Being a kid certainly comes with a whole lot of wonder and curiosity. Learning about the dynamics of the world and the way various things work is a part of growing up. Among different other things that come under the “awesome childhood” scheme, cycling is the one that is always on the minds of kids. To understand cycling, one must understand the basic structure and anatomy of the bikes. So if you are a curious soul seeking knowledge on bicycles and their parts, you’ve come to the right place!
Anatomy of a Regular Bike in Brief
A regular bike consists of five main parts as a whole –
Where the wheels fulfill the fundamental purpose of the bike, allowing it to transport you and your luggage from one location to another. In fact, the basic meaning of a bicycle corresponds to bi(two)- cycle, referring to the two wheels used in it. Ever wondered why the wheels are shaped only round?
The frame provides the basic structure of the bike. A robust frame is always required to hold on to the rider until the end of the destination. Without a strong frame, your bike would just be a jiggly-giggly jelly!
The comfort of a bike is defined by the quality of the Seat it has. A more padded seat at a suitable elevation angle equals more bike comfort. Many people forget the importance of a saddle while describing a bicycle, but tell me, where will you sit on the bike if there’s no seat in it, or if it has a saddle which is not that comfortable?
The handlebars are the tools through which you will control your bike. Among its various parts, breaks, handle grips, and brake cables are the most prominent. Without the handlebar, you won’t be able to control your ride on the road during your fun racing.
Components cover all your little ride’s tiny moving mechanical parts, other than wheels. The components are like smaller units of workers that do their designated work in the machinery to produce the required result, i.e., taking you from one place to another.
Now that we have seen the functioning of each significant component in detail, it’s time to get into a detailed discussion about the basic anatomy of a bike.
As we have discussed earlier, the wheels are a bike’s fundamental driving tool. As we go into a detailed study about wheels, we see that they consist of various elements such as tire, rim, spokes, and hubs. Let us see the functions of these components in detail.
- Tires- The tire is basically the wheel’s outer surface, typically black in color, which helps transfer the load from the bike to the ground. It is generally pneumatic, and since it remains in contact with the ground, it is etched with patterns to maintain grip with the ground.
- Rim- Rim is a circular metal frame that is held together by the spokes connected to the hub in the wheel. The rims give the wheel a firm circular shape while maintaining the structure’s flexibility and strength.
- Spokes- Spokes are the straight metal rods between the bicycle hub and the rim. The purpose of the spoke is to transfer the load between the hub and the rim caused by the weight of the rider and the bike.
- Hubs- The hub of a wheel is responsible for connecting the wheel to the main structure itself. It also distributes the bike’s load to the spokes and rims of the wheels.
The frame, as described earlier, maintains the basic structure of the bike. The bicycle frame consists of various supporting metallic structures fused together, such as the Top tube, Down tube, Seat tube, and Head tube. Stem, Seat stay, and Chain stay form the secondary components of the bike’s frame. The functions of various parts of a bicycle frame are as follows:
- Top tube- The Top tube is a straight metallic structure connecting the saddle and the handle stem of the cycle. In other words, it can also be defined as the structure that connects the Seat tube and the Head tube of the bike. The angle, shape, and length of the Head tube determine the purpose for which a particular bicycle will be used. For example, a straight Top tube connecting the junction of the seat tube and head tube to the Stem may be used in mountain bikes, whereas a curved Top Tube might be more suitable for a female-oriented bike.
- Down tube- The Down tube connects the Head tube to the junction of the Seat stay and the bike’s Seat tube. It runs from the Handle Stem to the pedals of the bike. In mountain bikes, the Down tube is generally used to preserve and run derailleur cables along or inside it.
- Seat tube- The Seat tube is the primary structure supporting the saddle and the rider on the bike. It is generally made up of materials such as aluminum or carbon steel, which is usually more flexible and robust than any other material available in the market. The seat tube length determines the saddle’s minimum height, which determines the Age-group for which a bike is being made.
- Head tube- The Head tube or the Steering head of the bike is used as a support and control for its front wheel. The Head tube is responsible for holding the front suspension and wheel system to protect the rider from jerks.
