of the bike. These cables are responsible for connecting the brake levers to the actual brakes on the wheels. Brake cables often have their special housing and they ensure that the brakes are secure to make them durable and functional for use. You should also do plenty of maintenance on the brake cables as it can be catastrophic if one of them snaps.
Wheel Components Of The Bike
One of the biggest parts of any bike is the wheels and many people are drawn toward the best wheels for their bikes. You need good wheels if you are going anywhere. The wheels of bikes consist of a variety of different features and it is important to have a basic understanding of these components. Here is the anatomy of bike wheels:
The hub is one of the more important parts and keeps the wheels together. It consists of bearings that enable the wheels to turn freely when needed and they are also easy to replace. They consist of 5 components and these 5 components are important to make sure you have the perfect setup for your wheels:
- Hub Shell: The hub shell houses all the components and is generally made from durable aluminum materials. It serves as a housing unit for all the smaller components. Additionally, it is where all the spokes come together and meet one another.
- Axle: The axle runs from one side of the hub shell to the other. Bikes can have a variety of axles with some of them being fixed and others being quick-release. It is a great way to secure the wheel to the frame.
- Ball Bearings: Ball bearings should be self-explanatory and allow the wheels to roll freely. The ball bearings are an important part of making sure that the wheels are doing what they are supposed to when riding.
- Cones: The cones are what are used to loosen or tighten the ball bearings. These cones are found adjacent to the hub and they will give you some access to the ball bearings. However, only professionals should be concerned with this.
- Lock Nut: The lock nut is the final part of the plan and it is used to hold all of these components in place. The lock nut should be carefully tightened. Once you over-tighten the lock nut, you could have some issues with the cones.
The rims of the bike are just as important as almost any other part of the bike. The rims can be made from a variety of different materials. However, for most modern bikes, the rims are made from durable aluminum materials. The spokes will screw into the rims and they also make way for the different tires that can be used.
The thickness of the tire can make a huge difference and ]thinner tires tend to have more aerodynamics which means that it is much easier to propel yourself forward. In terms of durability, the thicker tires will have the ability to take on far harder terrains. This is the reason why mountain bike tires are much thicker than tires on road bikes.
The spokes are one thing that you can adjust. However, if you are inexperienced with bikes, you should have a professional adjust the spokes for you. The spokes can be loosened and tightened. However, you need to keep in mind that the spokes will bear all the weight of your body. If the tension is not correct, they might get damaged.
If the spokes are too tight, they might snap when the weight placed upon them is too heavy. They might also cause some additional damage to the outer rim and the frame of these tires. If they are too loose, they could bend. Essentially, they will not have the tension to sustain the pressure and this means that the bike will practically sink and the frame will bend
Spoke nipples are one of the important parts of the wheel and they help to keep the spokes tightened. These are small and they are threaded through the rim of the tire to ensure that it can hold almost every spoke you put to it. However, keep in mind that certain spokes only work with certain spoke nipples and you need to make sure that you have the correct setup.
Another key and important part of the bike is the tires. The tires are the part of the wheel that makes actual contact with the ground and allows the bike to travel across different terrains. Different tires are used for different bikes, with mountain bikes having thicker more threaded tires and road bikes having smoother and thinner tires. There are three main tires to consider:
- Tubular Tires: Tubular tires are the perfect tires for road bikes and these tires are glued to the rims. Since they don’t have to deal with the rim sidewalls, they are not limited and great for absorbing pressure.
- Clincher Tires: These are the more standard tires and they sit in between the beads of the rims. These tires can be hard to use when dealing with plenty of pressure, but they are perfect for beginners and light riders.
- Tubeless Tires: The newer tubeless tire is making strides when it comes to modern bikes and these tires tend to be puncture resistant. Instead of relying on air on the inside of the tire, you will have a sealant that keeps the tire inflated. They are also some of the more expensive tires to consider.
The small component found on the inside of the tire and the frame is the valve and the valve is responsible for the inflation and deflation of the tire. Valves are important to take care of and you will find that Presta or Schrader Valves are the most common. Presta has a thinner inlet and is perfect for road bikes. However, Schrader valves are more common for other bikes on the market today.
Here I have written a deep article about all types of Valves.
Understanding The Drivetrain Of Bikes
One of the most underrated components in the drivetrain and for many people, it is a daunting experience to understand how the drivetrain works. However, the drivetrain refers to the gears of the bike and it is the part of the bike that can make life easier for you. You must have some sort of an idea when it comes to the drivetrain:
The crankset or chainset is one of the components that consists of three minor components. These components include the chainrings, the crank arm, and the bottom bracket. The crankset is responsible for transferring the force from your pedaling to the rear tire and propelling you forward. There are single, double, and triple formats related to the crankset and these all depend on the number of chainrings it features.
However, small you might think the bottom bracket component seems to be, it serves one of the biggest purposes that you could ever need for your bike. The bottom bracket is basically what keeps everything together and it holds the bottom bracket closed. IT generally does this with the help of a spindle to connect all the dots.
Bottom brackets vary in quality and some of the cheaper models should give you around 5000 miles before they need to be replaced and depending on your riding conditions.
When it comes to being comfortable on your bike, the pedals are some of the most important parts of the bike and you need to make sure that you have comfortable pedals. The pedals are responsible for connecting the driver to the drivetrain and the pedals will also propel the bike in the right direction with the pedals.
There are a variety of pedals that include freestanding pedals and clip-on pedals. The clip-on pedals work better for professional riders and they give you more control over the bike. You also reduce the risk of your feet slipping off the pedals and you get injured.
