How to Assemble a New Bike
Overview of a boxed bike assembly. Shows how to put together a mail-order bike.
These days you can get a great deal on a new bike by ordering online. Today we’ll learn how to properly assemble a mail order bike right out of the box. Since there are so many different types of bikes and components available, I’ll give a brief overview of the assembly. If you’re watching this video on bikeride.com, you can check the links in the text below for more specific instructions.
For this job you’ll need several tools. Ideally you should have a repair stand and a wheel truing stand. Other necessary tools include wire cutters, a set of metric allen keys, a set of metric open-end wrenches, flathead (-) and phillips (+) screwdrivers, cone wrenches, a pedal wrench and an air pump. You’ll also need some waterproof grease, chain oil and a rag.
Open the top flap and carefully pull everything out of the box. Apply some grease to the inside of the seat tube, slide the seatpost in to the minimum insertion mark, grease the threads of the seatpost bolt and tighten it just enough so it will hold the weight of the bike. Then clamp the seatpost in your repair stand.
Remove the front wheel by using wire cutters to carefully snip the zip ties. To save these for future use, cut them just before the head and then pull out and recycle the remaining piece of zip-tie. This leaves you with a short piece of zip-tie that can be used again for odd jobs. Remove the rest of the packaging and either recycle it, or save it so you can box your bike up in the future.
If your headset and bottom bracket have loose ball bearings, open them up and check for grease and adjust as needed. If you have sealed cartridge bearings in these places you can skip this step.
Now we’re ready to install the handlebar. Grease all of the stem bolt threads and shaft if you’re installing an older quill-style stem. Then center the handlebar and tighten the stem bolts evenly so the gap is equal on both sides. Tighten the top cap just enough to hold it in place.
Remove the rear wheel and cassette or freewheel, and open the hubs on both wheels to check for grease. Add more grease as needed and then adjust the hub cones so they spin freely with very little play. See the hub overhaul tutorial for adjustment instructions. Grease the cassette or freewheel’s threads before re-installing them.
It’s a good idea to grease the threads of the crank bolts, chainring bolts, and other bolts that hold accessories like water bottle cages. This will help them repel water and dirt and stop them from seizing up. Grease the pedal threads and install them. Remember that the left pedal always has a reverse thread, so you have to tighten it by turning counter-clockwise.
Set up and adjust your brakes. See the brake tutorials page for set-up instructions on specific brake types. Then lube the chain and adjust the derailleurs. Watch the front and rear derailleur tutorials to see how.
Apply any stickers and/or accessories and then remove the bike from the stand. Adjust your seat height and angle, align your handlebars and adjust your headset. See the headsets and handlebars pages for related tutorials… and then get out for ride!
- Mtn Bike Riders: Mail-Order Bike Assembly
- Park Tool: New Bike Assembly
- Bicycle Torque Specifications
- Park Tool SK-3 Starter Mechanic Tool Kit
- Park Tool PK-3 Professional Tool Kit
- Park Tool PCS-9 Repair Stand
- Park Tool PCS-4 Repair Stand
- Park Tool TS-8 Home Truing Stand
- Park Tool TS-2.2 Home Truing Stand
Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum
Hi everyone. A bit repetitive from my intro in GF, but this is the correct section for this post. I’m new to vintage bikes, but I’ve been eyeing a vintage Colnago to restore for a long time. Finally found one and the timing was right to pull the trigger. I’m still trying to identify the exact year, but from my research it’s 1991-1993 Colnago Super PiU. Mostly original, I think, apart from ...Read more
I'm sure there will be lots of discussion on the recall just announced. How will it be handled? Anyone have any insight to the recall?...Read more
I thought I would do a thread about how to do a quality refurbish on a bicycle that will be a good user trouble free for quite a while. The scope of this refurb will not contain content about dealing with battle scars it may have endured in its lifetime, primarily because the bicycle is merely an example of a solid platform to build from (vintage lugged frame circa 1990). Purchased for $15us ...Read more
I came across two riders with flats on yesterday's ride. The usual response as I roll by and ask, "Do you need anything?" is, "No, I'm good," but today, someone was in need. The first guy, fit, full kit, nice Colnago, was good to go. Then, about seven miles later, on the opposite side of the road, a guy sitting on the side of the road with a wheel between his legs and with his wife, I presumed, st...Read more
Hi everyone. The young one has been on his bike steering right with the handle bars, the person steering with the safety steering has forced the safety steering bar the opposite way and now the safety steering will not turn in any direction and everything from the outside appears fine. I’m not sure if it goes into anything inside the bike that may have broke. I’m just wondering if anyone has a...Read more
I recently bought a mountain bike with hydraulic brakes. When the brake fluid gets low, more needs to be added. There are a number of tutorials on Youtube, and other places on the internet. They involve bleeding the brakes.. That is having brake fluid flow through the brakes lines, to remove the air. The process is a bit involved. I did it an easier way. I put the funnel in the brake lever, and ...Read more
We bleed hydraulic brakes to remove air from the lines. With car and truck brakes, we only bleed them when they have air in the lines. Is there any benefit in bleeding bicycle brakes, other than removing air from the lines?...Read more
Hi folks. My 2004 or 2005? Specialized stumpjumper FSR elite? Comp? has been very neglected, but recently my situation and lifestyle have changed for the better, and I am trying to get it trail ready. I bought a chain cleaner kit, and I've degreased the rear cogs, and lubed the chain. All of the hardware mentioned is original and stock, and came with my bike. I was hoping the maintenance would sol...Read more
Two weeks ago I bought a new Trek Checkpoint ALR5 bicycle. Bike rides pretty well. It has aluminium frame. I bought it primaraly for bike packing trips as it has ton of mounting points. After riding it for 2 weeks and hitting some easy gravel roads I found two relatively small dents on bicycle's frame. I don't know when I got them. Maybe they are caused by flying rocks from the wheels. Maybe this ...Read more
I apologize in advance if I mix-up some lingo, I have almost no experience in fixing bicycle drivetrain. Previously I had Comet CKM-7159 as crankset (I managed to find this datasheet that seem to describe it pretty good - datasheet) Long story short, pedal track on the left crank got completely destroyed. Since it's two-piece crankset (or I just have not enough muscles to detach left crank from ...Read more
coming at you guys with another newbie question. I noticed the other day while pedaling up hill that I was getting some wheel was rubbing my brakes. I only noticed it when I was really pedaling hard. My bike is a single speed so I have to really get on it when I go up hill. I noticed that my wheels do have a little side to side motion when I apply pressure with my hands. I'm wondering if the wheel...Read more
I inherited an old Schwinn world tourist from my father who has since passed away. Decided to fix it up and make it a little more me. It was completely stock when I bought it. Pretty happy with how it turned out. Upgrades: Single speed conversion 44x17 Tektro 559 brakes with Kool stop pads and 750 levers. Swift Sand canyon 27x 1 3/8 tires Flat bars with vans grips Charge seat PXL_...Read more
I've read other threads and lots of info online, and I'm still stuck. My son is unable to shift the gears on his new 6-gear bike. We tried adjusting the derailer to release some tension and tinkered with adjustments here and there, and nothing seems to be working. Is there anything that we can do? I really want him to be able to shift his own gears. Going uphill today we had to stop several t...Read more
The bolt that feeds into the headset is striped. I have the ability to put the Allen key into the head of the bolt and spin it but it won't come out. I believe the star nut and the bolt are striped from each other. Can anyone help? There is no hexnuts on the stem and the bolt just keeps spinning. I can feel as though there is pressure when I spin it but the bolt does not rise out of the headset w...Read more