Bicycle Materials

Parts & Design

Material Selection

Case Study



Bicycles are made up of many parts. The major parts to a bicycle are wheels, frame, seat, handle bars, and components. The general overall bicycle part design is shown here. There are many bicycle designs. The most common designs are Road and Mountain bikes.


Any type of bicycle design is defined by what the bicycle is used for; these are the requirements of the design. As always the major overall bicycle requirements are speed, safety, comfort, and endurance. The bicycle weight is the key to speed, but the lightweight need must be balanced by the other factors (safety, comfort, and endurance). For us to fulfill these requirements we must select specific materials.


Different types of bicycles have different functions and bicycle parts have different requirements; then these requirements can be defined as specifically desired material properties. Choosing the best materials to fulfill the requirements is called material selection.


The importance of material selection is demonstrated in our Bicycle Material Selection Case Study.


Have you ever stopped to think about how all the bicycle parts work to make the bicycle as a whole?


What about every material used to build each bicycle part?


Each part of the bicycle may require very different material properties. Material properties are everything that defines a material. For each part the there is a function thus a need for different material properties. Material Scientists learn about materials and how to change the material properties by knowing the physical principles involved. Material design is foundation of everything man has made (i.e. Engineering).


Some other good related websites:


Bicycle Materials


Sammy Steel and the Lost Bicycle


MSE and the Bicycle


Materials by Design: Bicycles