What’s a lug? What’s a Mixte? What does Stand Over Height mean? Like every specialized subject, there’s a specialized vocabulary that goes with it. Hopefully, this page will help with understanding Bike Lingo.


This page is intended to help explain bicycle terms that may be unfamiliar. Please

let us know

if any of these definitions are not completely clear or are inaccurate in any way


Sometimes a picture is worth a 1000 words. Let’s Start with this lovely graphic of a bicycle naming all of its major parts





And compare to a picture of an actual bicycle





Japanese maker of high quality rims. Bicycles were produced under their own name and sold world wide through the early 80’s. Now only sold in Asia. The Vista brand of bicycles sold in the US are an example of bicycles that were made by Araya in the late 70’s




– A rod that serves to attach a wheel to a bicycle and provides support for bearings on which the wheel rotates. Also sometimes used to describe suspension components, for example a swing arm pivot axle 



Extensions at the end of straight handlebars to allow for multiple hand positions




– Derailleur shift levers which mount in the ends of (usually) drop handlebars, replacing the normal end plugs. More formally known as “handlebar-end shifters” or “bar-end shifters,” but not simply as “bar ends.” Bar Cons are a Sun Tour trademark for these shift levers. 



The plugs that stop-up the open ends of the bars are called bar-end plugs and are installed to prevent serious injury in the case of a fall. Open-ended handlebars can puncture the abdomen in a crash, with deadly results. They come in a rainbow of colors, styles, logos and can also contain lights or toolkits. 



When it comes to controlling your bike, the grips or bar tape you use is fairly important.

Typically grips are found on mountain bikes, BMXs, hybrids and several other types of bikes.

Road bikes and other road orientated bicycles tend to use bar tape.

Grips tend to be made from textured rubber, which allows you to keep hold of your handlebars without having to squeeze too tight. Grips also help to dampen vibrations, increasing your steering control.

Bar tape is much the same, it offers increased grip, cushioning and control of your handlebars.

You’ll probably want thicker, more cushioned grips or bar tape if you take long bike rides. These will keep your hands comfortable whilst cycling and make sure you maintain control of your bike.

Bar tape is one of the many ways that bicycles are personalized and are an easy way to increase the comfort of your ride. Whether you wrap from the top of the bar to the bottom or the bottom to the top, match the tape to the saddle color or the frame color, use fabric, leather or PU Leather are other ways to personalize your bicycle.




– Cargo carrier, usually mounted to the handlebars




 Side view of bicycle wheel showing cup, bearings and cones

Greased bearings in the cup of the wheel hub


A device that facilitates rotation by reducing friction.





An audible device for warning pedestrians and other cyclists





Alternative to chain-drive



A seemingly inexpensive ‘bicycle’ that is often ordered online or bought from a store that does not specialize in bicycles. These are referred to as Bicycle Shaped Objects because they are shaped like bicycles and appear to be bicycles but in reality are very poorly manufactured with cheap components.
While they are cheap to purchase originally, they will not last nor provide the rider with an enjoyable riding experience and may in fact be so poorly built or assembled as to actually be dangerous.

Read more about it here 




Most tires use rubber blended with carbon black, which makes the tread more durable and improves traction. In the 1950’s, some tire companies started using “gum” rubber (without the carbon black) for the sidewalls, in the interest of improved flexibility and lowered rolling resistance. Later, “skinwall” tires became popular, tires with nearly naked cloth sidewalls, with just a bit of rubber to hold the cords together. For many years, tan sidewalls, whether gum or skin, were a sign of high-performance tires, and blackwalls were a sign of cheapness.







– A true skinwall tire is a tire where the casing is visible at the sidewall area. A different color rubber is used for the casing, so the sidewall of a skinwall tire contrasts sharply with the black rubber compound used for the tread pattern.





Attachment point for bottle cages and rear racks.






Fancy name for a water bottle holder




Schematic Drawing Looking Down on Frame


Bottom Bracket: Top Left – Adjustable Cup that screws into the bracket shell where the bearings support the spindle on the non drive side. Middle Top – Prophylactic to keep water out of the bearings. Top Right Fixed Cup that screws into the bracket shell where the bearings support the spindle on the drive side. Middle – Spindle with bolt washers. Bottom – Bolts to attach crank arms to spindle, bearings that support the spindle in the cups.


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




                Side Pull Brake
                 V Brake
                  U Brake

           Coaster Brake

              Disc Brakes

             Center Pull Brake

      Cantilever Brake

     Roller Cam Brakes

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 levers are found on the handlebars. A small cable known as a brake cable is attached to the inside of each lever.

When the brake lever is squeezed, the cable is pulled tight and causes the brake caliper to pinch the wheel rim or disc rotor, slowing the bike down or preventing it from moving.

There are many different styles depending on use and types of handlebars that they will be attached to.


BRAKE SHIFTER or colloquially, BRIFTER


The Silver Handle is the Brake Lever. The smaller black lever behind the brake lever at the top is the up shift lever and the larger black lever below it is the down shift lever

Also referred to more correctly as: Shimano Total Integration, Campagnolo ErgoPower and SRAM Double Tap: Combined shifter and brake lever control



Braze on for a rack on the tops of the seat stays

A fitting protruding from a frame to provide attachment, typically for cable housings or tire pumps and similar accessories


Brazing is the joining of metal parts by melting a different metal (of lower melting point) which bonds the parts together. Typically, brazing involves joining steel parts with molten brass. Soldering is a similar operation, using lower temperatures and different filler metals (with a lower melting point). In brazing and soldering, the filler metal penetrates inaccessible areas of the joint by capillary action



A fitting below the bottom bracket which guides a piece of bare inner cable around a corner


Shift Cables running under the Downtube

Rear Brake Cable running along the top of the Top Tube


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



An Italian manufacturer of high-end bicycle components with headquarters in Vicenza, Italy. The components are organised as groupsets (gruppi), and are a near-complete collection of a bicycle’s mechanical parts. Campagnolo’s flagship components are the Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets with all three representing their recent shift to 12-speed drivetrains. Super Record and Record are the top groupsets, followed by Chorus, Potenza, Centaur and Veloce. Campagnolo also produces aluminum and carbon wheels, as well as other components (like carbon fiber seat posts, and bottle-cages).

Founded by Tullio Campagnolo, the company began in 1933 in a Vicenza workshop. The founder was a racing cyclist in Italy in the 1920s who conceived several ideas while racing, such as the quick release mechanism for bicycle wheels, derailleurs, and the rod gear for gear changing. Campagnolo has been awarded more than 135 patents for innovations in cycling technology.

Campagnolo worked with the manufacturer Colnago and racer Eddy Merckx and produced lightweight parts for the bike he used to beat the world hour record in 1972. Merckx used Campagnolo exclusively and was a friend of Tullio Campagnolo.

Following Campagnolo’s success during the 1970s and ’80s, innovation lagged as rival SunTour developed indexed shifting, Shimano combined shifter/brake levers (Shimano Total Integration), and FSA introduced compact chainsets. An unsuccessful foray into mountain biking, the overbuilt and heavy Euclid, Centaur and Olympus groupsets contributed to the company’s decline during those years. By the time the expensive Record O.R. (off-road) and Icarus MTB groupsets made it to the market, Campagnolo’s reputation was firmly cemented as a road bike brand. As a result, Campagnolo pulled out of the Mountain Bike market in 1994. Despite its struggles, Campagnolo introduced its ErgoPower combined shifter/brake levers and renewed its focus on high-end road cycling components.

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw Campagnolo’s increased use of carbon fiber and titanium parts in groupsets and the development of wheelsets. In 2004, Campagnolo introduced a complete Compact drivetrain with smaller chainrings, to give lower gears than traditional drivetrains. Other innovations included a Hirth-joint engineered Ultra-Torque external-bearing crankset and G3 spoke lacing for racing wheels. In 2008, Campagnolo introduced 11-speed drivetrains with Super Record, Record, and Chorus groupsets. Campagnolo has released an electronic version of its drivetrain. In April 2018 Campagnolo launched 12-speed Record and Super Record groupsets, and in 2020, the company launched Campagnolo Ekar, a 13-speed groupset aimed at gravel riders.

Campagnolo has focused on road cycling and track cycling.



See “Bearing” above for loose bearings in wheel hub

A type of bearing that is not user-serviceable, but must be replaced as a unit



A cassette is an essential component of the bicycle drivetrain and is made up of a group of sprockets (cogs) located on the freehub of the rear wheel.




A caliper brake in which the main cable runs down the centerline of the bicycle, using a yoke to connect to a transverse cable. Technically, a normal cantilever brake is a form of centerpull brake, but the term is normally used to refer to caliper brakes only. This type of brake was popular from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s, but is currently out of fashion. Centerpull brakes are a good choice for bicycles that have a long reach from the mounting point to the rim.



Also known as a utility bicycle, urban bicycle, or classic bike, a city bike is a simple and sturdy bicycle built for durability and frequent use within urban environments.

City bikes are typically heavier than road bicycles, have fewer gears, and are ideal for shorter rides on city streets and other paved surfaces.

Ultimately, city bikes are designed to provide increased comfort whilst riding. For example, their saddles tend to be wider and offer more cushioning, with their handlebars flared and elevated to promote an upright riding position.

What Is a City Bike Used For? True to their name, a city bike is designed with urban use in mind. For this reason, cyclists tend to use city bikes for short spurts of activity on flat, paved surfaces.

Whilst exploring major cities, you can often find city bikes for hire, for example, London’s famous Boris Bikes.

City bikes are designed with the casual cyclist in mind and can be effectively used in everyday clothing without requiring any special cycling gear or attire, apart from a helmet!

If you’re looking for a comfortable bike for commuting, a city bike is a great, low-cost option!

Who Should Use a City Bike? Anyone looking for fast and easy commuting should consider using a city bike, they’re easy to use, even for inexperienced cyclists.

City bikes offer a great opportunity to get from one place to another faster than on foot. Whilst their comfortable riding posture allows you to enjoy your surroundings along the way.

These urban commuting bikes provide a welcome escape from gridlock traffic on downtown roads and highways, making them perfect for commuters and city tourists alike.

Who Shouldn’t Use a City Bike? If you’re looking for high-speed thrills and competitive performance from your bikes, then a city bike will likely leave you disappointed.



A type of rear hub which incorporates a brake which is operated by pedaling backward. It is called a “coaster brake” because it combines the functions of the brake and freewheel (“coaster”) in a single unit. When the coaster brake first appeared on the scene, freewheels were uncommon, if they were even in use at all, in the era of the spoon brake.
An unusual feature of coaster brakes is that this type of rear hub is that it permits the bicycle to be rolled backward without causing the cranks to turn backward as well. This is a useful feature in some freestyle tricks. There is also a type of hub called a “freecoaster” that permits this. It is basically a coaster brake hub with the brake mechanism removed.



A system of interlinking pins, plates and rollers that transmits power from the front sprocket(s) to the rear sprocket(s)



Gear case cover for the entire chain either totally encasing (sometimes containing oil) or ‘incomplete’. Either way, designed to keep clothing from fouling the chain. 




Inside View of Sakae Ringo Crankset

Front View of Double Chain Rings 

(One of the) front gear(s), attached to a crank. Normally they are expressed as a number denoting the number of teeth on each ring such as 52/42t meaning that the larger outer ring has 52 teeth and the smaller inner ring has 42 teeth.



Connect the rear dropouts to the bottom bracket shell and run on either side of the rear wheel, similarly to the seat stays.

Because the bicycle chain runs above the chainstays, many cyclists protect their chainstays with helicopter tape or a chainstay protector sleeve. These measures prevent dents and scratches on the chainstays when travelling on uneven terrain.





When the chain comes into contact with the top of the chain stay. This usually causes damage to the paint. This usually occurs when the chain is too loose, which can be caused by the chain being the wrong length, the derailleur springs becoming weaker over time, the freewheel not actually freewheeling and down shifting while there is a lot of tension on the chain. Many manufacturers will affix a chain stay protector of some sort to protect the paint. Univega used to have a small bridge of metal on the top of the chain stay. Normally, there is a piece of clear plastic or ‘chrome’ on the part of the chain stay that would be most likely to be affected by chain slap. Some chain stays are chromed for this reason.



A device to maintain proper chain tension




Some bicycles have chrome forks and stays. Originally these areas were chromed instead of painted because racing bicycle mechanics would chip the paint while twirling their wrenches when removing the wheels. Sometimes only the lower part of the fork and the rear of the chain stay were chromed. The chain stay was chromed in order to prevent chipping from ‘chain slap’ (when the chain would bounce while changing gears). Some of these bicycles were entirely chromed and then painted over, like an Italvega Nuovo Record and some, like the Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 were pure chrome. The chrome isn’t as shiny in the areas where it was meant to be painted over. Eventually, it became purely an aesthetic and selling point for bicycles



Another term for a bicycle cogset, either a freewheel, or cassette



The set of rear sprockets that attaches to the hub on the rear wheel




A manufacturer of steel tubing used in bicycle frames, located in Settala, in the Province of Milan. The company was founded in 1919 by A.L. Colombo and was taken over by Colombo’s youngest son, Antonio, in 1977. It is now a division of Gruppo SPA, which also owns the bicycle manufacturer Cinelli.

Columbus tubing was the main competitor to TI Reynolds 531 in the bicycle tube set market with many of the big name Italian manufacturers of bicycles and framesets utilising their products. Famous name builders such as Bianchi, Centurion Bicycles (after 1981), De Rosa, Ciocc, Pinarello and Colnago all specified the Columbus tubesets as part of their range.



First tube set the new company made after it had been split from the parent company in 1977.
The tubing name was derived from the original company founder – A.L. Colombo.

A straight-guage (non-butted) manganese alloy tubeset for amateur and touring cyclists, built of cold-drawn, microalloyed-steel thin-wall tubing which makes it especially lightweight. CMn Steel – Weight: 2345


Used by a majority of the Italian bike industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s. All-purpose, high-performance tube set for road races over even terrain. Double-butted tubes and cold-rolled fork blades. Cyclex Steel – Weight: 1925 g
SL down tube was drawn and butted to .9/.6/.9 mm.

Heavy-duty, high-performance tubeset especially recommended for large frames. Double-butted tubing with cold-rolled fork blades. Cyclex Steel – Weight: 2215 g
SP down tube was drawn and butted 1.0/.7/1.0 mm

Released in the early 1980s as the pinnacle of Columbus tubing, SLX was a “Superbutted” tube set specially designed for professional cyclists. It featured five internal spirals for greater rigidity, but the spirals are found in the joint area only. Double-butted tube ends. Cyclex Steel – Weight: 1966 g

“Superbutted” tube set with increased thickness for professional cyclists. Ideal for larqe frames. Double-butted tube ends. Same five-spiral butting as the SLX. Cyclex Steel – Weight: 2325 g

Tubeset of SP or SL, labelled as Tenax and used by Schwinn in the mid-80s.


1980. Columbus Air was the Italian manufacturer’s initial attempt at an aerodynamic tubeset. The intial version used a teardrop shaped down tube, seat tube and seat stays in conjunction with an oval top tube and chain stays, and a round head tube. Later versions had teardrop shaped chain stays. The tubeset was designed primarily for time trials and aerodynamic efficiency and therefore it is not practical to compare it directly to other round Columbus tubesets. Due to the teardrop shapes the resulting frames weighed more than SL, but had less strength. The rear triangles in particular had a reputation for being whippy, due to the thin seat stays. However, this was considered acceptable given the intended TT use and aerodynamic advantages.Of particular note, the seat tube came in two versions. One with a standard round top end, to accept a normal seat post and another which carried the teardrop section right to the top, requiring a teardrop section seatpost. If you have the latter, you may have some difficulty finding a seatpost, unless it is provided with the frame. Most frames built with this tubing were outfitted with Shimano Dura Ace AX, or less likely, 600AX.

Released in 1986, TSX was made of Cyclex Cromo Steel and is lighter than the SLX tubeset, even though all the main tubes used internal helicoidal reinforcements through the entire tube.
TSX was made for professional use, coupling maximum performance with reduced weight. It is particularly suitable for stage races of more than 150 Km over mixed terrain, because the full-length internal reinforcements give greater rigidity against tube flexing and torsion. Cyclex Steel – Weight: 1945 g

Starting in 1987, MAX was the tubeset for special racing bikes, drawn from the exclusive Nivacrom® steel which gave exceptional strength characteristics. Lightened by avoiding the internal helicoidal reinforcements of other Columbus tubing, the elliptical cross-sections are oriented in opposition to the highest active and passive stresses.
This tubeset was designed to optimise efficiency under the demands of extreme loads: sprint, time trials, climbing and strong centrifugal acceleration when descending. Weight: 1900 g
Merckx used a variant of the MAX tube set for their MX-Leader frameset, known as MXL. It used a smaller diameter top tube, reportedly because Eddy didn’t like the look of the oversize tube!

