Anatomy of a Bicycle Explained

Anatomy of a Bicycle

It’s always interesting and helpful to understand how things work, and bicycles are no exception.  While all bicycles basically work the same way their parts can differ slightly, based on the materials used.  Knowing how a bicycle works can help you when it comes time to fix your own. Below is a the listing of some of the key components of the anatomy of a bicycle. also see Parts of a Bicycle, Explained

Anatomy of a Bicycle


The frame is the main component of a bicycle.  All of the bike’s parts are joined together by frame.  The frame is a one-piece construction, and it is tubular instead of solid.


Handlebars used to look like ram’s horns, attached to the front of a bicycle.  The curl of the handlebars was thought to make bicycles more aerodynamic during a ride.  Today handlebars tend to be straighter, fitting into the front part of the frame known as the head tube.

Bicycle seat

Bicycle seats come in all shapes and sizes.  The seat is mounted on a tubular stem that fits inside the bike frame, through the seat tube.  Some bicycles do not have a top tube, connecting the seat tube to the head tube. For quite some time girl’s bikes didn’t have a top tube, to prevent injuries from occurring.


A bicycle has two wheels of varying diameter, depending on the style of bike. The rear wheel is attached to the frame by the chain stay; the front wheel is fitted to the frame by a fork attachment that slips into the bottom of the head tube.  On some bikes, the fork is welded to the frame as a single piece.  Each wheel is made of a circular metal frame, which maintains its shape with spokes that attach to a central hub.  The wheel is covered by a rubber tire with an inner tube inside it.


From the pedals, come all of your bike’s movement.  The pedals attach to the bottom bracket of the bike frame.  The pedals and wheels are connected to each other through gears and a series of chains.  Pedals are wide enough for a foot and usually contain grooves to grip the shoe of the rider, to prevent slipping.  Some bicycles have pedal clips, to further keep your feet from slipping as you ride.

Front derailleur

Mechanism for changing the front gears by lifting the chain from one chain wheel to another; it allows the cyclist to adapt to road conditions.

Chain (or drive chain)

Set of metal links meshing with the sprockets on the chain wheel and gear wheel to transmit the pedaling motion to the rear wheel.

Chain stay

Tube connecting the pedal and crank mechanism to the rear-wheel hub.

Rear derailleur

Mechanism for changing the rear gears by lifting the chain from one gear wheel to another; it allows the cyclist to adapt to road conditions.

Rear brake

Mechanism activated by a brake cable, comprising a caliper and return springs; it forces a pair of brake pads against the sidewalls to stop the bicycle.


Structure made of cotton and steel fibers coated with rubber, mounted on the rim to form the casing for the inner tube.

Tire valve

Small clack valve sealing the inflation opening of the inner tube; it allows air to enter but prevents it from escaping.


Thin metal spindle connecting the hub to the rim.


Metal circle constituting the wheel’s circumference and on which the tire is mounted.


Central part of the wheel from which spokes radiate. Inside the hub are ball bearings enabling it to rotate around its axle.


Cables run all along the bike frame, from the handlebars to the brakes and the gears.  These cables are usually attached to the frame to avoid accidents.  By using the handlebar levers, you can implement your brakes and change gears, thanks to the network of cables. See All the parts and pieces that work together in perfect harmony to create a dream ride BIKE_ANATOMY

Warp up

There is the anatomy of a bicycle in a nutshell.  It is a simple piece of machinery that, when properly taken care of, can provide an efficient form of transportation.

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