sprákəts

Noun, Plural

Metal plates with teeth on the outside edge used to hold a chain on a bicycle's gear system.

Example usage: I need to replace the sprockets on my bike.

Most used in: Countries where cycling is popular, such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany.

Most used by: Cyclists who are knowledgeable about bike maintenance.

Popularity: 8

Comedy Value: 3

Also see: cassette, freewheel, cogset, cluster,

.

What are Sprockets?

Sprockets are an important component of a bicycle's drivetrain. They form part of the chainrings and are used to transfer power from the pedals to the rear wheel. A sprocket is a circular metal plate with teeth around the circumference that engages with the links of the bicycle chain.

The size of the sprockets determines how much power is transferred to the rear wheel. Larger sprockets will provide more power but require more effort from the cyclist, whereas smaller sprockets will provide less power but require less effort. Most bicycles have between one and three sprockets.

In the United States, the average bicycle has two sprockets. The first is typically a large sprocket with 20-25 teeth, and the second is a smaller sprocket with 11-13 teeth. The ratio of the two sprockets is called the gear ratio, and it determines the amount of power that is transferred from the pedals to the rear wheel.

Sprockets are also used in other types of bicycles, such as BMX, mountain, and road bikes. In general, larger sprockets are preferred for off-road riding, as they provide more power and torque. Smaller sprockets are preferred for road bikes, as they provide a smoother ride and require less effort from the cyclist.

The Origin of the Term 'Sprockets' in Cycling

The term 'sprockets' is used to refer to the toothed wheel or gear used in a bicycle drivetrain. The earliest use of the term dates back to the mid-1800s in England, where it was used to refer to a type of gearwheel. The word itself is derived from the Middle English 'sprokets', which is a variant of the Old English 'sprocket' meaning 'something that projects'.

The first use of the term 'sprockets' specifically for a bicycle drivetrain was recorded in the early 1900s. The use of sprockets in bicycles became more popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when bicycle manufacturers began to use them to create derailleur systems. Derailleur systems allowed cyclists to shift between different gears, making it easier to climb hills and travel faster.

Today, sprockets are an essential part of a bicycle drivetrain. They are used to provide different gear ratios which allow cyclists to make the most of their power and speed. Without sprockets, the modern bicycle would be much more difficult to ride.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Saddle Slang

Find definitions for all of the technical terms, slang, and acronyms used in cycling. From the different types of bikes and their components, to training techniques, racing terminology and put downs, this dictionary has it all.

Talk the Talk
1 of 3

EXCLUSIVE OFFERS AND THE LATEST UPDATES BY EMAIL

FOLLOW THE NEWSLETTER