I believe the official term for this is “assembling” but as I’m a common man I’m going with “putting together”.
A lot of people these days are tempted to order bikes online. However, there is often a fear of what will happen when the bike arrives. How hard will it be to assemble? Will something go wrong?
Fortunately, the way bikes are flat packed these days, it’s a five minute job to set them up correctly. At least it is when you order off reliable retailers *cough* Toys R Us is rubbish *cough*.
When a bike arrives these days it will look a little something like this:
Out of the box it will look like this:
As demonstrated by the rather gorgeous Canzo by VooDoo bikes. I’ll be testing the gorgeous Canzo, as it will hence forth be known, more thoroughly over the coming months and posting a full review. Hat tip to Halfords for sending me this bike.
Flat pack bike assembly: Stage 1
Use some form of cutting device to remove the various packaging. Be careful not to scratch the pretty frame. Note: You may wish to keep the box for playing games such as this:
Flat pack bike assembly: Stage 2
Straighten the handlebars so that they are aligned with the front wheel.
It is crucially important here to tighten the bolts in the right order. The top cap should always be tightened before tightening the stem bolts. Otherwise, you can cause damage to your headset.
The bolts that hold the handlebars from shifting forwards will also need to be tightened.
Warning! Be careful not to over-tighten these bolts. They should be tightened just enough to ensure the handlebars don’t turn out of position. If you over-tighten then there is potential to damage the bearings
Check that the bars are aligned in the center.
It is a similar system on a road bike. On the Trek Madone you can see there is also an indicator to help you centre align the bars.
Flat pack bike assembly: Stage 3
Check that the pedals have grease on the threads. If not then add some now. You should also check there is grease on the bottom bracket threads. These are two areas of the bike that have massive pressure exerted upon them so making sure they are properly greased is very important.
Then, check which is the right pedal and which is the left. This will be marked on the pedal.
Use a wrench to tighten the pedal firmly into position.
Important! The left pedal is tightened through a counter clockwise motion as it is reverse threaded.
Flat pack bike assembly: Stage 4
Pump up your tyres to the recommended pressure as indicated on the tyre and add the saddle. Although in most flat packed bikes this is already done.
Flat pack bike assembly: Stage 5
Just some final checks to do now:
- Make sure the brakes are working
- Check the wheels don’t feel loose and the bolts are tight
- Add any accessories and ensure they are firmly tightened
- Check nothing feels loose
Finally, make a note of the frame number in case the bike is stolen.
Now head off and ride but take an Allen Key with you as you will need to make a few adjustments to get things just right. A bike does take some “bedding in” which means after you’ve done some mileage you are likely to need to come back to make minor tweaks.
Note: I’ll be adding this repair to the Bike Doctor App (Android and iPhone) soon!
- Replacing your bicycle tyres for a smoother ride
- Fixing the most common mechanical problem with bikes in London
- Portable bike stands
- Repair your bike using your iPhone
Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter to get...
- Advice on the best cycling gear
- A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
- Exclusive content not available on the blog
Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)
*No spam, ever!
As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.