Exclusively designed for the toughest off-road races. The oversized oriented elliptical cross-sections have thicknesses of as little as 0.5-0.6 mm, thanks to the exceptional characteristics of the exclusive Nivacrom® steel.The oversized unicrown fork blades are cold-rolled for greater elastic strength and resilience. Weight: 2180 g

Tubeset for time trials over even terrain, climbs and triathlon events. Super-lightweight thanks to the reduced thickness of Nivacrom steel tubing, yet with a very high yield point. Double-butted tubes and ovalised butted unicrown fork blades. Weight: 1670g

In 1991 Columbus introduced some Differential Butted Shape butts (DBS) tubesets in which the shape of the butt actually follows the area of the tube where most of the stress is. GENIUS was the first of them. The butted ends on GENIUS are shorter, so the whole set was the first one strictly designed for TiG welding. A wide selection of tube thicknesses and diameters allowed GENIUS tubing to be used in many different types of frame types. Nivacrom® steel.

In 1994, to celebrate 110 years of Bianchi, Columbus made MEGATUBE solely for the Treviglio company. They claimed it was the first oversize tube for high-performance, creating strong and light frames. Megatube has become one of the strong points of the Milanese company, with more than 14 different shapes.

1994, specifically for MTB use.

In cooperation with Trafiltubi and Aubert & Duval, the new Columbus seamless tube set in stainless steel was created. Starting from a specific request of the military industry, Columbus searched for a valid substitute for cadmium plated temper hardening steels, which could no longer be produced because of their highly polluting manufacturing process.
A new martensitic stainless steel, with high content of Chromium and Molybdenum and Nickel as alloy elements which increase the mechanical and weldability characteristics, was created. The martensitic main structure contains traces of austenite that reduces the possibility of crack formation especially during the welding process. The great weldability properties of the new XCr stainless steel, together with its high fatigue resistance and its extraordinary geometrical stability at high temperatures, make this material the natural element for welded structures such as bicycle frames.
Thanks to the high stiffness/weight and UTS/weight ratios (better than titanium and aluminium alloys) together with the elevated characteristics of corrosion resistance, it is possible to manufacture triple butted tubes to build extremely light and (virtually) indestructible frames.

Mid-90’s saw the introduction of Thron. Thron is still popular, and is the immediate predecessor to Brain. It’s just regular Cyclex, the standard Columbus steel for a couple of decades, but has shorter butts, is a little manipulated, and has an OS version. CrMo, butted down to 0.5mm

Introduced mid-late ’90s, an improvement over Thron and Reynolds 531, so mid-high range

1996: NEMO, of Nivacrom, basically similar to EL-OS, but differentially butted, rather than symetrically, the butted sections are shorter, and with a slightly thinner tube section at the ends. the most sophisticated expression of cycling engineering: from a study on stress applied to the frame, produced using a portable recording system and with the subsequent FEM calculation (Finished Elements Measurement) the map of stresses in the frame and the ZBC technology (Zone Butted Concept) emerged. Reinforcements were located and adjusted to the actual work load.

1999: Columbus introduces THERMACROM the most innovative cycling purposed steel: It gives incredible lightness and the most durable, high performance mechanical characteristics.

Zona (0.7-0.5-0.7). In order to offer a tubing only 0.7mm at the butt, Columbus developed a reduced price Nivacrome that is 1000 Newtons/square meter tensile strength. This compares to the 900 used in Brain OS (and old SLX) and 1200 used in EL-OS, Genius, and Torelli/Nemo 747.

2004: Columbus introduces Spirit. Steel is coming back in the cycling field with this innovative, high performance tube-set.

Neuron (0.7-0.5-0.7). This is a very sophisticated tubing, much finer that one would guess from the 0.5mm wall thickness. Columbus pulled out almost all the stops to make a lightweight 0.5mm tubing, using zone butting, elliptical butting, the works. The result is a tubing that is lightweight, yet very stiff. Mondonico continues to offer frames made of Neuron because it makes a good, stiff, light frame. This tubing still has a very devoted following among serious steel frame lovers.

EL-OS. (0.7-0.4-0.7). These sophisticated tubes are comparable to Torelli/Nemo 747 in the front triangle. They exceed Torelli/Nemo specification in the rear triangle. These tubesets have double-butted chainstays that are drawn down to 0.4mm. The longer traditional butts of EL-OS offer some performance advantages. The slightly greater mass at the head tube joints make the front end of the frame a bit more stable, or as one Italian said, “robust”.
Drawing on the experience with the EL set in the toughest professional competitions, this set features tubes of comparable lightness but with increased diameters for greater rigidity thanks to the use of the exclusive Nivacrom Steel – Weight: 1800 g

Road set especially suited for amateur and touring cyclists who demand stout, lightweight racing frames. CrMo Steel – Weight: 2300 g

The cheapest tubeset that Columbus produced in the late 70s/early 80s. Straight gauge tubing like Aelle but not the same, Zeta was 0.9mm in thickness and Aelle 0.8mm. Carbon-manganese steel.

Niva OR
Tubeset for off-road competitions and high-performance riding. It combines the excellent performance of Nivacrom steel with the traditional diameters. Weight: 2220 g

Niva OR OS
Oversized, round-section tubing for maximum off-road performance. The butted tubes are Nivacrom® steel, which has made it possible to increase diameter while reducing thickness, and hence weight. These features, and in particular the oversized tube cross-sections, ensure excellent rigidity and good handling over rugged terrain, making this set idea for competitions. Nivacrom Steel – Weight: 2000 g

The GPX tubeset was produced in a limited number in 1995, exclusively for Pinarello. Super double butted, reinforced tubes of Cylex Steel.

Late 90s. Columbus Matrix was the first name for Colombus Cromor; Matrix became Cromor when Trek asserted their right to the Matrix name.
Cold-drawn, chrome-moly butted tubing, this set is for the more demanding riders who favour versatile, high-performance light frames, but can also be used for larger frames. Cr Mo Steel – Weight: 2190 g

Chromor OR
Set for off-road experts who want to take on any terrain, regardless of difficulty, enjoying the maximum safety and dependability of an indestructible vehicle.The cold-drawn, chrome-moly tubing has butted ends. The butted unicrown fork blades have increased thickness in the weld areas. CrMo Steel • Weight: 2495 g

Chromor OR OS
Chrome-moly set specially designed for the most demanding mountain-bike enthusiasts. Oversized tube diameters give the frame excellent rigidity and stability, offering both pro and amateur cyclists a good measure of safety coupled with the characteristic lightness of Columbus butted tubing. CrMo Steel – Weight: 2580 g

Used in the last Merckx Corsa Extra frames, 95-98.

Custom tube set for Eddy Merckx. CrMo.

Tandem CM
Superbutted tube set for track use or demanding amateurs. Same five-spiral butting as the SLX. Cyclex Steel.

Tandem CR
Butted set for light touring tandems. Designed for carrying touring equipment.

Altain, Tecnos, Super ’91, Endurance, SSP, MX, Aelle OR, Ego, MS, MINIMAX, GPX, SLPX,



A comfort bike features many of the same distinctive elements as a city bike: flared & raised handlebars and a wide padded saddle.

As you may have figured from the name, comfort bikes are designed to provide the most comfortable ride possible.

Due to their comfortable intentions, many comfort bikes feature suspension seatposts and front forks with suspension.

These suspension components don’t provide a huge amount of travel, so comfort bikes aren’t designed for mountain bike trails.

However, the suspension will absorb the shock of potholes and bumps on the city streets, saving you from a real pain in the….!

What Is a Comfort Bike Used For? Essentially comfort bikes are a more accessible version of a mountain bike, built for less intense uses.

They are best suited for paved urban surfaces or flat, well-manicured bike paths.

Sometimes they may be used for very gentle dirt trails but are best suited to low-performance environments such as neighborhood rides or beach rides.

Due to the relaxed posture comfort bikes promote, they are used by many to commute to work. This allows you to remain strain and sweat-free by the time you arrive.

Who Should Use a Comfort Bike? If mountain bikes and other high-performance models seem too intense or over the top for you, then a comfort bike might be just what you need.

Comfort bikes are easy to use bicycles that are perfect for cyclists who desire gentle, strain-free cycling.

If you’re new to cycling or are of older age, a comfort bike will be a great way to get around.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Comfort Bike? A comfort bike might not satisfy those looking for more versatility and durability in their bicycles.

Although they can work for commuting, a comfort bike’s slow speed isn’t super ideal for that purpose. An electric bicycle will cost more, but will get you around effortlessly without breaking a sweat!



Holds bearings in place, pressed against the cup


COTTER: Pin for attaching cottered cranks



The modern type of three-piece crankset. Although one-piece cranks don’t use cotters either, the term “cotterless” normally refers to two-piece or three-piece sets.
The bottom bracket spindle (axle) used with a standard cotterless crank has tapered square ends, which fit into matching tapered square holes in the cranks. The ends of the axle are threaded, either male or female, and a bolt or nut (called the “fixing” bolt/nut) pulls the crank tightly onto the end of the axle.

The nut or bolt head is recessed into the crank, in a hole with threaded sides. These threads can hold a decorative cap that hides the fixing bolt/nut, but their main function it to provide a purchase for the “crank puller”, a special tool that is needed to remove the crank from the axle.



The arm which connects the pedal to the bottom bracket axle. Sometimes called a “crank arm”



One Piece Crankset


A bike’s crankset, also called a chainset, comprises three integral parts of a bike’s drivetrain.

Cranks arms, chainrings and a bottom bracket make up the crankset. The crankset is the part of a bicycle that transfers the rotation of your legs, to your rear wheel through the chain.

Single, double and triple are the three formats that cranksets come in; these formats relate to the number of chainrings the crankset employs.

Pedals are attached to the crank arms, which allows the rider to turn the chainset.



Steel that has been alloyed with small amounts of chromium and molybdenum. This is the material used for most high-quality bicycle frames and forks.



“Cruiser” is the currently popular name for what used to be called a “balloon tire” bike. This style of bicycle was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Cruisers are usually characterized by 26 x 2.125 tires. (If they have 1.75 or 1 3/4 tires, they are considered “middleweights”.)
The upper top tubes and stays are usually curved for a “streamlined” look. Older cruisers usually had a straight lower top tube; later models had cantilever frame designs. Cruisers are built for ride comfort, not efficiency. Classic cruisers were spectacularly heavy, had only one gear, and a coaster brake.

This type of bike is quite impractical for hilly country, due to the weight, the lack of gears, and the low saddle position of older models. For this reason, cruisers traditionally were most popular in very flat places, such as Florida and the southern California coast, and became associated with beach resorts.

As a reaction to the gonzo image of mountain-bike marketing, cruisers seem to be making a comeback in popularity, even in places far from the beach. The new generation of cruisers is much lighter, thanks to modern materials and manufacturers who care about reducing weight. They are also now available with multi-speed gearing. The “neo-cruiser” appeals to aging baby-boomers who have nostalgic memories of the balloon-tire bikes or their youth.

The classic balloon tire bike, before it was known as a “cruiser” was also quite important to the history of cycling because it was in many ways the precursor of the mountain bike.



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 , Cup and Cone




Traditional bicycle ball bearings use cup-shaped races and cone-shaped races, with the bearing balls rolling between them. They come in pairs, either with two cones on the inside, held between two cups, or, with two cups on the inside and two cones at the outside.
In a conventional threaded bottom bracket, the cones are part of the bottom bracket axle, and the cups thread into the bottom bracket shell of the frame. The left cup is adjustable, to permit the bearing to be fine tuned. It has a lock ring to secure the adjustment. The right cup is the “fixed cup”, usually having a flange that bumps against the edge of the bottom bracket shell when it is screwed all the way in. In the case of hubs and pedals, the cups are part of the hub shell or pedal body, and the cones attach to the axle. One or both of the cones is adjustable, and usually has a locknut and a keyed washer to secure it.



A commuter bike is a type of bike optimized for easy use and smooth cycling. While commuter bikes vary from model to model, most feature common elements such as wide and steady tires, broader saddles and handlebars that provide an upright position.

Some commuter bikes use a basic suspension front fork to increase comfort levels whilst riding. Whilst others feature accessories such as fenders (mudguards), chain guards, and pannier racks.

Commuter bikes are built to offer dependable and steady rides, with minimal maintenance thanks to their durable components.

What Is a Commuter Bike Used For? As the name suggests, commuter bikes are built for anyone who uses their bicycle to get to and from work or school.

Commuter bikes are best used in urban environments with flat bike paths, roads and other paved surfaces.

These bikes are suitable for short-medium distance city rides rather than long journeys on bumpy terrain.

Due to their more relaxed riding position, commuter bikes aren’t used in races (apart from the morning race to the office!) and are instead reserved for personal use in commuting.

Who Should Use a Commuter Bike? A commuter bike could be a great choice if you live a short distance from your school or workplace and don’t want to put up with the hassle of driving in traffic or navigating public transportation.

Commuter bikes are ideal for short trips to help you comfortably get to your end destination. They’re also a great way to get in some easy exercise during your everyday routine!

Who Shouldn’t Use a Commuter Bike? Commuter bikes are sturdy, but they’re certainly not the most efficient vehicles on the road. Road bikes are faster and require less effort, whilst a mountain bike can handle many more terrains.



Claw Derailleur Hanger attached to wheel axle

Built in Derailleur Hanger below the drop out

Replaceable Derailleur Hanger

A piece on the rear dropout that the derailleur attaches to.



Front Derailleur moves the chain from one ring to another

Rear Derailleur moves the chain from one sprocket to another

An assembly of levers, usually cable actuated, that moves the chain between sprockets on a cassette or chainring assembly



Dia-Compe, is a Japanese manufacturer of bicycle components headquartered in Kadoma of the Ōsaka Prefecture. Dia-Compe specialised in caliper and cantilever brakes, headsets, handlebar stems, suspension forks and other bicycle components.

The company manufactured its first bicycle brake in 1930. In 1949, the company was floated on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Kiyokazu and Toshiharu Yoshigai, the sons of the company’s founder, later succeeded their father at the company’s helm. Kiyokazu Yoshigai’s son, Kozo Yoshigai, is now president of the company.

In the 1960s the Swiss manufacturer Weinmann supplied Dia-Compe with brake parts. International subsidiaries of the Dia-Compe brand were established in the United States in 1975 and in the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1987.

In 1990 John Rader, the designer of the Aheadset system, gave exclusive licensing to Dia-Compe for the product. Dia-Compe USA financed fledgling company RockShox in the development of the RS-1 suspension fork. The USA subsidiary of Dia-Compe was eventually purchased by RockShox in the 1990s. In 1992 Dia-Compe USA became Cane Creek Cycling Components and introduced the threadless headset (AheadSet®).

Dia-Compe has begun selling a range of other wheel components. Other KK Yoshigai brand names for wheel components are Diatech and Gran Compe. A subsidiary of the Diatech brand was founded in 1996 in the United States. The company also produces complete bicycles.


Runs between and connects the bottom bracket to the head tube.

Down tubes often feature mounting points for water bottle cages and other accessories.

Additionally, the rear derailleur cables normally run along the underside of the down tube, whilst more modern bikes house these cables inside the down tube.



Shift levers located on the downtube


A magical class of metal found primarily on 70’s and early 80’s road bicycles. Its amazing properties provided strength, lightness and beauty. That was the theory at any rate. In reality, initially it was a guy with a drill who thought if he put a bunch of holes every component on his bike, the subsequent weight savings would propel him to the finish line far ahead of the competition.

This lead to some questionable choices in both how much material was removed

and which components had the material removed.

Fortunately, component manufacturers took note and began making their own well engineered versions.

You can see the difference in the homemade version

which is very pretty but just might have a sconse too much material removed and

the factory version .

Some Examples of Component Manufactured Drillium

Brake Levers –

Chain Rings –

Front Derailleurs –

Rear Derailleurs –

Shift Levers-




A bicycle rear fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain. The term dropout is often incorrectly used to refer to any fork end, but not all fork ends are dropouts



Any cap serving to keep dirt and contamination out of an assembly. Common over crank bolts, often plastic




Bottle Generator

Front Wheel Dynamo Hub

Sturmey Archer Internal Gear Hub with Dynamo

Bicycle lighting component, also known as generator that generates electricity for lighting



1)  attachment point on frame, fork, or dropout for fenders, racks, etc. 
2) a hole through which a spoke nipple passes through the rim so it may attach to a spoke

A braze-on or other threaded fitting for bolting an accessory to a frame. This term is mainly used to refer to the threaded tabs on fork ends, to which you may attach fenders or racks.



