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All pictures and text in these pages are (c)2010 Menotomy Vintage Bicycles, Inc.(tm) and may not be used in any form without written permission from Menotomy Vintage Bicycles, Inc.(tm).


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Vintage Bicycle Glossary

This glossary is for private use only and should not be distributed, used or published in any manner without written permission from Menotomy Vintage Bicycles.
(c)2009 Menotomy Vintage Bicycles, Inc.

Here are some common terms, with pictures, to help you identify your vintage bicycle:

This glossary is always under construction. Send us your ideas!
  • ape-hanger handlebars Tall handlebars, as found on Muscle Bikes
  • balloon tire Fat, wide tires (usually 2.125" width)
  • ballooner Bicycles with balloon tires
  • banana seat Long, curved seat found on Muscle Bikes
  • bone shaker Very early bicycles (mid-1800s) with equal-sized wheels
  • bottom bracket hanger Pedal and crank assembly are attached here
  • boy's bike has a high top tube
  • brake - caliper cable-operated brake which presses brake pads against the wheel rim
  • brake - coaster foot-operated brake, engaged when pedaling backwards
  • brake - disk cable-operated brake which squeezes a disk mounted on the front or rear wheel
  • brake - drum cable-operated brake which pushes pads outward against the inside or a 'drum' on the front or rear wheel
  • bullet light or ball light headlight
  • cantilever frame arched frame, commonly found on cruisers and Muscle Bikes
  • chain guard Covers the chain
  • chain stay lower rear horizonal frame section
  • cruiser ballooner bicycles and middleweight bicycles with upright riding position
  • cruiser handlebars handlebars found on cruiser and ballooner bicycles
  • down tube frame tube which goes from the head tube to the bottom bracket
  • flared fender fender which flares out at the trailing end
  • Gents cycle - man's bike
  • girl's bike bicycles with lowered top tubes
  • gooseneck attaches handlebars to the front fork
  • head badge manufacture's label on head tube
  • head tube front vertical tube
  • hi-rise handlebars Tall handlebars, as found on Muscle Bikes
  • Hi Wheeler bicycles with a large front wheel and small rear wheel, built from about 1870 - 1900
  • High gravity Trade bike - cycle truck with equal sized wheels.
  • inch pitch Chain style where the links are spaced about one inch apart, and the wheel and chainring cogs' teeth are spaced accordingly.
  • Ladies cycle - woman's bike
  • lightweight
  • Low gravity trade bike - cycle truck with very small (16" or 20") front wheel
  • man's bike bicycles with high top tubes
  • middleweight
  • mixte frame bicycles with lowered top tubes
  • monkey handlebars Tall handlebars, as found on Muscle Bikes
  • Mudguards - fenders
  • muscle bike Generally a bicycle built in the 1960's and 1970's with monkey handlebars, a banana seat and 20" wheels
  • N.O.S - New Old Stock (meaning the part or bicycle is old, but was never sold, used or mounted)
  • Pennyfarthing bicycles with a large front wheel and small rear wheel, built from about 1870 - 1900
  • Presta (high pressure) Valve - Used on lightweight and racing cycle innertubes, requires special adaptor (not woods or schraeder).
  • rack - rear book or package carrier that sits over rear wheel
  • rear dropout Rear wheel bolts on to the frame at the rear dropouts
  • rim
  • safety bicycle
  • Schraeder Valve - Car type valve common on car & truck innertubes also found on many bicycles since the 1970s.
  • seat post adjustable post which attaches to seat and slides into seat tube
  • seat stay upper rear frame section
  • seat tube rear-most vertical frame tube which supports seat
  • sissy bar tall rear seat brace, found on muscle bikes
  • skip-tooth Chain style where the links are spaced about one inch apart, and the wheel and chainring cogs' teeth are spaced accordingly.
  • skirt guard
  • slick Fat, squared off rear tire found on Muscle Bikes
  • slik Fat, squared off rear tire found on Muscle Bikes
  • springer Front suspension
  • step-through frame bicycles with lowered top tubes
  • stick shift gear shifter mounted on the top tube
  • tank - man's fake gas tank running along the head tube. Sometimes contains internal horn and lights.
  • tank - woman's fake gas tank running along the head tube. Sometimes contains internal horn and lights.
  • thumb shifter
  • top tube top-most horizontal frame tube
  • top tube shifter gear shifter mounted on the top tube
  • torpedo light long headlight, usually mounted on front fender or handlebars
  • Trade bike - cycle truck, a bicycle specially made for delivering goods with a built in carrier usually at the front.
  • truss rods metal rods extending from the top of the head tube to the front wheel axle
  • wheelset
  • Woods Valve - the sort of innertube valve commonly fitted to roadster bicycles, smaller than a car type valve, needing a bicycle pump or adaptor to inflate.
  • woman's bike bicycles with lowered top tubes

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