Disc brakes are placed on a metal disc that's attached to the wheel hub. While most common for mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and touring cycles, disc brakes have become increasingly used on all bike types.
EXPERT TIP: For frequent biking in wetter or colder climates, consider choosing a bike with disc brakes, which provide better performance in wet, muddy, or snowy conditions.
Hub – The hub is made up of 3 parts:
- the hub shell: the outer component that attaches to the spokes
- the axle: a bar that protrudes on both sides, and that attaches to the bike frame
- the bearings: reside between the axle and shell, allowing the latter to spin around the axle
Rim – This metal circle forms the outside of the wheel. If they’re used with rim brakes, you’ll notice a smooth surface on the side (sidewalls) for the brake pads’ grip.
Spoke – Spokes connect the hub to the rim, applying even tension in all directions. This reinforces the wheel’s stability and strength so that the wheel can support the rider’s weight and force when pedaling.
– A bike without tires
won’t travel too far! The tire is mounted onto the wheel rim and provides traction, control, and handling while also standing up to natural elements and road hazards. Regular monitor and check your tires’ inflation before every ride. Use a tire pump
to air them up if the pressure is too
Middle of Bike Parts
– The saddle (although commonly referred to as the bike seat
is the actual name) is the part of the bike where you sit. Bike saddles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and are often one of the more customized bike features.
Saddle Rails – These rails are found beneath the saddle to connect it to the seat post. Saddle rails also slide so the rider can adjust the seat back and forth.
Seat Post - The seat post adjusts the saddle height for the rider’s comfort. It is fastened in place by tightening a clamp near the top of the seat tube.
Seat Tube – The seat post is inserted into the top of this tube, which runs from beneath the saddle to the pedals. The seat post height adjustment is dependent upon how high or low the seat post is adjusted into the seat tube.
Top Tube - Also referred to as the crossbar. This is the tube the rider steps over to mount a bicycle. Top tubes typically run parallel to the ground, but they might be slightly angled on some models. Some bikes have no top tubes at all for easier mounting.
– The down tube – typically the thickest part of the bike frame where you’ll see the bike’s logo – runs from beneath the handlebars down to the pedals. This is also where you can attach a bottle water cage
for your bike bottle
Pedals – The bike pedals move the bike’s wheels forward when force is applied to them. On coaster bikes, the pedals are also used for braking (backpedal brakes).
Crank Arm – The crank arm holds the bike pedals in place. It is connected to the bottom brackets on the bike frame.
Bottom Bracket – Comprised of bearings and a spindle, this is where the crank arms rotate (fitting into the bottom bracket shell at the base of the frame).
Back of Bike Parts
Seat Stays - Seat stays run from beneath the saddle to the rear wheel hub. Seat stays end at points referred to as rear dropouts, which connect to each side of the rear wheel axle.
Chainstays – Chainstays are tubes that run parallel to the ground, from the sides of the pedals to both sides of the rear wheel. The chainstays run alongside the bike chain.
– The bike chain transfers your leg power to the rear wheel. The chain loops around the chainrings within the crankset, along the chainstay, and around the cassette sprockets in the rear wheel. Just like your tires, your chain should be inspected and maintained regularly with proper bike care
chain cleaners and lubricants.
Cassette – This part is a stack of multi-sized cogs that attaches to the rear wheel’s hub and serve as the rear gears of the bike (if the bike doesn’t have multiple gear settings, there will just be a single cog).
*Front Derailleur – This is the part of the bicycle that moves the bike chain from one chainring to the next as the rider shifts gears.
*Rear Derailleur – This is the part of the bicycle that moves the bike chain from one cassette cog to the next as the rider shifts gears, working in conjunction with the bike’s jockey wheel.
*Note: The Front Derailleur and Rear Derailleur are only included on bikes that have more than one gear
Jockey Wheel – The jockey wheel keeps tension in the chain for a smooth ride as the rider changes gears. If the bike doesn’t have gears, it most likely won’t have a jockey wheel (unless it’s a single-speed bike using the jockey wheel as a chain tensioner).
Familiarizing yourself with the anatomy of a bike can be helpful when it comes to troubleshooting, replacing your bike parts and accessories, and deciding on customizations for you and your family’s best riding experience.