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A quick guide to mountain bike parts

mountain bike partsmountain bike parts
mountain bike partsmountain bike parts


A quick guide to mountain bike parts

Being a cyclist is a fun activity you can enjoy alone or in a group and with your family. Anywhere in South Africa, you will find mountain bikers who are always up for a mountain bike challenge.

If you’re new to this exhilarating sport and biking then it probably seems a little daunting and you’re wondering where should you start. Before you start mountain biking you need to familiarize yourself with the mountain bikes. Here is a guideline of what you need to know about mountain bike parts before you purchase your own bike.


The cassette

The cassette is a set of gears that are hooked onto to the rear wheel. This is an important bicycle part as it provides different gear options for you. These gear options allow you to change pedalling cadence and your speed, depending on the cassette.

If you're used to riding a normal bike, bear in mind that mountain bike cassettes have a larger sprocket size due to mountain bike trails. For mountain bike riders, the cassettes come in sizes 10, 11, and 12, and when buying your bike make sure you ask the retailer which cassette you should get.  


What type of shifters do you need?

Shifters allow you to move the chain from your front chainrings and cogs, which is a single gear on the cassette. The shifters at the front of your bikes cassette control the cables which are hooked up to the derailleur.

There are two kinds of shifters mountain bikes need, which are the grip and thumb shifters. The thumb shifter has two levers, and each level has a specific role. One of the levers function is to move the chains up the gears and the other moves the gear down.

The levers also either make the gears easier or harder. The grip shifter allows you to change gears, unlike the thumb shifters which you need to twist the grip. When you twist the grip you can either twist the chains up or down.


The importance of derailleurs

Both front and rear derailleurs have their own role to play on a mountain bike. What the front derailleur does, is that it moves three chains between the sprocket. The reason why the front derailleur moves the chains is that it has to release tension while you’re paddling.

The rear derailleur keeps the chains tense and allows you to switch gears. Both front and rear derailleurs are there to assist with speed and to also make it easier for you to ride uphill.



Brakes are one of the most important parts on a bike. They can prevent you from serious injuries which could potentially be fatal in some instances. So, it’s important that you check your brakes regularly so you’ll know if you’re in need of a replacement. The two types of brakes are brake pads and brake disks - the brake pad is above the front and rear wheels while disc brakes are around the hub of a bicycle wheel.

This is a modern safety feature that has been put in place to help slow down your bike. Brake disks offer mountain bikers consistency regardless of the temperate, rim, or trail condition. Ensuring that you can safely enjoy your mountain bike experience.



Modern bikes either come with a front or rear suspension. Suspension offer bicycles control and gives tyres grip to make it easier for you to ride gravel, rocky mountain road.  You have the option of purchasing a bike with either a full suspension or tail.

A hardtail would only have a suspension at the front, whereas a full suspension would have a front and rear suspension. A full suspension is ideal for riding on hard, rough trails and if you have joint or back issues then this is ideal for you. A hardtail is an all-rounder, can be used on a trail or pavement.


Bicycle accessories that you need

Even though accessories aren’t part of bike parts. As a first-time mountain biker, you need to know which accessories you’re going to need. First and foremost you need a helmet, helmets are extremely important and will help you should you be in an accident. Many people go on trails without wearing helmets on which is extremely reckless. Mountain trails are rarely smooth therefore you need to prepare yourself for an accident.

You need to get yourself a hydration pack, this will help you pack in water to keep yourself hydrated during long bike rides. You should also get gloves and protective glasses, these will help you during your bike adventures and ensure that you can safely enjoy yourself and the experience.

mountain bike parts