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How to describe your bike

For a relatively straight forward piece of machinery, there certainly is a lot of terminology when it comes to bikes and their seemingly endless parts. The diagram above breaks down the bicycle by individual component which should help you out when something goes wrong and you are trying to explain to a friend, bike mechanic or anyone else who is willing to listen, what is wrong with your bike.


While we at Triathlon Bikes can offer guidance on a bike, and other equipment, it is ultimately you who is responsible for ensuring their bike is safe to ride.


One method of checking the serviceability of a bike is an 'M-check'. So called because it forms the shape of an M starting at the rear hub, travelling up to saddle, down to the bottom bracket, up to the stem and handlebars and back down to the front hub.


The section below gives a more complete list of areas to examine when performing the M-check.

BIKE M-Check

Handlebars

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  • Headset/handlebar tight with no side-to-side play.
  • Brakes levers/gear shifters working correctly.

Saddle

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Fitted tight, facing in the correct direction and set at the correct angle for the athlete.

Seat Post

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  • Free from rust, damage, cracks.
  • Tightly secure (seat post clamp).

Chain Ring

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  • Front derailleur – working correctly with smooth changes. Wires not frayed.
  • Cranks – spinning freely with no side-side play.
  • Pedals – fitted correctly, and free from debris. Also check cleats are clean and not worn.
  • Chain – check it is well oiled and not rusty.

Rear Wheel

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  • Rear derailleur – working correctly with smooth changes, cable not frayed.
  • Axle nuts/ quick release – tight/ firmly closed.
  • Spokes all present and tight.
  • Brakes – secure and working, aligned and not rubbing against tyres.
  • Lights/ reflectors – if fitted, then tight and working.
  • Tyre – check for wear, cuts and splits in the tread, and that the tyre is inflated to the correct pressure.
  • Bearings – grip rim and rock back and forth to feel for loose bearings.
  • Spin to check for tight bearings and poor alignment or buckled wheels.

Front Wheel

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  • Axle nuts/quick release – tight/ firmly closed.
  • Spokes all present and tight.
  • Brakes – secure and working, aligned and not rubbing against tyres.
  • Lights/ reflectors – if fitted, then tight and working.
  • Tyre – check for wear, cuts and splits in the tread, and that the tyre is inflated to the correct pressure.
  • Bearings – grip rim and rock back and forth to feel for loose bearings.
  • Spin to check for tight bearings and poor alignment or buckled wheels.