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Read the text. The standard design of the bicycle has been in existence for about 100 years



The standard design of the bicycle has been in existence for about 100 years. But in the past 10 years there have been more changes than during any other decade.

Bicycles, and especially racing bicycles, have much in common with aircraft: both are designed to minimize wind resistance, maximize energy efficiency, respond instantly to the demands laced to them, yet weigh very little without losing strength.

The heart of the bicycle is its frame. It must be strong, light, flexible enough to absorb bumps, but not so much that it wastes the energy the rider transmits by pedaling.

Bicycle frame designers share many aims with aircraft engineers, who must design wings which are strong, light aerodynamic and efficient at converting engine power into lift. Yet the wings must be flexible enough to absorb turbulence without wasting the engine’s thrust. Therefore, the modern bicycle frame and aircraft wing share both material and design features. Many racing bicycle frames, which consist of tubes joined together, are made from aluminium alloys similar to those used in aviation.

In recent years, aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing have been experimenting with composite materials like Cheval and carbon fibres. It is no surprise that some racing bicycle frames are now manufactured from the same materials.

Components which fit on bicycle frames have also benefited from aerospace engineering. Many components such as gears, brakes, handlebars, and wheels, are both aerodynamic and often made from aluminium alloys or titanium – another light, strong metal used in aircraft.



1. Match the figures with the names of different parts of the bicycle. Translate these terms:

a) frame;

b) pedals;

c) handlebars;

d) toe-clips;

e) gears;

f) brake levers;

g) seat;

h) chain;

i) chain-wheel.

2. Find the equivalents for the following word combinations in the text:

a) основа велосипеда;

b) достаточно гибкий;

c) не теряя силы;

d) требования, предъявляемые к велосипедам;

e) амортизировать на неровностях дороги;

f) сплавы, подобные тем, что используются в авиации;

g) неудивительно, что;

h) детали, устанавливаемые на раму.


3. Find the word that will be common one for the rest words in each line.

1. a) titanium b) aluminium c) copper d) metal

2. a) bicycle b) airplane c) train d) vehicle

3. a) decade b) week c) time-period d) century

4. a) components b) gears c) brakes d) wheels

5. a) wheel b) bicycle c) frames d) saddle


4. Make word combinations using the words from two columns and translate them.


wind racing to absorb to share composite aluminium carbon recent to respond to maximize fibres materials alloy resistance efficiency bicycle aims demands turbulence years



5. Fill in the table with the derivatives to the following words.


глагол существительное прилагательное V-ing
1. 2. 3. 4. design 5. transmit 6. race   resistance   efficient   converting


6. Fill in the table comparing the conventional bicycle and the racing one. Enumerate the changes in the construction of the racing bicycle.



Convectional bicycle Racing bicycle
Spooked wheels   Gear level on the frame   Tubular aluminium-alloy frame   Pedal with toe-clips   Steel gears   Ordinary handle bars  


7. We can describe the reasons for some improvements or design changes in three ways. Study this example:

e.g. New racing bicycles have disc wheels to reduce wind resistance.

New racing bicycles have disc wheels because/ since/ as this reduces wind resistance.

New racing bicycles have disc wheels so that wind resistance is reduced.


Study the scheme and the table below and describe the reasons of changes in the construction of the racing bicycle.


Improvement = Design change Reason
Disc wheels   Combined gear change and brake levers   Clipless pedals   Precision-engineered aluminium-alloy or titanium gears   Aerodynamic handle bars    

8. Grammar Hint

In engineering, it is often necessary to compare or contrast different objects, solutions to problems, and developments. We can do it in a table like in the previous exercise or with the help of the following grammatical constructions:

1) The new bicycle is lighter than the old one. (сравнительная степень прилагательного)

2) The old bicycle is heavy, whereas the new one is light.

(whereas – тогда как , in contrast – напротив, but – а, тогда как)

3) Unlike the old bicycle the new one is light.

The new bicycle is different from the conventional one in that the new bike is light. (unlike – в отличие, different from – в отличие от)

Using these three kinds of describing differences, discuss the information from the table given in the previous exercise.


9. When we speak about the properties of materials we use nouns derived from adjectives. Study the table below.


Adjective Noun
flexible (гибкий) light (легкий) strong (сильный) flexibility (гибкость) lightness (легкость) strength (сила)


Fill in the table with nouns and adjectives and translate them.


Adjective Noun
  elastic   tough soft rigid wear-resistant   hard wind resistance   plasticity     brittleness  


10. You should explain to your partner how to adjust the distance between the saddle and the handle bar of a racing bicycle. Write down grammatical forms from the text given below.


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