Picking up where I left off, continuing alphabetically…
Chainrings – The front cogs, connect to the spider on the drive side crank. Pointy…
Spider – 8 legs, right? Close. Claire does have 8 arms, i’ve got 10… this is the bit attached to the crank, that the chainrings attach to. Most common are 4 arm spiders.
Crankset – The whole lot, both cranks, chainrings, somtimes crank axle too. Not pedals.
Chain – The oily gritty thing that’s meant to be silver but is usually black or brown. Has a hard life, works hard, often gets abused, is thrown on the scrap heap once it’s worn out. (Dad?)
Front Derailleur – or Front Mech, both acceptable, latter easier to spell… usually mechanically operated “cages” where the two sides push the chain to either side to get onto different front chainrings. Also now electric and even wireless…
Rear Derailleur/Mech – Again, mechanical, wired and wireless electric versions. Pivoting parallelogram linkage body with a sprung chain guiding tensioning device attached underneath. As you change gear this moves the top jockey wheel under the right sprocket to change into that gear. The bottom jockey wheel keeps the chain tight so it doesn’t slip or come off.
So now you need…
Sprocket – a single cog at the back, part of the cassette.
Cassette – All the sprockets at the back. Attached to the hub. There are 1 to 12 different sprockets (for now!)
Jockey wheels – The little cogs in the rear mech, sit inside the jockey cage.
Jockey cage – This is the sprung bit the hangs under the derailleur, houses both top and bottom jockey wheels.
and back to the front…
Steerer tube – The part of the fork the goes up through the inside of the head tube and pokes out the top.
Crown – Where the two fork legs and the steerer tube join.
Crown race – the “seats” for bearings are races, the lower headset bearings sit on the crown race.
(Picture from Pete – our guest contributor!)
Headset – These is the assembly that allow smooth steering. They bearings sit either ends of the head tube (top and bottom) and can be inside or outside depending on design.
Spacers – These are basically rings of tube that sit underneath and/or on top of your stem. They are needed to make sure all of the steerer tube is covered so that the headset can be pre-loaded.
Pre-loading – Tightening the headset bearings so that they can deal with the forces (steering/braking/weight/bumps) without being loose.
Top cap – This is the cap that sits on the spacers, just above the steerer tube. It houses a bolt which is tightened to pre-load the bearings.
Star fangled nut – Theses are EVILLL! Very common, forced (slide hammered) inside the steerer tube, they use “fins” that gouge into the walls of the steerer to pull the fork up when pre-loading the bearings. I hate these and have banished them from all my bikes.
Headset bungs – These are ace. Becoming more common, and essential for carbon – as you don’t want to be gouging chunks out of that – these are expanding plugs that grip the steerer in a much more civilized manner. Also easier and less violent to install. The way forward! Again, used to pre-load the bearings.
Stem – The tube that sticks out forwards and connects the steerer tube to your bars.
Quil stem – Used with a totally different type of headset (strictly speaking the original method – the one we described was Aheadset). This has an expander in the bottom of the stem, which goes inside the steerer, and then sticks out forwards to hold the bars. Different pre-load method too…
Faceplate – Simply the front part of the stem, fits to the forward facing bit of the bar, then bolts to the back of the stem.
Bars – Many types, i’ve just covered the main two, the bit you hold onto. Unless your riding no handed…
Straight/Riser – Really hard to draw side on (hence our logo using drops) These are normally at the same height, or higher, than the stem. Used in mountain biking, trials, trails, bmx, some touring.
Drop bars – Curly bars that….drop (see our logo). Used for cyclocross, road and touring.
Bar tape – Used on drop bars, instead of rubber grips, a rubbery tape that is wrapped around the handlebars. There is a specific direction of wrap, it changes direction around the brifters, it starts at the bottom and works up.
Brifter – Started replacing downtube mounted shifters in 1990, now pretty much every drop bar bike has these (apart from some tourers). Brake + Shifter = Brifter. The same part used for both, squeeze the lever to work the brakes, swing the whole brake lever sideways to change down (easier gear), press the little lever at the back of the main brake lever, change up. (For Shimano. SRAM and Campagnolo used different methods but the same integrated design.)
Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo – The three big names in gears and brakes.
Shimano – are the best recognised, Japanese and also make fishing reels. Massive innovators, forever changed cycling.
SRAM – are American, introduced gripshift and are the youngest, but now own many, many cycling component brands. My personal favourite…
Campagnolo – are the oldest and by and large only compatible with themselves! Campy chains only work with campy cassettes! Predominately used for racing, expensive and with Italian flare! Paved the way, invented quick releases, invented rear derailleurs with TWO jockey wheels (nod to Simplex), basically started gears..
Hoods – The nice grippy rubber bit on top of the brifters, where most people spend most of their time.
Shifter – For gear shifting, no integrated brake at all. clamp to the bars for mountain bikes, can be bars or downtube for touring bikes and older road bikes.
Brake levers – For braking, no gears at all! Flat bars and drop bars have different types are they’re not really compatible… it can be done, but it’s not pretty or a good idea.
Lockout levers – For “locking out” (or opening up) your suspension. (can be front or rear suspension, or both). Locking the suspension means the bike will be more efficient when pedalling on smoother trails or roads (it’s a bit more complex, but ish).
Dropper post lever – Press the lever to adjust the height of your telescopic seatpost – on the fly. Normally found on mountain bikes, but Cyclocross are coming round…
Matchmaker clamps – Now you’ve got all these levers where are they going to go? Matchmakers combine several (2 or 3) clamps into one, keeping the bars tidy and the controls close at hand.
Grips – For gripping. Hutt perch?!?!?
Bar bungs/end caps – Critical safety features, plug the ends of the bars so that if you crash, the bar doesn’t take a core sample out of you! Also holds the bar tape in place on drop bars.
Cables – Normally Bowden cables, a wire housed inside a stiff outer sheath, used to make things work. (unless you now have electric or WiFi shifters and hydraulic brakes,,,)
Inner – The smaller silver bit that usually causes the change in gear, it pulls on the mech, the mech moves. It pulls on the brake, the brakes move. There are different inners for brakes and gears. Rubbish at pushing!
Outer – The thicker black but, it takes the inner cable round bends. It is designed to be stiff and resist compression so that tension is maintained (needed for crisp gear shifts and positive braking. There are also different outers for brake and gears.
Wires – Also cables, but these are for electrical gear systems (and some suspension).
Hoses – To carry the hydraulic fluid of course?! Brakes mainly, some dropper posts, some suspension lockout.
Ferrules – The bits that go one at the ends of outer cables ensuring a good, stiff fit with derailleurs, brakes, cable stops and housing in general, whilst also keeping them tidy (and better sealed)
End caps – Appropriately timed, these are the crimp on caps that go on the end of inner cables after attachment (to brakes or derailleurs) to stop them exploding into tiny stabby wires.
So there we go, a quick sprint through the parts of a bike – not exhaustive, not covering every single bit (bearing covers, seals, crank caps, chainring bolts, etc etc) and not scratching the surface of different iterations (hub gears, suspension, bromptons, batteries, etc etc!) but a good starting point.
Hopefully it will come in useful for someone somewhere, in which case, mission accomplished. I might come back and add pictures and diagrams at a later date, but I wanted to get the body down whilst I had some free time.
Hope you enjoyed my variant on alphabetical!
Oh, and the picture up the top – I found an old photo of my first ever full bike build, my beloved DS-1 and scanned it in! (Yes, before digital cameras and what’s a mobile phone?)
The test of this post, can you name all the parts?