Glossary of Terms

Mountain Biking Terminology

    A

  • HEADSET

    A headset that allows you to attach a fork to your bike with a threadless steering tube.

  • ALLEN KEY

    A six-sided wrench (hexagonal) that is used to loosen and tighten hex:head bolts.

  • ANCHOR BOLT

    The bolt that firmly fixes a cable to a component.

  • APEX

    the sharpest point of a corner.

  • ATB

    (all-terrain bike) a mountain bike.

  • ATTACK POSITION

    The alert and well-balanced position you ride in when you approach, or ride on, rough terrain.

    It is characterized by bent knees, rear above the saddle, elbows slightly bent, and a raised head.

  • AXLE

    The shaft on which your wheelset rotates.

  • B

  • BARREL ADJUSTER

    The adjustment knobs found on rear derailleurs, shifters, and brake levers. Used for fine adjustments.;

  • BB

    Bottom bracket.

  • BEGINNER

    A category for beginning racers on the NORBA race schedule.

  • BERM

    An embankment on a trail.

  • BINDER BOLT

    An attachment bolt (bar-end to handlebar, seatpost to frame, etc.).

  • BONK

    When you run out of energy.

  • BPM

    Heart rate reference (beats per minute).

  • BRAKE BOSS

    The pivot point attached to a frame or fork that the brake arms mount to.

  • BRAKE PAD

    The block of material used to create friction on a rim or rotor so that you can stop.

  • BRAKE SHOE

    Holds the brake pad.

  • BRAZING

    A method of steel frame construction that involves brass or silver solder to connect frame tubes.

  • BUNNY HOP

    A hop that you incorporate into your riding technique so you can clear obstacles such as logs without stopping.

  • BUSHING

    A sleeve that is used as a bearing on suspension forks, suspension swing arms, pedals, and derailleur jockey wheels.

  • BUTTED TUBING

    Tubing that has been manipulated so it is thinner in the middle and thicker near the welded ends. Allows for lighter and stronger frames.

  • C

  • CABLE

    Wire (braided or strands) used to operate derailleurs and brakes.

  • CABLE END

    Cap or solder used to keep the end of a cable from fraying.

  • CABLE FIXING BOLT

    A bolt that attaches cables to the brakes and derailleurs.

  • CABLE HOUSING

    The sheath through which a cable passes

  • CANTILEVER BRAKE

    A brake that has two separate arms pulled at the same time towards the rim by a cable.

  • CHAIN

    A series of links held together with pins.

  • CHAIN LINE

    An imaginary straight line which runs from the middle chain ring to the middle cogset.

  • CHAIN SUCK

    The dragging and jamming of your chain that occurs in sloppy conditions, or when little burs occur on your chainrings that cause the chain to bunch up.

  • CHAIN WHIP

    A tool used to remove the rear cogs of a freehub

  • CHAINRING

    A toothed sprocket attached to the crankarm

  • CHAINSTAYS

    The bottom tubes of the rear triangle of a frame.

  • CLEAN

    A perfect ride through a tough section.

  • CLIPLESS PEDAL

    A pedal that has spring-loaded cleats that clip to a riders shoe.

  • CLYDESDALE

    A rider who weighs more than 200 pounds.

  • COG

    A sprocket located on the drive side of a rear hub.

  • COMPRESSION DAMPING

    The absorption of the speed of compression of a shock's spring on impact.

  • CRANKARM

    The levers of a crankset that your pedals attach to.

  • CRANKSET

    The bottom bracket, crankarms, and chainrings go together to make up the crankset.

  • CRITERIUM

    A race that involves laps around a short course

  • CROSS-COUNTRY

    A traditional MTB race that mixes many types of riding conditions into one coarse.

  • CYCLOCROSS

    An off-road race that involves riders having to dismount and run over obstacles, carrying their bikes.

  • D

  • DAB

    To put your foot down while riding so you don't fall over

  • DAMPER

    A mechanism in a suspension fork or shock that helps determine the compression rate of the spring.

  • DAMPING

    The deadening, or absorption, of a spring's compression rate.

  • DERAILLEUR

    A mechanical device that moves the chain over the cogs or chainrings, changing gears.

  • DERAILLEUR HANGER

    The replaceable extension that attaches the rear derailleur to the frame at the right side rear dropout.

  • DIALED IN

    When everything on your bike is running smoothly, you are said to be "dialed in".

  • DIAMOND FRAME

    The most recognized bicycle frame shape.

