PxPixel
Glossary of cycling terms - BikeBiz

Glossary of cycling terms

Every speciality has its own language, cycling is no exception. Learn a few of these buzz terms and you'll understand some of what a cycle-mad friend or a bike shop sales person is actually talking about!
Author:
Publish date:

Accessories

Add ons to the bike or rider, eg. lights, mudguards, helmets etc.

Alloy

Normally steel alloy found in frames and rims making them lighter or

stronger

ATB

All Terrain Bicycle, a former name for 'mountain bike', now more commonly appreviated as MTB

Bar ends

Extensions to the handlebars that help 'honking'

Barbag

Luggage that fits onto the handlebar

Bars

Handlebars

Base layer

Term for 'wicking' garments worn next to the skin for comfort and

warmth

Big ring

The largest of the front chainwheels

Block

The cluster of sprockets, or cogs, on the back wheel. Also called

the freewheel

Bosses

Brazed-on mounting points on a bike frame for bolting on bottle cages, pannier racks and some gear levers

Bottom bracket

The axle linking the two cranks

Brake shoe

The sleeve the brake pad is fixed to

Braze-ons

See bosses

Bunny-hop

The act of jumping off the ground on a bike

Butted tubes

Eeither double or triple - frame tubing which has walls which go

thin at the centre to reduce weight

Cadence

Pedalling rate, ie. the number of crank revolutions per minute. The

more the merrier. 'Spinning' is more knee-friendly that straining on the

pedals

Cager

Slang term for car drivers

Cantilever brake

Brake system, common on mountain bikes, where the brake arm is pulled from the top by the break cable pivoting the brake pad onto the rim

Captain

The person who sits at the front of a tandem

Chainset

The cogs, or chainwheels, attached to the cranks which can be single, double or triple

Chainstay

The tube that runs from the bottom bracket to the rear of the frame

Chainwheel

The cog, or cogs, attached to the cranks

Clearance

The amount of space between the ground and the bottom bracket

Cleats

Mechanism that is screwed to the sole of the shoe to fit clipless

pedals

Clipless pedal

A mechanism which fixes the riders shoe to the pedal so the rider's feet don't slip off - a twist of the foot releases the shoe.

Computer

Small, electronic computer measuring speed, distance and many other

useful on-the-road functions

CoolMax

Technical fabric made from polyester used as for jerseys and base

layers

Cordura

Heavy duty nylon used in panniers, boots and rucksacks

Crank

The pedal arm

Cro-mo

Or chrome-moly. Short for chrome-molydenum which is a high tensile

steel alloy used for cycle frames

Damping

The cushioned 'spring' associated with suspension systems

Derailleurs

The mechanisms to change gears at the rear of the bike (called the rear mech) and at the front (called the front mech) if there is more than one chainring

Dish(ing)

The degree of asymmetry of the spoke arrangment on either side of a

wheel. A front wheel is symmetrical, a rear wheel is asymmetrical because

of the offset - or dish - needed to accomodate the rear block

Double-butted

See Butted

Down tube

The tube that runs from the headtube at the front of the bike to

the bottom bracket

Drop handlebars

The handlebars that curve down in an s-shape found on road

racing bikes and tourers

Drop outs

Where the wheel is attached to the fork at the front and the frame

at the rear

Elastomer suspension

Used in front and rear suspension - elastomer is a sponge-like plastic that compresses and expands to provide damping

Frameset

The frame and forks

Freewheel

The cogs at the rear of the bike, sometimes called the block

Gore-tex

Waterproof breathable fabric

Granny ring

The smaller of the front chainwheels. In the 'granny ring' you spin very fast and can climb steep slopes

Groupset

Acollective term used for the components of a bicycle, ie. brakes,

hub, chain, cranks, chainset, freewheel and gears

Halogen

Type of cycle light filament bulb that emits a bright, white light

Head tube

Contains the headset, see below

Headset

The sleeve inside the frame that links the stem to the front fork

Honking

Pedalling out of the saddle putting a lot of weight and power on to

the pedals, usually uphill

HPV

Human powered vehicle - a name given to pedal driven cycles that aren't

'traditional' in looks, eg. recumbents

Hybrid

A cross between a road bike and a mountain bike, ie. an MTB-like frame but with thinner larger wheels more suitable for riding on the road

Knobblies

Deep tread tyres found on mountain bikes

IBD

Bicycle shop, ie independent bicycle dealer, see also LBS

Lacing

Weaving spokes together to form a wheel

LBS

Local bicycle shop, see also IBD

LED

Light emitting diode - flashing lights attached to bikes or riders

Lugs

Sleeves that join two frame tubes together which can be welded or glued

into place

Mitts

Short fingered gloves also called 'track mitts'

