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Bicycles Glossary



Adjusting barrel

Hollow bolt that allows for adjustment of cable tension.
Aero bars

Handlebars that allows riders to streamline their upper body position. They are more aerodynamic than traditional handlebars.
Aerodynamic

Bicycle part, riding position, or clothing designed to decrease air resistance.
Anodized

Process of coating metal with a protective film or paint.
Back pedal brake

Hub that includes a brake, allowing riders to stop the bike by pedaling backwards. Also called coaster brakes.
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Balaclava

Hood worn under a helmet that covers a rider's head and neck.
Banana seat

Long, banana-shaped seat used on lowrider bikes.
BMX bike

Bicycle Motocross: Single-speed bicycle popular among children and teenagers that usually have 20-inch wheels and a freewheel.
Bottom bracket

Part of a frame where the pedals revolve.
Brakes

System that slows down or stops a bike by creating friction.
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Cadence

Ability to pedal at a constant pace.
Caliper brakes

Braking system that moves the brakes toward the rim to create friction.
Cantilever brakes

Braking system that uses two separate arms on each side of the rim to create friction.
Chain

Series of metal links that grips onto sprockets to move a bike when a person pedals.
Chain guard

Cover placed over a bike chain to prevent clothing from getting caught in the chain or on the sprocket.
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Cleat

Wedge-shaped fitting at the bottom of a cycling shoe that engages the pedal.
Clipless pedals

Pedals that have the ability to lock cleats into place.
Coaster brake

Hub that includes a brake, allowing riders to stop the bike by pedaling backwards. Also called back pedal brakes.
Comfort bike

Bicycle with a short top tube and adjustable handlebars that allow a rider to sit in an upright position. It also has smooth, wide tires and uses the same wheel size, brakes, and gear equipment as a mountain bike.
Cruiser

Basic bicycle with a curved top tube. It's built for comfort, not performance.
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Damper

Device that dissipates energy from a spring and prevents a seat from bouncing constantly every time the bike hits a bump.
Derailleur

Device that moves the bike chain from one sprocket to another in order to change gears.  
Disc brakes

Hub brake that uses a caliper to squeeze a disk and create friction.
Double pivot

Sidepull brakes with two linked arms
Downshift

Process of shifting to a lower gear.
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Drive train

Parts of a bicycle that work together to generate forward motion.
Drop handlebars

Handlebars that have a high midpoint.
Drop out

Bike design that allows a user to remove the rear wheel without removing the bike chain.
Dual suspension

Suspension for both wheels.
Fender

Covering for the upper part of the wheel that protects a rider from water spray and mud.
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Fork

Two blades that hold a wheel.
Frame

Bicycle skeleton consisting of tubes.
Freewheel

Wheel that spins freely in one direction and locks in the other.
Front derailleur

Derailleur that moves the top part of the chain between the three front sprockets.
Gears

Mechanism that allows a rider to change the distance a bike can travel with each pedal stroke.
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Handlebars

Bar with grips on either end.
Hub

Middle part of a wheel that attaches to spokes and can include a brake.
Hybrid bike

Cross between a mountain bike and road bike that offers superior performance to a comfort bike.
Inseam

Measurement from the inside of the upper leg to the ankle.
Lowrider

Bicycle with high handlebars and a banana seat.
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Mountain bike

Bicycle designed for off-road use. It has treaded tires that can be more than 1.75 inches wide, and can have up to 27 speeds, toe clips, and a dense foam seat.
Rear derailleur

Derailleur that switches gears and keeps tension in the chain.
Recumbent bike

Bicycle featuring a chair-like seat that sits low to the ground.
Rim

Outer metal hoop of a wheel.
Road racing bike

Bicycle with a lightweight frame designed for use on paved roads. Riders usually sit at an incline, crouched toward the handlebars in a streamlined position.
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Shifter

Switch that allows a rider to adjust gears to increase or decrease cadence.
Sidepull

Caliper brake with a cable running along the side.
Spokes

Small bars inserted into the hub of a wheel to support the rim.
Spring

Coil that allows mountain bike suspension to move up when the bike hits a bump.
Sprocket

Cog that grips a chain.
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Suspension

System that helps a bicycle and rider absorb shock. It allows a wheel to move up and down while the tire maintains contact with the ground.
Tandem bike

Bicycle with front-to-back seats and pedals for two or more riders.
Top tube

Tube that makes up the top of the bike frame.
Tricycle

Three-wheel bicycle geared toward young children.
Unicycle

One-wheel bicycle.
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Upshift

Shift to a higher gear.
Wheels

Hub, rim, spokes, and tires.
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