If you have a bike with numerous chainrings, you might find the front derailleur to be helpful when it comes to getting up hills. It is a small bracket that is located at the front when you have multiple chainrings and the purpose is to shift the chain when you change the gears up and down. It will help increase or decrease the difficulty of your cycling experience.
The rear derailleur is one of the other important components and it does the same as the one in the front, it will help shift the chain over the chainrings and allow you to dictate the difficulty of pedaling that you might need. These are important components and they need to be checked regularly to ensure they are efficient.
The chain is what holds the drivetrain together and without the chain, you can barely have any influence on the pace you are going or the way you are getting there. The chain is a vital part of the process and it is the actual part that will be making the shifts from one chainring to the other. You must care for the chain and look after it.
According to some experts, the chain on a bike should last you around 2500 miles. However, this also depends on how vigorous you are with the chain and how many gears you need to change. Beginners might find that the chain can last them a fair bit longer.
Jockey wheels are an important part of the rear derailleur and you will find that two of them look similar when inspecting the drivetrain. However, the upper jockey wheels are designed to work like a pulley system and it helps the rear derailleur when it comes to shifting gears. Additionally, the lower jockey wheel is responsible for the tension and it should ensure that there is enough remaining tension to keep the chain moving.
The cassette or cogset is the component that you see on the drivetrain with all the sprockets. It is one of the components that is used when shifting gears. The number of sprockets on each cassette can vary depending on the bike. However, you will find that most of them should be functional when it comes to working.
Understanding The Bike Seat And Setup
Your level of comfort is also important and to make sure that you have the best understanding of bikes, your need to look at the seat and the setup of the seat as well. Like with many of the other components, we have dissected the seat to break down all of the components and make sure that we can help you understand how the seat works much better.
The bike seat is the first thing you are bound to notice and it is the part of the bike that you will be sitting on when you are riding the bike. The saddle is important and it makes the bike functional to ensure that it is comfortable for the rider. The seat is one of your top priorities to get right if you want the best experience.
The bike seat is designed in a variety of different dimensions and features solid construction. You need to do some research to find the seat you are the most comfortable with and to make sure that the seat you are choosing will not cause you any unnecessary pain.
The saddle rails are found underneath the seat and they are designed to give you the functionality and to make sure that you have a stable and comfortable feeling you are using the bike. The saddle rails are also used to determine the correct positioning of the seat. These bars are like reinforcements to ensure that you have a functional experience.
The saddle post is another one of the main features that could be used when it comes to finding the correct seating and positioning. The saddle post allows you to adjust the height of the seat and it should be adjustable. The more functional you are with the saddle post, the more leverage you have when it comes to moving and adjusting it for the perfect and most comfortable fit that you could need.
Seat Post Clamp
In terms of the clamp for the seat post, it is a fixed feature that holds the seat in position. The position can vary depending on the seat height and the height of the rider using it. The clamp is a solid part of the seat and it ensures that the seat remains in position. However, it is much harder to keep the seat in position with a weak clamp. We recommend looking for quality clamps and seat posts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since you have seen most of the bike parts by now, it is important that you also consider some of the questions. There are plenty of questions that some of you might have when it comes to bike parts. If you are one of the many people that still have some of these questions, here are some of the answers you might have been looking for.
Which Bike Part Is The Most Important?
When it comes to determining which bike part is the most important, it could often be frustrating for many people. For most people, the tires, the brakes, or even the drivetrain seem to be the most important part of the bike. However, the complete package of the bike frame and all the additional accessories all seem to carry the same weight when it comes to importance.
How Often Should My Bike Be Serviced?
The one thing that people often forget to think about when it comes to bikes is the servicing of these bikes. You must regularly service your bikes to make sure that all the components are in optimum working condition. It is best to work by miles and every 1000-mile done on your bike should be a great reference point for service.
Can I Upgrade Parts On The Bike?
It is always possible for you to upgrade parts. However, you should have a basic understanding of the bike and how some of the parts work. Most bikes enable you to upgrade the parts on the bike when you feel they have grown too old. However, you should make sure that you have a perfect understanding of how the parts work and change them correctly.
How To Select The Correct Parts?
Selecting the correct parts for your bike will be imperative for you to ensure that you get the best value for your money. However, not everyone has the skills to know which parts are the correct parts. It is best to consider the different parts available and make sure that you can get the best value for your bike. It should also make the upgrades work better.
Should I Buy A High-End Bike Or Upgrade A Cheaper One?
This is one of the common questions that we often find and for many people, choosing the correct bike will make a big difference. The cheaper bikes might be better for beginners. However, you might need to dole out plenty of cash for upgrades. Additionally, you should consider that not all upgrades are always compatible with every bike.
To ensure that you get the optimal value for your money, you must consider how professional you want to be. If you are going to perform at a high level, you might want to start with something that is already on the top level. It might be expensive at first, but the costs of upgrades should be cheaper and easier to apply.
Road Bikes Or Mountain Bike: Which Should I Choose?
If you are new to the scene of cycling and you have limited experience, you might not know which bike is the best for your needs. However, you should choose between a bike that is made for off-road purposes and one that you can ride on the road. You must make the right decision, as it can be dangerous to switch the directions you are going.
Are Second-Hand Bikes Viable?
We are not the biggest fans of buying second-hand bikes. While they might seem useful, second-hand bikes are often fitted with worn-out components and these might not be the best decision for your needs. We would recommend that you consider buying a brand new bike to ensure that you get the optimal value for your money.
Bike Parts Diagram Summary
If you are planning to be serious about cycling, you might find that it is hard for you to find and understand all of the components. However, you can quickly study this guide to have a better understanding and to ensure that you get value for your money. We would love to see some of your comments on which bike parts you have problems with and which have the best components.