What are bike components?
Bike components are usually defined as all parts of the brakes and gearshift. Complete sets or combinations of components are also called groups. A group consists of at least these components:
- rear derailleurs
- pedal cranks
- chain rings
- inner bearing
- gear rim package
- shift and brake handles (mostly as a unit)
But as there is no clear demarcation of which bike components belong to it, other parts, such as the headset, chain, saddle clamp, seat post or bowden cables, can also be included. Groupsets from bike shops commonly include two derailleurs, two gear shifters, brakes and brake levers, chain, crankset, a bottom bracket and a cassette.
These components have the task of shifting the chain between the chainrings
. The front rear derailleur, an articulation mechanism, shifts the chain cage in a horizontal direction. Modern rear derailleurs
not only push the chain sideways, but also make it easier to lift and lower the chain to the next chainring. The rear derailleur is usually attached to a derailleur hanger, which is located at the rear right-hand drop-out end of the frame below the axle mount.
The headset (or steering head bearing) is a ball bearing assembly that connects the fork and the frame. It allows the fork to rotate freely so you can balance and steer. A classical bicycle headset
commonly consists of several bearing cups. Other related parts can be included. There are two types of headset: threaded headset
and unthreaded headset
. Most modern bike/MTB manufacturers rely on a form of the Aheadset system in which the upper and lower bearing shell is combined in the frame with a continuous steerer tube and a stem clamped above the upper bearing shell. The bearings are mostly sealed industrial bearings and carefree if well mounted. Headsets vary in steerer diameter, head tube diameter and integrated or semi-integrated bearing seats to provide for different variants.
With a good seat post, seat height, distance to the handlebars, pedalling angle and suspension characteristics can be optimally adapted to the driver's individual needs. Modern MTB seatposts
are more than simple steel connectors between frame and saddle: they are technically advanced bicycle parts that can greatly improve performance and driving pleasure. Height-adjustable seatposts
are particularly versatile and therefore ideal for all riders who ride in different terrain types. MTB suspension seatposts are perfect for driving in rough terrain or improved comfort on a hardtail.
transfer the leg power into the crank handle and thus are the direct link between rider and bicycle. Slip-resistant pedals
offer a non-slip contact surface that lowers the risk of injury. For even better protection, a new generation of pedals was established in the 1980s: system or click pedals which enable a firm connection between pedal and driver. With these, the foot can no longer slip off and power transmission is more efficient. A sideways movement of the foot releases the locking mechanism. Many models offer variable release hardnesses, so that even beginners can release easily from the pedal. Good quality is also important for cycling shoes and clothing. Rely on renowned brands such as Northwave to tickle the last bit of performance out of your bike. Drivers who don’t want to wear clip-in bike shoes also find click pedals that work with normal shoes.
Tyres are probably the most important part of a bike. Racing tyres are developed and made for driving on the road. A good racing tyre offers a low rolling resistance, balanced aerodynamics, a smooth tread pattern and comfort for the rider. Mountain bike tyres
have been specially developed for trail tours and off-road. A good MTB tyre
provides plenty of grip, low rolling resistance and a high level of padding to improve the driver’s comfort and the quality of the ride. City tyres are designed for pendulum or road bike tours. The tyre must be durable, have good grip and provide the rider with enough speed for swinging. City tyres are usually wider than racing tyres and thus offer a larger contact surface, more grip and more comfort. They are also less prone to breakdown. To enjoy cycling, you don’t have to understand all the technical details of your bike. But as bike parts and components are essential to the everyday upkeep and maintenance, they have to be looked after regularly, or they will become deteriorate and unreliable. Whether MTB, race bike or commuting bike: they all need servicing and fixing from time to time. For example, cassettes and chain should be changed at least every 1500 miles. And brake blocks which aren’t changed regularly can lead to premature deterioration of the bicycle’s rims.
Which bike components are best?
In the MTB sector there is often only the choice between Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo. Currently Shimano is the market leader in all bicycle segments and thus offers the largest portfolio of bike components for the MTB sector. The Shimano gearshift levers use Rapid Fire technology, which is controlled by thumb and index finger. With the more expensive versions, this technology also allows the shifting of multiple gears with just one pressure. For tyres, rims and bike parts in general, there are however many other trusted brands e. g. Schwalbe who also offer maintenance tools, repair kits and accessories.
Can you mix bike components?
In bicycle technology, most groups are designed to be combined (“mix and match”) as long as they have the same number of gears. Experienced drivers often combine components for individual drivetrain solutions. Old and new parts will also work together as long as they are well mounted and adjusted. However, combining components of different brands is risky and should be avoided. The market leaders Shimano, SRAM and Campagnola advise using the groups according to type. For warranty reasons, mixing with parts from other manufacturers is not permitted.