43. How to Assemble a New Bike

Overview of a boxed bike assembly. Shows how to put together a mail-order bike.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Assemble a New Bike
DVD Vol. 2 DVD Volume 2
This video is available on DVD

50% of the cost of the bicycle featured in this video was donated by JensonUSA.

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 bicycletutor.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.

Watch the wheel-truing tutorial to see how to de-stress and true the wheels. Then inflate the tires to the recommended pressure and install both wheels on the bike.

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!


Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Bike Forums

11/21 What the deal?

nfmisso & painkiller in particular, can you figure what is going on with this front fork "bridge". It's either bent back behind the fork or something I haven't seen.
26" wheels. Looks like there's no clearance for a fat tire or front fender.
This pic is all that is available. That almost looks like a red Specialized "S" on the front fork arm.

[Image: 00g0g_dfXdEs4XAYC_600x450.jpg]...

11/06 Thinking to buy Vintage Schwinn Road Bike


I'm new to this but plan to buy a bike just for using in short distance. Could you please tell me if this price is good?


Anyway I'm not sure if it's fit for me or not. This one look to be a men bike and I am only 5" tall.... Read more >>

10/21 Gary Fisher Wahoo - help ID year please

I have a Gary Fisher bike that was given to me that I have to sell and although I love it, I am in Ohio and it's in CA.

It's a lovely bike and I would really like to price it fairly. It has a car eye computer and a split seat.

Any help would be appreciated. It's just all dusty - really decent shape. Thanks all!
Lisa...

10/21 Old Peugeot First Post (Questions)

Hello! First Post...
Back in 1982, I purchased a Blue Peugeot Bicycle. This year I tried to determine it's history, and learned much snooping various threads.
I've never determined the exact vintage of the bike.
I'll post a picture later....
Here's what I do know about the bike:
Purchased in 1982 (After my dad died) from I believe K-Mart. Morton Grove, Illinois.
Has Mode 4 crest, and checkers decals which would put it in 1978-1983 vintage, but I can't get it to a specific model.
Has following hardware:
Steel Frame, Says Made in France, but d... Read more >>

10/19 Best Before Date on Tubes

What's the shelf life of a tube if its stored in a cool, dry, dark place?
I'm just wondering whether stocking up on tubes is a good thing if they are going to be stored for a few years.... Read more >>

10/16 Old Raleigh ...help with the year

Can someone help me with the year and maybe the value.. ????????????... Read more >>

10/16 Bike parts identification

Hello! This is my first post on this forum.
Does anybody know how I can determine what kind of crankset I have on my bike?
It's a Shimano of some kind, a low end product I had installed on a Schwinn I bought
from Wal-Mart when the original chainrings wore out.
I'm wondering if there's a website somewhere with pictures of Shimano products, because I'd probably recognize it if I saw it.... Read more >>

10/06 Takara 500 kid's bike 16 inch vintage

I am trying to find out any information on this bike i bought. If anyone can help.me i would appreciate it. Thanks.

Trying to add pic of takara 500 bike... Read more >>

10/05 ID Campag Hubs - Chorus?

Hi all,
Just bought a pair of old Ambrosio Nemesis, laced to what look like 32H Chorus hubs. I chucked the rear in my 130mm frame and it looks like the rear hub is 126mm.

I was told the hub was Chorus and the lockring says Chorus, and there is a 10 speed cassette (I assume it is a cassette and not a freewheel hub). But, in my research, Chorus 10s was 130mm..?

I guess it isn;t a problem and can use washers, which leads to my second question, can I just use 2mm spacers on each side (or 4mm on one side?) and should I replace the skewer and do I need to redish?

09/24 Need help dating my Schwin Stingray bike

[attachment=5362]I've searched the web and still can't decipher my serial number. I'm pretty sure this is a later bike,probably from overseas. Serial no. E07H34748. Thanks for any help. Cudda

 photo 72142D62-E1A4-4217-95C2-766873FFC3AB_zpsefw1l6i5.jpg...

08/17 Help with my Jack Taylor


New to this board so please go easy on me. If I've posted this in the wrong section (or even the wrong site?) I do apologise. Advice would be appreciated.

My name's Ben and I'm from Stockton-on-Tees in England.

I've recently purchased a Jack Taylor bike that was described as a 50th Anniversary model. Please see the photo's below.


08/09 Speedplay pedals

I read reviews about the Frog pedal saying that the cleats wear out quite fast compare to other cleats on the market.
What is your opinion, please?
I use EGGBEATER pedals but I think the spring gets loose too fast and my foot sometimes disengages from pedal...
I`m looking for a pedal I can use for touring (long rides).
Balthazar...

08/05 Roadmaster Mt Fury Specs

Hello everyone. I currently have one hybrid (Forge) and one mountain bike (Diamondback). At my mom's house, my family has an old Roadmaster Mt Fury, and I was thinking of fixing it little by little. I do want to do a complete overhaul though just for fun.

Right now I am going to start with the brakes, shifters, seat, grips and possibly crank. I am going to install Shimano ez shifters, new seat, v brakes, and maybe crank on the diamondback, while the parts that are coming off, are going to the roadmaster.

After that though, I am pretty much going to buy the par... Read more >>

08/03 I Think I Scored

My wife and I were shopping around for new bikes. We hadn't ridden much for years. It's very confusing out there, given so many good brands and styles. We focused on hybrids because of the mix of paved roads, dirt trails and the like where we live (Ipswich, MA). No mountain biking.

She got a Marin San Raphael. I was having a tougher time until I tried a lot yesterday, including a Specialized Crossroads. To me, this stood out because it felt the most nimble and responsive, and seemed lighter than the rest. Also, I didn't want a front suspension fork.

I'd pretty much se...

08/02 Difference between F1rst and F1rst Platinum

Hello All,
I have recently changed out the Suntour XCM V3 forks on my Trek 4500 that were shot for some F1rst Platinum air forks. The difference is like night and day. The rough tracks I used to find tough going are not a problem anymore. I have never ridden a bike with high end forks so I cannot compare performance. All I know is that for me, this is a great upgrade for a good price.
Anyway, I digress.... I would like to change out the Suntour forks on my other bike, but can only find F1rst Air forks in that area. (I could buy from Ebay, but prefer to be able to physically check w... Read more >>

New Thread
How to Assemble a New Bike
Repair Guide / Help Forums

Free Email Updates: