Bicycle Anatomy for Beginners: Parts of a Bike Diagram

I’ve labeled some of the most important bicycle components in the diagram above. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, keep scrolling because I go into more detail further down!

As this is more of a beginners guide to bike anatomy than an exhaustive technical encyclopedia, I’ve tried to keep everything short and sweet.

However, knowing the names of the parts of your bike is extremely useful for describing problems and understanding what I’m talking about when I’m explaining the best ways to lock a bike, for example!

Bike Frame Components

Steel bike frames were common in the past. These days, however, they’re mostly made of aluminum alloy. A bike’s rigid heart is the frame. Strong, light, and stiff frames are required. Carbon fiber and titanium, on the other hand, are used on high-end bicycles.

The frame and fork are referred to as a frameset.

The diamond frame, which is made up of six tubes fashioned into two connected triangles, is the most popular style of frame…

The most common bike frame design is a diamond frame.

Tube at the top

The top tube, also known as the cross-bar, is the part of the bike that you step over to mount it! It usually runs parallel to the ground, but it can be angled slightly. To make it easier to get on and off the bike, some bikes have very steeply angled or no top tubes.

Tube for the head

It houses the headset, which allows us to steer the front wheel with our hands on the handlebars! The head tube is the short tube that connects the handlebars to the wheel fork at the front of the frame.

Tube Down

It’s where the cage for carrying a water bottle and the bike’s logo can be found! It is usually the frame’s thickest part. The long tube that runs from the head tube (just below the handlebars) to the pedals is known as the down tube.

Tube for the seat

The top of the seat tube is where the seat post is inserted. The height of the saddle can be adjusted by adjusting the depth of the seat post’s descent into the seat tube. From beneath the saddle to the pedals, the seat tube runs.

Seat Restraints

The seat stays are two thinner tubes that run from the saddle to the back wheel hub. Each rear drop out is attached to one side of the rear wheel’s axle. Each seat stay comes to an end with a “rear drop out.”

On either side of the wheel, the Seat Stays and Chain Stays pass.

Stays on Chains

The chain stays are two thinner tubes that run parallel to the ground from each side of the pedals to the back wheel. Chain stays are named after the fact that they run alongside the bike chain.

Bike Parts in the Front

This is my unofficial moniker for all of the bike’s front-end components! It contains the following items:

a fork

The front wheel is connected to the frame by the fork. The steerer tube connects the fork to the headset and is located at the top of the fork, hidden inside the head tube. The fork blades, one on each side of the wheel, extend downwards from the head tube at the bottom.

The hidden steerer tube and visible fork blades make up a fork (photo courtesy of Lixada Fork).

Headphones

The headset is a set of components that connect the frame and the wheel fork by sitting inside the head tube. The headset has bearings that allow it to rotate so that turning the handlebars turns the front wheel.

Bike stem and headset

a stem

It’s basically the bit that protrudes forward from the top of the head tube. The stem is the part of the bike that connects the fork’s steerer tube to the handlebars. The handlebars pass through the stem’s end.

Handles on the handlebars

Mountain bikes, hybrids, and city bikes all have flat handlebars. The stem is what connects them to the frame. On road bikes, drop handlebars are used. However, there are a variety of other styles to choose from. The handlebars are where you steer the bike from.

Handlebars that are straight

Handlebars That Drop

Brake Pedals

The parts of the bike that you squeeze to slow down are called brake levers. They are sometimes combined with a gear shifter to form a “brake shifter,” also known as a “brifter.” Brake cables run down the frame from the brake levers to the actual brakes on the wheels.

(Disc vs. Rim) Brakes

The most common are rim breaks (so named because they are applied to the wheel rim), which are light, cheap, easy to maintain, and powerful. Rim brakes and disc brakes are the two most common types of bicycle brakes. They don’t work as well in wet conditions, though.

“Cantilever” Brakes on the Rim

Brakes with Discs

A special metal disc attached to the wheel hub is used for disc breaks. They are more durable and work better in wet conditions than rim brakes. They’re most commonly seen on mountain bikes, but they’re becoming more common on all types of bikes.

Parts for Bicycle Wheels

Trikes, on the other hand, have three wheels. I’m hoping we’ve already figured out what the wheels are. However, each wheel is made up of several different bike parts†Typically, there are two (referred to as a wheelset).

central node

The hub shell, bearings, and axle are the three components. The hub is located in the middle of the bicycle wheel.

A front wheel’s axle and hub shell

The spokes are attached to the hub shell from the outside. The axle is the protruding bar on either side of the frame that connects to it. The bearings are positioned between the axle and the shell, allowing the shell to freely rotate around the axle.

a rim

Rims used to be made of steel, but they’ve mostly been made of aluminum alloy since the 1980s. The rim is the metal circle that surrounds the wheel on all sides. There is a smooth surface on the side for the brake pads to grip if they are to be used with rim brakes.

Wheels for bicycles

spokespeople

The spokes link the hub to the rim. They evenly apply tension in all directions, resulting in a strong and stable wheel that can support your weight as well as the force you apply when pedaling. There are nuts called nipples that are used to adjust the tension where the spokes meet the rim.

tyres

The tire is suspended by an inner tube that is filled with air. The tire is mounted to the wheel rim and serves as the bike’s interface with the road surface. Tires are made of rubber-impregnated cloth with a tread layer made of a thicker rubber.

(Schrader vs. Presta) Valve

Schrader and Presta are the two most common valve types. Presta valves, on the other hand, are only found on bicycles! A valve that sticks out through a hole in the wheel rim adds or removes air from the inner tube. Schrader valves are also found in automobiles and motorcycles.

Schrader valve on a tire

Presta valve is a type of tire valve.

Bike Parts at the Back

It contains the following items: This is my unofficial name for all of the bike’s back parts!

Chainset / Crankset

It’s made up of chainrings (where the chain goes around) and crank arms (where the pedals go). The crankset is the part of the bike that your legs press against to turn the back wheel.

There can be up to three on a geared bike. The chainrings are the bike’s front gears. There is only one chain ring on a single-speed bike.

The bottom bracket connects the crankset to the frame, the chain to the rear wheel, and the pedals to you, the rider!

Bike crankset and related components

The Pedals

The spinning interface between your feet and the bike is the pedals. To move forward, you press down on them!

Pedal that is flat or platform

Pedal with a clip-in (also known as a clipless) design.

There are two types of pedals: flat/platform pedals, which you simply rest your feet on, and clip-in pedals, which you use with special shoes with cleats in the soles to more securely attach them to the pedal.

Bracket at the bottom

The crank arms rotate around the bottom bracket, which is a part of the bike. It is made up of a spindle (to which the crankset is attached) and bearings (which allow the spindle to rotate smoothly). At the bottom of the frame, the bottom bracket is inserted into the bottom bracket shell.

chain of command

The bike chain is the component that transmits your leg power to the rear wheel. It wraps itself around the crankset’s chainrings, the chain stay’s length, and the cassette’s sprockets in the back wheel.

Derailleur in the front

The front derailleur is the part of the bike that shifts gears by moving the chain from one chainring to the next. As a result, it will only be found on bikes with multiple front gears (chainrings).

Cogset / Cassette

There will only be one cog if your bike does not have any gears. The cassette is a collection of various-sized sprockets (or cogs) attached to the rear wheel hub. The cassette cogs are the bike’s rear gears.

Gears on the back of the bike

Derailleur in the back

When you shift gears on your bike, the rear derailleur moves the chain from one cassette cog to the next on the back wheel. It functions in tandem with the jockey wheel. If your bike has gears, the rear derailleur will be present.

Wheel of the Jockey

The jockey wheel keeps the chain tensioned and moving smoothly as you shift gears. Unless it’s being used as a chain tensioner on a single speed bike, your bike is unlikely to have a jockey wheel if it doesn’t have gears.

Bike Seat Components

Saddlebags

On the underside, they all have saddle rails that are used to connect the saddle to the seat post via a saddle clamp. The saddle is where you sit on your bicycle. Bicycle saddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Parts for bicycle saddles

Post-Seat

To adjust the saddle’s height, the seat post is inserted into the seat tube and moved up and down. It’s held in place by squeezing the seat tube against the seat post with a seat post clamp that sits around the very top of the seat tube.

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Carl Ellis last updated this page on July 3, 2021.

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