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

04/19 Specialized Rockhopper 29er help

Hello, first post here need some help please. I bought a used 2011 Specialized Rockhopper Expert 29er and I think I need a new crankset. Here is a link to my bike.


I am fairly handy but never really worked on bikes before so I want to make sure if I replace the crank, that I order everything I need including tools. I am getting a bit of roc... Read more >>

04/19 What Kind of Carrera is it?

Hello friends! Long time reader, first time creating a profile here. I'm hoping some of you seasoned road riders can help me on a bike ID. Pardon my ignorance on street bikes, I grew up in a town where the mountain biking held much more appeal than sharing the road with non-sympathetic folks in big trucks. Anyways, I'll cut to the chase:
-for my birthday in 2010 my family bought me a used carrera street bike. I rode it a ton, loved it, but once again live somewhere where I simply don't feel safe on the roads.
-I have one single crappy photo of it hanging with some other bikes, whic... Read more >>

04/16 Can Anyone Identify this Sears Tandem?

I recently bought this tandem bike from a flea market. The make is Sears. Beyond that, I have no idea what year it is. Anyone have ideas or guesses?

The owner of a bike shop who I showed it to guessed 40's or 50's but I'm not sure about that.... Read more >>

04/01 New bike

new wheels 2014 ccm static , low end bike but I was wondering if I should replace the stock brake levers and stock shinmano twist gears to the shinmano barker lever/gear changer combo if so how hard would it be to do soo , also I got a older straight frame bike for driving in rain or snow , was wondering if I should put front shocks on it or not , any opinion is appreciated... Read more >>

03/21 1948 Raleigh All Steel Bicycle Valuation

[Hello All. I have a vintage Raleigh "The All Steel Bicycle" in excellent condition. I was hoping that one of you could give me an idea as to monetary value of it.

Please find attached some images of the bicycle.

Thanking you in advance.

[attachment=4961]...

03/17 Revolution Cycle Jewelry Head Badge

We have contacted Jennifer Green at Revolution Cycle Jewelry to craft a head badge for my Fuji Del Rey project. Her work is top rate. Has anyone bought from her before? What were your impressions?? Here is an example of her work..... Read more >>

03/17 Durable chainset for long distance touring

Dear All,

I need some advice. I am going to do a 15 000 km trip from New Zealand to Hungary later on this year and I am trying to get my bike ready. I want to change the chainset, that is the crankset, chain, shifters, cassettes and the derailleurs. Obviously I need something reliable, sturdy that will last long. I was wondering if you could share your experience that for a long trip like this which brand, type would be the best. Was thinking about Shimano Deore XT, but it is a bit expensive and I was thinking that one or two below, like the Deore SLX might be just as reliable. Read more >>

03/16 Roadmaster Mountain Bike Handlebars

I just inherited a set of his and hers Roadmaster Mountain Bikes. The previous owner put "apehangers" on the men's bike. I want to switch these back to "lowrise" bars, but I am not sure what size hole is in the stem. Does anyone know what size I need to order?
Best wishes to all!
Dyno...

03/11 Help Identifying old Specialized StumpJumper

Hey all, any help on identifying the year of this Stumpjumper?
Thank you in advance.




tinypic.com/r/30ll07m/8...

03/10 Old MTB rims.....what brand are they?

I recently took possesion of a 1995-96 100 year anniversary model schwinn sidewinder. Ridgid frame, cantilever brakes, but I am curious what brand of rims it has. They are siler anodized, have machined brake surfaces. the only markings I can find is the metric size stamped into the rim near the valve hole. they also have a marking that looks like a triangle with the letters FL stamped in it. The rear wheel is cassette, both have either loose or sealed system bearings. the hubs are shimano parralax hubs , bothe are also silver. The true ness is still there, the rear wheel can use some touch up... Read more >>

03/09 Test rides!

That being said!
I rode 5 bikes today!
1)MASI Premier PC4. Super nice bike. A little heavy but solid at the same time. Pretty fast and nimble. I thought It had a little harsh ride compared to some.(Cannondale synapse carbon) It is a little more racy than some I rode. It for the most part is comfy. All ultegra and at $1749 a good buy! Not bad looking either!

2)Trek Damone 4.0. Liked the ...

03/06 Getting Tempted!

Hi guys! I have a large decision to make! Went to one of my favorite lbs's and found they have picked up Giant bikes. The owner knows I am looking at roadies and is really tempting me with a 2013 Defy
composite 0 w/full ultegraDi2 group for $2500!(normal $3950) [broken_image] I have ridden the comp3 and it was a nice ride!That is $500 over the budget but man It looks like a Real good deal! Just don't know if I need that much bike! But as my quote says"nobody ever said I wish I got less of a bike". Might pull trigger on this thing. Haven't ridden a ultegra Di2 group y... Read more >>

03/03 What bicycle should I purchase?

I recently had my bike stolen so I am now looking for a new bike. I like the brands Cannondale, Giant, and Trek because there are local bike shops that sell them and I can get a sweet warranty. Im looking for a bike that can handle all weather conditions (disk breaks), comfortable long rides (20 mi) on pavement, as lightweight as possible for my preferences, and the durability to hop off city curbs and ride on rough brick streets with a max budget of $800.00.

There are three bike models that are currently standing out to me (but I am up for other suggestions):
Trek 7....

02/27 Jamis Xenith race

Lets try it here! Any of you folks ride a Jamis? I have a shop here that wants to sell me a 2012 Xenith Race for $1800. The bike is Carbon fiber and Ultegra grouping. Was $3100 in 2012. Don't know much about the jamis or the Xenith line. Very ugly color Gold on black. Could get used to that if the ride was as good as the owner says it is! Problem is he would need to get it brought in and would want me to buy it even if I don't like it.Not to keen on that but do understand. Have tried to find a 2013/14 to try but no joy yet. Just looking for any input from you folks.

02/15 Is it Safe to Use a Tyre With a Hole in It?

I had a blowout last week when the tube burst through a pre-existing hole in the tyre. The tube was either protruding through the hole and got zapped by sharp stones on the trail I was riding, or possibly excess heat from braking on the steep descent caused an increase in pressure (I always keep the pressure at max). There seems to be some fraying of the nylon reinforcement on the inside of the tyre around the site of the hole.
I glued a 4 inch by 2 inch section of old tyre to the inside of the tyre and now the hole is about 4 mm in diameter when the tube is inflated. The tyre bulges sl... Read more >>

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

Free Email Updates: