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Bicycle Glossary - M


Madison - This was a track race in which the riders competed for six days. Because of the long-term damage and even deaths that occurred to the riders who pushed themselves too hard for too long, this competition is no longer held in its original form. Synonym: Six-day race.

Maes - A style of handlebar which is named after a successful bicycle racer. It is a downturned style found on thin tired road racing bikes.

Mafac - A French bicycle parts manufacturer, known for their brakes.

Mallet - A soft hammer made from wood, brass, plastic or rubber. Use a mallet when you want to apply impact force to a large area, or want to prevent marring a finish.

Mavic - A French bicycle parts manufacturer, known for their rims.

Men's Bike - A bicycle traditionally designed for men. The distinguishing feature is that there is a frame tube extending from the headtube through which the fork is mounted to the seattube. This 'toptube' runs parallel to the ground, and is as high as the top of the bicycle frame. The interesting fact is that this is actually a dangerous design, and moreso for men than women. In the event of an accident, the man can fall heavily on this tube, resulting in an injury that can lead to impotence. Also, in the event of emergency maneuvers, such as when one has ridden too close to a curb, when the rider could normally put a foot down here and there to regain control, this is more difficult if the rider is simultaneously struggling to avoid involvement with the toptube. Synonym: Diamond frame.

Metric - (met' rick) A system of measurement based on the meter, which is approximately 39 inches long. A centimeter is one one-hundredth of a meter, and a millimeter is one one-thousandth of a meter. There are exactly 25.4 millimeters in one inch. All bicycles except those made in America, and older ones manufactured in the British Empire use the metric system for the dimensioning of most of their components. There are some major exceptions, however, such as chains (1/8-inch and 3/32-inch, steering tube threading (typically one inch by 24 threads per inch), and pedals (1/2" and 9/16").

The tools used to turn nuts and bolts on most bikes (even some American ones) must be metric. The inch dimensioning system, which is the other dimensioning system commonly in use is sometimes called SAE - which see. 

A well-equipped bicycle repair shop will have wrenches in at least the following sizes: 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17 millimeters; 5/16", 3/8", 7/16", 1/2" 9/16", 5/8" and 11/16." 

MIG welding - (Metal Inert Gas) A welding technique frequently used by manufacturers to create bicycle frames. An electrical arc is created between the end of a metal wire and the metal parts being joined. The area being welded is flooded with an inert gas to prevent oxygen or hydrogen from damaging the quality of the weld. The wire melts and becomes part of the weld, bulking it up (building a bead). The wire is usually of the same material as the parts being joined. The wire is fed into a gun being held by the welder at the same rate that it is being used up. MIG welding can be quite strong, and is easy to learn or to automate. Therefore it is a good choice for manufacturers since the employees do not have to be very experienced. MIG welding is often called TIG welding by people who are in the advertising business. See also welding, TIG welding, Brazing, Silver Brazing, and Oxy-acetylene.

Mile-A-Minute Murphy - A bicyclist who attained some notoriety around the turn of the previous century by drafting (riding closely behind) a train on level ground at sixty miles per hour.

Millimeter - A unit of linear measurement used in most countries other than America and the British Empire. There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch, so a millimeter is approximately one 25th of an inch. Millimeter is often abbreviated as mm. Click here for millimeter to inch conversions.

Milling Machine - A machine that precisely cuts metal by sliding a cutter back and forth. Milling machines are sometimes used in building custom bicycle components. Also see: drill press, lathe.  

Mixte - A bicycle frame design that was originally designed to appeal to both men and women, so either sex could ride the same bike and not be embarrassed by cultural taboos. Men, in particular, do not want to be seen riding 'girl's' bikes. The mixte frame is just like a diamond or men's frame, except the toptube is not parallel to the ground. Instead, it runs from the top of the headtube, to a point about halfway down the length of the seattube, at an angle between parallel to the ground and the downtube. Although technically less strong and stiff, the Mixte design proves very durable. 

Mountain Bike - A bicycle with fat tires, specially designed for off-road riding.


Anything missing or need greater coverage? Let me know - Jeff

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Although I have attempted to cover the major safety issues, I cannot be responsible for your use of this information. Working on bicycles is dangerous if you do it without considering consequences of bolts left loose, known problems which are ignored, things which should be replaced but are glued instead, and so on. Proceed carefully at your own risk and use common sense. Jeff Napier, and all agents associated with this information, do not offer any guarantee or warranty for your use of this information.

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