This mountain bicycle features oversized tires, a full-suspension frame, two disc brakes and handlebars oriented perpendicular to the bike's axis.
A time trial racing bicycle
A Half Wheeler trailer bike at the Golden Gate Bridge
Working bicycle in Amsterdam, Netherlands
A BMX bike, an example of a bicycle designed for sport
A racing upright bicycle
A recumbent bicycle
Diagram of a bicycle
A Triumph with a step-through frame
A set of rear sprockets (also known as a cassette) and a derailleur
Bicycles leaning in a turn
A bicycle with shaft drive instead of a chain
A Selle San Marco saddle designed for women
Linear-pull brake, also known by the Shimano trademark: V-Brake, on rear wheel of a mountain bike
A front disc brake, mounted to the fork and hub
Touring bicycle equipped with head lamp, pump, rear rack, fenders/mud-guards, water bottles and cages, and numerous pannier bags
Puncture repair kit with tire levers, sandpaper to clean off an area of the inner tube around the puncture, a tube of rubber solution (vulcanizing fluid), round and oval patches, a metal grater and piece of chalk to make chalk powder (to dust over excess rubber solution). Kits often also include a wax crayon to mark the puncture location.
A bike-sharing station in Barcelona
Woman with bicycle, 1890s
A man uses a bicycle to carry goods in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to bicycles:

Bicycle – pedal-driven, human-powered, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist or a bicyclist, and the activity is called cycling. Also known as a bike, push bike or cycle.

What type of thing is a bicycle?

Bicycles can be described as all of the following:

Types of bicycles

Main article: List of bicycle types

History of bicycles

History of the bicycle

Key developments


Early developers

Other developers

Mountain bike developers

Other notable cyclists

Racing authors

Other authors


Technical aspects

The bicycle has undergone continual adaptation and improvement since its inception. These innovations have continued with the advent of modern materials and computer-aided design, allowing for a proliferation of specialized bicycle types.


Bicycles have been and are employed for many uses:

Types of bicycles

List of bicycle types Bicycles can be categorized in different ways: e.g. by function, by number of riders, by general construction, by gearing or by means of propulsion. The more common types include utility bicycles, mountain bicycles, racing bicycles, touring bicycles, hybrid bicycles, cruiser bicycles, and BMX Bikes. Less common are tandems, lowriders, tall bikes, fixed gear, folding models and recumbents (one of which was used to set the IHPVA Hour record).

Unicycles, tricycles and quadracycles are not strictly bicycles, as they have respectively one, three and four wheels, but are often referred to informally as "bikes".


Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics


Bicycle performance


Bicycle and motorcycle geometry

Construction and parts

In its early years, bicycle construction drew on pre-existing technologies. More recently, bicycle technology has in turn contributed ideas in both old and new areas.

For details on specific bicycle parts, see list of bicycle parts and category:bicycle parts.


Bicycle frame - The great majority of today's bicycles have a frame with upright seating which looks much like the first chain-driven bike.

By design:

By frame material:

Brands and makers of unusual frames:


Drivetrain and gearing

Power collection
Power transmission
Power modification
Power application

Steering and seating


Wheels and tires


Some bicycles are built for specific tracks:

Or special tracks are built specifically for bicycles:

(Also see Cycling infrastructure)

Bicycle accessories

Bicycle accessories

Bicycle tools

Bicycle tools


A number of formal and industry standards exist for bicycle components to help make spare parts exchangeable and to maintain a minimum product safety.

The International Organization for Standardization, ISO, has a special technical committee for cycles, TC149, that has the following scope: "Standardization in the field of cycles, their components and accessories with particular reference to terminology, testing methods and requirements for performance and safety, and interchangeability."

CEN, European Committee for Standardization, also has a specific Technical Committee, TC333, that defines European standards for cycles. Their mandate states that EN cycle standards shall harmonize with ISO standards. Some CEN cycle standards were developed before ISO published their standards, leading to strong European influences in this area. European cycle standards tend to describe minimum safety requirements, while ISO standards have historically harmonized parts geometry. The TC149 ISO bicycle committee, including the TC149/SC1 ("Cycles and major sub-assemblies") subcommittee, has published the following standards:

Other ISO Technical Committees have published various cycle relevant standards, for example:

Published cycle standards from CEN TC333 include:

Yet to be approved cycle standards from CEN TC333:

Social and historical aspects

Bicycle repair facility in China, 1987

The bicycle has had a considerable effect on human society, in both the cultural and industrial realms.

Economic implications

In daily life

In poverty reduction

Bicycle poverty reduction

Legal requirements

The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of the United Nations considers a bicycle to be a vehicle, and a person controlling a bicycle (whether actually riding or not) is considered an operator.

See also


Related vehicle types



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989. cycling: The action or activity of riding a bicycle etc.