Bike anatomy for beginners

New video covers the essentials & shows how they work

How to deflate a presta valve, by Carlton Reid, aged 42 3/4

Don’t know your fork from your brake rotor? Well, you’re reading a bike website, so you probably do, but if you have beginner friends who are baffled by the jargon of cycling, this is for you, and them.


Our old mucker Carlton Reid over at has put together a nifty little video that works its way round the bike in loving detail, naming its various parts and demonstrating how things like quick releases and presta valves work.

And if there was ever a component that needs an instant how-to, it’s the presta valve, which manages to baffle more newbies than just about every other part of the bike.

The five-minute video covers road and mountain bikes. As well as illustrating obvious parts like mechs and stems, it homes in on commonly-referenced subcomponents too. If you’re wondering what the heck a barrel adjuster is, take a look and you’ll find out.


The clip also has a cute (or annoying, you decide) soundtrack. Carlton says, “The ‘bespoke’ soundtrack was made using bike parts (spokes, gear shifting, disc brake rotor twanging), recorded in my garage and then made into music by Greg Johnston. It’s bike tech techno: I’ve called it ‘Bong. Psst. Twang. Whirr. Psst.'”