Not simply a type of shifter or a type of derailleur, a complete system with switches instead of levers, wires instead of Bowden cables, and motor-driven derailleurs that must all work together



In this photo, the levers extending inward from the brake levers underneath the handlebars

In the early 1970s, many people bought bicycles with drop handlebars, for reasons of fashion, even though drop bars did not suit their casual riding style. Given the frame and stem designs commonly available at the time, it was generally impossible to get drop handlebars high enough up to allow a low-intensity rider to reach the drops comfortably.
The problem was worse for many women, whose shorter torso made it hard to reach forward to the drops. Though a taller handlebar stem with less forward reach might be installed, this often did not occur. Also, small hands could not comfortably grasp typical drop-bar brake levers of that time.

Dia Compe invented bolt-on extensions that allowed Weinmann-type brake levers to be operated from the tops and middle of the handlebars, making this type of bar bearable for casual cyclists, since they never had to use the drops. This was so popular that Weinmann traded licensing with Dia Compe, so that each could copy the other’s products.

(Stem shifters were also popularized around the same time, and for the same reason.)

Extension levers are sometimes known as “safety levers.” Since many people believe they actually reduce safety, the slang terms “death grips”, “suicide levers” and “turkey wings” are occasionally substituted.

In the early 21st century, a greatly improved system of “interrupter brake levers ” appeared, with all of the advantages and none of the drawbacks of the older extension levers. These also have the advantage of being compatible with modern “æro” brake levers which work a lot better than the older style levers that had the cables coming out of the tops.



A full or partial covering for a bicycle to reduce aerodynamic drag or to protect the rider from the elements. At 6 mph (10 kph) air resistance becomes a discernible resistance factor (but less than rolling resistance). At 18 mph (29 kph) it becomes 80% of the resistance. At 25 mph (40 kph) it becomes 90% of the dominant force. 



Curved pieces of metal or plastic (the ones in the photo happen to be wood) above the tires which catch and redirect road spray thrown up by the tires, allowing the rider to remain relatively clean. May come in pairs



A metal or plastic sleeve used to terminate the end of a cable housing



A process in which frame tubes are brazed directly to one another, without the use of lugs. The “fillet” (pronounced “fill-it”) is the strip of brass melted along the seam to connect the steel parts. The fillet is usually filed smooth, so that the tubes seem to flow smoothly into one another with no sharp transitions.



In a conventional threaded bottom bracket, the left cup is adjustable, and its position is secured by a lockring. The right cup is not adjustable, its position is fixed, usually by a shoulder which presses against the side of the bottom-bracket shell. The fixed cup is screwed all the way into the bottom bracket, until the shoulder stops it.

The fixed cup usually has a left-hand thread to prevent it from coming unscrewed due to the action of pedaling.

Bicycles with French or Italian threading have right-hand threaded fixed cups; these fixed cups must be tightened very firmly to keep them in position. Using blue (removable) thread-locking compound also is a good idea.



Campagnolo Fix road hub

A rear hub in which the sprocket is rigidly connected to the hub, without a freewheel.
The pedals of a fixed-gear bicycle revolve whenever the rear wheel turns; coasting is impossible. This type of gearing is used to be solely associated with track racing but is currently a fad among general bicyclists. The Blue Bicycle above is a ‘Fixie’ and the Red Bicycle is a Pista (Track) Bike. Notice the difference in the sizes of the Chain Wheels.



The fork is the part of a bike that connects the front wheel to the frame. Two blades run from the bottom of the steerer tube, down either side of the wheel. These blades connect to the front wheel axle using their dropouts.

These two blades join together above the front wheel at the fork crown, which sits just below the steerer tube.

The steerer tube is part of the bike fork that runs through the head tube and attaches to the stem.

Both rigid and suspension forks are available:

Rigid forks are commonly found on road bikes and provide increased speed on flat surfaces.
Suspension forks are typically used by mountain bikes and allow you to navigate harsh terrain whilst dampening and reducing the impact felt when tackling obstacles on the trail.



The point at which the two blades of the fork meet below the steerer tube.



Fork End with Eyelets

A flat piece of solid metal, with a notch or slot to receive a wheel axle. There is one at the bottom of each fork blade, and another pair at the junction of the seat stays and chain stays. Lower quality forkends are stamped from sheet metal; better ones are forged.
Rear forkends originally had the opening facing backwards, but in the 1930s, the “dropout” type forkend was introduced. With dropouts, the slot opens at the lower front, or, in the case of vertical dropouts, straight down. This makes for much easier wheel changes, since the chain does not need to be derailed before the wheel can “drop out” of the frame.

The old-fashioned rear-opening style fork ends are still seen on some single-speed bikes, mainly as a retro fashion statement. The revival of rear-opening forkends is an unfortunate fad, making the bikes that feature this design less versatile and less convenient than they would be if they used dropouts.

See also Dropout



The mechanical core of a bicycle, the frame provides points of attachment for the various components that make up the machine. The term is variously construed, and can refer to the base section, always including the bottom bracket, or to base frame, fork, and suspension components such as a shock absorber





Depending on the use for which a bicycle is designed, the seat angle, head angle, fork rake, chainstay length and drop are varied within a narrow range of values. Small differences in the dimensions of any of these factors can make a great difference in the performance of a bicycle.


Seat Angle – Helps determine the comfort of the ride. Steeper seat angles, like those found on racing frames, are generally associated with harsher rides and stiffer frames. The seat angle also helps determine your leg position relative to the crankset which can influence the way you pedal.


Head Angle – Also instrumental in determining the comfort of a bicycle frame. The steeper angles provide a stiffer frame at the cost of having a harsher ride. Shallower angles have the opposite effect. The head angle along with the fork rake determines how the bicycle handles. The steeper the head angle, the quicker the bicycle will react to steering input.


Fork Rake – The amount of fork rake used with a particular head angle will determine the rest of the bicycle’s handling characteristics. Larger fork rakes improve low speed stability at the expense of high speed stability and also make a bicycle difficult to lean into a corner. Loaded Touring Bikes have a lot of fork rake which provides for a more comfortable ride and minimizes adverse effects of adding additional weight on the forks. The additional weight of the heavier wheels of a Touring Bike helps to compensate for the large fork rake.


Chain Stays – Shorter chainstays like those on racing frames make a bicycle ride more harshly but with less flexing in the rear triangle. The shorter chainstays decrease the wheelbase which makes the bike more nimble. Loaded Touring Bikes however, need longer chainstays for heel clearance with rear paniers (which see below) and also provide a softer more comfortable ride.


Drop or Bottom Bracket Height – The lower the Bottom Bracket, the lower the Saddle and the lower the center of gravity. A bicycle with a lower center of gravity is more stable without losing any handling quickness. A disadvantage to a lower Drop or Bottom Bracket Height is that it also reduces the height of the pedals from the ground which can cause problems when cornering and trying to pedal while the bicycle is leaned over. Also, Mountain Bikes will have higher Drop in order to allow clearance for off road obstacles.





Please also see ‘Columbus’, ‘Reynolds’ and ‘Tange’ for common Tubing Manufacturers


Tubing is what the bicycle frame is made of, whether it be Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Steel or Titanium. Tubing can be straight (or ‘Plain’) gauge, double butted, triple butted or even quad butted. There are different alloys of Steel, Aluminum or Titanium.

Steel – The least expensive is High Tensile Steel. If there is a sticker on the frame it will probably say something like ‘Hi-Ten’ or ‘1020’ or ‘2040’. There are many different alloys of steel used in bicycle frames depending on the use that the frame is intended for and the cost. Common alloys are “Chrome-Molybdenum” (Cro-Mo, Chorme-Moly) and Manganese-Molybdenum. Stickers on the frame of Steel alloy bicycles might say ‘4130’ or ‘Cro-Mo’ or ‘Tange 1’ or ‘Reynolds 531’ or ‘Columbus SP’ or ‘Super Vitus’ to name a tiny fraction of the Steel Alloys that are / have been used in producing a bicycle frame. 


Aluminum (or Aluminium, if you speak the Queen’s English) – Aluminum is not as strong, stiff or long lasting as steel but is significantly lighter. To compensate for the decreased strength, Aluminum tubes are oversized both in the thickness of the tubing and the diameter of the tubing compared to steel tubes to give the needed stiffness to the frame. The lower density of Aluminum will still result in a bicycle weighing around 30% less than a steel frame. The two main Aluminum alloys used are 6061 and 7005 and a further designation such as T6 to designate the tempering process that was used. 


Carbon Fiber – Main benefits are incredible strength and stiffness for its weight, allowing for very light weight frames with the largest limitation being that it is inherently brittle . Two different processes are used to create carbon fiber bicycles: Pre-Preg which uses sheets of carbon fiber impregnated with resin laminated in multiple layers or Resin Transfer Molding which weaves dry carbon fiber around a mandrel which is removed and then the carbon fiber is impregnated with resin under a vacuum and cured. 


Titanium – Very expensive due to the price of the metal and the difficulty of machining into a bicycle frame. However, it is a frame for life. Very hard wearing and corrosion resistant. Less dense than steel but heavier than Aluminum it falls in the middle of the two in terms of stiffness.


Tubing also comes in different thicknesses


Straight Gauge – Usually found on less expensive bicycles and bicycle frame parts that require extra strength such as Mountain Bikes and Tandems. 


Double Butted – Double butted tubing has a wall thickness that is thinner in the middle of the tube and is thicker at either end with both ends having the same thickness.


Triple Butted – Triple butted tubing is similar to Double Butted but it has three gauges of thickness. The two ends do NOT have the same thickness and the middle of the tubing is thinner than the ends. The different end thicknesses account for different levels of stress at the different ends of the tube.


Quad Butted – Not only are the two ends different thicknesses but the middle also tapers from one thickness to another.


FREEHUB (Cassette):

Shimano trademark for a rear hub in which the freewheel mechanism is built into the hub itself, rather than being part of the sprocket cluster. Most freehubs use a cassette of sprockets.



The mechanism that makes coasting possible. A ratchet mechanism that allows the rear sprocket(s) to drive the wheel when pedaled forward, but allows the wheel to turn forward independently even when the sprockets are not turning. In other words, the freewheel is the part which makes coasting possible.
Freewheels are normally sold with the sprockets attached, so this term is frequently used as a synonym for a cluster.

A standard freewheel attaches to a hub by screwing on to external threads that are part of the hub. The action of pedaling tightens the freewheel down on the threads, so no tools are required to install a freewheel.

To remove a freewheel requires a special tool, commonly called a “freewheel puller” or “freewheel extractor”



 Shifting operated by a lever that moves smoothly through its range. With friction shifting, the rider must learn exactly how far to move the lever to get from one gear to another. If the rider moves the lever too far, or not far enough, the chain will not line up properly with the sprocket, causing noise and roughness. 

The screw on the outside of the lever provides the friction that holds the lever in place, countering the pull of the spring in the derailleur. If the screw is loose, the lever won’t stay in place and you’ll constantly be moving into the highest gear.



Shimano FFS – for “Front Freewheel System.” It had a freewheeling device built into the crank-bottom bracket interface. Combined with an extra stiff rear freewheel (Shimano called it a “friction freewheel”) the system was designed so that the chainrings and chain would continue to move when coasting, thereby allowing the user to shift gears while coasting. Purists tend to discount this system as being unnecessarily complex or heavy or almost any other derogatory term known to bicyclists, however it is extremely useful especially in city riding. It allows you to shift gears without having to also pedal as you would with a traditional freewheel mounted on the rear wheel. This comes in handy when you are coasting to a stop and want to shift into an easier gear to be ready to start off again. With a traditional freewheel you need to be pedaling in order to shift gears.



Plates added to the outsides of frame tubes to strengthen joints. These are more commonly seen on BMX and mountain bikes



Part of frame or an attachment to the frame to which the derailleur is attached (see Derailleur hanger)



A lever attached, usually using an intermediary stem, to the steerer tube of the fork. Allows steering and provides a point of attachment for controls and accessories. There are M A N Y different styles of handlebars.



see Bar plugs



A tape wound around dropped handlebars so as to provide padding and grip, usually cork or cloth, sometimes foam rubber. See Bar Tape



Manufacturer’s or brand logo affixed to the head tube



A bicycle head tube is the foremost part of a bike frame. The head tube houses the fork steerer tube and allows it to pivot freely on two internal sets of bearings (see headset below).



A bike headset is a rotatable bicycle component that sits on your fork’s steerer tube (above and below your head tube).

Bike headsets are made up of two cups. Each cup houses a set of bearings that allow your handlebars to turn smoothly.

A top cap is another key part of the headset, this is used to preload the headset before fixing the stem in place.

There are several different types of headsets available. Two of the most common are the Integrated System and threaded headsets.



Headset caps (also called top caps and stem caps) are a bicycle component that’s used to preload (exerts pressure) the headset.

Bike top caps sit on the top of the fork steerer tube and are tightened (before tightening the stem) until there is no play or movement in the headset.

Once the stem cap is tightened correctly, the stem can be adjusted and tightened.




The Maillard Helicomatic hub was an early version of a cassette freehub. It came with a pocket-size tool that incorporated a spline wrench for the cassette lockring, a spoke wrench, and a bottle opener.



High Flange – A hub with large ends/flanges. In most cases, high flange hubs are drilled to reduce their weight.


Higher Lateral Stiffness – High flange hubs produce a wider bracing angle which results in a larger triangle and subsequently greater lateral rigidity.

Aesthetic Points – In the world of cycling, looks are just as important as function. Many cyclists find high flange hubs aesthetic and go for them. Some even custom-paint the hubs to make them even more flashy.

More Real Estate – The larger flange comes with more real estate allowing wider spacing between each spoke. As a result, the flange is stronger and capable of accommodating more spokes. Also, the higher position of the spokes on the hub makes it easier to change a spoke on the drive side because the spokes are further away from the rear cog. (This applies only to single-speed bikes.)


Extra Weight – High flange hubs require more material resulting in greater weight. Hence why high flange hubs are drilled out.

Outdated – During the 80s, high flange hubs lost popularity and went into obscurity. The reasons for this development are: Initially, the purpose of high flange hubs was to compensate for weaker spokes, but as bike componentry improved, the extra strength provided by the larger flange became inconsequential.
Fashion – cycling, just like any other sport, is subject to trends. Eventually, high flange hubs stopped being cool in the world of road cycling. Nonetheless, they remained a tradition in track cycling and continue to be extremely popular in that cycling sector. Today, high flange hubs are experiencing a rise in popularity thanks to the fixed gear culture which is heavily inspired by track cycling.

For that reason, most of the high flange hubs on the market are track hubs.

Less Aero – Technically, the wider bracing angle, the extra weight and the larger flanges make high flange hubs less aero. Truth be told, however, the effect is too small to matter, especially in the world of recreational cycling. Nobody is losing competitions because they have a non-aero hub.

Stiffer/Less Compliant – One of the reasons why track cycling never abandoned high flange hubs is that they create a base for building a very stiff wheel. In cycling, stiffness has a good and a bad side. Stiff components are more efficient because the power loss is minimized. However, they are also harsher on the rider’s body due to the transmitted road vibrations.

Low Flange – A hub with smaller ends/flanges. Currently, this is the most common hub type.


More compliant (potentially) – The smaller bracing angle of low flange hubs against the rim as well as the extra spoke length (with some cross patterns) should, at least theoretically, make it possible to lace a more compliant wheel. In practice, however, it’s questionable to what degree this occurs because the difference is too slim to notice.

Greater Availability – Since low flange hubs are the default standard, you will have an easier time finding one at your local bike shop.

Lighter Weight – The lighter weight of low flange hubs is their strongest point. As we all know, road bike fanatics do everything in their power to save grams from every component. As shown in the tables above, low flange hubs help you with that goal.

More Aero – The slimmer profile and the smaller bracing angle make low flange hubs more aero. In reality, however, the extent of this effect is non-perceivable by a human being.

Disadvantages of Low Flange Hubs:

Aesthetics – Some people consider low flange hubs too ordinary and less aesthetically pleasing than high flange hubs.

Less Real Estate – The smaller flange results in a denser spoke area and less flange material. Thus, all things being equal, the flanges on low flange hubs are weaker. Also, some cross patterns won’t be an option because each spoke will cover the head of the one next to it. During riding the spokes flex ever so slightly. The rubbing between the spokes will file the head of the spokes and cause failure. Of course, this scenario is a bit extreme but not impossible nonetheless.



The rubber brake lever covering on bikes with drop style handle bars



This is an image of a front quick release hub showing the axle and cones, the hub body and the skewer

The core of a wheel; contains bearings and, in a traditional wheel, has drilled flanges for attachment of spokes

Bicycle hubs are found at the center of either wheel (front and back) and contain the bearings that allow your wheels to rotate freely.

