The Basic Parts of a Mountain Bike

As a mountain biker it is very important that you know the basic parts of your mountain bike so that you know what you want when purchasing/ repairing/upgrading your ride when the parts wear out, or maybe when you want a lighter weight that will help you increase your speed. Knowing your mountain bike parts, will remove the dummy feeling about the components that make your ride a worthy experience travel. These are essential things when going mountain biking in Bryce Canyon. There are some incredible trails here that you would love to ride, but nothing ruins a ride like a busted bike.

When I purchased/assembled my mountain bike, I really don’t have that much idea on what brands and types of bike parts are essential to have a solid state mountain bike, that will look awesome and at the same time with greater performance compared to those ordinary mountain bike which could be purchased on non-specialty shops like hardware.

Yeti 575 Mountain Bike in HDR

First thing to be considered when purchasing your mountain bike is to identify what type of riding you are planning to do. Is it freeride, hardtail, downhill or full suspension mountain bike?

Here are some of the basic parts of the mountain bike, if you plan to assemble your own.

Frame – the mountain bike frame is the foundation/skeleton/core of the bike. This is responsible in holding all the other mountain bike parts, whether they are the basic parts or bike accessories. It is very important that you decide the right frame size that matches your height and inseam to reward yourself a comfortable ride. The mountain bike frames comes also in different materials according to their price and lightness – steel, alloy, aluminum, carbon fibre and the best of all is titanium material.

Fork and Shock Absorber – mountain bike suspension systems minimize the shocks or jolt every time you put your bike into its limit such as riding in rough terrain or trails. The two general classification of suspension systems are front suspension and dual suspension. Front suspensions have a set of shock absorbers attached to the front wheel. While dual suspension have rear and front sections which is very ideal for technical terrains.

Handlebar –the mountain bike handlebar is located at the front of the bike, this is what you used to steer or maneuver your bike. It also comes in different styles and shapes to meet the specific needs of any rider. This also holds the derailleur shifters, brake levers, headlight and cyclocomputer attachment. As a general rule to provide additional comfort, the handlebar should be wider than the rider’s shoulders. The wider the handlebar, the more control and leverage but the response time in making turns would be slower and difficult.

Stem – mountain bike stems connects the steering tube of the fork and handlebars. This will help determine the distance of your reach to your handlebars and your position. The longer the stem, the more stretched out you are. Stems are measured in terms of millimeters.

Headset – mountain bike headsets is responsible for the rotatable interface between the fork and the frame. Most of the headset consists of two cups that are pressed into the top and bottom of the headtube.

Saddle – mountain bike saddles help improve the comfort of your ride. Without a standard measure saddle that will catch your entire butt, then surely a pain on the road will be encountered. Take note also that more padding does not mean more comfort; it still depends on how you adjust your seat properly.

Seatpost – mountain bike seatpost are designed to take all the abuse that the trail can throw to the rider. There is also a suspension post which is a great way of minimizing the bumps out of your ride without too much hassle and expense but with the comfort of full suspension model.

Cranks – mountain bike cranks holds the chain rings and chains which make the mountain bike move

Rod – mountain bike rod holds the cranks and the pedals.

Pedals – mountain bike pedals is where you step your two foot to create a cycled motion that will make the bike move. Choosing the right pedals will make you a better rider, make your ride safer, gives you more control with your bike and provides more pedaling efficiency. The four basic type of pedals are basic platform, advanced platform, toe clips or cage style and clipless. There is also newer type of pedals, which features a dual platform such as basic platform on one side and on the other side is cage style.

Hub – mountain bike hub is located at the center portion of the wheels which holds the spokes attached to the rim and 2 machined metal flanges.

Spokes – mountain bike spokes are wires joining the hub to the rim, which adds extra strength to support your weight on the wheel. It also transfers the power of your pedaling from the hub to the wheel.

Rim – the mountain bike rims holds spokes in the inside and the tire on the outside. The rim is commonly a metal extrusion that is butted into it to form a hoop. The rims usually measure between 26 – 29 inches in diameter. This also improves the ride to be smoother and safer especially in withholding bumps, jumps and obstacles.

Tires – mountain bike tire is the only bike part which has direct contact to the ground. The tires are usually wider and knobbier, which provides better traction and stability. Most tires have inflated tubes/interior inside but there are newer variations also which features a tubeless tire system. The important things to be considered when selecting your tires are weight, traction and durability.

Cassette – mountain bike cassette/cogset is located on your rear wheel. Usually a mountain bike has 5-9 stacks of sprocket, which is used by a rider to shift; to make the riding/pedaling easier especially on hills and to go faster on flat surface.

Chain – mountain bike chain are circular set of links used to transfer the power from chainring to cassette.

Front Derailleur – mountain bike front derailleur is used to shift the chain rings from one to the other. In short derailleur is used to change the speed of pedaling when biking.

Rear Derailleur – mountain bike rear derailleur is used to shift the cassette from one to the other.

Derailleur Shifters – mountain bike shifters control the front and rear derailleur, allowing the shifting of the gear from low to high speed and vice versa especially when crossing different terrains. The shifters almost have a similar look with the brake levers and are located next to the handle grips.

Brakes – mountain bike brakes is very important part of the bike because of its primary purpose to stop the bike. Aside from that, they also help regulate the speed, control your bike and make it possible to perform advanced techniques. The two basic types of brakes are the disc brakes and the rim brakes. Disc brakes perform best even on muddy situations, but they are usually heavier than rim brakes.

Brake Levers – mountain bike brake levers is the mechanical or hydraulic mechanism used by rider to transmit the force applied by the rider to the brakes. The brake levers are mounted on the handlebars within easy reach of the rider’s hand.


There you have it, that’s your guide for mountain bike parts. So if you’re looking for a place to stay in Bryce Canyon when you come here to ride the Thunder Mountain trail, or any of our other wonderful trails here in Bryce, look us up!

Photo Credit: Darren Smith

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