Deepl renders it as Fahrradrad.

Beolingus tells me it's Fahrradlaufrad.

Leo seems to recognize neither of these as a word.

Gmail in Chrome wants to correct it to Fahrrad Rad.

German Wikipedia has an entry for Fahrrad-Rad, a kinetic artwork of Duchamp.

Who's right? (Or is it none of the above?)

Edit: Context written by the OP as a comment:

It's from an e-mail to the Basel city government thanking them for looking into a temporary bike path issue (where the barriers were jostled out of place, narrowing the path) and telling them that it was pleasant to see the wheels of city government turning so quickly, and thus keeping my bicycle wheels turning quickly as well.

  • 1
    It would be easier to answer the question with more context. Show the sentence you are trying to translate and tell us to whom do you intend to speak.
    – Bodo
    Jul 17, 2023 at 15:32
  • It's from an e-mail to the Basel city government thanking them for looking into a temporary bike path issue (where the barriers were jostled out of place, narrowing the path) and telling them that it was pleasant to see the wheels of city government turning so quickly, and thus keeping my bicycle wheels turning quickly as well.
    – Kyralessa
    Jul 17, 2023 at 17:42
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    Since you are in Switzerland, you can use ,,Velorad". (Velo can be used for ,,Fahrrad" in standard Swiss German). Jul 17, 2023 at 17:52
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    The context is relevant for answering the question. For example, it makes clear that the proposed terms "Laufrad", "Vorderrad" or "Hinterrad" are bad choices here. If you had written the full sentence in the original question you probably would not have gotten these answers. The context even shows that you are trying a word-by-word translation of an English phrase which is not idiomatic in German.
    – Bodo
    Jul 19, 2023 at 10:50
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    @Bodo You can edit this question to add provided information or clarification.
    – npst
    Jul 19, 2023 at 13:21

7 Answers 7


In addition to what @Janka already said:

Most times, when the context is clear, the thing would be simply described as a "Rad", maybe "Vorderrad" or "Hinterrad", depending on what it is.

What Gmail/Google wants to make from it, inserting a blank, is absolutely wrong. This is a case of trying to write German according to the rules of English. In English compound nouns are not always put together but often simply written one after the other:

"rain", "forest" => "rainforest"
"car", "accident"" => "car accident"

not so in German, where compound words are always written together:

"Regen", "Wald" => "Regenwald"
"Auto", "Unfall" => "Autounfall" (NOT "Auto Unfall")

There are some additional rules about when and how to hyphenate (i.e. here or here), but the most common case is to write things together.

  • I've seen colleagues at work hyphenate quite a lot of things...though many of those colleagues are Swiss.
    – Kyralessa
    Jul 14, 2023 at 12:53
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    @Kyralessa: this is quite common but nevertheless wrong. There are ie. also a lot of people writing "Standart" instead of "Standard", but it will take a very long time until this practice will become the standard (and hence correct).
    – bakunin
    Jul 15, 2023 at 9:19
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    There also appear to be people writing i.e. instead of e.g. :) Jul 15, 2023 at 10:56
  • @infinitezero: you are right, this is a leftover artefact from editing which I couldn't change any more. My apologies.
    – bakunin
    Jul 15, 2023 at 13:15
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    @bakunin "Standart" is just a "kind/method of standing"
    – Skillmon
    Jul 15, 2023 at 22:57

"Fahrradlaufrad" is certainly a good term, but few people would use it, it is a bit pretentious. In principle "Fahrradrad" works as well, or indeed simply "Rad", though the former is awkward to pronounce and the latter ambiguous since "Rad" by itself can also refer to the entire bicycle. It can be fine and without ambiguity though, if you say "eines der Räder" or "beide Räder".

Often it makes sense be more specific like "das Vorderrad", "das Hinterrad", "das eiernde Rad" depending on the situation.

It's also somewhat common to hear "der Fahrradreifen", which strictly speaking means the tyre, applied to the whole wheel. This is kind of wrong, but not if you actually mean the tyre: it's better to say "der platte Reifen" than "das platte Rad".
Conversely, if you mean specifically the rim or the wheel without tyre then you should say "die Felge". There's another ambiguous bit here: "Rad" can mean either the wheel with tyre or without it. "Felge" is in principle only the rim, but if you mean the tyre is gone and you're rolling on the bare metal then you would say "auf der Felge" rather than "auf dem Rad".

Finally, there are colloquial expressions like "Kreis" or "Scheibe" or "Walze" that may be used for humouristic effect or as a caricature for a particular type of wheel.

