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

01/18 Looking for a bike with budget $500 (incl. helmet and other necessary stuff)


I'm looking for a bike to ride around in a city (probably a hybrid one). Before going into detail, I also would like to know what is the different between road bike and hybrid bike?

I currently live in Seattle, WA and I have no any knowledge about buying a bike. Could you guy give me any idea what bike should be good for me with the budget $500. I went to bike store once and the seller have only one for lady bike with almost $700.

PS. I'm female with only 5"...

01/17 What type of bike is this.

[attachment=5680] Found it in a barn in the middle of nowhere bc that's where I live, in the middle of nowhere. No idea what it is. Having difficulties finding serial numbers.
Its got some rust. The seat says dorc4. Might be named after one of my relatives. Looks to have original tires.
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The one I want to restore first is one my wife has had since 1956 or so. I have photos if anyone's interested. Not sure where to look for any serial or model numbers.

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12/10 Recommended sites for diy recumbent bike

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12/03 Please Review this Bike

hello guys
please Tell me review [IMG]http://bermaindi.tk/4/f.png[/IMG]about this bike
[url]http://www.amazon.com/Kestrel-3045194660-Talon-Road-Bicycle/dp/B00J08XRCQ[/url]...

11/29 What is the weight of your bike?

Seeing that I'm in a vacuum here that is stuck in the late 60's to late 70's with the two bikes we have, I have nothing to compare it with, except for a Chinese WallMart bike.
As I tried to determine the age of the bikes I realized there were different tubing used. Ours is Steel, as is rims...
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2 French bikes have Steel Frames, Steel rims, Kickstands, lights front and rear, and an empty utility bag on each...... I measure:

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I wanted to buy a bike just for short commute. So mainly don't want to spend too much on this. I limited my budget not over 200$ for my bike.

I'm 5" and not sure what size I need to look for .....

Here is 2 bikes I'm looking

[b]1. Schwinn Women's Wayfarer 700c Bicycle, Cream[/b]
Price : $172.70
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[b]2. TRAYL Women's Swift 700C Hybrid Bicycle[/b]
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11/21 What the deal?

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26" wheels. Looks like there's no clearance for a fat tire or front fender.
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[img]http://images.craigslist.org/00g0g_dfXdEs4XAYC_600x450.jpg[/img]...

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

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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...

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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.
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