Befuddled by a technical bike term? Check out our triathlon A-Z bike jargon buster and learn your butts from your bottom brackets!

Numbers A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Knowing your bike jargon will help you understand your trusty steed


Numbers

1in Head Tube
Most road bikes use a 1.125in or larger tapered steerer fork for extra steering stiffness, but some aero bikes use a 1in fork to minimise the frontal area.


A

Alloy
Metallic variations on a basic aluminium theme. Bikes normally use 6000 or 7000 series alloys.


B

Bar Ends
Small forward extensions on the handlebar to give an extra hand position.

Biaxial
The profile of a biaxial tube alters along its length. It could be tall and narrow at one end, short and wide at the other.

Bladed Spokes
Spokes which use a flattened centre section to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Bosses
Threaded inserts on the frame for bolting accessories to.

Bottom Bracket
The bottom section of the frame where the down tube sand seat tube meet and the crank is housed. BB30 bottom brackets are bigger than standard, for greater power delivery.


C

Cable Adjusters
Screw threaded sections inserted into the cable out for fine adjustment of cable tension.

Carbon Fibre
A sandwich of multiple sheets of woven carbon fibre stuck together with resin, and baked at high pressure to produce a very light, strong structure.

Carbon Wrap
A thin layer of carbon fibre around a metal core. Often just cosmetic.

Chainstays
The two frame tubes which join the bottom bracket area of the frame to the rear dropouts.

Compact Bar
A handlebar with a shallower than usual drop and shorter than normal forward reach.

Compact Chainset
A chainset using smaller (usually 50 and 34 tooth rings) rather than full size 53 and 39 tooth rings, so you’re spinning more than stomping.

Compact Geometry
Mountain bike-style frame layout using a sloping top tube and long seatpost.

Cosmetic Weave
Cross-woven carbon fibre which looks pretty and adds an impact protection layer, but has no actual structural strength.

Cromo
Short for chromoly. A steel alloy that is stronger than steel. Often used for light tubing.

Cyclo-cross
Winter racing involving reinforced, knobbly tyred road bikes on short off-road courses. Great for off-season training.


D

Deep Section Wheels
Wheels with a rim deeper than 30mm reduce aerodynamic drag for a faster straightline ride, at the expense of acceleration.

Double Butted
A butted tube has a varied wall thickness to match its strength requirements. A single-butted tube is thicker at one end than in the middle. Double-butted tubes are thicker at both ends.

Dropouts
The slotted tips of the fork and the rear stay that hold the wheel in place.


E

External Bottom Bracket
Large bottom bracket bearings that sit outside the frame. These work with a hollow axle chainset that’s more convenient to install and lighter and stiffer in use.


F

Flip Flop Hubs
Where the rear wheel hub is threaded to accept fixed cogs or freewheels on both sides. Enables you to choose between riding fixed or freewheel.

Fork Leg
The two main parts of the fork between dropouts that hold the wheel and the crown, which forms the bridge at the top.

Frame Weight
Some manufacturers quote frame weight of their smallest size with every fixture removed, but we weight them complete in tested size.

Full Carbon
Most frames and forks use alloy dropouts glued into the carbon, but full carbon fibre frames are carbon fibre right through.


G

Groupset
The moving components of the bike such as gears and brakes, grouped together based on quality and performance.


H

Horizontal Dropouts
Dropouts are the slots in the frame that the wheel axels sit in. Having a horizontal slot rather than the normal vertical one means that you can slide the wheel backwards and forwards.

Hydroforming
Shaping frame tubes by squeezing them against moulds with highly pressurised hydraulic oil.


I

Inline Adjuster
A threaded cable adjuster fitted between sections of the outer cable.

Integrated Headset
Where the bearings that the fork spins on are housed inside the frame rather than above and below it.

J

K

L


M

Monocoque
Any structure that carries its stress loads through the outer skin, but often used to describe a frame made of moulded halved rather than glued-together tubes.

N


O

Oversize Bars
Bars designed with a 31.8mm diameter (rather than the standard 27.2mm) to increase stiffness and reduce flex. Must be coupled with an oversize stem.


P

Plain Gauge
A metal tube or rod that is the same thickness throughout.

Press Fit BB
Oversized bottom bracket crankset bearings that press directly into the frame to save weight rather than screwing into it.


Q

Quick release
A skewer with a levered end to hold the wheels in place that can be quickly undone to allow easy wheel removal.


R

Reversible Seatpost (See also Twin Position Seatpost)
Some frames use a symmetrical seatpost with an offset clamp at the top. By reversing the seatpost front to back you can change the effective seat angle and ride position of the frame quickly and simply.


S

Seat Angle
The angle between the bottom bracket and the saddle. Tri bikes have steep seat angles to help get your back close to horizontal for better aerodynamics.

Seatpost
The removable post upon which the saddle’s rails are bolted and which slides into the seat tube and is fastened by a collar to secure the saddle at the correct height for the rider.


T

Tapered Head
A fork steerer, headset and head tube system where the bottom bearing is larger than the upper bearing, which increases stiffness significantly for a tiny weight gain.

Toe-in
Setting the brakes 1-2mm askew so that the leading edge of the pad hits the rim slightly before the rear.

Tri Extensions
Screw-on lengths of alloy or carbon that sit on top of the handlebars and allow a more aerodynamic position.

Triple-butted Tubes
A butted tube has a varied wall thickness to match its strength requirements. Triple-butted tubes have different thickness butts at each end.

Twin Position Seatpost
Gives you the option of either a conventional seat angle – best if you regularly ride conventional bikes – or a steeper seat angle – best for going straight from cycling to running.

Tyres, Clincher
Tyres with a wire bead which sits snugly around the rim, encasing an inner tube within.

Tyres, Tubular
All-in-one tyres, which don’t require an innertube and must be glued directly onto the wheel’s rim.


U

U-brake
A brake that uses a central straddle wire rather than a sidepull configuration.

V


W

Wheelhugger
A curved cut-out on a frame that follows the wheel shape to shield it from the wind.

Wishbone
This is a rear frame design where the two seat stays connect to the frame with a single tube.

X

Y


Z

Zerts Inserts
Special vibration dampening insets, which Specialized use on their bike frames and other components such as forks and seat posts.