Bike Part Basics - Electric Bikes
It's never too late (or too early) to brush up on your bike basics. Whether you're new to the cycling scene or you're here to learn more about electric bikes, we're here to help. Check out this guide to bike parts to learn more about how your ride works.
Basic Bike Anatomy
With any bike, you'll come across the same essential parts, which include brakes, tires, handlebars, bike chains, pedals and a seat. But beyond those, there are some basic parts which take a little bit of research to better understand. Here's a guide to some of other vital bike parts you'll find on any model:
- Brake levers: Unless you have pedal braking (usually only found on cruiser-style bikes), you'll have brake levers on the handlebars. These levers connect to the friction pads on the wheels via either hydraulic lines or flexible, taut cables often called "Bowden cables."
- Seat post: This is the tube that connects the frame to your seat or "saddle." It is usually adjustable to fit the rider's height.
- Top and down tubes: These are the two horizontal bars under the rider. The upper bar is called the top tube, while the lower bar is the down tube. The top tube is often angled differently for men's and women's bikes. In many newer bikes, this has been changed to a single bar design that can be used by riders of either gender.
- Head tube: This is the bar that extends up from the front tire to the handlebars. It stabilizes the headset, which is the grouping of small components that allow the front tire of the bike to move from side to side.
While the above parts are essential for bike functioning, there are also some accessories that can be added to outfit a bike with extra features, such as:
- Mirrors: Cyclists can mount side mirrors on your handlebars for better visibility on the road.
- Lights: Front and rear lights are highly recommended for any evening or night rides.
- Fenders: Also called mudguards, these protect riders from getting wet and dirty.
- Water bottle holder: Being able to take along a water bottle makes it easier to stay hydrated on any ride.
- Saddle bags/panniers/baskets: These items are often added to create storage space on a bike.
- Bike lock: Chains can be used, though U-locks are generally much harder for thieves to damage and remove.
Electric Bike Parts
In addition to all the essential parts and any accessories the rider adds, electric bikes feature a few unique parts that you'll only find on these types of models. Here's what gives electric bikes that extra boost of power for which they're so well-known:
- Motor: Most electric bikes have an internal motor in the hub of the front or rear wheel. There are also some electric bikes with external motors mounted on the side of the bike. Power ratings typically range from 200W to 700W.
- Battery: Modern electric bikes typically use a nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery or a lithium ion battery, though some use a lead acid battery. Some bike models can be fitted with any type of battery, while others only work with a specific style.
- Controller: This device lets the rider determine the level of electric assistance offered by the motor. Some controllers are throttle-based while others are pedal-activated.
Now that you know more about bike parts, it'll be easier to care for your own bike. You can also use this as a guide when deciding which type of bike or bike accessories to purchase.
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