How to Assemble a Road Bicycle

How to Assemble a Road Bicycle
Perhaps you've just purchased a road bike online, or maybe you're having your own bicycle boxed up and shipped to you in another location. Whatever the case, the road bike will arrive with many of its components disassembled, enabling the bike to fit the shipping box. With a few common tools, patience and care, you should be able to assemble your road bike properly, and ensure a safe and satisfying ride.


Difficulty: Moderate


Things You’ll Need:
  • Hex key set
  • Bicycle grease
  • Bicycle workstand (or a buddy)
Step 1
Carefully remove the bicycle from the box. An extra level of caution must be stressed here, as loose parts can become disengaged, and lost, due to rough handling. Place everything in a clean, open space. The different parts you can expect to see include the wheels, frame, pedals, seat post and saddle, and possibly handlebars. Depending on who packed the bicycle, the handlebars may or may not already be attached to the frame.
Step 2
Place your bike frame in the workstand, or have a friend hold the frame for you. In order to secure the fork to the frame, the handlebars will need to be in place and properly tightened. If the handlebars are not in place, slide the handlebar stem over the fork tube. Attach the handlebars to the stem, if they are not already in place. Tighten the included bolts.
Step 3
Before tightening the stem to the fork tube, ensure that the handlebars are straight and that the front wheel is properly aligned. Next, place the top cap between the stem and fork tube. Tighten the bolt. Do not overtighten. The bolt should hold the steering safely in place, but without causing any binding. Tighten the bolts on the side of the stem.
Step 4
Attach the wheels. Begin with the front, fitting the wheel's axle into the grooves, or "drops," at the base of the fork. Tighten the included skewer. Before attaching the rear wheel, shift the rear derailleur to its largest gear. This is the gear that will give the derailleur cable the greatest amount of slack, making the insertion of the wheel much easier. With the wheel in hand, push the wheel's smallest cog against the inside of the chain and insert the wheel into the rear drops. The chain should run smoothly over the cog and through the derailleur. Tighten the skewer.
Step 5
Attach your pedals. Grease both spindles and fasten them to the crank arms. Keep in mind, the left, or non-drive side, pedal will likely be reverse-threaded.
Step 6
Insert the seat post/saddle combination into the frame. Coat the seat post in grease and work the seat post into the seat tube. Tighten the bolt at the base.

Tips & Warnings

Grease all screws and bolts before inserting them in place. This reduces the possibility of corrosion from salts, such as your sweat, and will allow easier removal for any future disassembly.
While the insertion of the seat post is a relatively easy task technically, ensuring the proper height of your saddle is integral to performance and comfort. Dedicated road cyclists keep this measurement on hand. There is no scientific formula to ensure perfect fit. It's largely a trial-and-error operation. An excellent place to start, however, is to sit on your road bike and, with your feet in the pedals, turn the crank to the 6 and 12 o'clock position. Your extended leg should have only a slight bend at the knee. Begin here, and fine-tune your position.
Many road bikes have a user guide that includes torque specifications for all bolts. If you have a torque wrench, incorporate these. If not, tighten your bolts firmly, but do not overtighten. Don't put your full weight behind the process. This is especially important when dealing with carbon components, which can become damaged under pressure.


Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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