How the bike wheel works: it’s useful for every rider to know

In order for the mechanism to work without interruptions, every detail is important. But among them, there are those that carry the heaviest loads during operation. Of all the components of a bicycle, of course, the wheels get the most – they have to take on the bulk of the weight of the rider, and shocks, which can not do without on rough roads.

What kind of wheels are wheels?

Before you know what the standard wheel layout of a bicycle includes, it’s worth reading the general information about this most important detail.

Wheels vary in diameter:

  • 14 inches is the size for the smallest cyclists, those under four years old.
  • 16 inches – for older riders: from 4.5 to 6.5 years. 20 inches is chosen by children aged 8 to 11.
  • 24 inches – for teenagers and those who practice biking.
  • 26 inches is the “standard” for an adult mountain bike.
  • 28 inches in diameter are most commonly used by adult highway and hybrid bikes.

Cycling wheel device: about every detail in details

Bicycle rides, especially off-road rides, carry the risk of breakage. It is therefore a good idea to know what the bicycle wheel is made of in order to understand the cause of the malfunction. It does not include too many parts, a list of which is easy to remember even a beginner: the hub, rim, spokes and tire. In this article, you will find a detailed description of each part of a bicycle wheel.

The bushing is a small component that performs a very important mission. Fixing the bicycle wheel to the frame is done with this wheel. The bushing consists of an axle and a pair of bearings and is connected to the rim by spokes.

The bushings vary depending on the position, attachment, material they are made of and the structure of the bike itself.

  • The position of the bushing has a direct influence on its function. The front hub only attaches the wheel and rotates the wheel of the same name. The rear wheel unit on your bicycle has extra work for the bushing to carry a cassette or ratchet (you can read about it here). By the way, the bushing for the cassette is stronger than the bushing for the ratchet.
  • Mounting of the bushing can be provided by both two nuts and eccentric. And if in the first case do not do without a wrench, in the second case, the wheels can be easily and quickly removed without using additional tools.
  • Depending on the type of braking system (V-brake or disc bushing), the bushing either has special mounts for the disc brake or not.
  • Depending on the material used, this part of the bicycle wheel can also be of two types: aluminium or steel. The first option is preferable – lighter in weight and less susceptible to corrosion, but also more expensive.
  • The number of spokes also affects the type of bushing: there are options for 32 or 36 spokes. Focusing on this number, you should choose a suitable rim.

The design of the bicycle wheel does not go without such an important detail as the rim.

It is its shape that determines what the wheel looks like. The rim is the outer part of the wheel, protected on the outside by a tire.

The rims are made of steel, aluminum, magnesium. The most preferable variant is the rim made of aluminium: this material is light, strong and corrosion-resistant. Steel is more susceptible to it and magnesium is not as strong.

Depending on the design of the bicycle wheel, the rim may or may not have a flat surface for the brake pads. This is useful if you use the V-brake system.

The high rim is better protected against distortion to the outside or inside of the centre (a fault called an “egg”), and the wide rim is better protected against distortion to the right or left of the direction of travel (a fault called an “eight”).

In terms of strength, the rim can be single, double, triple, reinforced. If your budget allows – choose at least a double rim!

In order to prevent the needle from sticking into the camera when it hits, there is a special protection – rim band. A detail worth only two hundred or three hundred rubles will help to avoid more substantial costs for repair.


are an important element of the mechanism of both the rear and front wheel of the bicycle. They perform several functions at once: they provide mounting bushing on the rim, centering the wheel, evenly distributing the load, and affect depreciation. Spokes are available in steel, aluminium, bronze and titanium.

The spokes are divided into rolled, pulled and flat. The first variant is the simplest and cheapest, optimal for beginners, the second one will cost more due to its superior lightness, and the third one is the most expensive due to excellent aerodynamic characteristics.

The front wheel of the bike, as well as the rear wheel, necessarily includes a tire. It consists of a camera and a tire.

The camera is necessary so that small irregularities in the road become invisible. It consists of a rubber tube in the form of a ring and a nipple through which it is filled with air.

The tire is needed to protect the camera from sharp objects that may meet on the road, and the grip of the wheel with its surface.

Choosing the pattern of the tire tread, orientate yourself to the conditions in which you are going to ride: for mud, sand, snow a “toothed” tread is suitable, for smooth road it is preferable smooth.