Not sure what a hardtail is? Can't decide between high-tensile steel or carbon fibre? Completely lost when it comes to double-wall, A-head stem or hydraulic disc?
Here are some of the terms regularly used in bicycle descriptions to help you pick out your perfect bike.
- High-tensile steel
- A strong and durable steel that is heavier than other frames, but stays strong under pressure.
- Also known as alloy, a strong and lightweight metal used on many different types of frames.
- Carbon Fibre
- Very strong and very lightweight material used on higher specification bikes, especially those for competition.
- Very strong and lightweight metal that lasts a long time without deteriorating.
- Rigid fork
- A traditional fork made from aluminium, steel, or carbon fibre, with no suspension.
- Suspension fork
- Providing a more comfortable ride, the suspension fork provides smooth vertical movement while riding, ironing out rough terrain while you ride. Found on mountain and leisure bikes.
- Adjustable suspension fork
- A suspension fork that allows for manual adjustment, letting you match the suspension to the severity of the terrain.
- Suspension fork with lock-out
- A suspension fork that allows for manual adjustment of whether or not you have the suspension while you ride, ideal for switching from the trail to the road.
Gears and Transmission
- Cassette Freewheel
- Rear sprockets built into the hub of the wheel, offering a more efficient gear selection and considerable weight saving. Primarily fitted to mid and high-end bicycles.
- STI / Easy-Fire / Rapid-Fire
- Terms to describe how gears can be selected with the thumb and forefinger control on the handlebars. A very effective and popular way of shifting.
- Grip Shift
- A rotational gear selector built into the handlebar grip for precise and smooth gear selection. Very popular with children's bicycles and heritage bicycles.
- A brand of bike gears and brakes available on most bikes.
- A brand of bike gears and transmission components available on mid to high-end bikes.
- A brand of bike gears and brakes available on high-end bikes.
Pedals and Cranks
- Sealed Bottom Bracket
- Bearings sealed from the elements, making them more durable and less prone to premature wear.
- Pedals that clip straight onto the bottom of cycling shoes. Generally associated with competitive cycling.
- V-Type Brakes
- Powerful brakes that have a "V" shape that stop the wheel by pressing against the rim. The most popular type of brake.
- Cantilever Brakes
- Individually mounted cable-operated brakes that stop the wheel by pressing against the rim and provide maximum clearance for mudguards. Primarily seen on road bikes.
- Disc Brakes
- Brakes that stop the wheel by pressing against a disc attached to the wheel's axle. Suitable in all weather and primarily seen in mountain bikes.
- Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Disc brakes that use brake fluid to provide an even smoother stop. Generally seen on high-end mountain bikes.
- Double-Wall Rims
- Wheels with two layers of aluminium along the wall of the rim for additional strength and support.
- Quick-Release Hubs
- A simple mechanism that allows you to fit and replace wheels without using spanners. Useful when dismantling your bicycle for storage, and also used extensively in competitive cycling.
Handlebars and Stems
- Quill Stem
- A traditional method of securing the handlebars into the head tube by using an expander bolt.
- Adjustable Stem
- Gives the rider the ability to adjust the handlebars to a comfortable angle.
- A-Head Stem
- Handlebars that fasten directly onto the fork column without the use of an expander bolt.
Seats and Seat Posts
- Micro-Adjustable Seat Post
- A combination of the seat post and the seat clip, giving you reduced weight and easy adjustment to find a comfortable riding position.
- Quick-Release Seat Clamp
- A clamp that allows fast and easy height adjustment or saddle removal without needing spanners.