Mountain Bike Parts – The Anatomy of Your Bike

For proper maintenance, you must have knowledge about the parts and accessories of the mountain bike. A layman can only see some superficial difference between a mountain bike and a normal road bike. However, a mountain bike is designed to serve entirely for different purpose than a road bike. anatomy-road-bike So, for a biker it is important to know the components of a mountain bike that make it special than a normal bike and for which a mountain bike needs special maintenance than a normal bike.

1.1 Bike Frame

Mountain bike frame is the skeleton of the entire bike that carries and connects all the bike parts. It is the foundation of your bike. If you chose a wrong type of frame, no matter how many fancy parts you are putting into it, you will not be comfortable with your bike (to chose a perfect MTB frame see our article on different types of mountain bike). So at first you have to decide what kind of frame you want to chose based on your purpose. carbon road bike frame If you want to have an all terrain, freeride or downhill mountain bike, you must choose a frame with a rear shock built into it.   To maintain the frame you also need to have knowledge about the frame materials. Normally MTB frames are made of four types of material:
  1. Steel
  2. Aluminum
  3. Carbon fibers
  4. Titanium.

  • 1.1.1 Steel Frames

Steel frames are durable, affordable and easy to repair. However, steel frames are heavy and vulnerable to rust. There are two types of steel frame available in the market. Frame made of high tensile steel and frames made of Chromoly steel. High tensile steel frames are very durable but also very heavy. Chromoly (an alloy of chromium and molybdenum) frames are lighter than high tensile steel frames.

  • 1.1.2 Aluminum Frames

Aluminum bike frames are lighter than the steel frames and do not rust. They are highly popular for building full suspension mountain bikes. However, aluminum bike frames are less durable and prone to crack and crash in case of accidents and rough ride with a lot of jerks and jumps. Aluminum frames do not rust.

  • 1.1.3 Aluminum Frames

Carbon fiber frames are made of carbon fibers attached with each other by a strong glue. However, carbon fiber frames are ideal for road bikes but not for mountain bikes as they cannot endure much abuse. Maintaining carbon fiber frame is also quite difficult as deep scratch and gauge on the frame cannot be repaired.

  • 1.1.4 Aluminum Frames

Titanium frames are lightest and strongest of all the frame materials. Titanium frames are rust resistant, hard and difficult to scratch. Titanium frames are very durable and can last for the lifetime. However titanium frames are also the most expensive and beyond the reach of most of us. If you can buy the right frame, you will get a sense of what is going on with the bike just by sitting on it. ”Tom Ritchey, a road and mountain bicycle racer, is said to be the man behind the first regularly available mountain bike frame. He is the founder, designer, and welder of Ritchey Design, the maker of handcrafted Mountain Bikes and bike parts.” back to menu ↑

1.2 Brakes

Your mountain bike is fitted with a pair of disc brakes. Disc brakes are usually used in mountain bikes as this type of brake can perform in all types of weather conditions such as mud, water and snow. Key components of a disc brake are:
Brake Disk  

  • 1.2.1 Lever

There are various shapes of levers that you pull to stop your bike. Pivot positioning and adjustment dial can change the way each brake feels.
Lever break

  • 1.2.2 Rotor

Rotor is the circular disc which exerts pressure on the bike wheels to stop it. The bigger the rotor, the more power will be exerted on the bike wheel by the brake. Bigger rotors are heavier and rotors have to be adjusted with the frame and fork of the bike.

  • 1.2.3 Body

The body holds the lever and clamps on to your handlebar. The body also contains the fluid reservoir that can refill the brake fluid and the ‘bleed port’ for removing air from the body of the break.

  • 1.2.4 Caliper

It is the working end of the brake that contains one or two pairs of opposing pistons to squeeze the brake pads on to the rotor when you pull the lever.

  • 1.2.5 Pads

These tiny pads work extremely hard to turn speed into safely controlled motion. Different brakes use different sizes, shapes and compounds, but some pads are commonly compatible with various types of bikes.
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1.3 Handlebar

Handlebar is one of the very crucial components of any bike. It is one of the main balancing equipment for the biker which holds the biker with the seat using the biker’s hand as the balancing shaft. For mountain bike, perfection in handlebar is extremely crucial. An all terrain biker has to spend a lot of energy during the ride. This is why wider handlebar is always preferable for mountain bike. Wider handlebars ensure better positioning, better control, easier breathing and better balance over the bike. So, a biker can be more stable on the bike and less prone to fatigue.
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1.4 Shifters

The small device located on the handlebar that you use to shift gears to speed up or slow down your mountain bike to cope up with different kinds of terrain is called shifters. Shifter actually activates the front and rear derailleurs in order to move the chain from one gear to other.
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1.5 Pedals

There are various kinds of bike pedals. Different kinds of pedals have been designed for different purposes. For mountain bikes, clipless pedals are ideal. Special hiking shoes can be attached with the pedals that allow full control over the pedal’s movement. Attached shoes also ensure that no extra energy will be spend on holding your feet to the bike’s pedals. However, releasing your feet from the pedals when you want to stop is a bit tricky and takes sometime to learn the technique.
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1.6 Wheels

Your mountain bike is fitted with two spoked-wheels of 26- 29 inches in diameter. Mountain bike wheels have inner tubes, although tubeless wheels are becoming more popular due to their better traction and shock absorption capacity. Its tires are wider and strong enough to ride through rough terrains.
bike wheel
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1.7 Saddles

Saddles which are designed for Mountain Biking are usually lightweight, narrow, and have pads to protect the rider from a crash. For off-road riding, Mountain Bike Saddles tend to be longer so the rider can adjust his or her body positions when necessary.
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1.8 Crank and Derailleur

The crank is the part of the bike which is attached to the chain rings and the chains which make the bike move. Pedals are attached to the cranks for the biker’s feet and shoes. The derailleur, on the other hand, is used to shift the chain from one to the other. This is to change the speed of pedaling when biking. The derailleur uses different shifters which change gear to the other and the chain from one chain ring to the other. In most cases, the finer the quality of the derailleur, the more exact the shifting will be.
Crank and Derailleur  
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1.9 Suspension system

Suspension Systems are commonly chosen based on the type of rider you are and the kind of mountainous terrain in which you’re planning to use the bike. The best ones combine two main components: the suspension part and the damping part. The suspension keeps the rider suspended on the saddle, while the damping functions as a shock absorber. The general classifications of Suspension Systems are as follows.
Suspension system

  • 1.9.1 Front suspension

Bicycles with this type of suspension usually have a set of shock absorbers at the front fork, which in turn is attached to the front wheel.

  • 1.9.2 Dual suspension

This type provides the bike with suspension at both its front and rear sections, giving the rider maximum control over very advanced terrains. These are the main components of a mountain bike.