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    Sorry, but "die Felge" (the rim) is the round part onto which the tyre is mounted. In other words it is the wheel minus the tyre, the spokes and the spindle (and, in case of the back wheel, the gearing mechanism).
    – bakunin
    Jul 15, 2023 at 9:27
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    @leftroundabout: "the wheel without the tyre" struck me differently. "Die Felge" is not "the wheel without the tyre" but the wheel without a lot of other parts too.
    – bakunin
    Jul 15, 2023 at 13:12
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    Note that for a general audience, "Fahrradlaufrad" can be really misleading, as in some technical contexts (apparently excluding bikes), "Laufrad" denotes specifically wheels whose rotation is not driven by anything. That is, "Fahrradlaufrad" could easily be misunderstood to mean specifically the front wheel (that is not directly subject to the force of the pedals), especially as the term "Fahrradlaufrad" does sound quite formal, technical.. Jul 15, 2023 at 20:41
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    Sorry but neither Fahrradlaufrad nor Fahrradrad are good terms. As a native speaker I have never seen either of them in actual use.
    – quarague
    Jul 16, 2023 at 9:32
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    @bakunin well, neither (wheel-)"Rad" nor "Felge" are used completely consistently. For cars it's clear enough: "Reifen" is the rubber thing, and "Felge" is the whole rest which is after all a single metal item, and all together it's the "Rad". That's already different from English, where in this case "Felge" translates to "wheel". But for bikes, both the analogous meaning "Felge"↦〈all metal parts〉 / "Rad"↦〈everything together〉 is used, as well as "Felge"↦〈rim only〉 / "Laufrad"↦〈all metal parts〉 / "Rad"↦〈everything〉 which would perhaps be considered the more technically correct version. Jul 17, 2023 at 10:40

Das Fahrradlaufrad is unambigous. If the context makes it clear, it's simply das Laufrad.

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    That's the technical term though, never ever have I heard that being used anywhere except from a mechanics shop maybe. Jul 15, 2023 at 10:56
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    +1 for "Laufrad". I've worked as a bicycle courier for many years and this is what it is usually called. I'd never say "Fahrradlaufrad", if I have to specify I'm talking about a bicycle, I'd rather say "das Laufrad meines/eines/dieses/etc Fahrrads".
    – MaxD
    Jul 15, 2023 at 15:06
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    As a non-mechanic I'd say that a Laufrad is small children's bicycle without pedals, see duckduckgo.com/?t=h_&q=laufrad&iax=images&ia=images
    – user24582
    Jul 15, 2023 at 19:55
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    I think the term is very misleading, as in other technical contexts, a "Laufrad" is specifically a wheel that is not connected to the "propulsion" of the vehicle (which, for a typical bike, would exclude the rear wheel). Thus, unless the listener specifically knows about technical bycicle terminology, they can easily misinterpret that term. Jul 15, 2023 at 20:46

Since you mention you are in Switzerland, you can use "Velorad". Velo is a standard Swiss German word for bicycle, and can be used to describe its wheels as well (check the image description for the bike wheel displayed on this page).


In the context that both the wheels of the government and the wheels of your bicycle are turning, as mentioned in a comment to the question, I suggest to use something like

die Räder der Stadtverwaltung


die Räder meines Fahrrads / Velos


die Räder von meinem Fahrrad / Velo

instead of a composite.

(In the context of government or bureaucracy, the term "Mühlen mahlen" might be more common than "Räder drehen sich". See the metaphorical meaning in https://www.dwds.de/wb/M%C3%BChle.)


"Fahrradrad" would technically be correct, but it's not commonly used since the repetition of "rad" sounds awkward. So in your context one would simply use "die Räder meines Fahrrads".

So I would translate:

It is pleasant to see the wheels of city government turning so quickly, and thus keeping my bicycle wheels turning quickly as well.


Es freut mich zu sehen, das die Räder der Verwaltung so schnell laufen, so dass auch die Räder meines Fahrrads weiterhin schnell laufen können.

However, the metaphor the wheels of government is rare in German. You find examples, but they are anglicisms.

  • For the wheels of government a typical expression is Die Mühlen der Verwaltung mahlen...
    – guidot
    Jul 18, 2023 at 9:57

Depending on the context you could simply say "meine Räder" if you mean "Vorderrad" and "Hinterrad" together. "Meine Räder" could also mean "Meine Fahrräder" in a different context.

  • Hi and welcome to German SE. The answer does not well match the question. It is also a bit lacking in respect to substance. If it collect downvotes (I got one close vote instead of a downvote), remember that you have the option to delete it.
    – guidot
    Jul 15, 2023 at 15:27

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