MTB

Abbreviation for MounTain Bike

Nipple

Bolt that secures a spoke to the rim

Pannier racks

Framing that fits onto the front or rear of a bike that can carry luggage

Pannier bags

Cycle luggage

Pertex

Windproof and water-resistant nylon fabric that is very lightweight and

highly breathable

Polartec

Polyester fleece fabric used for thermal wear and base layers

Presta valve

Valve on the inner tube mainly found on road, touring, city and

hybrid bikes. It is longer and thinner than Schraeder car-type valves

Quick release or QR

Skewers that secure the wheel through the hub that can be tightened and released quickly without tools

Rake

The curveture in a pair of front forks that 'spring' a little, ie. the

distance between a centreline drawn through the fork tube, and a parallel

line drawn through the fork drop outs

Rear triangle

The seatstays and the chainstays, or the back end of the bike

Recumbent

An HPV bike where you sit reclining in a 'bucket' seat

Rim

Part of the wheel that the tyre runs around and where the spokes are

attached.

Rip-stop

A way of preventing windproof fabric from tearing. It has heavier

threads at regular intervals looking like squares or hexagons in the fabric

Roadies

Cycle enthusiasts who prefer road riding than mountain biking

Roadster

European style bikes that have a very upright cycling posistion and

come fully equipped with mudguards, chainguard, lights and pannier racks

Sag waggon

Luggage carrying van or truck which follows cyclists either on a tour or a mass ride, and which will pick up tired riders

Sam Browne belt

Fluoresecent sash worn by cyclists and motorcyclists to make other road users aware of their existence. "The leather belt with a strap over the shoulder and originally with a sword-frog, compulsory for officers and warrant officers in the British Army until 1939 when it was declared optional. This belt was invented by General Sir Sam Browne VC (1821-1901) a veteran of the Indian Mutiny." From Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, 15th ed.

Schraeder valve

On the inner tube mainly found on mountain bikes. It is fatter than a Presta valve.

Seat post or pin

The tube that is attached to the saddle which can be set up or down in the 'seat tube' to suit the height of the rider

Seat tube

The frae tube that runs down from the seat post to the bottom bracket

Seatstay

The frame tube that runs from the top of the seat tube to the rear of the

frame

Semi-slicks

Tyres with partial or shallow tread found on hybrid, touring and

city bikes

Shifter

Gear changing lever

Shimano

A Japanese manufacturer of gears, brakes and other essential cycle

components

Skewer

A rod pushed through the hub that secures the wheel to the drop outs

Slicks

Tyres with no tread

Snell t

The Snell Foundation carry out stringent safety tests on helmets

SPD

Shimano Pedalling Dynamics - Shimano's term for their clipless pedals

Sprocket

A cog in the freewheel

Stem

Attaches the handlebar to the frame via the headset

Stoker

The person who sits at the back of a tandem

Toe-strap

A strap that is fitted to a pedal to keep the foot in position so

power can be added to the upstroke not just the downstroke

Top tube

The frame tube that runs along the top of the frame, sometimes called the

crossbar

Track-stand

The art of balancing the bike in one place with both feet on the pedals, useful for waiting at traffic lights

Trike

Another term for tricycle

Truing

Straightening a buckled wheel

Twist shift

Method of changing gear by twisting part of the grip on the

handlebar

Ventile

Traditional, tough cotton fabric tightly woven making it windproof and treated for waterproofness

Wheelbase

The distance between the wheel axles

Wicking

The term used for clothing which draws moisture, or sweat, away from

the body to the outside of the garment leaving you cool and dry

Featured Jobs

the cycle hub

Showroom Manager

The Cycle Hub I Dubai, United Arab Emirates I Competitive Package & Bonus I Date Published Tuesday 26th June 2018

Giant St Paul Logo

Bike Fitter / Sales Person

Giant St Pauls I City of London I Salary: Negotiable Dependent on Experience I Date Published Thursday 21st June 2018

CRC_Logo_620x349-1

Bike Technician

Chain Reaction Cycles I Ballyclare I Competitive Salary & Benefits Package I Date Published Monday 2nd July 2018

Canyon_Logo_1(1)

Brand Content Writer

Canyon Bicycles GmbH I Koblenz, Germany I Salary: Up to €38,000 I Date Published Tuesday 3rd July 2018

CRC_Logo_620x349-1

Retail Sales Advisor

Chain Reaction Cycles I Belfast I Competitive Salary & Benefits Package I Date Published Monday 2nd July 2018