Bike hubs are made up of five key parts:

Hub Shell – The outer shell of the hub, often made from aluminum that houses the internal components and provides fixing points for spokes.
Axle  – The axle of a bicycle hub runs through the center of the hub and sits upon the internal bearings, which allow it to rotate. There are two main types of hub axles, quick release axles and through axles. Axles also attach your wheel to the dropouts of your bike.
Ball Bearings – The ball bearings of a bike hub sit inside the hub shell cup and allow the wheel to rotate smoothly. If your wheel isn’t rotating properly, then a likely cause of this is that your ball bearings are worn out.
Cones Cones are found on adjustable hubs and work alongside lock nuts. Cones play a part in tightening or loosening the hub’s bearings. If your cone is too loose, the hub may have play in it, and if the cone is fitted too tightly, the wheel will not spin freely.
Lock Nut – Lock nuts are used to lock the hub’s cones in place after adjusting them to the correct level. Once the lock nut is tightened, it will hold the cone in place. However, be careful not to overtighten the lock nut as you may end up tightening your cone!



A generator inside one of the hubs for powering lights or other accessories



A gearbox mounted inside the hub, 3-speed is common, 5, 7 are available (“Sturmey-Archer”) and Rohloff make a 14-speed hub. There are also automatic 2 speed hubs and kickback hubs. Cable operated by one or two cables



Huret was a French manufacturer of bicycle rear derailleurs . Huret rear derailleurs are installed on many older Peugeot bikes. In the 1980s the company was bought by Fichtel & Sachs . Sachs has been part of SRAM since the mid-1990s .

The company was founded in 1920 by the cyclist André Huret (1891–1964), a nephew of the permanent world champion Constant Huret , in Puteaux near Paris . He himself had won the Paris – Turin race in 1911 and competed in the Tour de France in 1919 and 1920 .  In Paris-Roubaix in 1919, he finished twelfth. 

In his company, Huret initially successfully produced wing nuts , which were valued for their quality. In 1930 the company moved to larger premises in Nanterre . There he started with the production of derailleurs . As a former racing driver, he managed to convince cycling colleagues like Maurice Archambaud and Georges Speicher to use his model. Nevertheless, the circuits initially failed to achieve economic success and the sale of the wing nuts secured the company’s continued existence. Huret has continued to develop the circuits over the years and also designed different models for different purposes. Only after World War IIand after his two sons Roger and Jacques joined the company, demand for his rear derailleurs increased. In 1949 Huret presented a new model with which racing driver Louison Bobet won the Tour de France, a French championship and a world championship three times. At first it was called the Tour de France , but in 1951 it was a Type Louison Bobet.

André Huret died in 1964 at the age of 73. The sons had already taken over management of the company in previous years. They successfully expanded the product range to include bicycle tachometers , and two more production facilities were opened. In 1965 the company had 300 employees and produced 110,000 derailleurs, 300,000 wing screws and 30,000 speedometers every month. In the same year, the Allvit circuit model was delivered for the five millionth time. In 1978, Huret followed suit by marketing entire sets of bicycle components under its name.

In addition to Simplex , Huret was one of the two leading manufacturers of switchgear technology between the Second World War and the late 1980s .  Until 1980, Huret was a purely family business run by André Huret’s children and grandchildren. Several million circuits and a million speedometers were delivered annually, two thirds of which were intended for export. Nevertheless, the company did not work economically enough.

In the 1980s, Huret, the last French manufacturer of gears, was bought by Fichtel & Sachs, which is now part of SRAM. Huret continued to produce under various labels until the early 1990s. Hurét products were mainly sold under the names Sachs-Huret , Sachs and Edco .

Allvit – The best-known model of the manufacturer was the “Allvit” model introduced in the 1960s, the first inexpensive switchgear in parallelogram design. Hundreds of thousands of these derailleurs were built and sold by the 1970s. Schwinn used these derailleurs on their first mass produced derailleur equipped bicycles. In contrast to today’s rear derailleurs, the suspension mechanism of the Allvit was adjustable using screws. The alignment of the parallelogram made it possible to keep the guide roller of the rear derailleur very close to the sprocket set.

Jubilee – “Jubilee” was to be found in the company’s upscale segment. When it was launched, it was the lightest rear derailleur on the market.

DuoPar / Eco DuoPar – The Huret DuoPar rear derailleur had two parallelograms , which is what gave it its name. The additional parallelogram was used to move the guide roller up and down. This enabled DuoPar to operate the largest range of gears that a rear derailleur has ever operated. The original DuoPar was made from titanium and was therefore very expensive. A cheaper version called Eco DuoPar was later offered for a short time. The basic version of the rear derailleur weighed 280 grams.



A hybrid bike is a versatile, general-purpose bike that combines characteristics of mountain bikes, road bikes, and touring bikes. 

Hybrid bikes are faster on the road compared to mountain bikes, thanks to their thinner wheels and lighter (normally fully-rigid) frames.

On top of this, hybrid bikes position riders in an upright position and use broad handlebars designed to maximize rider comfort.

Many hybrids provide mounting positions for panniers or baskets for carrying luggage, whilst also using wide-ranging gears and triple chainsets.

What Is a Hybrid Bike Used For? Hybrid bikes are used for a vast array of purposes.

Many cyclists use hybrid bikes for commuting, thanks to their stability and comfort. Other cyclists use them for cycling day trips and even gentle off-road adventures in their local areas.

Hybrid bikes are rarely used in races because they can’t achieve the same high speeds as a road bike or travel downhill as fast as an enduro bike.

Who Should Use a Hybrid Bike? Since hybrids can handle various terrains and cycling disciplines, they’re a suitable choice for recreational cyclists and beginners who don’t desire a bike for extreme performance capabilities.

A hybrid bike is a dependable way to get around town, and their comfortable seating and steady handling make them a safe method for navigating hectic city roads.

Hybrid bikes are also an ideal choice for cyclists on a budget who aim to invest in a bike suitable for multiple uses.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Hybrid Bike? If you have a specific purpose in mind for your bike, whether that’s wilderness exploration or regular commuting, a hybrid bike might not be for you.



Indexed shifting means that the shift control has positive detents or click stops that provide discrete positions corresponding to different gears. See friction shifting.
Internal-gear hubs have had index shifting throughout their history.

Parts must be matched for index shifting to work correctly: the shift control must match the derailer and cassette sprocket spacing, or the internal hub. Use of mismatched or misadjusted components can put your bicycle in a “between gears” condition.



A bladder that contains air to inflate a tire. Has a Schrader, “Woods”/”Dunlop” or Presta valve for inflation and deflation



Used by Peugeot and Motobecane (Motobecane called it Inexternal Brazing)in the 80’s. It automated a process that had been done by hand and eliminated lugs. A doughnut of brazing material is installed inside the tube joint. When heated, the brazing material re-flows with the majority forming a fillet inside the frame, while a smaller fillet forms outside the tubes, due to capillary action. The brazing is usually performed by automated “ring” torches which encircle the tube to provide even heating. The big advantage of the process is that it allows for visible inspection of joint quality, as the flow is in reverse and lack of penetration is exhibited on the outside of the frame by gaps or voids in the brazing material.



One of two small sprockets of the rear derailleur that guides the chain



An amazing piece of technology that allows a bicycle to stand up on its own by means of a folding leg. Usually mounts to frame near bottom bracket, sometimes near rear dropouts.



Also called a “lawyer tab” or “safety washers”, a retention device on the dropouts of the front fork to prevent inadvertent loss of the front wheel in the case it is not properly secured with the quick release skewer.



A nut designed not to loosen due to vibration



A ring, usually metal, of varying design, that serves to retain a component in place



A metal connector used to align frame components where they join each other



Any accessory equipment designed to carry tools, gear or cargo



A French manufacturer of bicycle components . The company and its patents were taken over by Fichtel & Sachs in 1980 .

Maurice Maillard (1883–1964), born in Boulogne sur-Mer, first founded a car business in 1909 and adapted many mechanical parts for bicycles. During the First World War, many competitors in the Saint-Étienne region were engaged in arms production. However, Maillard built a factory in Dunkerque . In 1947 he was the only French manufacturer of freewheels (91 percent of national production) with an annual production of 300,000 pieces. 

Maillard manufactured bicycle hubs , pedals and cassettes. In the 1950s and late 1960s, the company took over the smaller manufacturers Atom (freewheels and pedals) and Normandy (hubs). Some of the names were still present on Maillard products until they were taken over by Fichtel & Sachs.  Maillard developed the “Helicomatic” – derailleur . However, this did not prevail because of various adjustment problems and competition from Shimano.  In the early 1970s, Maillard was one of the world market leaders with 1,770 employees. 

A technical feature of Maillard parts as well as many other French components are dimensions that differ from the international standards. The installation width of the front wheel hubs was often less than the standard 100 mm. The 5-speed rear hub was often produced with an installation width of 124 mm instead of 120 mm.

Many French racing bikes were fitted with Maillard hubs as standard. These include the manufacturers Motobecane and Peugeot.



A bicycle chain accessory that allows convenient removal and reconnection of an installed bicycle chain without the need for a chain tool



(Pronounced ‘mix-ty’ in English, ‘meext’ for the Francophiles) as a frame in which the “top tube” consists of a pair of small diameter tubes running more-or-less straight from the upper head lug, past the seat tube, and on to the rear fork ends.



A specialized nut that most commonly attaches a spoke to a wheel rim. In some systems, it provides attachment to the hub.

Spoke nipples pass through the wheel rim and are tightened onto the end of the spoke. As the spoke nipple is tightened, the tension of the spoke increases, increasing the tension on the hub.

Since spokes and spoke nipples need to have the same thread, spokes are normally supplied with matching threaded nipples.



A conventional, non-quick-release hub, with a solid axle. Nuts and washers are used to secure the axle to the frame or fork.



Storage bags that mount to sides of luggage 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.


Pedal Types:
Plain pedals:

Rely on the rider’s coordination to keep the foot properly located on the pedal. This type of pedal is most popular with beginner or unsophisticated riders, who fear being unable to put a foot down in a hurry.

Toe-clippable pedals:

(Sometimes known as “rat trap” or “quill” pedals) which work with stirrup-like clips and adjustable straps to hold the foot in place. These were the near-universal choice of knowledgeable cyclists until the 1980’s. Toe-clip pedals, especially “platform” pedals, may be used either with normal street shoes or with special cleated shoes. The use of cleated shoes with toe clips, however, was made obsolete by the development of:

Clipless pedals:

Which provide a positive connection between the shoe and the pedal, without the constriction of straps. Some clipless shoe-pedal systems have protruding cleats, while others have recessed cleats so the shoes are walkable.



A strap (usually made of leather) attached to the inside of the bike frame, designed to make carrying the bike over one’s shoulder easier



Shimano’s original system of indexed shifting. Positron placed the detents in the derailleur, which had no return spring. Some versions of Positron used a double cable to push and pull the derailleur back and forth, other versions used a solid, push-pull cable. Most other indexing systems place the detents in the control lever. This system is very common on Schwinn Suburbans and World Tourists from the 1980’s



“Power Ratchet” is an advertising buzzword for a Sun Tour design, that decouples the shift lever from the friction clutch when shifting in the direction that pulls against the derailleur’s return spring.
With a pure friction lever, the friction has to at least equal the maximum pull of the derailleur spring. When these are close, it takes almost no effort to push the lever forward (loosening the cable and the spring,) because the spring is helping you push the lever forward.

However, when you pull backward on the lever, tightening the cable, you are working against both the resistance of the friction clutch in the shift lever and the spring tension.

This creates an asymmetry of lever force between upshifting and downshifting.

With a “Power Ratchet” system, the ratchet disengages the friction clutch as you pull the lever backward, so you’re only working against the spring. This gives a notably nicer feel to the shifter.

Other brands have solved this problem different ways. Shimano used to use a spring in the shifter that opposed the derailleur’s spring. This avoided the slightly “granular” feel created by the ratchet.

The legendary Simplex “Rétrofriction ” levers did something similar, using a pawl-less ratchet. As a result, the Simplex design didn’t have the “micro clicks” of the Sun Tour design.



Type of tire inflation valve usually found on high pressure bicycle tires



see Jockey wheel



A skewer with a lever on one end that loosens when the lever is flipped. Used for releasing wheels and seat posts



A rack that attaches behind the seat or above the front wheel, usually with stays to the rear dropouts or clamps to the front forks, that serves as a general carrier. The elegant chrome one in the photo above is a T/A front mounted carrier that attaches to the Mafac brake pivot bolts.


Reflects light to make bicycle evident when the illuminated by headlights of other vehicles. Usually required by law but held in disdain by many cyclists.



Reynolds 531 Main Tubes

Reynolds is a manufacturer of tubing for bicycle frames and other bicycle components based in Birmingham, England established in 1898. In 1897, the company patented the process for making butted tubes, which are thicker at the ends than in the middle, this allowed frame builders to create frames that were both strong and lightweight. Reynolds introduced the double-butted tube-set 531 in 1934.

Reynolds has over the years developed a number of steel alloys, most notably Reynolds 531, which has a high strength and can be made into strong, but lightweight tubes for bicycle frames. Before the introduction of more exotic materials such as aluminium, titanium or composites, Reynolds was considered the dominant maker of high end materials for bicycle frames, with 27 winners of the Tour de France winning the race riding on Reynolds tubing. The Raleigh Bicycle Company of Nottingham, England was a big customer for Reynolds 531 tubing used in their racing cycle range.

Reynolds 531 has now been largely replaced in new frames by still-better steels. The latest, for race or sports frames, is Reynolds 953.

Types of Reynolds Tubing:

SMS – Plain gauge (0.8mm) drawn tubeset in high tensile steel. Replaced 531 plain gauge in 1980, replaced by 453.
453 – cromoly steel alloy. Reynolds produced only the 3 main tubes in this alloy and they were single butted, replaced by 500 series.
500 – A chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel, seamed, plain gauge tubeset of 3 main triangle tubes
500ATB – Mountain, All terrain, Off-road
500 Magnum – Same use as ATB
501 – Reynolds 501 was a chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel, seamed, butted 3-tubes tubeset that made its debut about 1983 and was available in two different thicknesses.
501ATB – Mountain, All terrain, Off-road
501 Magnum – Same use as ATB
501SB – Single Butted
501SL – Special lightweight (SL) tubeset
K2 – Reynolds K2 was a chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel similar to 501, seamed, butted tubeset, with eight laterally aligned ribs on the butt section, designed and produced exclusively for Raleigh between about 1993 and 1995[9]
Optima – A chromium-molybdenum (CrMo) steel, seamed, butted tubeset designed and produced exclusively for Raleigh from 1995. Similar to 501 but tweaked for tig welding.[9]
525 – Cold worked AISI-4130 (CrMo). Yield Strength/Ultimate Tensile Strength: 600/700 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3 8 tube set
525-Triathlon – almost identical to 525, with the only differences being seat stays are 0.1mm thinner, and chainstays are 0.1mm thicker, than standard 525
520 – is the same as 525, made under license in Taiwan, to the same specs and qc standards as for 525. For proximity to manufacturing in South-East Asia.
531 – Manganese/Molybdenum. YS/UTS: 695/803 MPa (45-52 Tsi, 100-130 ksi) (number quoted are for after (lower) and before (higher) brazing), density 7.85 g/cm3 Starting in about 1980 tubesets of different gauges were named as follows.
531ATB – Designed for Mountain, All terrain, Off-road
531Competition/531C – Competition Racing tubeset. Road racing, track, time trial and cyclo-cross. main tubes were 8/5/8 double butted
531CS – Club Sport. Double butted 531 main tubes, 501 forks and stays.
531Magnum – Oversize, heavy gauge tubeset for use in ATB’s.
531OS – Oversize tubeset
531Professional – Superseded 531SL, thinner and 150g lighter than 531Competition.
531SL – Special lightweight (SL) tubeset, comprising 531 main tubes drawn thinner than standard 531. Later named 531Pro.
531 Speed Stream – 531SL Oval shaped aerodynamic tube. 50g heavier than 531C but 100g lighter than 531ST.
531ST – Special Touring tubeset
531 Super Tourist – Superseded ST.
531DS Designer select tubing. Alternative 531 tubes with differing gauges and profiles were available to the specialist builder.
631 – Seamless air-hardened. UTS: 800-900 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
631OS – Oversize tubeset
653 – Was a mixed tubeset with a non-heat treated 753 main triangle. Stays used 753r and fork blades were borrowed from the 531c tube set.
708 – 708 was a tube set in Reynolds’ range in the 1990s. It has main tubes with special section. These were not butted, but had 8 flats running along the length of the tube. The rear stays would be 753.
725 – Heat-Treated 525; AISI4130 (CrMo), with strength placing it just above 921 and below 931; UTS: 1080-1280 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
725os – Oversize version of the 725 tubeset
731OS – Oversize tubeset introduced in 1992 double butted oversized tubes with laterally aligned stiffening ribs on the but sections to maximize stiffness and torsional rigidity. Tubeset: Strength steering tube and fork 802N/mm2, top, down and seat tube 925N/mm2 and rear triangle 1315N/mm2.[11]
753 – Heat-Treated Manganese-Molybdenum. Essentially 531 made with reduced wall thickness and heat treated to increase tensile strength. UTS: 1080-1280 MPa (70-83 Tsi, 157-186 ksi) Complete tube set of 11 tubes (Frame 8, Fork 3). 753 can only be lugged and fillet-brazed with an alloy of 56% silver below 700 degrees Celsius and sale is restricted only to approved builders certified by Reynolds
753ATB – Mountain, All terrain, Off-road
753R – Road tubeset
753T – Track tubeset, thinner tubes for track use
753OS – Oversize tubeset
853 – Seamless air-hardening heat-treated. UTS: 1250-1400 MPa, density 7.78 g/cm3
853OS – Oversize tubeset
921 – Cold-work stainless steel
931 – Precipitation hardening stainless steel. Tubing introduced in 2012. Can be used with 953 to reduce overall frame costs.
953 – Maraging stainless steel. Introduced in 2005. UTS: 1750-2050 MPa, density 7.8 g/cm3
7005 – Al-Zn alloy. UTS: 400 MPa, density 2.78 g/cm3
6061 – Al-Si-Mg alloy. UTS: 325 MPa, density 2.70 g/cm3
X-100 – Al-Li Alloy. UTS: 550-600 MPa, density 2.65 g/cm3
6Al-4V – Seamless ELI Grade. UTS: 900-1150 MPa, density 4.42 g/cm3
3Al-2.5V – Seamless. UTS: 810-960 MPa, density 4.48 g/cm3
CP 2 – Supplied to Raleigh during the 1990s
MZM Electron – Magnesium Alloy. UTS: ~300 MPa, density ~1.80 g/cm3



Bicycle rims come in many shapes and sizes and nowadays tend to be made from aluminum. Older Steel wheels were typically chromed and were almost unstoppable with rim brakes when wet. Spoke nipples are threaded through the rim, and screw onto the spokes, holding the wheel together.

