How to describe your bike in German Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Language, Sports

Servus, one of the things I love most about living in Munich is that there are cycle paths everywhere. I find cycling so much quicker than taking the bus or the U bahn, and it gives you some fresh air and exercise too! One thing that might get annoying is when your bicycle breaks (I have had four flat tyres in the space of two months), so here is a vocabulary post to help you describe every part of your bicycle.


The basics:

das Fahrrad/die Fahrräder                                       the bicycle/the bicycles
der Reifen/die Reifen                                                     the tyre/the tyres
die Bremse/die Bremsen                                           the break/the breaks
das Pedal/die Pedale                                                   the pedal/the pedals
die Gangschaltung/die Gangschaltungen                the gear/the gears
die Kette                                                                          the chain
der Sattel                                                                         the saddle
das Fahrradlicht                                                              the bicycle light
das Lenkrad oder der Lenker                                        the handlebar

Fahrradweg. Photo by Thomas Schlosser on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Types of bicycles:

Mountainbike                                                   Mountain bike – yes, the German’s use the english word!
Citybike                                                               City bike
Kinderfahrrad                                                   Children’s bike
E-Bike                                                                 Electric bike

Adjectives to describe the problem:
Rostig                                                                   rusty
Alt                                                                         old
Kaputt                                                                 broken
Unstabil                                                              unstable
Unbequem                                                         uncomfortable
Platt                                                                    flat

How to describe the problem:

Mein Fahrrad ist kaputt                                     my bicycle is broken

Meine Bremsen funktionieren nicht mehr      my breaks don’t work anymore

Mein Sattel ist unstabil                                        my saddle is unstable

Mein Sattel ist unbequem                                    my saddle is uncomfortable

Meine Pedale sind zu alt                                      my pedals are too old

Meine Kette ist rostig                                           my chain is rusty

Meine Reifen sind platt                                         my tyres are flat

Meine vordere Reifen ist platt                              my front tyre is flat

Ich kann den Gang nicht mehr schalten           I can’t change gears

Do you like to ride your bike? If you’ve had any problems with it then try and describe it in the comments below. Let me also know if you’re one of those brave people who cycle in all seasons – Winter is too cold and icy for me!

Thanks for reading,


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About the Author: Larissa

Hello I'm Larissa. I live in Germany and I am half German and half English. I love sharing my passion for Germany with you through my posts! Apart from writing posts I teach fitness classes in Munich.


  1. Shaik Ahmed Kabir:

    Your passion is comfortable with others concerning German Language.

  2. Mein Reifen (m) ist platt:

    Mein Reifen ist platt ( NICHT Meine Reifen ist platt)

    oder besser: Meine Reifen sind platt

  3. Volker Zinser:

    Just noticed “meine Reife”, bedeutet nicht my tube, vielmehr “meine maturity”,
    Please corrtect

    • Larissa:

      @Volker Zinser Hi Volker,

      Reife does mean maturity, Reifen means tyre, whether that’s from a bicycle or a car you can use it for everything.

      Thanks for your comment!