When you purchase a mountain bike online, the retailer usually offers some options for assembly, too. For example, some selected models, the bike is shipped to a partner shop or bike service in your area, where it is assembled for free or in exchange for a preordained fee. Other times, it shipped to your house, where a mechanic comes to put it all together. Eventually, if the retailer offers no options for assembly or you want to save some extra money, you can take the matter into your own hands. You may appeal to a local bike service or even assemble it yourself. This last option it’s not that demanding as you might think. It could also be a great chance to put that handiness of you at work. Anyway, here are a few tips on how to assemble a mountain bike.
What do you need?
If you are on your own, the first step is to ensure that you have everything you need for the job. You have to check for three main things: some tools, a little patience and of course, all the bicycle parts. The good news is that the bike is already partially assembled, as to fit in a middle-sized box. Therefore the hard work is already done.
1. Is anything missing?
Before starting, take a little time to inspect both the owner’s manual and the parts of the bike. Open the box carefully, avoiding any scratches or breakages. Check if there are all the parts of the bike, as they appear in the user manual. If there is no user manual, then check the producer’s website. Also, verify every piece for potential damage during shipping. There is a low chance that something had broken on the road, but it’s worth checking twice.
2. Take your time
The amount of time needed to complete the work might vary. Some companies assemble every bike for testing and afterward only minimally disassemble it for shipping. But if the bike is shipped to you directly from the factory, it might require more excellent work and more time to complete.
3. Check your toolbox
The user’s manual should also give information on the needed tools. You might need keys, a screwdriver, a cable cutter or torch wrench. The use of a torque wrench might be particularly essential to tighten the screws and is explicitly required by some manufacturers to ensure proper functioning.
How to solve it?
1. Take it to step by step
The process might seem complicated at first glance because there are a lot of parts to put together. Still, it all makes sense if you break it into some small, distinct steps. One needs a little patience to go through all the instructions in a user manual. Every little rule has its own importance for the proper functioning of the bike, though. There might be some specific instructions, distinct from one model another. Nevertheless, the manufacturers usually recommend the same sequence of steps, starting with attaching the seat and ending with checking the accessories.
2. The seat
Therefore, the preparatory step would be to detach and to unpack each part of the bike, paying attention to do no damage. Afterward, the first big step is to attach the seat. You have to insert the seat-post into the seat tube. There should be a mark on the post, showing the so-called point of minimum insertion. You have to add the post into the seat tube, at least to the level of this mark, to be safe. After properly adjusting and centering the bike saddle, use an Allen key to secure the seat.
3. The handlebar
The next step is the handlebar. There are two main types of handlebars, the quill stem type, and the A-head type. You can check the user’s manual. If you have an A-head type, remove the stem cap using a 4mm Allen, and put the handlebar in its place and use a 4mm Allen key again to turn the screws. If you have a quill stem handlebar, fixed all its parts before attaching it to the bike. Afterward, insert the stem of the handle into the tube situated on the front side of the bike. Pay attention again to the insertion mark. Also, if there are any cable attached to the handlebar, check for any knots of entanglements.
4. The front-wheel
The third step the front wheel. First, you have to inspect the wheels to verify if the tires are in their place on the rims. Also, you have to inflate the tires to the recommended pressure. When the tires are inflated and placed correctly on the rims, attach the front wheel. Place the wheel in the correct position. The wheel should be center wheel should be centered evenly in the middle of the fork. Also, there should be signs telling which one is the right and which one the left side of the wheel. As usual, you have to tighten well the bolts.
5. The details
The fourth step comprises everything left. Excellent work is adjusting the brakes. You have to place the rear brake cable into the cable holder situated on the frame and pull it. Also, the front brake cable is placed into the brake caliper holder and pulled. You attach the pedals (they are marked with L and R, for the left and the right side, respectively). Afterward, you check the details- the chain, the breaks, the lever, the reflectors.
6. Other things to consider
What’s more to say? My main purpose was to show you that assembling a mountain bike can be dived into some clear, well-defined steps. I hope this makes it look more natural and gives you confidence that you can assemble your bike if you want to. Nevertheless, each model has its own features, and I didn’t get into the most delicate details. For example, I didn’t insist too much on fixing the brakes; also, I didn’t mention that some parts should be lubricated to reduce the damage due to friction or corrosion.
7. Some tips for the future
What I strongly recommend is that you take the need patience to read the assembly instructions carefully and also to follow the tutorials posted to the manufacturer's websites. Sometimes your safety is in the details. Moreover, especially if it’s your first bike, take the time to read about how it works and about maintenance. Purchase in advance everything you need for fixing the minor problems that you might encounter- like putting the chain back into its place.
One more word…
As in many circumstances, in assembling the bike, the good work might be a matter of patience and moderation. Don’t tighten too little nor too much the bolts, neither inflate to little or too much the tires. And don’t hesitate to ask for help when needed.