Tires are attached to the rim. Clincher tires attach to clincher rims which house an inner tube. Tubular tires attach to tubular rims and encapsulate the inner tube.

Wider, thicker rims tend to be stronger, whilst thin, lightweight rims provide increased aerodynamics and speed.

Before the invention of disc brakes, most bike rims had a flat braking surface that the brake pads squeeze to lower riding speed.

Bikes that use disc brakes do not require a braking surface and instead use disc rotors that serve the same purpose.

That part of a wheel to which the tire is attached and often forms part of the braking mechanism



A road bike is one of the most common types of bike on the market. Road bikes are designed to be ridden on flat, paved surfaces such as roads and bike paths.

Different road bikes are available for many different pursuits. These include racing road bikes with aggressive riding positions and better aerodynamics, whilst most other road bikes are primarily designed for everyday leisurely use and efficiency on paved surfaces.

The vast majority of road bikes use 700c wheels (29 inches/ISO 622 mm) and use tires typically one of three different widths, 23c, 25c, and 28c.

These tire sizes refer to the tire width at its widest point in mm. As you’ll now realise, most road bikes have significantly thinner tires than other types of bikes.

The thin tires of a road bike allow cyclists to reach high speeds with minimal effort due to decreased rolling resistance and their slick surfaces with minimal tread.

What Is a Road Bike Used For? As suggested by its name, a road bike is built for cycling on level, paved surfaces.

Road bikes are used by millions worldwide as a reliable method of transport and by professionals in some of the biggest cycling competitions, such as the Tour de France.

In fact, road bike racing is now considered the most popular competitive cycling discipline in the world.

Road bikes can be taken on paved trails, however, loose terrain is difficult to cross on a road bike, and it’s easy to have accidents on sharp corners due to their decreased traction.

Who Should Use a Road Bike? Cyclists who want to travel from A to B (via road) as quickly and efficiently as possible are the prime candidates for a road bike.

Road bikes are also more than capable of handling steep hills thanks to their lightweight frames, making them a suitable choice for cyclists living in hilly areas.

Because road bikes allow cyclists to reach high speeds with minimal effort they’re a popular choice with bicycle commuters and bike couriers.

Additionally, if you want to join in or compete in local road races, you’ll want to use a road bike.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Road Bike? If you only want one bike and want to ride a wide variety of terrains, a gravel bike will be a better choice for you than a road bike.

A gravel bike will allow you to ride woodland trails whilst retaining traction thanks to their treaded tires with increased width.



1) the disc component of a disc brake.

2) another name for a detangler – a device that allows the handlebars and fork to revolve indefinitely without tangling the rear brake cable.



Fitchel and Sachs, a German company that began by producing ball bearings and went on to produce internal geared hubs.

In the mid-20th century, Sachs specialized in products for utility cyclists — two-speed kickback hubs, three-speed hubs and coaster brakes — while Sturmey-Archer offered a broader product line, including many narrow-ratio hubs intended for use by avid recreational cyclists and racers.

Their most famous products are the Torpedo series of hub gears. The first Torpedo 2 speed hub was produced in 1904, and its direct descendant, the SRAM T3 (T is widely understood to stand for Torpedo) 3 speed hub remains in production (possibly in Schweinfurt) to this day. F&S produced many, many, millions of Torpedo hubs and a huge number of them are still in use all over the world. The canals of Amsterdam are also full of them – as they were a mainstay of the traditional ‘Dutch’ bicycle.

Starting in the 1980s, Sachs expanded its line of internal-gear hubs to include hybrid gearing systems — first the Orbit, a two-speed hub with proprietary sprockets, then the 3 x 7 followed by the 3 x 8, and 3 x 9 DualDrive 2 systems and the 3 x 10 DualDrive 3 using a three-speed internal-gear hub and Shimano-compatible cassettes. These hubssubsitute for a front derailer, and are especially useful on deriler-equipped small-wheel bicycles, because the step-up top gear avoids the need for an extra-large chainwheel. Sachs also introduced 5-speed and 7-speed models and the Elan, a very large and heavy 12-speed hub which was a marketing failure.

Eventually it was bought out during the consolidation of European bicycle parts manufacturers and then also bought most of the French bicycle parts manufacturers including: Huret (derailleurs), Maillard (hubs and pedal), Sedis (chains)and CLB (brakes). Sachs bicycle parts were eventually bought by SRAM.



Extension levers


and Interrupter brake levers


Alternate Brake Levers used to apply brakes



What a bicyclist sits on. There are many different styles for different comfort levels and different types of bicycles



Tire inflation valve just like the one you use on your car tire



A metal framework over which saddle covering is stretched. The seat post attaches to the seat rails by means of a clamp



A frame lug on the top of the seat tube serving as a point of attachment for a clamp to secure the seat post



Runs up from the bottom bracket shell to the saddle, connecting the seat stays to the top tube, and the chainstays to the down tube.

A seatpost is inserted into the top of the seat tube, allowing you to sit down on your bike.

The angle of a seat tube greatly affects the overall geometry and riding position that different bikes provide.

A seat tube with a steep angle improves pedalling efficiency and aerodynamics, but reduces steering control and decreases stability.

A seat tube with a slack angle will provide a more stable and comfortable ride. But slack seat tube angles also reduce aerodynamics and make pedaling less efficient.



a small storage accessory hung from the back of a seat



A post that the seat is mounted to. It slides into the frame’s seat tube and is used to adjust ride height depending how far into the seat tube it is inserted. There are multiple kinds of seatposts and multiple different ways to attach a saddle to a seatpost.



Part of a bicycle frame that runs diagonally down from the top of the seat tube to the rear dropouts.

The seat stays run down either side of the rear wheel and are joined just above the wheel by a bridge or brace, increasing the frame’s rigidity.

Most of the time, this bridge provides mounting points for brake callipers, fenders or pannier racks. However, some seat stays provide their own brake mounting points, these are commonly found on bikes that use cantilever or V brakes.



Alternate to chain-drive. Utilizes beveled gears at either end of a drive shaft to turn the rear wheel instead of a chain or belt. Very popular in Holland and China. 

The first shaft drives for cycles appear to have been invented independently in the United States and Britain. In 1880, the Orbicycle (which was actually a tricycle) by Thomas Moore used a shaft drive. A. Fearnhead, of 354 Caledonian Road, North London, developed one in 1890 and received a patent in October 1891. His prototype shaft was enclosed within a tube running along the top of the chainstay; later models were enclosed within the actual chainstay. In the United States, Walter Stillman filed for a patent on a shaft-driven bicycle on Dec. 10, 1890, which was granted on July 21, 1891.

The shaft drive was not well accepted in Britain, so in 1894 Fearnhead took it to the United States where Colonel Pope of the Columbia firm bought the exclusive American rights. Belatedly, the British makers took it up, with Humber in particular plunging heavily on the deal. Curiously enough, the greatest of all the Victorian cycle engineers, Professor Archibald Sharp, was against shaft drive; in his classic 1896 book “Bicycles and Tricycles”, he wrote “The Fearnhead Gear … if bevel-wheels could be accurately and cheaply cut by machinery, it is possible that gears of this description might supplant, to a great extent, the chain-drive gear; but the fact that the teeth of the bevel-wheels cannot be accurately milled is a serious obstacle to their practical success”.

In the United States, they had been made by the League Cycle Company as early as 1893] Soon after, the French company Metropole marketed their Acatane. By 1897 Columbia began aggressively to market the chainless bicycle it had acquired from the League Cycle Company. Chainless bicycles were moderately popular in 1898 and 1899, although sales were still much smaller than regular bicycles, primarily due to the high cost. They were also somewhat less efficient than regular bicycles: there was roughly an 8 percent loss in the gearing, in part due to limited manufacturing technology at the time. The rear wheel was also more difficult to remove to change flats. Many of these deficiencies have been overcome in the past century.

In 1902, The Hill-Climber Bicycle Mfg. Company sold a three-speed shaft-driven bicycle in which the shifting was implemented with three sets of bevel gears. While a small number of chainless bicycles were available, for the most part, shaft-driven bicycles disappeared from view for most of the 20th century. There is, however, still a niche market for chainless bikes, especially for commuters, and there is a number of manufacturers who offer them either as part of a larger range or as a primary specialization. Notable examples are Biomega in Denmark and Brik in the Netherlands.

Shaft drives operate at a very consistent rate of efficiency and performance, without adjustments or maintenance, though their efficiency has been lower than that of a properly adjusted and lubricated chain, possibly because of insufficiently precise machining or alignment of the bevel gears. Shaft drives are typically more complex to disassemble when repairing flat rear tires, and the manufacturing cost is typically higher.

A fundamental issue with bicycle shaft-drive systems is the requirement to transmit the torque of the rider through bevel gears with much smaller radii than typical bicycle sprockets. This requires both high quality gears and heavier frame construction.

Since shaft-drives require gear hubs for shifting, they accrue all the benefits and drawbacks associated with such mechanisms.




Shifters allow the rider to change gears by using a lever connected by a cable to the derailleurs. The right shifter moves the rear derailleur which shifts the chain from one gear to another. The left lever moves the chain from one ring on the crankset to another using the front derailleur. There are different styles of shifters and different placements for them. The photos above show: Stem Mounted Shifters, Down Tube Shifters, ‘Brifters’ , Grip Shifters (Sturmey Archer had a Twist Shifter decades ago), Sturmey Archer Trigger Shifter, Thumb Shifter, modern Trigger Shifters and Bar End Shifters.




Shimano sales constitute an estimated 70–80% of the global bicycle component by market by value. Its products include drivetrain, brake, wheel and pedal components for road, mountain, track and hybrid bikes. The components include crankset comprising cranks and chainrings; bottom bracket; chain; rear chain sprockets or cassette; front and rear wheel hubs; gear shift levers; brakes; brake levers; cables; front and rear gear mechanisms or dérailleurs. Shimano Total Integration (STI) is Shimano’s integrated shifter and brake lever combination for road bicycles. The Italian firm Campagnolo as well as US based SRAM are Shimano’s primary competitors in the cycling marketplace.

When the 1970s United States bike boom exceeded the capacity of the European bicycle component manufacturers, Japanese manufacturers SunTour and Shimano rapidly stepped in to fill the void. While both companies provided products for all price-ranges of the market, SunTour also focused on refinement of existing systems and designs for higher-end products, while Shimano initially paid more attention to rethinking the basic systems and bringing out innovations such as Positron shifting (a precursor to index shifting) and front freewheel systems at the low end of the market. In the 1980s, with Shimano pushing technological innovation and lower prices, the more traditional European component manufacturers lost significant market presence. During this period, in contrast to the near-universal marketing technique of introducing innovations on the expensive side of the marketplace and relying on consumer demand to emulate early adopters along with economy of scale to bring them into the mass market, Shimano and SunTour (to a lesser extent) introduced new technologies at the lowest end of the bicycle market, using lower cost and often heavier and less durable materials and techniques, only moving them further upmarket if they established themselves in the lower market segments.

In the 1980–1983 period, Shimano introduced three groupsets with “AX” technology: Dura-Ace & 600 (high-end), and Adamas in the low-end. Features of these components include aerodynamic styling, center-pull brakes, brake levers with concealed cables, and ergonomic pedals. By 1985 Shimano introduced innovation only at the highest quality level (Dura-Ace for road bikes and XT for mountain bikes), then trickled the technology down to lower production levels as it became proven and accepted. Innovations include index shifting (known as SIS, Shimano Index System introduced in 1984), freehubs, dual-pivot brakes, 8-9-10 speed drivetrains, and the integration of shifters and brake levers. Also, these components could only work properly when used with other Shimano components; for example, its rear derailleurs have to be used with the correct Shimano gear levers, cables, freehub, and cassette. SunTour tried to catch up, but by the end of the 1980s they had lost the technological and commercial battle, and Shimano had become the largest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world.

Shimano’s marketplace domination that developed in the 1990s quickly led to the perception by some critics that Shimano had become a marketplace bully with monopolistic intentions. This viewpoint was based on the fact that Shimano became oriented towards integrating all of their components with each other, with the result being that if any Shimano components were to be used, then the entire bike would need to be built from matching Shimano components. The alternative perspective is that by controlling the mix of components on the bicycle, a manufacturer such as Shimano can control how well their own product functions. Shimano’s primary competitors (Campagnolo and SRAM) also make proprietary designs that limit the opportunity to mix and match componentry.

In 2003 Shimano introduced “Dual Control” to mountain bikes, where the gear shift mechanism is integrated into the brake levers. This development was controversial, as the use of Dual Control integrated shifting for hydraulic disc brakes required using Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, locking competitors out of the premium end of the market. However, with their 2007 product line, Shimano moved back to making separate braking and shifting components fully available in addition to the integrated “Dual Control” components, a move to satisfy riders that wished to use Shimano shifting with other brands of disc brakes.

Shimano in 1990 introduced the Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD) range of clipless pedals and matching shoes, designed so that the shoes could be used for walking. The shoes have a recess in the bottom of the sole for fitting the smaller cleats and therefore it does not protrude, while conventional clipless road pedals are designed for road cycling shoes that have smooth soles with large protruding cleats, which are awkward for walking. The SPD range, in addition to other off-road refinements, was designed to be used with treaded soles that more closely resemble rugged hiking boots. SPD pedals and shoes soon established themselves as the market standard in this sector, although many other manufacturers have developed alternatives that may be less prone to being clogged by mud or easier to adjust.[citation needed] However, the SPD dominance in this sector has meant that alternative pedal manufacturers nearly always design their pedals to be usable with Shimano shoes, and likewise mountain bike shoe manufacturers make their shoes “Shimano SPD” compatible. SPD has spawned 2 types of road cleats that are incompatible with standard SPD pedals and some shoes – SPD-R and SPD-SL. SPD-R is a now-defunct pedal standard. SPD-SL is basically a copy of the standard Look clipless pedal system. It has a wide, one-sided platform and a triangular cleat that is Look 3-bolt compatible.

“Shimano Alfine” The Alfine 700 is an internally geared hub with 8 or 11 speeds, weighing less than 1700 grams (auxiliary components not included). The product was introduced to the market in 2010. It comprises four stepped planetary series offering up to 11 speeds.

“Biopace”  is the Shimano tradename for a type of ovoid cycle chainring manufactured from 1983 to 1993. Biopace chainrings are non-round, but unlike traditional oval chainrings which tend to have the largest effective gearing coincide with the downstroke, with Biopace the rings are oriented so the effectively reduced chainring diameter now coincides with the cranks being (at or near) horizontal, and the increased chainring diameter coincides with the pedals being close to TDC and BDC. The reasoning behind this is that it smooths the pedaling action, allowing the rider to carry a lot of momentum through the (downwards-based) power stroke, having it smoothly removed at the bottom of the stroke.

“Dyna Drive” A pedal system with no pedal axle and with the bearings located in the part of the pedal which screws into the crank. This required an oversized hole in the crank 25mm (1″ diameter) to accept the Dyna Drive pedals. The theory behind this was to allow the foot to be lower than the pedal axle for better biomechanics. This system was relatively short-lived, one reason being that the pedal bearings wore out quickly. However, they were used by Alexi Grewal (USA) in his gold medal-winning ride in the 1984 Olympic cycling road race in Los Angeles.

