Bicycle components without which it's not a working bike: wheels, brakes, saddle/seat, bottom bracket, derailleur, stem, handlebars, bolts, etc. Also tag with specific part.

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31
votes
4answers
2k views

Building from scratch VS buying new

What are the pros and cons about building a bike from scratch VS buying it new?
28
votes
6answers
4k views

What bike+equipment for a long daily urban commute?

In the (distant) past I commuted 6 km (more than half an hour) each way, on a cheap bike with big knobbly tyres. Soon I'll have a new commute: 18 km each way, daily. That's much further than I've ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

What should I look for in clipless pedals and shoes?

I am just thinking about investing in some clip-in pedals (and presumably shoes). I want to use them mostly on my older road bike but in the future I might want to move them over onto my mountain ...
22
votes
11answers
37k views

Why would one ever buy a 12-25 cassette when an 11-25 is available?

I was looking at purchasing some Sram Rival components. Looking at the available cassettes, there is a big variety of sizes available: 11-23: 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23 11-25: ...
21
votes
7answers
2k views

Are Z-shaped cranks a good idea?

I've stumbled across this kickstarter project, which promotes an original shape for cranks: They claim a wider arc of useful push during rotation. While their main point is rendered moot by ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

what makes a good entry level road bike?

I've been riding a mountain bike for years, but I prefer to go longer distances on paved ground, so I think a road bike would be better. When I ask what is a good bike, I don't need brands/models - ...
19
votes
2answers
431 views

Selecting the right crank length

What is the best way to determine the correct crank length for my height and more specifically my leg length?
17
votes
10answers
3k views

How much does bike price correspond with maintenance needs?

In this question (with this answer) I asked about a commuter bike, which is to be ridden 40 km every weekday, in the city. And apparently for this scenario I can choose either of two possible kinds of ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

How much do components really matter for a non-competitive rider?

I do not ride competitively, but plan on doing some longer distance rides (+30 miles). I've read that better components are lighter, run more smoothly, and last longer. Out of those three categories, ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Equipping a commuter bike

My commute is a bit over 5 miles each way through the city. It's not that long a commute; in traffic, it takes about 35 minutes door to door, and I'm never far from public transit that I could use in ...
16
votes
7answers
9k views

What is the biggest component difference between a cheap road bike and an expensive road bike?

I am shopping around for road bikes now, and I wanted to know what components to look for. I am not talking about the frame, carbon or otherwise, I mean types of shifters, brakes, cranks, rims, etc.
15
votes
5answers
600 views

Does anyone still use the old Brooks-style saddles?

About 30+ years ago I bought my first road bike. It had an old (used) Brooks leather saddle on it, whose design probably dated back to 1900 AD. To anyone who hasn't seen these, they look like a ...
14
votes
9answers
7k views

How does a bike's weight affect the overall experience of owning it?

Naturally, carrying a light bike up the stairs is much more enjoyable compared to a heavier bike. Are there any other aspects of a bike which are affected by its weight? For example, would the weight ...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

Whatever happened to solid bike tubes?

As a child I had solid rubber inner tubes in my bike. They were a pain to get on but after I never had a flat again! Now I've recently started biking again and have had two flats in two days, each ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a practical gain from elliptical/oval chainrings?

I have seen competitive (amateur) cyclists with oval chainrings (front). What is the deal? Are they just for showing off, or is there a practical gain from it (different force transfer).
13
votes
9answers
5k views

Why is a proper road bike pedal preferred for road bikes?

I've been riding road bikes for a couple of years, but with mountain bike pedals, I've been thinking about switching over to a road bike pedal, but what's the reason? Is the performance improved or is ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I protect components from being stolen off my bike?

I had my bike locked up properly so that the frame and wheels were secure, but somebody stole the 8 speed and handlebars off of my bike. I don't understand how this can have more than a $10 resale ...
12
votes
1answer
643 views

How can I tell which road bike components/groupsets are better?

Shimano has new models of their groupsets every year but the lines generally keep the same names. This makes it difficult to figure out what year/version a particular bike has. Is there an easy way to ...
11
votes
5answers
440 views

Lock for extremely frequent use

Are there lock products out there specifically designed for easy handling when locked unlocked dozens of times a day? I'm using a normal, chain-based lock at the moment and I'm annoyed because I'm ...
11
votes
4answers
5k views

Differences between Biopace and Rotor cranks

On mountain bikes of a certain age, "Biopace" chainrings are ubiquitous. These chainrings are (purposely) not circular. It seems that most people today agree that Biopace rings didn't live up to the ...
11
votes
1answer
936 views

Do I need to change my cassette if I can't see any wear?

I bought a new road bike with Campag Athena 11 speed in March last year. To the end of Jan it had covered 9000km. In all that time I hadn't changed the chain because I don't have the Campag tool, and ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

How is stem length measured?

How is the length of a stem measured? Where does the measurement start and finish?
11
votes
1answer
6k views

Chart for bicycle component quality?

I'm not very familiar with all the different component groups available and wondered if there's a chart that ranks their quality (or price). So I'd know that Shimano 105 is the same level as SRAM ...
10
votes
2answers
532 views

What is this rubber ring around the top tube for

I have seen these on a few bikes. What is the purpose :S
10
votes
2answers
8k views

What are the benefits of external bottom brackets?

Pretty soon, I plan to replace the bottom bracket on my early 90's Sakae Litage road bike. It takes a standard, English-threaded bottom bracket. Right now I think it contains loose bearings--I was ...
10
votes
1answer
268 views

Understanding MTB Pedals

This question is bugging me for a very long time. Look at the picture below. Notice the area I have denoted with red circles. What is that? Does it represent something? Maybe something like ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

How does Lockable Suspension work?

