Bikes & components

Bikes & components

Get to know your bike with this seriously meaty section from our experts who have almost 100 years cycling experience between them. 'Getting the right size bike' is a must for anyone looking to purchase a new bike or those considering a professional bike-fit.

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Getting the right size bike

Getting the right size bike

by Dave Yates

The factors involved in getting a bike that is the right size for you are many and varied, primarily to do with body size but the intended usage also has a bearing, along with riding style and personal preference. This article looks at: frame measurement, saddle height and reach.

Materials in bike construction

Materials in bike construction

by Dave Yates

For over a century, steel has been the material of choice for bicycles. In recent years, as technologies have improved, aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre have challenged steel's dominance. Master frame builder, Dave Yates, traces the development of materials in the bike business.

Mountain bike components - frames

Mountain bike components - frames

by Dave Yates

Learn all about the various components of your bike.

Mountain bike components- brakes

Mountain bike components- brakes

by Oli Beckingsale

With efficient brakes you can ride faster, with more confidence, and with shorter braking times or distances. If your riding chums keep outdistancing you on the corners and descents, you can easily upgrade to a more powerful type.

Mountain bike components- chain sets and bottom brackets

Mountain bike components- chain sets and bottom brackets

by Oli Beckingsale

'Chainset' is the collective term for the cranks and chainrings. These are bolted onto the bottom bracket axle, which is secured inside the fame. The pedals are then screwed into the cranks.

Mountain bike components- gears

Mountain bike components- gears

by Oli Beckingsale

A key feature of mountain bikes is their multiple gears. Here's how they work.

Mountain bike components- pedals

Mountain bike components- pedals

by Oli Beckingsale

Flat pedals, cleats, SPDs, toe-clips and straps - where do you start? Oli has the answers.

Mountain bike components- saddles and seatposts

Mountain bike components- saddles and seatposts

by Oli Beckingsale

If you are new to cycling you'll probably want a well-padded, fairly wide saddle. More experienced riders may well be looking for a saddle more specific to their chosen discipline. For example, a cross-country racer may be looking for a slim, lightweight model.

Mountain bike components- steering

Mountain bike components- steering

by Oli Beckingsale

The bars and stem can be adjusted or changed to make the bike fit you better. By adjusting the position of the controls you can alter the 'feel' of your bike and how it handles. You can also ruin the feel of your bike, so it's best to discuss this with an expert.

Mountain bike components- suspension

Mountain bike components- suspension

by Oli Beckingsale

Over the last decade the main focus of development on mountain bikes has been suspension. Here's what you need to know.

Mountain bike components- tyres

Mountain bike components- tyres

by Oli Beckingsale

The tyre market is massive with new designs constantly arriving in the shops, but there are basically five types of tyre for different purposes. Here's what you need to know.

Mountain bike components- wheels

Mountain bike components- wheels

by Oli Beckingsale

Upgrading your wheels can dramatically improve the performance of your bike. If you want to buy yourself some speed or performance, look for lighter wheels - as rotating weight is effectively double that of static weight on the bike - but do make sure that your wheels will be up to the job.

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