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Bicycle Glossary - O


Odometer - A meter that indicates how many miles the bicycle has traveled. Some odometers have a computer chip, and a battery-powered display. They measure distance by feeling an electrical field generated as a magnet mounted on the spokes goes past a pickup mounted on the fork. Others are mechanical. The most common type have a small spike mounted on a spoke, which turns a gear a little bit every time the spike goes by. Synonym: Cyclometer.

Oil - A lubricant. See Lubrication for more details. Oil is liquid. Grease is jelly-like.

One-Piece crank - Also known as American crank. See American Crank for details.

One-to-one gearing - The sprocket at the cranks is the same size as the one on the rear wheel, so one revolution of the cranks will turn the rear wheel one revolution.

Open-end wrenches - Wrenches which have ends that look like U's that can be easily slipped over nuts and bolts to turn them. Open end wrenches are quick, but there is a chance of deforming nut and bolt heads that are really tight. For tight nuts and bolts, it is better to use box-end wrenches or a socket set. See also: Combination wrenches

Ordinary - An antique bicycle with a large front wheel, also known as penny-farthing. See also: Penny-Farthing.

Ounce - 1. A unit of weight.  There are approximately 28 grams in an ounce. 2. A unit of liquid measure.  There are 32 ounces in a quart, and approximately 34 ounces in a liter.

Overhaul - 1. To disassemble a portion of a bicycle, clean the parts found within, reassemble the parts with new lubricant and adjust. 2. To disassemble most of a bicycle, clean, relube, reassemble and adjust the parts. The "complete" overhaul is not always complete. For instance, in most bicycle shops, the freewheel is not overhauled, and in many shops, the pedals are not overhauled. Synonym: Complete overhaul. 

Overshift - When a derailleur is out of adjustment, a chain or sprocket are worn, or when a big bump is hit while shifting, it is possible that the chain will fall off the edge of a sprocket. This is an overshift.

Overspray - A painting technique in which one color is incompletely sprayed over another. A nice effect can be achieved with overspay by using a complimentary color only on the bottom bracket, headtube, fork crown, seat cluster, and dropout areas.

See also: Lacquer, Enamel, Imron

How-to: Paint a bicycle

25-Ways: Professional Bicycle Painting

Oxy-acetylene/Oxy-Propane (ok' see u set a leen) or (ok' see pro pain) - A system in which very high temperature can be applied in order to do welding, cutting, brazing and bending of metal. Oxygen is mixed with acetylene or propane in a hand-held torch and set on fire just outside the tip of the torch. 

This flame generates temperatures up to 6300 degrees Fahrenheit, far more than the 2100 degrees needed to melt steel. The gases are stored under pressure in steel bottles. See also Brazing, Silver brazing, MIG welding and TIG welding.


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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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