The trend of the markets have changed considerably. With the advent of digital media, people have swarmed in bunches towards this new medium & hence the offline shops have now become a thing of lesser visit compared to the footfalls ratio of previous times. Like many other products, bicycles are also brought on the Internet by many people who continue to encourage people to do the same altogether.
Coming to bicycles ordered online, they just won’t come to you ready to ride as they reach your address. Instead., they will come in a box. As a matter of fact, seeing the box will make you doubt if it is a bike or something else inside. Since, the assembling is not something which can be understood easily by normal people & involve a lot of mechanical junctions, tightening, greasing, etc., it is our duty to walk you through the main steps of setting up your bike so that you don’t end up destroying or misfitting your new friend. Here, we will explain things i entirety. Be it the tools needed or the careful approach to join the parts bit by bit with utter care if they’re right in terms of placement or not, be it making you to build your new bike & make it stand to making you ride it & see if it has been set aptly, we shall cover it all for you. But before we start, a very big piece of advice is coming your way – “don’t do things yourself if you are new to biking & know nothing about it.” place it in the right hands at your nearest bike store & wait for your mate to get ready & running. This way, you’re not getting debarred from the knowledge of setup but are debarring damage to your very new bike which hasn’t even run a mile.
So you’re planning a party with your loved ones. But, you won’t just go & ask for some music & games in the party. You’ll need to make full arrangements for it. And since it’s a party, getting food is necessary to get the crowd going. In bicycle setup too, you need the ’food’ to keep things going ahead nice & smooth as the basic need of the party. The thing which we are talking about here are ‘tools’. It is these tools which will be required to place & fix the various joints & parts of the bike so as to get it running. The various tools required are as follows:
- Track pump
- Pedal spanner
- Allen Keys
- Torque wrench (optional, but recommended)
- Can of lubricant & grease
- Workshop stand (optional, but very useful)
- Wire cutters (To cut brake, gear cables and to crimp ends, if you need to set up gears and brakes)
Now, since the preparations for the party & the basic needs to be taken care of have been sorted, it is time to move forward to the ground rules of the party, i.e. general points to be aware of when assembling your bike. When setting up carbon fibre parts like handlebars & seat posts, never forget having a carbon assembly paste with you. Though you’ll get it in most bikes in the cardboard box itself but just in case you don’t get your hands on it, make sure to get this little sachet from your local bike shop as that’s the place where you’re surely going to find it. Besides, keeping eyes open & ready for reading little things marked on the wrapper or the part itself is necessary. This comes handy in many cases. For example, when tightening bolts, there are tiny words written next to the bolt. This is not just a factory unit numbering but the clamping force. It is always necessary to put the right clamping force when tightening bolts because over-tightening will cause the component’s threadline to fail or make it get stuck in the middle. When too little pressure is applied, the part is feared to fall off or behave loose & weird. For example, in seat posts, the clamping force is usually 6 Nm. It is extremely important to maintain what’s written & respect it. You or none of the riders would want their handlebars to spin round when they bike is on traveling down a steep hill!
Adding to the tightening thing, always ensure greasing the threads including those of the bolts & the pedals. A majority of new bikes come with bolts that are pre-greased & you won’t need to add the extra effort but keep grease near you as it is an important part of the itinerary. Greasing the bolts & other parts will keep them away from seizing in near future. Also, one should be ready with GT85A teflon spray as it is ideal for lubricating cables. When talking about children bikes, the setup will be comparatively easy as there will be a lot of things that will get omitted from the list.
With a good background on bike setup, let us now met down on the main point of target, i.e. setting up the bike. The step by step guide here covers it all.
- Removal of the packaging
Since they are delivering sensitive parts to you like wheels & frame that need to be assembled are cast perfectly in order to fit into each-other, brands always ensure spending well on packaging so as to not get things damaged. Most bikes will come to you draped in a lot of packaging layers ranging from cartons to bubble wraps to covers, etc. The handlebars will be twisted round & the wheels removed & forming a part of the packaging. So, first things first, remove all the packaging ranging from strings to bubble wraps to cable ties & polystyrene. To make things easy, you can put the bike frame in a workshop stand & cut away all the packaging. If you aren’t having the workstand, place the bike as lying against the wall & your job is on the way to get done with the right start..
