What are bicycle parts and bicycle components?
Bike parts and bike components are usually defined as the parts of the bike that are responsible for its function, and in a broader sense they include everything except attached parts and accessories. In a narrower sense, these terms also exclude the frame and fork and refer to, for example, the entire drivetrain, braking system, the bottom bracket and the headset of the bicycle.
What is a group of components?
Components that visually and technically match each other are also referred to as component groups or simply groups. Legendary top groups in the road bike sector would be, for example, the Dura Ace group from Shimano or the Super Record group from Campagnolo. The Shimano XT or Shimano XTR enjoy similar fame as groupsets in the MTB segment.
Which components make up a bicycle group?
A group will typically consist of the following components:
- Rear derailleur and, if applicable, front derailleur
- Crank with chainring or chainrings
- Bottom bracket
- Brakes (more precisely: brake calipers)
- Shifters and brake levers (usually combined as shift/brake levers)
- Hubs (less common)
However, since there is no clear definition or boundary as to which bicycle components must necessarily be part of a group, it can also include the seat post, pedals, a headset and even the seat clamp. On the other hand, a group can also contain fewer individual parts than indicated in our list.
What is the difference between a top group and an entry level groupset?
Brands like Shimano, SRAM or Campagnolo that offer several component groups, classify them as higher or lower depending on their position in the internal group hierarchy. The higher a group is ranked, the higher the expectations that are placed on it and, in the best case, also fulfilled. Of course, the price of a group also depends on its position in the hierarchy. That is why not everyone who is looking for components is best served by a top group. If you are not looking to get the maximum out of your equipment in a race or other sporting competitions, a mid-level group may well be the better choice. And those who are only just starting to get familiar with MTBs or road bikes can also do well with a so-called beginner's group.
The respective components are often less sophisticated and less complex from a technical point of view or considerably heavier, but not infrequently also more robust and potentially more durable. One thing is certain: if you choose a groupset from a well-known and traditional manufacturer such as Campagnolo, Shimano or SRAM, you need not worry about the general function, regardless of where it is placed in the brand's hierarchy. It is a given in any case. The components of these producers are a treasure for every bicycle.
What is the function of the rear derailleur?
This component has the task of moving the chain from one sprocket of the cassette to another, usually the next. In this way, the derailleur enables cyclists to adjust the transmission to the load. As part of a derailleur system, the rear derailleur fulfils this function with the help of a cage, which in turn contains the pulleys over which the chain runs. Modern rear derailleurs do not simply shift the chain sideways, but also help to move the chain from the large to the small chainring and vice versa. The shift impulse is transmitted either via a shifting cable by operating the shifting lever or, in the case of electronic shifting, wirelessly. The rear derailleur is usually attached to a special derailleur hanger located under the right dropout of the frame.
What is the headset on a bicycle?
The headset is a set of components with a ball bearings or needle roller bearings that connects the fork to the frame and ensures that the bicycle can be steered through the turning ability of the fork. A classic bicycle headset usually consists of several bearing shells. Basically, there are two types of headset: those with threads and those without. Most modern bicycle manufacturers use the so-called Ahead system for their mountain bikes, road bikes, gravel bikes and trekking bikes. The Ahead system does not require a threaded headset. The bearings are usually sealed and very low-maintenance industrial bearings that will last a very long time if mounted correctly. Other parameters that play a role in choosing the right headset are the diameter of the steerer tube, the diameter of the head tube and the type of bearing shells, which can be either integrated or semi-integrated.
Which kinds of bicycle seatposts are there?
With a seatpost, you can adjust the height of the seat to suit the individual needs of the rider. To a lesser extent, the seat post can be used to alter the distance to the handlebars and the seat angle. Depending on the intended use, a seat post can be rigid, suspended, shock-absorbing or even telescopic and retractable. The shock-absorbing effect of the latter kind of seatposts plays an important role especially in the MTB sector, but is also popular with touring cyclists and urban cyclists.
Seatposts for road bikes, on the other hand, are usually not suspension seatposts. The preferred materials for seatposts are aluminium and carbon, and most seatposts have an integrated system for attaching the saddle. Only rarely you will find steel or aluminium seatposts, which narrow at the top to hold a clamp as saddle support.
What all seatposts have in common is that you have to choose the right diameter and the right shape, as they have to match the frame exactly, or more precisely the diameter and shape of the seat tube. The length is also an important factor considering the different preferences regarding the position.
What is the purpose of pedals?
The pedals serve mainly to transmit the force of the leg movement from the rider to the crankset. They are one of the most important points of contact between rider and bicycle.
In particular, pedals used for sports and/or in an urban environment should be non-slip. A non-slip surface helps to significantly reduce the risk of injuries and accidents. For the everyday bike or trekking bike, pedals with a rough or profiled surface or so-called flat pedals that can be used with regular shoes are therefore a good choice.
Why do professional cyclists use clipless pedals?
Those who, like most pro cyclists, are aiming for particularly efficient power transmission, should instead buy clipless pedals, which provide a secure connection between the footwear and the pedals via the corresponding coupling system on the shoes. The most common standards for this type of pedal are Shimano's SPD system, which is very popular for MTBs and road bikes, and the competing systems from Look, Speedplay, Time or Crankbrothers. To unlock the mechanism and thus release the connection between shoe and pedal, a lateral movement of the foot is sufficient. The cleats disconnect reliably and securely from the pedals.