  • DISC BRAKE

    Brakes that mount near the hub, and squeeze pads against a rotor mounted to the hub.

    They can be operated both mechanically or hydraulically.

  • DOUBLETRACK

    Two trails that run parallel to each other (also called Tractor Trail or Jeep Trail).

  • DOWN TUBE

    The tube of a frame that connects the head tube to the bottom bracket.

  • DOWNHILL

    A type of racing held on ski slopes - fastest rider to the bottom wins.

  • DOWNSHIFT

    Shifting to a lower gear.

  • DRIVETRAIN

    The parts of a bike that includes the crankarms, chainrings, bottom bracket, front derailleur, chain, rear derailleur, and freewheel.

  • DUALIE

    A bike that has both front and rear suspension.

  • E

  • ELASTOMER

    A compressible erethane material used in suspension systems.

  • ENDO

    A crash that involves you flying over your handlebars.

  • EXPERT

    A racing category of the NORBA racing series.

    It is between Sport class and semi-pro.

  • F

  • FERRULE

    The cap on the end of a cable housing.

  • FIRE ROAD

    A back country dirt or gravel road wide enough for emergency vehicles to use.

  • FIXED CUP

    A non-adjustable cup on the drive side of the bottom bracket.

  • FLANGE

    The location on the hub where the spoke heads are anchored.

  • FORK

    The part of the bike that attaches the front wheel to the frame.

  • FORK CROWN

    The piece of the fork that joins the two fork legs to the steering tube.

  • FREEWHEEL

    The cluster of cogs on the rear wheelset that allows you to stop pedalling while the bike is still moving forwards.

  • FRICTION SHIFTER

    An old-style shifter (non-indexed).

    Relied on cable tension maintained by friction washers and bolts.

  • FRONT TRIANGLE

    The main triangle of a frame consisting of the head tube, top tube, down tube, and seat tube.

  • G

  • GEAR MASHER

    Someone who always rides in too high a gear, stomping on the pedals.

  • GEVERT

    A long period of time.

    Derived from the name of a LBS that was a little slow getting work done.

  • GIBLETS

    All the colorful parts and pieces that you can add or change out on a bike.

  • GNARL

    Extreme technical sections.

    Characterized by very rough, rooty, slippery, or rocky sections. Commonly found in the Pacific Northwest and New England.

  • GONZO

    Treacherous, extreme.

  • GRANNY GEAR

    The lowest gear available on a bike, designed for steep uphill climbing, but extremely easy to pedal in on flat ground.

  • GRAVITY CHECK

    A fall.

  • GRINDER

    A long uphill climb.

  • GRUNT

    A very difficult climb, requiring use of the granny gear.

  • GUTTER BUNNY

    A bicycling commuter.

  • H

  • HARDTAIL

    A mountain bike that has no rear suspension.

  • HEAD TUBE

    The framesets front tube.

  • HEADSET

    The cup and bearing mechanism that allows a fork to turn freely in the head tube of the frame.

  • HUB

    The part of the wheelset that the axle passes through and the spokes are attached to.

  • HYDRAULIC BRAKE

    A brake that uses oil pressure to move the brake pads against the brake surface.

  • I

  • IMBA

    International Mountain Biking Association. An organization for trail advocacy.

  • IMPEDIMENTIA

    Excess items on a bike that impeeds performance.

  • INDEX SHIFTER

    A shifter that shifts into fixed gear positions as it moves through its "clicks".

  • INVOLUNTARY DISMOUNT

    A crash.

  • J

  • JET

    To accelerate quickly; to go very fast.

  • JOCKEY WHEELS

    Circular cog shaped pulleys on the rear derailleur.

  • JRA

    acronym for "Just Riding Along,".

  • JUMP

    Another word for bunny hop".

  • K

  • KACK

    An injury to the shin received while doing trials, a kack can be the result of any injury receive during technical riding.

  • KICK-OUT

    A bunny hop in which the rider pushes the back tire to one side.

  • KNOBBY TIRES

    The all-terrain tires that are used on mountain bikes.

  • L

  • LBS

    Acronym for Local Bike Shop.

  • LID

    A helmet.

  • LINE

    The desirable path or strategy to take on a tricky trail section.

  • M

  • MARIN

    (muh RINN') the county in Northern California where Mountain Biking is said to have been invented.

  • MO

    Short for momentum.

  • MOJO

    A charm or icon worn by a biker or attached to the bike.