I recently asked a question about how to make a lockable suspension last longer. There zenbike told me about the “blow off” feature. Now, I am curious about how the whole system works. So, can ...
8
votes
5answers
12k views

What kind of bicycles do they ride in the Tour de France?

I've been looking at a lot of the coverage of the Tour de France. All of the attention is on the cyclists, and no attention whatsoever on the cycles. Even in photographs or videos, they are so far ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Does it matter where you buy the bike?

You can buy the same bike at different stores (see for example the Schwinn Discover, here, here, and here). Does the place where you buy the bike from matter in terms of what parts they put on it? Or ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Good Quality Road Platform Pedals?

I am trying to find good quality but not exorbitantly expensive platform pedals for a road bike. I tried Shimano SPD, but ended up concluding that for me it was more of a deathtrap. I did end up ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Benefits and drawbacks of Dropper posts?

From what I've seen, the last couple of years saw a new product type come into light, and since its inception it has started to appear on bikes (such as this one, this one, or this one) as a stock ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it a good idea to get a narrower front tire and a wider rear tire on a road bike?

I am currently running Continental Grand Prix S 4000 in 23-622 / 700x23C front and rear. I am about to buy a new set of tires for my road bike and am fancying a smaller tire for the front and a wider ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a downside to spoke protectors?

A few weeks ago, the derailer on my touring bike caught on the chain and ripped itself off the frame. (See the link below for more info on the incident.) The spoke protector was cracked in half by ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Tapered Head Tube

I am wanting to understand how a tapered head tube works. Does it require a tapered steerer, or is it the case that the steerer is a consistent diameter top and bottom and just the bearings differ in ...
7
votes
2answers
791 views

What is the name of the part, often seen on BMX bicycles, that allows an additional rider on the back the bike?

What is the name of the part, often seen on BMX bicycles, that allows an additional rider on the back the bike? It appears to be a set of relatively short but thick poles that go on either side of the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Would hydraulic disc brakes be easier on my hands than mechanical disc brakes?

I ride MTB in a coastal town where all roads are dirt roads with lots of uphill/downhill. Nothing extreme, I just ride to relax and enjoy the landscape. I have mechanical disc brakes and after a 2-4 ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

How do I choose a bicycle fork?

I'm putting together a bicycle on a budget from a frame I was given and various parts from a bike with a broken frame. The only part of any expense that I really need is the fork, and I want to get ...
7
votes
2answers
253 views

Tightening a nut too much

Often guidance will be given to tighten a nut to "20 lbs of pressure" or something along those lines. What's the best way to ensure you tighten things up, but not to over-tighten? Is there any way ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Is it possible/sensible to add a suspension fork to an old mountain bike?

I have a ~1993 Giant mountain bike. It's not great, but I am a very new and casual rider. The bike has a solid fork and it makes for the predictable rough trail ride. The trails are generally ...
6
votes
12answers
477 views

Bike touring/camping tip(s)

I have a tentative first-time bike touring/camping trip in the planning stages and working out my set-up. I have a good idea of the essentials. My question is especially directed to those who have ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

New, cheap mountain bike: What's most likely to break?

I have a very cheap (less than USD $100), new mountain bike I'm about to break in on a 2-4 hour ride on a mountain trail. I'd like to be prepared for equipment failures or problems - can anyone ...
6
votes
4answers
849 views

Suggestions for progressive upgradation of bike

I have one bike, which is pretty cheap. It's a Mid-Level Mountain Bike of Motache (I tried to find a picture but, no luck). But, now I want to upgrade this bike progressively and change it into High ...
6
votes
4answers
302 views

Are there any drivetrain components designed and sold to last longer?

If a chain is only supposed to last 2000 miles, a rear cassette 5000 miles and a chainset only 10000 miles, then, at a modest 100 miles a week you are going to go through 2.5 chains a year, a new ...
6
votes
2answers
92 views

What factors affect the price of a chain?

Just like most bicycle parts, chains have a pretty wide price range. What are the factors weighting in on the price of a chain ? (Other than width/bike-compatibility characteristics)
6
votes
2answers
897 views

How much of the saddle rail is suiteable to use

Is it possible to safely set the seat to the max to get the saddle as far forward as it will go. Or should it only be clamped within the marked range 0 to 3.5? I have marked the points in red. The ...
5
votes
5answers
4k views

What initial improvements can I make to a Schwinn Sidewinder?

I bought a Schwinn Sidewinder from Walmart last night in a desperate attempt to get some exercise. I took it home and rode intensely for an hour, it was fantastic! I may be wrong, but I see bicycles ...
5
votes
4answers
292 views

Bicycle Components: What's The Real Difference?

I am buying my first 'real' road bike soon and am comparing the Shimano Ultegra vs. the 105. I have read through their websites and marketing literature. What does the semi-vast price difference do ...
5
votes
2answers
396 views

Bottom bracket removal, what is this part?

I have a new (old) bicycle, and I am in the process of disassembling it. I arrived to the bottom bracket (with a cottered crank), and unscrewed the ring without problems, but then I'm faced with a ...
5
votes
3answers
420 views

Where can I buy a wide range of used bike parts online?

Does anyone know of a reputable website that sells a wide range of used and second hand bike parts and components? I'm helping a friend rebuild an older commuter bike and we are having trouble ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Dia Compe Brakes for 1991 Bridgestone RB-T

I have a 1991 Bridgestone RB-T. This bike has passed through many hands so much of the stock parts are gone. The original Dia Compe XCE brake arms have been replaced by Dimension canti arms. My ...