“Freehub” Shimano introduced a combined rear hub and freewheel in the late 1970s which they named “freehub”. But it did not catch on, as its arrangement of internally splined sprockets sliding onto the matching externally splined freehub was incompatible with the then standard separate hub and screw-on freewheel. When a larger number of rear sprockets came to be used, the freehub concept was re-introduced and is now the dominant rear hub type. Freehub style hubs are inherently stronger than screw-on sprocket and freewheel setups because it allows the bearings on the drive side of the hub to sit nearer to the end of the hub axle, reducing bending in the axle caused by chain tension and rider weight, a significant problem leading to fatigue failure in many axles as 6 and 7-speed blocks were introduced.

“Hollowtech” cranks These are cranks that are pressure die-cast as tubes open at the pedal end and forged closed before being threaded for the pedals. Previous to this hollow cranks tended to be tubes with a solid part welded to each end to take the pedals and the bottom bracket.
“Hollowtech II” This was the next iteration after Hollowtech cranks. For this system, the spindle was fused to the drive side crank arm and the non-drive side crank arm fitted on the splined spindle using pinch bolts. The bottom bracket bearings sat outside the bottom bracket in the frame, allowing the spindle to be a larger diameter, making it stiffer and lighter. The bearing reliability of this system remains quite variable compared to previous Shimano cartridge bottom bracket bearings as Hollowtech II bearing alignment is at the mercy of the alignment of the bottom bracket threads and the facing of the shell rather than the factory set by Shimano in the case of the cartridge BBs.

“Hyperglide HG” Cutaways on the rear gear sprockets (called the cassette if it slides onto a freehub body) allow smoother downshifting (shifting from a small sprocket to a bigger one) as the cutaways allow the chain to roll from one sprocket to another without lifting as far off the sprocket teeth. This allows a certain amount of gear shifting under power, though this remains hard on the drivetrain.

“Interactive Glide” (IG) Gears feature “pick-up teeth” and specially shaped tooth profiles for smoother and faster shifting.

Metric chain Shimano designed chains with a 10 mm pitch instead of the conventional half inch pitch as well as sprockets and chainrings for use with this metric chain; however this did not catch on. For a time 10 mm pitch chains, sprockets, and chainrings were used for motor-paced racing, to reduce the size and weight of the transmission system.

“Shimano Nexus” Shimano’s family of internally geared hubs. Available in 3-, 7- and 8 speed with or without a coaster brake. The Nexus hubs are comparable in range to a full 16–20 speed system.

“Servo Wave” Introduced in the mid-1990s, this system allowed brake levers to pull more brake cable at the start of the lever stroke than at the end. This improved separation between the brake blocks and the rim to accommodate for mud and lack of trueness in the wheels, while still delivering the same braking power like traditional systems. This was implemented initially by mounting the brake cable on a roller that moves towards the lever pivot in a slot in the lever blade as the lever is pulled. A second design pulled the brake cable downwards towards a cam near to the brake lever pivot instead. Servo Wave appeared for the first time on a hydraulic disk brake lever on the 2008 Shimano XT groupset.


SLR (“Shimano Linear Response”) Integration of a return spring into the brake lever, pushing the brake cable back when the lever is released. The idea behind this was that the return spring in the actual brake could be designed to be weaker, thus giving an overall feeling of easier operation.

SPD (“Shimano Pedaling Dynamics”) The SPD pedal was released by Shimano in 1990 and forms one part of a clipless bicycle shoe/pedal system. While not the first, its innovation was its small cleat which fitted into a recess in the sole of a shoe designed for SPD use. The recess allowed an SPD-equipped shoe to be used for relatively comfortable short walks, whereas previous systems tended to have a large, protruding cleat which prevented this. Clipless pedals use a system of cleat retention which resembles that of downhill skis, allowing for rapid shoe release, ergo clipless pedals are deemed safer than the older styles of pedal/shoe integration that used toe straps.

STI (“Shimano Total Integration”) The marketing term for the integration of shifting into the brake levers for road bikes, enabling the rider to shift without taking the hands off the brake levers. This made it possible to shift during uphill passages that require getting out of the saddle and added general convenience for the rider. Although the first generation of STI was unable to downshift multiple cogs which was not a problem in downtube shifters.


SHIMANO STePS DU-E6100 (Shimano Total Electric Power System), is Shimano’s range of electric bike (or e-bike) components. It’s a pedal-assist system, which means the power is only applied when you’re pedaling. It’s designed to make e-bikes feel and handle more like ‘normal’ bikes.

“VIA” (“Vehicle Inspection Association”) is stamped on all Shimano parts. It is an official approval stamp used to certify parts of Japanese vehicles – including bicycles. This mark signifies compliance with certain quality standards and is similar to the “UL” (Underwriters Laboratories) mark.



A brake caliper that has one arm pulled by the inner cable, the other pushed by the cable housing. Usually, the cable runs down one side and both cable arms are on the same side of the caliper. Some sidepull brakes such as the Scott Superbrake, however, have both cable arms above the pivot, so the cable approaches from one side.

Front Tire

side-pull brakes have both arms pivoted on a central point, usually the same bolt that holds the caliper unit to the frame of fork.

Rear Tire

side-pull brakes have a separate pivot for each arm. Dual-pivot brakes usually have more mechanical advantage than single-pivot units, but they don’t track out-of-true or irregular rims as smoothly as single-pivot units.


Front Tire

are technically sidepull designs also, but this term is not normally used for them, since they are a type of cantilever, not caliper brake.


For bicycles with suspensions, a device that limits the rate at which suspension rebounds after absorbing an impact



Known to Americans primarily for their black plastic (Delrin) derailleurs during the “bike boom” of the 1970’s, they were at the forefront of innovation over the years, producing such highly regarded items as the Super LJ derailleurs, Retrofriction shifters, and a very popular line of seat posts.

Founded by Lucien Juy in 1928, Simplex gained prestige and market share by developing and perfecting a rear derailleur which properly tensioned the chain regardless of which gear the rider was using. This breakthrough translated into 100’s of prestigious races won in the 1930’s with bikes equipped with the Simplex derailleurs. In 1936, Simplex was the first company to introduce a 5 speed rear derailleur – a breakthrough which lasted until the late 70’s.

Simplex produced a complete line of Bicycle Components including dropouts, seat posts, derailleurs and shift levers.



 The lever at the bottom of the illustration is the Skewer


Device inserted through a quick release hub to attach the wheel to the frame. See Quick Release above.



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



 The shaft in the middle is the Spindle

Part of the Bottom Bracket. An axle around which a pedal rotates; with attachment points at the ends for crank arms.



Spokes are the rods that connect the rim of a bicycle wheel to the hub.

Usually wire with one end swaged to form a head and one threaded end. A typical wheel has 36 spokes

Spokes bear the weight of the rider and bike, so they must be installed and tensioned properly.

Overtightening, bicycle spokes can damage the rim, hubs and spoke nipples of your wheel. Poorly tensioned spokes can also cause the wheel to be misshapen (often egg-shaped).

Adjusting the spokes of a wheel to roughly the same tension will provide a strong, reliable wheel. To find the ideal spoke tension for your wheel, check the recommended tension with your rim manufacturer.



Also called a ‘dork disc’ or ‘pie plate’; A disc made of clear plastic or metal that is installed on the rear wheel between the gears and the spokes that keeps the chain from coming into contact with the spokes.



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



                                    Road bikes: If the bike has a traditional straight top tube that is parallel to the ground, you should have approximately 1″ of clearance between the ground and tires when you lift the bike as you’re straddling it.

If the bike has a sloping top tube (semi-compact or compact design) expect to have clearance of 2″ or more. Both men’s and women’s bikes can have compact frames.

                                   Mountain bikes: When you lift the bike, you want 2″ minimum clearance between the tires and the ground. If your bike has full suspension, it’s okay to have less initial clearance (1″–2″) because the suspension compresses under your weight once you sit on the bike. That said, the amount of clearance is largely affected by the slope of the top tube down toward the rear wheel. For example, if the slope is dramatic, you’ll likely have ample clearance no matter what size the frame is. Because of this, you can’t rely solely on standover clearance to determine if a bike fits.

                                   Hybrid bikes: If your hybrid bike is a city commuter, use the road bike guidelines. If it’s a beach cruiser or a step-through style, you don’t really have to worry about standover height. Most of these have steeply sloping top tubes that let you step over easily and put your feet flat on the ground when seated.



A bicycle stem is one of the most important parts of a bike. A bike stem attaches the handlebars to the steerer tube of your front fork.

Because the stem is directly attached to the steerer tube, when the handlebars are turned, the front fork rotates with them, changing the direction of travel whilst cycling!

Some older stems are called quill stems which expands when tightened inside the fork steerer tube.

Most modern stems are front-loaded and have multiple screws so that you can remove your handlebars without having to remove the bar tape, brakes and gear shifters.



Step-through bikes offer riders the most upright riding position and will also be the easiest for riders to mount and dismount by simply stepping through the curved frame.




The company presently known as Stronglight began in 1903, when it was first known as Haubtmann. Haubtmann started out by manufacturing a high-end line of steel cranksets — originally cottered, of course, first under their own name and then under the Solida name. They continued doing so rather successfully for the next seventy years or so, outfitting many a mid-range lightweight along the way.

In the 1970s, about the same time that aluminum was becoming the material of choice for cranksets, Haubtmann merged with another company named Verrot Perrin, which had devised and trademarked the name “Stronglight” around 1933. They came up with this name for their square-taper crank, which went on to become the universal crank-to-bottom-bracket interface standard for all but the crappiest bikes for decades, and which still predominates today.

Their goal was primarily to offer a prestige line of products for aftermarket sale, as well as more ordinary fare for era manufacturers who wanted house-brand components, which included such respected marques as Peugeot, Hirondelle and Mercier. Yes, those Peugeot-branded parts on your trusty PX10 were probably made by Stronglight.

The late 1970s and early 1980s marked a giddy time for the French bicycle industry, feeding tens of thousands of Peugeots, Gitanes, Motobecanes and other less memorable names into the maw of the Great U.S. Bike Boom. It was a time when almost any bicycle would sell, as domestic denizens responded to new paradigms of environmental awareness and populist athleticism.

Then came 1985, which brought a burgeoning Asian bicycle industry to U.S. shores for the first time. The mid-80s were golden years for the Japanese road bike, and bore witness to the earliest stirrings of the Taiwanese manufacturing giants. The sudden craze for mountain bikes also caught the French bicycle industry unawares, with pioneering companies like Gary Fisher Mountain Bikes, Ritchey Design, Specialized and Trek coming into their own around then.

Intense price wars followed as increasing numbers of global manufacturers tried selling more bikes into an increasingly saturated domestic market. Combined with numerous regrettable decisions by French bicycle makers that resulted in substandard or poorly-reasoned products flooding the U.S. market, these otherwise external factors effectively doomed an entire nation’s bicycle industry.

Artisanal builders remain in France and are still much respected — Cycles Alex Singer foremost among them. But the great factories are gone and what “French” bikes one sees now are generally made in China.  In 1993, the company declared bankruptcy only to be purchased shortly thereafter by an investment group and pool of former employees who revived the brand under the same name.

The new focus at Stronglight was the same as the old focus at Stronglight: emphasize high-end aftermarket components, which are now primarily manufactured through CNC processes, without neglecting the volume production of “city bike” level parts still manufactured using cold-forging processes. As before, the emphasis would always be on technologically advanced, competition-level componentry.



A manufacturing company originally from Nottingham, England. It primarily produces bicycle hub gears, brakes and a great many other sundry bicycle components, most prominently during their heyday as a subsidiary of the Raleigh Bicycle Company. 

The company was founded in 1902 by Henry Sturmey and James Archer under the guidance of Frank Bowden, the primary owner of Raleigh. In 2000, the assets and trademarks of Sturmey-Archer were sold to Sun Race of Taiwan which was renamed Sun Race Sturmey-Archer Inc. and production moved to Taiwan.

All Sturmey-Archer gear hubs use epicyclic (planetary) geartrains of varying complexity. The AW is the simplest, using one set of planetary gears with four planets. The AM uses three compound planets with differently sized cogs machined from a common shaft to engage the gear ring and sun gear separately, while the close-ratio three-speeds, and hubs with four or more speeds, use multiple planetary geartrains. Depending on the specific hub these may be in series with each other, or with one or the other set being selectable at any given time by locking a particular sun gear to the axle.

‘K’ family hub gears
In 1921, the K hub was introduced as an updated and improved version of the X, later FX hub (following the introduction of fine axle threading) – it is the Model X which was manufactured under license by BSA as their 3 speed hub until 1956. The new K model three speed had ratios of 75%, 100%, and 133%, the same as the later AW, however its internal workings were substantially different. Most notable was the 6-prong ramped sliding clutch which was mounted between springs, this gave the advantage of lateral movement being possible without shifter movement and allowed gears to be pre-selected while pedaling, the ratio would change when pedal force was relaxed, freeing the mechanism to slide into the new gear and under spring pressure. The ramped clutch dogs and sprung mount also permitted the K hub to be without a neutral position between the ‘Normal’ direct drive gear, and the ‘High’ overdrive gear, both the SW and AW (until the mid 1990s) have this neutral position. The gear ring dogs would ratchet around the clutch using the ramps and springs if the hub was trying to engage Normal and High gear at the same time, though allowing this to happen through slow shifting can cause excessive clutch wear and render the hub inoperable. In Low gear, this isn’t a problem as the low gear pawls can be overrun by a higher gear, while Normal and High gears use the same pawls, requiring an alternative solution.

The K hub spawned a Tricoaster version with back pedal brake, designated KC, in 1921 and both close ratio (KS), and medium ratio (KSW) variants in 1932 and 1933 respectively. With the introduction of 90mm drum brakes LBF/BF/BFC and LBR/BR/BRC in 1931, the first Sturmey-Archer 3-speed drum brake was introduced, the KB. The KB was joined in 1934 by the KT 111mm tandem drum brake, part of a family of 111mm drum brakes alongside the BFT and BRT front and rear drum brakes (BR type drum brakes are not gear hubs and are instead threaded for fixed sprockets or freewheels). The KT lasted only four years, being replaced by the AT (AW based 111mm drum brake) in 1938 when the K was replaced by the AW. The AT, BFT and BRT all went out of production because of hostilities in 1941 and never re-entered production.

‘T’ family hub gears
Despite the primary selling point of Sturmey-Archer hubs being their offer of three gears when rivals managed only two, Sturmey-Archer produced a range of two speed hubs in the 1930s. This began with the T and TF (identical hubs, F denoting a fixed sprocket) in 1933, alongside a version with a 90mm drum brake; with a rod brake operation and freewheel, this was TB, with a rod operation and fixed wheel, this was TBF, while a C was added to either designation to denote cable operated brakes instead of rods. In reality, an end user can easily switch between fixed and free, and rod and cable by swapping out common parts, though the hub shell will continue to show the designation for a given hub’s original configuration. The T, TF, TB, TBF, TBFC, and TBC all had a 25% reduction below direct drive

In 1936, a close ratio 2 speed was introduced, this was called TC and offered a 13.46% reduction below direct drive.

Hubs manufactured in the 1930s have a date stamp given as a number at the end of the model designation, this can be seen on examples of all of the hubs mentioned in this section, as well as some A and F family hubs. A 1936 TC hub would, for example, be marked TC6, TC 6 or TC-6.

Sturmey-Archer’s most widely known product is the AW wide-ratio three-speed hub gear, introduced in 1938 (though patented in 1936) and still in production in a substantially modified form as of 2018. It is the sole survivor of a much larger range of “A” model three-speed hubs, including the AG Dynohub, AB 90mm drum brake hub, AM (medium ratio for “club” riders), the AC and AR (close ratio racing hubs for time trialists) and the ASC (a unique three-speed fixed gear). In 1939 a four-speed close ratio model AF was released, intended as a close ratio 3 speed with an additional low gear for hills, this was discontinued in 1941 and succeeded by the near identical FC hub in 1947. 1939 also saw the introduction of the FM four speed medium ratio hub, which was mechanically very similar to the AF and FC.

Post-war, in 1946, the FW four speed wide ratio hub was introduced and spawned the FG Dynohub and FB 90mm drum brake hub. the FG would come to characterise the output of the heyday of Raleigh Superbe model bicycles, while the relative longevity of the FW can be largely attributed to its deployment on high end Moulton Bicycles through the 1960s until its discontinuation in 1970.

The FW led to the development of a series of internally similar ‘S5’ five-speed models, and by 1994, Sturmey-Archer were producing seven-speed hubs. Production was low, and in the mid-2000s these were discontinued, hub geared bicycles having gone mostly out of fashion.

SW hub gears
The brief story of the Sturmey-Archer SW series medium-flange wide-ratio three-speed hub provides strong substantiation of the merits of the AW design.