  • MONKEY-MOTION

    Slang for a full-suspension bike.

  • MUD DIVING

    What happens when a bike slows abruptly in mud, throwing the rider into wet goo.

  • N

  • NEEDLE BEARINGS

    Rod shaped rollers that allow a sleeve to slide over them.

    They are usually arranged in a cartridge.

  • NIPPLE

    A nut that is designed to both fit on the end of a spoke and through the spoke hole on the rim.

  • NORBA

    (National Off-Road Bicycle Association) - USA Cycling's mountain bike racing division.

  • NOSE WHEELIE

    A reverse wheelie riding technique in which the rider elevates the rear wheel while still rolling on the front tire.

  • O

  • OFF-CAMBER

    Sloped ground that makes handling difficult.

  • P

  • PINCH FLAT

    A tire flat that is caused when the tube is pinched against the rim internally.

  • PRELOAD

    An adjustment on the spring in a suspension fork or shock that allows you to set the suspension compression.

  • PRESTA VALVE

    The narrow valve found on most mountain bike inner tubes.

    A metal cap must be unscrewed before air can enter or exit.

  • PRO

    NORBA's top racing category.

  • PSI

    Pounds per square inch, the tire inflation measurement.

  • R

  • RATCHET

    A riding technique in which you pedal in partial strokes in order to clear obstacles.

  • REACH

    The distance from the end of the stem to the other end of the top tube.

  • REAR TRIANGLE

    The rear portion of the mountain bike that is made up of the seatstays, the chainstays and the seat tube.

  • REBOUND DAMPING

    The muffling of the return rate of a spring.

  • RIM

    The outside ring of the wheel assembly.

  • ROLLERS

    A stationary training device that allows you to train on your bike indoors.

  • S

  • SADDLE

    The platform that the rider sits on.

  • SCHRADER VALVE

    The type of valve used on most cars and trucks.

    They are found on less expensive bicycle tubes and are spring-loaded to release air or let it in.

  • SEALED BEARING

    A bearing cluster that has been sealed with a dust cap of some kind to keep out dirt.

  • SEAT CLUSTER

    The point on the frame where the seat tube, top tube and seat stays intersect.

  • SEATPOST

    The post that the saddle attaches to.

  • SINGLETRACK

    A narrow mountain bike trail that must be ridden single file.

  • SKEWER

    The quick release axle clamp of a wheelset.

  • SPIDER

    The right side of the crankset that the chainrings attach to.

  • SPOKE

    The thin rods of the wheelset.

  • SPORT

    The NORBA race category between beginner and expert.

  • STANDOVER CLEARANCE

    The distance between the top tube and the rider's crotch.

  • SWINGARM

    The swinging rear end of a dual suspension frame.

  • SWITCHBACK

    A turn on a hill that is too steep to be climbed without zig-zagging.

  • T

  • TOP TUBE

    The tube connecting the head tube to the seat tube.

  • TRACKSTAND

    A riding technique that involves the rider stopping completely without putting a foot down.

  • TRAVEL

    The distance a suspension fork or a shock can compress.

  • TRIPLE

    Having three chainrings on a crankset.

  • TWIST SHIFTER

    An indexing shifter that twists around the handlebar.

  • U

  • UPSHIFT

    To shift into a higher gear.

  • V

  • VEGETABLE TUNNEL

    A singletrack that is heavily overgrown with foliage, so a rider must duck and bend to get through it.

  • VOID

    1) To empty the contents of one's bladder.

    2) A deep chasm.

  • VTT

    Velo Tout-Terrain, the French term for mountain biking.

  • VULTURES

    Spectators who line up at dangerous obstacles.

  • W

  • WASH OUT

    To have the front tire lose traction, especially while going around a corner.

  • WASHBOARD

    Small, regular undulations of the soil surface that make for a very rough ride.

  • WHEELIE

    Lifting the front wheel off the ground, usually with some combination of pulling on the handlebars, pedaling harder, and balance.

  • WHEELIE DROP

    A combo of a wheelie and a jump, used to negotiate a large drop with little speed due to a limited run-out.

  • WHOOP-DE-DOOS

    A series of up-and-down bumps, suitable for jumping.

  • WILD PIGS

    Poorly adjusted brake pads that squeal in use.

  • WINKY

    A reflector.

  • WIPEOUT

    A crash.

  • WONKY

    Something not functioning properly.

  • WRENCH

    To work on, to adjust or repair.