Bikes for Dummies

There’s a lot of components that make up a bike, and like many people in the industry, we’re guilty of assuming you know all about them!  To help ‘translate’ some items you’ll see on our specifications, we’ve put together a list of things you may not have heard of before.  Of course, if you see something on our site that leaves you confused, and there’s no answer on this page, please send us an email (we might even add it to our list to help others, so please don’t be shy!):



Low Step – This refers to the top tube of the bikes frame.  On Low Step models the top tube is either slanted or curved to offer a much lower stand over height

6061 Alloy – This is simply the grading of aluminium material we use for our frames

Hydroformed – Hydroforming is a specialized type of die forming that uses a high pressure hydraulic fluid to press room temperature working material into a die. Using this method allows us to use much more adventurous tube shapes when compared to more traditionally shaped tubes

Double or Triple Butted – A ‘butted’ frame uses tubes with different thicknesses.  Thicker near the welds/joints, and thinner in areas receiving less stress.  This makes frames strong, but light.  When referring to ‘double’ or ‘triple’, we simply mean how many different thicknesses there are along one length of tube, 2 or 3.

Reynolds – The brand Reynolds is synonymous worldwide for producing quality steel tubing, for the bicycle industry, aerospace and performance motor vehicles.  Based in Birmingham (the same as us!) we’ve trusted their tubing on some of our best known touring bikes.

Bottom Bracket (or “BB”) – The axle which connects both the left hand and right hand pedal arms is referred to as the bottom bracket.  Not only does this include the axle, but also bearings for your pedal arms to spin on.  There are various forms of bottom bracket, most commonly used on our bikes are “cartridge bottom brackets” – these offer a great mix of value, durability and performance.



Unicrown – This basically refers to the manufacturing style of the fork.  The two fork legs are bent towards each other (typically) and are then welded onto the steerer tube at the top.  This is one of the most commonly used methods for standard bike forks

Steerer tube – the tube which inserts into the headtube/front of the bicycle frame.  This then attaches to the handlebar stem to turn the forks with your handlebar movement

Zoom – this is simply a brand of suspension fork, used globally.


Gear Shifters

Revoshifter – twist grip gear shifter. 

Thumbshifter – simple to use gear shifter that sits on top of the handlebar

EZ Fire – these are trigger/thumb style shifters that are permanently attached to the brake levers

Rapidfire – these are a higher grade of thumbshifter, both of which sit underneath the handlebar for increased performance/comfort

STI – “Shimano-Totally-Integrated” shifters are used on dropbar/racing style handlebars.  They incorporate both gear shifters and brake levers, allowing you to use both functions with one lever.



Double Wall Rims – Alloy wheel rims constructed using two “walls” instead of just one.  This strengthens the wheel to avoid buckling

Double Wall Disc Only Rims – these rims are shaped to offer more printing area, or a wider profile, but will not work with rim brakes such as V-brakes or Cantilever brakes.

CNC Sidewall/Braking surface – This is a process we use on a lot of our bikes.  A CNC sidewall is machined to produce more friction between the rim and the brake pad, increasing stopping power

14G Spokes – 14 gauge simply refers to the size/thickness of the spoke

Quick Release – Using a quick release mechanism to hold your wheels in place allows you to remove them easily without any tools.  Simply release the lever and loosen it on the spindle by hand, to remove.  Ideal for trail side repairs.  We sometimes refer to “Anodised Quick Release”, this is simply the colouring process used on the lever.



Sidewall – this is basically how we refer to the sides of the tyres.  Sometimes available in different colours, or materials to improve looks and performance

Kevlar Guard – an thin layer of Kevlar beneath the rubber tread to help prevent punctures.

Greenguard – technology developed by world famous “Schwalbe” tyre brand, the “Greenguard” is a hard rubber compound that sits beneath the tread of the tyre to help prevent punctures, stopping items like glass, thorns and even drawing pins.  Please note; this adds puncture protection but the tyres are not 100% puncture proof.

Presta valve – designed originally to help manufacturers produce thinner profile rims, the presta valve is common place on road bikes.  Not only because of it’s narrow construction, but also it’s ability to accept high pressures.  Most modern day pumps will work fine with a presta valve, but for older/cheaper pumps or air compressors/foot pumps you’ll need a small adaptor (usually available for a couple of pounds)

Schrader valve – the same style valve as on a car.  Simple to use, compatable with all pumps and compressors and will hold enough pressure for any bicycle tyre



Backsweep – this is the angle at which the handlebars turn back towards you on the bike, with the stem as the centre point

Rise – measuring from the centre of the handlebar, to the highest point of the grips.  “Riser” bars help give a more upright riding position, and also allows for some reach adjust by turning the bars back and forth.



Quill stem – secured inside the steerer tube using a wedge bolt/quill, tightened from the top using a 6mm allen key (typically).  Simple to adjust height and “wedge” in position

Extension – the length of the stem.  Measured from the centre of the handlebar clamp, to the centre of the quill bolt

Inifinite Adjust – only used on our junior Academy bikes, these exclusive stems can be adjusted in height by simply loosening, and sliding up and down a shim.  No spacers and lightweight construction.  Also, bolts are hidden out of the way of delicate knees.

Ahead – higher level product than a quill stem, an Ahead stem clamps around the top of the steerer tube instead of wedging inside.  Lots of aftermarket choice for different length/rise options.


Not found what you’re looking for?  Drop us an email and we’ll get back to you asap!