Sturmey-Archer Gears Ltd. designed the type SW Mk. 1 medium-flange wide-ratio three-speed hub in 1954 and began production by 1955, intending it to replace the AW series of large-flange hubs which were intended for discontinuation upon the SW’s introduction (AW hubs were still being produced in 1956, and may have continued throughout the SW’s run, despite being absent from catalogues).

Compared to the AW’s 25% reduction in first gear, direct-drive second gear, and 33.33% overdrive 3rd gear, the SW offered slightly wider gearing, referred to by Brian Hayes as “super-wide” gearing, with 27.7% reduction for first gear, direct-drive second, and taller 38.4% overdrive third gear. Riders appreciate the nearly silent operation of its springless ‘centrifugal’ pawls (while the pawls are often described as being centrifugal in operation, they in fact operate by a rocking motion as the freewheel ratchet teeth pass over them, pushing them back and forth in their slightly oversized sockets).

Smaller and lighter than an AW hub, the SW was aptly, but unfortunately, described by Sturmey-Archer as having “fewer working parts than any other wide-ratio 3-Speed hub” and was thought to be less costly to manufacture than the AW series that had been in production since 1938.

The new hub turned out to be slow to engage drive because the mode of pawl engagement necessitated fewer freewheel stops and could not be “pre-shifted” like an AW can while changing ‘up’, and the AW’s predecessor, the ‘K’, can while changing in either direction. This pre-selection of gears was never advocated by Sturmey-Archer. More troubling, the unique crescent-shaped pawls can have slippage issues, even with correct toggle chain adjustment, as engagement of only two of the three pawls in each freewheel is insufficiently stable to hold normal levels of torque. This is more pronounced in hubs which are sticky inside from incorrect lubrication, and ones which have been allowed to wear through poor maintenance or, less commonly, heavy use. Attempts were made to correct the issues the SW experienced, with surviving examples showing two different planet cage retention methods (mandating two different axle designs), three different planet cage pawl ring designs, two different gear ring designs, two different sliding clutch designs, two different pawl designs and two different axle key designs, one for each of the two indicator rod designs which were used with the SW, a two piece, left hand indicating design between 1954 and mid-1958, requiring a plain drilling in the axle key and a fully drilled through axle, and a less common threaded axle key, for use with a standard AW type right hand indicating design, introduced at around the same time as the re-marketing of the AW in the late summer of 1958 and permitting the use of a partially solid axle.

Sturmey-Archer had intended for the SW to completely replace the AW hub, and had designed a complete family of SW series hubs. The SB was intended to replace the AB/ABC 3 speed hub with 90mm drum brake, and the SG was intended to replace the AG Three speed ‘Dyno-Three’ Dynohub. Both the SB and SG would have used a modified set of SW internals with a shortened planet cage to facilitate the additional functionality on the left side of the hub. Technical drawings for both the SB and SG exist and both appeared in catalogues, however there is no evidence that either hub went into production and the AB/ABC and AG re-appeared alongside the AW in 1958.

The AW had been built under license by The Hercules Cycle and Motor Company as the A type in the 1940s and the B type in the 1950s (there is no functional difference and the letter merely denotes the decade). Hercules put their name on SW hubs too, though these are far less common than Sturmey-Archer branded SWs.

After the failure of the SW in the market and the re-commitment to the AW, Sturmey-Archer continued to widely license the design, with fully interchangeable clones of the AW eventually being made under labels including J.C. Higgins, Sears, Austro-Daimler, Brompton, Brampton, SunTour, and others.

S2 ‘Automatic’
In 1966 Sturmey-Archer launched a new two-speed hub with a backpedal shifting action similar to the Fichtel and Sachs ‘Torpedo Zwei Gang Duomatic’. The S2 – Sturmey-Archer’s first 2-speed hub since the demise of the T series in 1941 and the last two speed they would make in the UK – featured a direct drive and a 28.6% gear reduction. While its lack of need for a gear cable might have led to the S2 being a popular choice for small wheeled and folding bicycles, the nature of the gears meant that a small wheeled bicycle would struggle to obtain acceptably high gearing within the constraints of a) the size of its wheels, b) the minimum size of sprocket which could be fitted and, c) the maximum size of chainwheel which could be obtained. For these reasons, it was commercially unsuccessful.

Shifting the S2’s gears was achieved by reversing the pedal action such that the sprocket and driver rotated 1/4 turn anti-clockwise relative to the axle (the amount of pedal movement required for this is gearing dependent). The up-shift and down-shift process is the same, with the hub toggling between gears; there is a consequent risk of overshooting the desired gear. The S2 has no equivalent to the sliding clutch seen in 3- and 4-speed Sturmey-Archer hub designs, there is indeed no lateral movement within the hub in use.

To achieve this radically different mode of shifting gears, the hub featured a unique driver with a 4 spline keyed socket in the middle (similar to, though not interchangeable with, later ‘No Intermediate Gear’ AW drivers), into which sat a selector sleeve. The 4 cuttings on the selector sleeve (2 shallow and 2 deep, arranged alternately) enabled the selector sleeve to transmit drive from the driver to the backs of the two unique high gear pawls, with said pawls either allowed to engage the hub shell for direct drive (deep selector sleeve cutting) or tripped out such that drive is transmitted only to the gear ring (shallow selector sleeve cutting). Low gear then operates in the same way as on an AW hub, with the drive of the ring gear turning the planet cage (via the planet gears) – and hence the shell – at a reduced speed.

The S2 hub features three low gear pawls mounted in its shortened planet cage, necessitating a low gear freewheel track with twelve stops instead of the 10 which would be found on a contemporary AW, this means that an S2 freewheeling in low gear will tick more frequently and more loudly than an AW in low gear at the same speed in a wheel of the same size. Because of this difference in the left (low gear) freewheel, and the short planet cage, the S2 has a gear ring pressed into the shell near the middle, with the mechanism occupying little more than half of the shell volume and the rest being left empty. For this reason, the S2 has a unique shell and its internals cannot be installed in the shell of another model.

The S2 is an unusual hub, with only 12,500 produced, and they are rarely available for sale. The hub was discontinued in 1972 and should not be confused with the S2, S2C and S2K hubs currently manufactured in Taiwan by Sun Race Sturmey-Archer.

Hybrid gear options
Sturmey-Archer hubs are seen by many as an alternative to Derailleur gears, however on many models of Sturmey-Archer hub, the two can be combined to offer a setup with many of the benefits of both systems – offering more, closer spaced, gears while continuing to offer a very wide overall range.

The majority of Sturmey-Archer gear hubs can be converted to hybrid gearing by fitting a rear derailleur to the bike and finding a suitable method of attaching more than one sprocket to the hub driver.

For the ‘three spline’ driver, an additional sprocket may be added in place of the spacers so long as care is taken to ensure the gap between the sprockets is not so great that the chain will drop into it instead of moving between sprockets. Two sprocket blocks have been produced for these hubs in the past too, though these are now obsolete and hard to find.

For the 12-spline driver of late 1930s and 1940s sporting hubs, similar arrangements may be made as for a 3-spline driver, however component sourcing is likely to be a bigger problem in line with the general scarcity of these drivers and the sprockets which fit them.

For the threaded drivers which were fitted to touring hubs before 1951, a standard thread-on freewheel may be fitted, although care must be taken to ensure there is sufficient clearance in the frame and sufficient thread engagement to ensure the setup is safe. More than three sprockets is unlikely to yield successful results.

Some Sturmey-Archer hubs, by their design, are fundamentally incompatible with hybrid gearing and hybrid setups should not be attempted with them. These are:

AF, FM, FC, and AC because of the secondary planet train which is used to advance the sun gear in Low and High gears, this causes the internals to turn as the bike freewheels and applies tension to the bottom of the chain, this tension will damage a derailleur setup. For the same reason, it is normal for bikes with these hubs to spin their pedals when they are pushed forwards, where on other Sturmey-Archer gear hubs this would indicate an overtightened left hand bearing cone.
ASC Three Speed fixed gear, in addition to the reason set out above, any fixed gear hub is incompatible with derailleur gearing because of the need to apply chain tension in both directions when slowing down on a fixed gear bike.

The Dynohub was Sturmey-Archer’s hub dynamo (generator) for bicycles. The initial GH12 12-volt model was introduced in 1936 and followed two years later by the GH8. This 8-volt unit was discontinued in 1941 and replaced in 1945 by the lighter-weight GH6 6-volt version, which remained in production until 1984. The term “dynohub” is sometimes applied generically to bicycle hub dynamos, but it originates as, and remains, a trademark.

The GH6 version produced a rated output of 6 V, 0.33 A (2 W) from a 20-pole ring magnet with a stator having a continuous winding. Original headlamp bulbs are 6 V, 0.25 A (1.5 W) (e.g., CRY5) and a rear bulb of 6 V 0.04A (0.24W) (e.g., CRY8). This is different from a modern standard bicycle dynamo, though replacements can still be obtained.[6] Common substitutions are the modern standard 2.4 W headlamp bulb and a tail lamp bulb of 0.6 W. One rider reports much more light with a 6.3 V, 0.25 A (1.6 W) type 40 bulb.[7] LED conversions are possible and will output a much brighter light than incandescent or halogen bulbs, though the LED alternatives require the fitting of a voltage regulator and will strobe 10 times per wheel revolution if not fitted with a capacitor or rectifier to smooth the AC current output from the Dynohub.

Rated output was reached at around 20 km/h (12 mph), a rotational speed of approximately 160 rpm. The name dynamo implies DC output, but as usual with bicycle dynamos (known as generators in North America), output was in fact alternating current.

Dynohubs were offered as front hubs and as rear geared hubs. The AG was an AW three-speed rear hub with inbuilt dynamo, while the FG was a dynamo similarly combined with an FW four-speed. An SG ‘Super-Wide’ three-speed Dynohub was planned between 1954 and 1960, but never produced. An FG hub can be converted to have 5 gears using the same methods of modification as would be used for an FW to enable individually selectable sun gears.

Hub generators were absent from Sturmey-Archer’s product range from 1984 until the 2006 introduction of the X-FDD front hub, which combines a 6v, 0.4 A (2.4 W) or 0.5 A (3 W) dynamo with a 70 mm drum brake.[8]

Modern gear hubs (Sun Race Sturmey-Archer)
The XRF8, XRD8, XRR8, and XRK8 8-speed hubs entered series production in 2007.[9]

Sun Race Sturmey-Archer have modified the design and manufacture in many respects; compared to the old AW hub, the current three-speed equivalent (SRF3) now has an aluminium alloy shell for lighter weight (a painted-steel shelled ‘Steelite’ version is still available, and branded AW). According to Schraner and Brandt, an aluminium alloy shell reduced spoke breakage due to aluminium being softer allowing the spoke to seat into the flange and disperse the stress at the bend in the spoke over a wider area.[10][11]

Sturmey-Archer X-FD front hub brake
The company produced front hub brakes to match such as the 70mm X-FD model, featuring sealed cartridge bearings. 

In 2010 Sturmey-Archer launched a new range of duomatic 2-speed hubs, re-using the S2 name from the late 1960s, these hubs – designated S2 (freewheel), S2C (backpedal brake), and S2K (6 bolt disc brake) – share their general engineering principles with the original S2, but do not share any internal components. They offer a direct gear and an overdrive of 38%, a significant improvement for usability over the ‘underdrive’ gear of the original S2.

Three-speed fixed gear hub
In 2009 Sun Race Sturmey-Archer re-introduced a three-speed fixed gear hub, the S3X.[12] This gives ratios of 100/75/62.5 (i.e. the top gear is direct drive and the others are geared down from it) and the internals are based on the newest five-speed freewheel hub (in the same way as the original fixed ASC was based on the contemporary FC four-speed hub).

Sturmey Archer made various models of 70mm and 90mm drum brakes in both steel and aluminium bodies.



Begun in 1912 as Maeda Iron Works Company manufacturing freewheels and sprockets, the company concentrated on producing bicycle gearing components.

In the 1950s, the company began producing its version of pull-chain, rod-guided, touring derailleurs, similar to those of French design.

From the early ’70s to the mid ’80s, Sun Tour (Maeda) was the most important Japanese maker of bicycle parts. Sun Tour invented the slant-parallelogram design for rear derailers, and made the best-shifting derailers in the world for many years, until the patent ran out.

In 1964, Suntour invented the slant-parallelogram rear derailleur. The parallelogram rear derailleur had gained prominence after Campagnolo’s introduction of the “Gran Sport” in 1949, and the slant-parallelogram was an improvement of it that allowed the derailleur to maintain a more constant distance from the sprockets, resulting in easier shifting. The SunTour derailleur cost less than Campagnolo, Huret, Shimano, or Simplex and it performed especially well shifting under load, as when changing to a lower gear while pedaling up a steep incline. A contemporary Consumer Reports test reported that “SunTour was far and away the easiest to shift and the most certain of arriving at the right sprocket.”


Suntour’s slant-parallelogram, spring-loaded top pivot rear derailleur provided the best shifting on the market.

The invention of the slant-parallelogram rear derailleur seems like a good place to start. Nobuo Ozaki of Maeda (Sun Tour’s parent company) invented the design in 1964, and it was soon patented. The patent would expire in 1984, and Sun Tour’s competitors would adopt the design immediately after. In the twenty-year interim, Sun Tour’s derailleurs were typically superior to their counterparts. The primary benefit of the slant parallelogram design is that the distance between the jockey wheels and rear cogs varies less as the derailleur is moved. The first slant parallelogram derailleur was Sun Tour’s Grand Turismo model.

This is a good video showing the benefits of the Slant Parallelogram

Another interesting part came in 1966, Sun Tour’s Spirt (not Sprint, or Spirit) front derailleur. It was a “top normal” derailleur, in that you move the lever opposite the usual direction to shift up or down. Thus both shift levers move the chain to a higher gear when pressed forward. 


In 1969, SunTour was the first Japanese gear and shifter manufacturer to introduce indexed shifting on bicycles (indexed shifting appeared at least as early as the Funiculo derailleur fitted to 1935 Schulz bicycles. Although their system, called Five-Speed Click, worked well, it proved an idea ahead of its time and did not catch on with the riding public. Another design innovation was the first practical Japanese freehub — the Unit-Hub – which combined freewheel and hub in one component (unit hubs were available at least as early as the 1938 Bayliss-Wiley, probably earlier. The freehub greatly increased the strength of the rear wheel, but the idea was not pursued.


In the early ’70s, Sun Tour freewheels were a revolutionary development, markedly superior to their European competition (Atom, Cyclo, Everest, Regina etc.)

Sun Tour freewheels provided much better shifting than older designs due to the superior design of the sprocket teeth. The tops of the teeth were not squared flat or grooved, as with older designs, but were asymmetrical, with a slant inward. This provided a sharper outside corner of each tooth for better chain pickup, and the slant helped the chain slide down sideways into good engagement if it was tending to run along the tops of the teeth. European freewheels with grooves running along the tops of the teeth were prone to a semi-freewheeling mode, as the side plates of the chain would skate along the grooves. The large sprockets of some Sun Tour freewheels also sometimes had teeth alternately bent slightly toward the left and right, to aid in chain pickup.

Another advance pioneered by Sun Tour was in freewheel removal. Sun Tour still stuck with the traditional two-prong remover design, but provided much deeper notches and a matching tool with a considerably better fit. The result was a much lower incidence of damaging tools or freewheels.


Derailer-equipped bicycles in the 1960s and early 1970s usually had downtube shifters, which required removing one hand from the handlebar. Some low-end bicycles had handlebar-stem mounted shifters, which looked good to newbies but which offered no way to stabilize the hand against vibration. They also posed the risk of injury to sensitive pars of the body. Sun Tour had answers to these problems.

“Power Ratchet” shift levers, which used a ratchet mechanism to disengage the friction mechanism from the lever when it was being pulled against the tension of the derailer’s return spring. This created a lighter lever action than other friction-type shift levers. Traditional shift levers held their position against the cable pull by friction of the cover plate against the lever body. Friction was controlled by screw, sometimes with a D-ring handle so it could be adjusted during riding. Tightening required a hard pull against both the friction and the cable’s tension. The Barcons had a patented feature, a ratcheted assembly so the friction only counteracted loosening of the cable.

Sun Tour Barcons (handlebar-end shifters) were the favored shifters for use with drop handlebars from the mid-1970s until the advent of index shifting in the late 1980s. These shifters allow precise control by wrapping the thumb and index finger around the handlebar end, operating the lever with the palm of the hand and the other fingers.

Thumb shifters: What Barcons did for bicycles with drop bars, the Sun Tour thumb shifter, which mounted just inboard of the handlebar grips, did with flat bars. It conquered the mountain-bike market in the early 1980s.

