phenomena with foreign language names of unicycle parts

After collecting translations of the word “Unicycle” it would be nice to know about some names of parts in other languages. What I’m not interested in is the one-to-one translations like pedal is pédale in France. I’d like to know differences in the meaning of words.

I’ll give you two examples:

A bicycle has a Frame and a Fork. Fork is like the fork you use for eating your meal. In german language its the same, the german word for fork has exacly this two meanings. What is the difference is: when you describe a unicycle, in english it consists of a frame while in german it has a fork.

The second one is about saddle and seat. In english there are used both terms: saddle for the thing you sit on but seatpost and not saddlepost for the bar it is attached to. In german its both the same: Sattel (saddle) and Sattelstange (seatpost). So why are english saddles not attached to a saddlepost? At least it’s the post that carries the saddle.

Mabye because saddle refers more to the thing you put on a horse whereas the thing on a bike or unicycle is a seat?

Another word: Rim or “Felge” in german. Rim can also mean the outer edge of a disk for example which would be “Rand” in german.



Maybe. But all shops I know sell them as Saddles.

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you’re after but…

Fork. The fork of a bicycle isn’t named after the eating utensil and vice versa. In this instance the meaning of fork is: a division into branches or the place where something divides into branches. That accurately describes the frame that surrounds the wheel of a bike and that accurately describes the eating utensil but that doesn’t mean one is called a fork because of the other. The word has a root meaning and is applied to more than one object. You can add “fork in the road” to the list of forky things.

Seat/saddle. Perhaps I’m wrong but I think the majority of the general public (non-riders) would look at a unicycle and call it a “seat.” Perhaps the term “saddle” only came about to distinguish a unicycle seat from a bicycle seat… I don’t know. Seat posts can be interchangeable between a uni and a bike, so no need for a new term to distinguish it? That’s my guess.

Getting back to your question. Take the word for spokes in Spanish (radio/rayo) as an example:

radio: spoke, radio, radius, radium (element), radial (bone)

rayo: spoke, sunbeam, lightning, ray (as in x-ray, gamma ray, etc.), a mild profanity (heck, shoot, darn, etc.)

Many words have many meanings, it’s all context driven. I’m sure there are many cases where something is called the same thing as something that already has a name associated with it because of similarities between the two objects. Other times two things may have the same name due to a common root, many times it can be just a coincidence.

Good luck with the project.

perhaps …

I exactly agree with you. But that wasn’t the point I wanted to highlight.
What I meant was: a bicycle has two “frame-components” (to call it so): the frame and the fork. So with a unicycle, there is a choice out of two how to name the “frame-component”. In english the decision fell on “frame”, while in german the decision fell on “fork” (Gabel) as well as in french (fourche) or in hungary (villa). In danish it’s “frame” (Stel), in swedish as well (Ramar).

Lol, there is actually a reason for that. It’s because when it comes down to it the English language is weirdly illogical with stupid spellings and silly compound words. It really annoys me sometimes. :angry:

Also IMO saddlepost doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as seatpost.

I don’t follow that part. The German and English words for unicycle both refer to its single wheel. I don’t know the German for a bike frame, but they both seem to call the forks by their word for fork, whether the splitting version or the eating utensil version. This probalby relates to the similar roots of the two languages. Meanwhile, a unicycle frame is also a fork, but there’s a little more to a unicycle frame than that, so it is not the same as a bike fork.

My assumption is that “saddle” is the correct term, or at least the original one, dating back to before the automobile. You had saddles on horses and saddles on bicycles (and both made from cows). But over time, people started referring to them as “seats” (Americans, at least) and the use has become more common to the point of it being used for the posts. But it’s a bike question, and I’m sure there is lots more historical knowledge in the bicycling world for that one.

How come we spell stuff different, even in the same language? Why do we Americans ride on tires, while folks in the UK (and a few other places) ride on tyres? Should not those two words be the same “colour”? :slight_smile:

Fahrrad besteht aus Rahmen + Gabel (+ anderes)
Bike consists of Frame + Fork (+ other parts)

Unicycle Frame should translate to Einrad Rahmen but we are using Einrad Gabel (Fork) mostly, because the Uni-frame resembles more the fork of a bike than its frame.