- Stem- The Stem connects the handlebars to the steerer tube in a bike. The Stem is generally made of aluminum and connected to the top of the Head tube.
- Seat stay- The function of Seat stay is to support the Seat tube. The seat stay connects the Seat tube to the wheel’s hub, creating a stable frame for the rider.
- Chain stay- Chain stay is the pair of frame tubes or a fork-like structure that protects one’s feet from chains and also helps keep the chain at its position.
The Seat defines the comfort and ease of cycling that one experiences during the ride. The saddle of the bike, while mainly made up of foam and leather, is also made up of artificial fibers such as nylon. Saddle in a bike is solely responsible for providing ease and adjustment to the rider. Nowadays, almost every bike has an adjustable lever that adjusts the seat height. It’s better to look for a padded saddle with several layers of cushioning material.
The handlebars of a bicycle are the primary instruments to control it. Handlebars typically come in various shapes and sizes, all dedicated to their one primary function, each form accounting for different functionality and riding situations, such as the BMX, Drop, and Bullhorn handlebars. They contain various components, such as Handle grips, Brake levers, Brake cables, Gear controls, and bells. Let us learn the function of each element in detail.
- Handle grips- The Handle grips on a bike have a clear purpose- to maintain the hold of the rider’s hand on the handlebar. The grips ensure that the rider’s hand does not slip off the bars in risky situations such as off-roading and mountain biking, where absolute control is necessary.
- Brake levers- The Brake lever attached to the side of the handlebars dominate the brake system of the entire bike. Generally, the right-hand brake lever corresponds to the front brakes, while the left-hand brake lever corresponds to the rear brakes of the bike.
- Brake Cable- The Brake wires work on the principle of compression and increment of tension on the braking pads. When the rider pulls the Brake lever, the Brake cable gets pulled, which in turn creates tension on braking pads, allowing the bike to stop.
- Gear Control- The gear controls provide more freedom and agility to the rider. They are used to control the gear system of the bike. This increases the adaptation of the bicycle according to the terrain it is running in.
- Bells- Who doesn’t like riding their bikes into the neighborhood while ringing their bells? As you may have guessed by now, the bells are attached to the inner end of the Handle grips and do the same work as the horns do on bikes and cars- alerting everyone about the rider around them.
Apart from the various body parts visible in a bike, there are many components other than what we have discussed above. Basically, everything other than the parts mentioned above comes under the components category. These components contain parts such as the Gear system. Several bicycles come with other customizations that may also be counted in the components category. Let us dive into some discussion about these parts:
- Gear System- As discussed earlier, the Gear system of a bike provides freedom and agility to the rider on various terrains. This is because, on a steep uphill, the rider will have to provide more power to a bike than on a steep downhill. Every landscape in between will require a different amount of energy to be fed to the bike. The gear system comes into the image, fulfilling this need. Gears are a set of various spiked round instruments with different sizes and radii, requiring different amounts of power to operate the bike. A typical gear system of a bicycle consists of the following parts-
- Crankset- The Crank or the crankset is the component to which the pedals of bikes are attached. When the bike has a set of front gears as well, the crankset has 2-3 cranks, different in size. Generally, the size of the cranks is bigger than the bike’s cassettes (rear gears).
- Cassette- The cassettes are the set of rear gears connected to the bicycle’s rear hub. It is generally a stack of 7-8 gears attached to the right side of the bike.
- Chain- The chain transfers the power applied on the front crank through the pedals to the rear cassettes. It is the connection between the bikes’ front and rear gear sets. The number of teeth on the gear sets and the chainring determine the toughness one encounters while pedaling the bike.
- Derailleur- The derailleur can be defined as the mechanism responsible for changing the gears. The derailleur shifts its position according to the gear one selects.
- Gear levers- As discussed earlier, the Gear levers are used to control the derailleur. The shifting or twisting motion of the levers corresponds to the operation of cables that change the derailleur’s position, which in turn changes the bike’s gear.
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