As another piece of jumbo size advice, when opening the package, do it carefully while trying to remember the way the bike was packed or setup. This is because of the online sizing issue. Just like receiving XL shorts instead of L marked ones, you might receive a bike which isn’t the right one for you. Thus, there are chances that your bike isn’t of your fit & is hence of the wrong size. Inevitably, you will have no option but to return it so you must have a hands on sense of opening the packaging since you might have to return it as well.
- Putting the wheels correctly
The first thing that needs to be done after removing the packaging is insertion of the wheels. Make sure to fit the wheel in the right direction s a mark would be there on the sidewall of the tyre showing the forward arrow. The next step is fitting the quick release skewer to the wheel with a bit of grease applied across the entire length of the skewer rod, although they might come pre-greased. But, excess grease isn’t wanted at all. A very thing layering of grease needs to be on the skewer. Once it is done, the rotation of the tyre/wheel should be seen.
As you sit on the bike, you will come across the quick release lever on the left of the bike. When placing the axle on the fork dropouts during installation of the front wheel, placing the axle evenly into the fork dropouts with the help of quick release lever on the left side of your bike is to be done. The wheel must be aligned centrally between the forks. In order to allow the wheels to come into the brake calipers, the need for removing the cam from brake callipers might arise. You might have to make them wider so as to allow slotting in of the wheel. In case you have not spent much on the bike, don’t be afraid of absence of cams as there may not be any cam out there. Under this case, you can deflate the tyre & then slide it in.
Wheels have a very funny but bad thing associated with them when coming through transit in the box. It is not an uncommon sight where the wheels get slightly bent due to mishandling. Verifying the circular shape of the wheel is hence important. To do this, you just need to lift your bike off the ground & spin the wheel to see its tracks against the frame. A wheel with a disturbed shape would be easily visible. If this misfortunate thing happens to you, head to the local bike shop.
Once the wheel is set, it is important to inflate the tyres too! A track pump with a gauge suites this purpose. Most tyres are marked from the manufacturers itself on the recommended pressure you should go with during inflation..
- Twisting the handlebars
A bike without handlebars is like a man without a head. Fitting the handlebar will also be a task since handlebars come separately just like the wheel. In order to fit the handlebars, Allen keys are used based upon the size of the bike. Bike stems generally have markings for four or two Allen bolts. When placing the handlebar, greasing of the bolts is needed. This will prevent them from seizing in the future. Make sure that the handlebar is the right height. By loosening the Allen Keys, the desired handlebar height can be achieved.
By loosening the bolts on the stem & twisting the handlebars into the desired position should be done. While tightening the stem bolts, the tightening must be done gradually so as to avoid overtightening. If that happens, the stem can fail. 5-6 Nm of clamping force on each bolt is the ideal reading when using a torque wrench to fix the handlebar.
- Inserting the seat post
The seat post will come fixed to the frame, but, it will be clamped to ts lowest position soas to fit the packaging & make it as compact as possible. In order to have the perfect saddle height, To get the correct saddle height, out of the many methods, the one listed ahead is the best. To get your saddle height, you need to sit on the bike while placing your heel in the middle of the pedal axle with it at the farthest point so that the crank is in line with the seat tube. In this trial, the legs must be completely straight & the hips should not be moving down a bit to make the foot reach the pedal. When clipped, there will be a slight bend but saddle height must be taken without the clip.
- Configuring the brakes & gears
The most important part of any moving vehicle is the brake. For the ones with gears, both brakes & gears make the important couple together. Some bikes come without the cables inserted. This is easy to do & if the need be, you can even cut the cables using cycling cable cutters.
Cables can bend in due course of time. And they might look stretched too. The result might be the gears & the brakes becoming a little sloppy. But this can be fixed in by the mechanic with minor tweaking & there’s nothing to worry about
- Checking the headset
The headset is responsible for giving the handles the rotation as the fork & the stem stay entwined. This is found at the top of the fork. The handlebars need to be straight, always. While most bikes come with the bar tape pre-wrapped, many of them simply don’t. Wrapping the bar tape isn’t like normal taping & hence you might spoil the case if not make it. Thus, going to the local bike shop & letting the mechanic take care of it is the best thing to do. Although the internet is full of such videos, certain sensitive things must be left for the mechanic who is involved in such things day in & day out.
With these steps in place & proper sequence, the bike will be ready for you in the perfect way. But, as said earlier, there’s always a need for expert hands in certain departments which shouldn’t be interfered in. Thus, even if you want to build your own bike, do the things which you can do & let your mechanic do the rest as the wish of making your own bike might lead to faulty installations which are not good for safety of primarily the rider & secondarily the bike.