Anything clear now, or did i further the confusion? (We are talking about foreign languages here and there different meanings, so confusion is what we are talking about)

Some russian terminology.

Велосипед состоит из Рамы, Вилки, Седла и других частей.
Bike consists of Frame + Fork (+ other parts).

Word “рама” (infinitive of “рамы”) stands for “frame”, it is derived from german “rahmen” and has same meaning.
Word “вилка” (infinitive of “вилки”) stands for “fork” and has same meanings like in english.
Word “седло” (infinitive of “седла”) means saddle.

We call unicycle frame as “рама”, but I’ve seen some old Internet pages where word “вилка” was used for that.
Word “седло” stands for unicycle saddle, horse saddle and bike seat.

Translations of other part names are trivial and their meanings correspond to english ones.

I can see the logic of your question. So you’ll be happy to know that in French indeed a pedal is a pédale. But a pédale is also a very strong and vulgar slang word that I wouldn’t advise you use next time you’re in Paris.

It seems Polish follows Russian here.
Rower składa się z ramy, widelca i siodełka.
Rower means bike, but without number of wheels conotation. It comes from the Rover company.
Rama is a frame, and it seems to have German origin.
Widelec is a fork and to be more tricky, the only other meaning in Polish is a part of cutlery. There are however some words with the same root as rozwidlenie (fork of the road) or widły (pitchfork).
Siodełko is diminutive of siodło, which is horse saddle.

And on uni. Monocykl składa się z ramy, siodełka i innych części.
So frame here as well, but to be sure I needed to check some Polish uni shop :wink:

Eric thanks for this topic, I love tracing back origins of some Polish words. It usually puts you into conclusion that European languages are all mixed up.

That’s interesting, and got me to look up the history of the Rover company. This is from Wikipedia:
“The Polish word now most commonly used for bicyclerower originates from Rover bicycles which had both wheels of the same size (previous models usually had one bigger, one smaller – see Penny-farthing, and were called in Polish bicykl, from English bicycle).”

So what the Polish call “bicykl”, we call “Ordinary” or “Penny Farthing”. I’m sure those were called bicycles at the time, but it’s interesting how the names split like that. Rover is apparently the original brand of bikes that popularized the safety bike. Rover is a great name for the bicycle, which was the first machine to give people the freedom to broaden their horizons without need of a horse.

Then again, in the advertising business, what happened with Rover in Poland is what’s called losing control of your brand. If the name becomes ubiquitous, a company can lose the rights to use that name exclusively for their own stuff, even if they created it. That’s why Coca-Cola doesn’t want you to use “coke” as the generic word for soft drinks, and Kleenex doesn’t want their name used for any form of facial tissue.

A little more from the Wikipedia article:
“The words for “bicycle” in Polish (Rower) and Belarusian (Rovar, Ро́вар) are derived from the name of the company. The word ровер is also used in many parts of Western Ukraine.”

While reading this thread, I couldn’t help wondering if a unicycle fork is called a frame to justify charging $165 for it. Oh well, there are probably bicycle forks that cost way more than that, but it was just a question that popped into my head, and if there’s any place where there might be someone who knows the answer, this would be it!

PS: My 20" Reagent frame, when removed, can be used as a tuning fork, though the pitch it gives after an Impact;) is closer to an Ab than an A 440.

So I just give you some translations
English - German

  • Bicycle - Fahrrad
  • Frame - Rahmen
  • Fork - Gabel
  • Bicycle frame - Fahrradrahmen
  • Bicycle fork - Fahrradgabel
And now comes the thing that I'm wondering about and which is the same in some other languages:
  • Unicycle frame - Einrad[B]gabel[/B] (and not Einradrahmen as could be expected)

Haha, that’s a good one!:smiley:
But who knows …