Sun Tour also marketed several technologies licensed from other companies:

Roller-cam brakes. (Wilderness Trail Bikes)

Self-energizing brakes. (Scott Peterson)

Greaseguard ® hubs, bottom brackets and headsets. (Wilderness Trail Bikes)


In the early 1970s, demand created by the bike boom in the United States exceeded the capacity of European manufacturers. SunTour and Shimano filled the vacuum. SunTour focused on refining existing systems and designs for mid-level and high-end products. Like Shimano, SunTour initially did not sell complete group-sets, so it teamed with other parts makers, such as Sugino for cranksets and Dia-Compe for brakes, so it could sell a complete line of SunTour branded components. Under these types of production agreements, companies did not have design control; if a cooperating component manufacturer decided not to upgrade or redesign its products, SunTour could do little about it. Shimano decided to greatly expand its research and development staff to 200 employees, enabling the company to end its component marketing agreements in order to produce hubs, pedals, brakes, and other components on its own in competition with its former partners. In comparison, SunTour chose to continue with its existing research and development staff of some 20 persons, and remained primarily a bicycle gear and shifter manufacturer.

Unlike other bicycle component manufacturers, Suntour did not charge what the market would bear, but instead charged a price that covered costs of production plus a small profit markup. As a result, a Suntour derailleur costing $10 competed against similar level products from Campagnolo ($40) and Shimano ($20). As Suntour derailleurs and shifters could be specified on many more low- and mid-priced bicycles, the company gained a reputation with the general public as a producer of only low-end equipment. This reputation would eventually hurt sales when Suntour introduced a complete high-end component group, Superbe Pro.

Despite emerging problems, Suntour continued to achieve a number of innovations, particularly in components for mountain bikes. In partnership with Sugino, it introduced the 110/74mm BCD five-bolt triple crankset for mountain bikes, which soon became an industry standard. Next was the introduction of the Micro Drive 94/56mm BCD five-bolt compact mountain bike crankset, which saved weight, increased ground clearance, and permitted lower gearing for hill-climbing. New, short-cage rear derailleurs were provided to go with the Micro Drive cassette-type cogsets. The new system was very popular, and Shimano adopted the compact drive concept two years later. SunTour’s new thumb and trigger shifters made shifting more convenient when riding off-pavement.

The company’s decision to limit funding and staff for research and development caused running issues with new products. The first sign of trouble came with returns on SunTour’s SR MounTech rear derailleur, caused by failures of the innovative spring-loaded jockey wheel that was fitted with a seal that proved inadequate to keep out dirt and mud. In road bicycle components, the company fared no better. SunTour had introduced the SuperbeTech derailleur in 1983 with a streamlined, enclosed parallelogram. However, the design was too fragile, with internal pivots and the return spring failing frequently. It took special tools to repair and reassemble a SuperbeTech derailleur, resulting in many unhappy customers. SunTour no longer had the resources to debug prototype designs before introducing them to the market, which cost the company in returns, repairs, and damaged reputation.

Another blow came when the yen was revalued in 1985. SunTour could no longer compete on costs with a slew of manufacturers producing in Taiwan and other lower labor-cost countries. Existing orders had been written in foreign currencies, rather than yen, so SunTour suffered a major loss. It had to borrow additional cash to finance a transfer of manufacturing facilities to Taiwan, as well as begin development of new mountain bike components.

In 1987, SunTour introduced its new attempt at an indexed shifting system, AccuShift. AccuShift came late to the market to compete with Shimano’s new SIS system introduced two years before, which cost SunTour dearly. With two years of lead time, Shimano could afford to require that bicycle manufacturers equip their bikes with complete SIS shifting systems, minimizing problems with product compatibility. SunTour, on the other hand, desperately needed orders, so the company could not insist on complete SunTour component groups that had been tested to ensure compatibility with AccuShift. As a consequence, major bicycle manufacturers such as Schwinn and Raleigh installed Accu-Shift on low-end bikes using inventories of older freewheels, hubs, cables, cable housings, and chains from other manufacturers. The practice resulted in a mismatched ‘system’ that did not provide the critical tolerances needed for reliable indexed shifting.

In 1987, Japanese engineering company Mori Industries Inc. (with manufacturing plants in Taiwan) bought Sakae Ringyo Company.

In 1988 the SunTour name was purchased and revived by Sakae Ringyo Company, (now owned by Mori Industries Inc.) with a capital investment of 45,000,000 NT$ in Tokyo, Japan, thus becoming SR-SunTour. The new SR-SunTour parts are not compatible with the original SunTour parts.

By 1993, SunTour’s share of the market had dropped to five per cent of the U.S. market. At the end of 1994, Mori decided to shut down their bicycle component business. In March 1995 Daisuke Kobayashi and Hideo Hashizume, the former owners of Sakae Ringyo, arranged a management buyout. The new management took over in July, 1995, purchasing the SunTour name and the SR factory in Taiwan. Mori Industries left the bicycle component business, selling off SunTour’s Japanese facilities piecemeal and closing its U.S. offices in early 1995.

SR Suntour re-established a US presence in 2011 as SR SUNTOUR North America Inc. In 2018 they reported experiencing ‘Tremendous growth’ and moved into a larger facility in Ridgefield, Washington. 

Until 2011 the company was manufacturing forks for Italian suspension company Marzocchi.

In 2012, Junzo Kawai, former president of SunTour Japan, returned to bicycle component manufacturing with a new company called SunXCD. Two years later, at age 94, he passed away and company president Taki Takimoto took his place as chairman. The new company makes mainly retro components, such as high flange hubs in 120mm, 126mm, and 130mm sizes, and TA cyclotourist-style cranksets.



Noted manufacturer of frame tubing and headsets. Until the mid-80s Tange was probably best known for their mainstay tube sets, Champion #1 and #2 (later called simply #1 and #2) — cold-worked, butted chrome-moly tubing that compared favorably to Columbus SL and SP tube sets. For instance, the down tube of Tange #1 was butted to .8/.5/.8 mm, while the #2 was .9/.6/.9 mm. (by comparison, SL was .9/.6/.9 – so Tange #1 was actually slightly thinner and lighter!) These tube sets were used on a lot of higher end Japanese-built bikes being imported to the U.S. in the late 70s and early 80s. There were also thicker-walled, heavier sets, called #3, #4 and #5, available for loaded touring and other applications where more durability was required. Tange also made a manganese molybdenum alloy, Mangaloy 2001, that should have compared pretty favorably to Reynolds 531, at least in terms of its basic characteristics, though it was heavier, (thicker walled than Reynolds) much less expensive, and generally found on lower-end models. In the early 80s, some lower priced Treks (such as the 400 series) were built with it. A cheaper tube set was created by Tange in the 80s: Infinity — designed as a good quality but low-cost set for lower-priced bicycles. It was a seamed tubing, which meant that it started out as flat stock. It could be rolled out with different thicknesses along its length, then formed around a mandrel and welded into a tube. Additional working made the welded seam invisible. Many people would be turned off by the thought of seamed tubing, but in reality, there was not likely a big difference in strength. And the manufacturing method used meant that the butting could be customized without adding complexity or cost. In 1985, Tange hit the big time when they came up with their heat-treated Prestige tubing. Like Reynolds 753, but made from chrome-moly as opposed to manganese alloy, Prestige had the tensile strength to be drawn to super thin-walled dimensions — only 0.4 mm in the center section with the regular version. A “Super Lite” version of Prestige was only 0.3 mm in the center section! Another advantage was that, unlike 753, no special certification was needed to use it, so Prestige gained much more acceptance among frame builders. Versions of Prestige are still used today.



The part of a bike wheel that makes contact with the ground whilst the wheels roll. Different types of bikes use different tires.

Mountain bikes use wide, heavily treaded tires that provide vibration dampening and increased traction.

Road bikes use thinner tires that have minimal tread, providing decreased rolling resistance.

There are three main types of bike tires, clincher, tubular and tubeless.

Clincher Tires – The vast majority of bicycles use clincher tires, which work in conjunction with and are attached to clincher rims by their two inner metal beads. An inner tube sits inside a clincher tire which is inflated before riding.

Tubular Tires – Tubular tires are commonly only used by road bikes and are designed for racing. Because tubular tires are glued to the rims, they aren’t limited by the rim’s sidewalls. This means tubular tires provide better shock absorption than clincher tires of the same size.

Tubeless Tires – Tubeless tires are a fairly new concept. Tubeless tires can be fitted to most clincher wheels but may require a special rim strip to keep the tire airtight. As you probably figured, tubeless tires don’t use an inner tube and are filled with sealant to encourage an airtight seal with the rim.



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



Connects the seat tube to the top of the head tube and runs parallel to the ground.

The length of your top tube dictates the position you’ll be riding in whilst cycling. A longer top tube provides a more aerodynamic and aggressive riding position, whilst a shorter top tube sacrifices aerodynamics for increased comfort.



A touring bike is built with features meant to provide reasonable comfort and allow cyclists to carry additional gear on long cycle tours and multi-day rides.

Touring bikes typically use steel frames which provide great strength and durability, disc brakes for superior performance in all weathers, a wide gear range for tackling hills, and a long wheelbase for increased comfort and stability.

Like gravel bikes, touring bikes provide multiple mounting points for bike bags, panniers, and other equipment.

What Is a Touring Bike Used For? Touring bikes are designed to be used for cycle tours of all distances.

Because you cover many miles whilst cycle touring, the components of a touring bike are designed to last.

As stated above, touring bikes almost always utilise a steel frame, enabling them to be repaired on the fly. Often when bike touring, you’ll find yourself in remote areas, so a repairable frame and durable components are essential!

Whilst normally used for long-distance, multi-day rides, touring bikes are often used as commuting bikes. Their comfort and stability make them an ideal bike for any distance trip, whilst their strength will allow you to carry all of your essentials with you.

Who Should Use a Touring Bike? Touring bikes are ideal for anyone who wants a dependable, durable bike. Even if you’re not planning on taking multi-day rides, a tourer will last you a long time and provide good value for money.

If, however, you’re planning on going cycle touring, you’ll definitely want a touring bike!

Many cyclists choose to build their own touring bike from scratch, especially those who plan to spend months or years on the road.

Building a custom touring bike allows riders to tailor its ergonomics to suit their requirements, making long grueling rides more comfortable!

Touring bikes use wider treaded tires than road bikes, meaning they’re a good option in irregular weather conditions and perform well on short trips.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Touring Bike? If you’re not planning on taking any epic cycling adventures, a touring bike might not be the best option for you.

The increased durability of a touring bike’s components makes them heavier than most road or gravel bikes, so either may be a better choice.

Additionally, whilst they’re capable of riding on gravel roads and loose terrain, touring bikes aren’t the best type of bike for off-road cycling.

Finally, if you’re going to be hitting bumpier trails or uneven mountain paths, a hardtail mountain bike with lockable forks will likely provide a more comfortable ride.



Port for adding or releasing air from the inner tube. Two types are commonly used: See Presta and Schrader. A third type, the Woods/Dunlop valve, can still be found in Europe and Asia.



Ateliers de la Rive, a company based on the outskirts of St Etienne, France, started making tubes in 1931. In the early post WW2 years their premium tubing was called Rubis, and widely used by French quality frame builders. Around this time Urago, in Nice, started using DURIFORT – the tubing maker’s base set of plain gauge tubing for their “Debutante” model, and “Vitus” a lighter double-butted set, for their better frames, alongside Reynolds 531DB.

Durifort continued as a set well into the 1970s by which time Ateliers de la Rive had introduced Vitus 171, a series of double-butted tubes in chrome-molybdenum steel, with wall thickness generally of 1.00 / 0.7mm. This was a quality tubing subjected to special drawing treatment to improve the structure of the steel and to reduce possibilities of fatigue cracks. Companies such as Peugeot used huge quantities of this tubing. Later in the 70s/early 80s, the company introduced alongside Vitus 172 – slightly lighter than 171 – an extra-light series called Super Vitus 971. This used the same type of steel but was drawn into finer tubes with 0.9/0.6mm gauge walls. The steel type was called XC 35.

The base set at this time became known as Durifort-Rubis 888. Not much later Ateliers revised its range to include Vitus 888, at 2030 gms, a plain gauge set for touring frames, Vitus 181 a D/B set weighing 1790gms for racing., Super Vitus 983, at 1624gms, a “Course Professionel” set and Super Vitus 980, at 1507gms a “Course Professionel” Serie Extra Legere set. The SV980 also appeared as “Profil Arcor” an “aero” shaped set weighing in at 1615gms, and the 888 series figured also as “Vitus Profil” – a P/G aero set at 2030gms. Curiously Ateliers de la Rive never included the steering column and head tube in these weights.  The tube sets were delivered with instructions about how to braze these tubes and how to ensure that they did not suffer from “cold-shock” which could make them brittle.

In the later 1980s and early 90s Ateliers tried very hard to regain some of the sales it had lost to companies such as Reynolds and Columbus. Peugeot was the worlds largest user of Reynolds 501 Chro-Moly tubing set. This had the effect of making Ateliers lose most of their sales of 181DB tubing. The range was rechristened with names such as TXO, XO, GTI and SM were introduced for road and track use alongside a range for MTB and BMX frames.

The top tube set was TXO a chromium-molybdenum-vanadium tube set in 0.8/0.6 gauges with internal ribbing. The same steel, 18 MCDV6, was used to make the triple-butted GTI tube set and the Olympic P/G curved tube set for time-trial frames. 18 MCD6 steel, a chro-moly was used for the
XO D/B road and track sets and the 999 NEW P/G touring set. A new type of steel 18MV6 – known as a silicon-manganese tubing SM, was introduced as the company’s base set. While some French manufacturers continued to use these excellent sets, the Company did not take much of a slice out of either Columbus’ or Reynolds’ sales.

In about 1993 Atelier de la Rive introduced a superlight tube set called “Prestige”, which was a heat-treated version of the 18 MCDV6 steel but drawn down to about 0.8/0.4 mms. This material did not do much to stem the Company’s decline until it stopped production of steel tubing altogether around 1999/2000.

Since the late 70s, the company had had a joint venture with Bador and CLB-Angenieux to produce the renowned Duralinox range of Aluminum frames – frames which were quite revolutionary in their time – and which sold well as long as the likes of Sean Kelly rode and won on them. The frames were built with aluminum tubes joined to aluminum lugs by bonding – a construction method the company pioneered in the late 1970s.

Compared to modern aluminum bicycle frames, early Vitus aluminum frames, such as the 979, offered more comfort because of the small diameter of the tubes. As a result, the frames lacked some degree of lateral stiffness compared to their steel counterparts.

The Vitus 992 improved on the 979 design by pinching the aluminum tubes into an ovoid shape at certain critical places, greatly improving stiffness.

In the early 1980s, Vitus began producing frames using carbon fiber tubing, but did so in keeping with the company’s method of using small diameter tubing and bonding lugs.

The company later expanded its product offering with carbon fiber semi-monocoque frames (made with more than one monocoque element), like the ZX-1. The ZX-1 was one of the first monocoque carbon fiber bikes made.

The company changed owners very rapidly from the mid-90s onwards and was owned at one time by Time and at another by LOOK. From a height of 196 employees it reduced to around 20. The name is still alive in the ownership of a very strong French cycle industry conglomerate, but now concentrates like everyone else on TIG-welded aluminum alloy frames.


A noted manufacturer of rims and (formerly) brakes. Formerly, Weinmann was based in Belgium and Switzerland, but the current Weinmann company is U.S. based.

The company was founded in 1933 in Schaffhausen , located on the German-Swiss border, by Karl and Otto Weinmann. The first entry in the register in Schaffhausen dates back to 1927  the company developed out of the bicycle and motorcycle business founded in 1920 by father Karl Weinmann in Singen . Gradually, Weinmann became known among manufacturers of lightweight bikes. Weinmann initially focused its developments on Bicycle brakes, later also on bicycle rims . In the 1960s, the Weinmann rims became very well known, and in the 1960s, Weinmann started supplying brake parts to Dia-Compe . In the 1970s and 1980s, this cooperation resulted in the Weinmann top model “Carrera”.

In 1973 the company had more than 700 employees and branches (Weinmann & Co. KG) in Singen, (Germany) and Schoten , ( Belgium ). In 1983 about 800 employees worked at Weinmann, who produced over 8 million bicycle brakes annually; At that time Weinmann was the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycle brakes.  The Swiss plant was closed in 1991, the branches in Germany and Belgium no longer exist today.




As in common usage. Traditionally and most commonly spoked. Wheels are normally made of chromed steel or aluminum alloy. They can also be made of Carbon Fiber or even plastic, but chromed steel and aluminum alloy are most commonly used. One issue with chromed steel wheels is that they are very smooth which makes them almost impossible to stop when they are wet using caliper brakes. Some European manufacturers (Rigida) added knurling (dimples) to the sidewalls of their steel wheels to aid in the dispersion of water from the rims.



For attaching wheels without tools before the development of the quick release skewer