Why are pedals with toe clips and straps back in fashion?
From the distant past of road cycling come the classic pedals with clips and straps to keep your feet in the intended position. For style reasons and because of the continuing popularity of vintage and retro bikes, this type of pedal has become increasingly popular again.
How important is the right choice of tyres?
Tyres are probably the bike parts most underestimated by beginners. However, a good tyre is not necessarily the right tyre, because it all depends on the type of bike, its intended use and your individual needs. People looking for a particularly durable tyre for their touring or city bike have different requirements than professional triathletes or road cycling enthusiasts. In addition, there are many different kinds of bike tyres.
What is the difference between clincher and folding tyres?
In most fields of cycling, tyres that require a separate inner tube are still the most popular. This type of tyre is again available in clincher and folding versions and is mounted on so-called clincher rims. While clincher tyres are kept in shape by means of a built-in wire, folding tyres can, as the name suggests, be folded and easily carried under the saddle, in a bike bag or a tool bottle. Both types have the advantage that in the event of a puncture or flat, it is sufficient to patch or change the inner tube, install it and fill it with air (again).
What are the advantages and disadvantages of tubular tyres?
In the case of tubular tyres, the inner tube is sewn directly into the tyre. Tubulars are mounted on special rims using a type of adhesive tape or glue. This is also the origin of the French name for tubular tyres: collés. Tubulars were once the standard for racing and time trial bikes and are still widely used in both disciplines. For track bikes, using tubulars is sometimes even mandatory. The fact that tubular tyres are so popular where speed and performance are crucial is due on the one hand to their excellent rolling characteristics and the high pressure that tubular tyres can take. In addition, tubular tyres usually make it possible to continue riding without risk for some time even in the event of a puncture. Especially during hard-fought sprints on the track or demanding descents, this feature has a very calming effect on the pro cyclist's mind.
Why are tubeless tyres so popular?
With regard to the use of sealants, a very similar approach is adopted for tubeless tyres. However, this type of tyre works without an inner tube and is being used on an increasing number of bicycles and kinds of bikes due to its puncture resistance and low rolling resistance. It can be used with low air pressure, which is a great advantage especially for mountain bikers. However, you should pay attention to the designation 'tubeless' or 'tubeless ready' when choosing your rim or wheel set.
Why are there so many different types of bicycle brakes?
As with all other bicycle components, there have been a number of new developments in the brake sector in recent years. Traditional types of brakes, on the other hand, have not disappeared from the market, but remain on sale in numerous versions. The result is an unprecedented variety that makes it possible to choose the right brake system for every type of bike and taste. Among the high quality bikes in the sport and leisure sector, two different systems dominate the brake world: classic rim brakes and the comparatively new disc brakes.
What characterises rim brakes?
Although rim brakes come in a huge number of designs - such as side-pull brakes, center-pull brakes, hydraulic rim brakes, cantilever brakes and V-brakes for cyclocross bikes or direct mount brakes for road bikes - what all rim brakes have in common is that they reduce the speed and stop the bike by pressing the brake pads against the side of the rim. The front brake for the front wheel and the rear brake for the rear wheel can usually be controlled separately with the left or right brake lever. Rim brakes are nowadays rarely found on new mountain bikes and have been replaced by disc brakes in this segment, but they are still fairly common on road bikes, touring bikes, city bikes and trekking bikes.
The reasons for the enduring popularity of rim brakes go from their low weight and ease of use to simple maintenance and inexpensive replacement parts such as brake pads and brake cables. When choosing rims or wheels, it is essential to ensure that they are intended for use with rim brakes and have adequate braking surfaces.
What are the advantages of disc brakes for bicycles?
For mountain bikes and e-bikes, but also for modern cyclocross bikes, fitness bikes and many everyday bicycles, disc brakes have been the industry standard for years and have replaced the various types of rim brakes. Even in the road bike sector, which has long been resistant to this phenomenon, disc brakes have steadily gained acceptance. The advantages are obvious: disc brakes, whether mechanical or hydraulic, bring the wheel to a stop quickly and reliably, the braking power can be controlled very well and is almost unaffected by rain. What's more, the rim doesn't wear out or heat up. There are different mounting systems for brake discs on hubs, so it is important to ensure that the hub and brake disc are compatible.
What are the standards for bicycle disc brakes?
The two most common standards for discs are "6-bolt" and "Center Lock". The size of the disc brake rotor is usually between 140 and 203 mm and depends on the desired braking performance. Larger brake discs mean greater braking power, which is however less easy to control than with smaller brake discs. This also explains why mountain bikes or e-bikes usually use larger brake discs than road bikes, gravel bikes or children's bikes. With "International Standard" (IS), "Post Mount" (PM) and "Flat Mount" (FM), there are also different ways of attaching the brake calliper to the frame and fork, and as with brake discs, it is recommended that you pay close attention to compatibility. While the braking power is transferred via a cable in the case of mechanical disc brakes, in the case of the more sophisticated hydraulic disc brakes this is done via a brake fluid.