1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    About to get a bike delivered, what to check

    Hello guys and gals,

    I swear I've searched. I'm about to receive a bike I bought online. Is there a guide on what to check and what to do after a new bike is delivered? Should any precautionary maintenance be done? I bought this one, it cost the equivalent to US$580 (that's the best you can get for that amount in Brazil, altus and rst Gila lol....)

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I would check EVERYTHING. every conceivable bolt and nut needs to to be torqued and every component needs to be adjusted. take off the crank arm and torque the BB cups, put a derailleur hanger alignment gauge on the hanger because it's probably been bent in shipping, re-align the front derailleur, adjust the hub bearings, align the brakes, grease the seatpost, tension and true the wheels, etc. the bike should be only partly assembled to fit in a box, so unless you have the right anti-seizes, lubes, torque wrenches, etc, I suggest you take it to a bicycle shop and have it assembled or at least tuned up there.

  3. #3
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    Thanks mack_turtle ... I wanted to do it all myself, I have lots of tools here and am used to fixing things (cars, guitars), I've downloaded a few bike maintenance ebooks... Let's hope it's not too overwhelming. I'll do everything on your list (which means I won't get to actually ride the bike until next week lol), any other suggestions?

  4. #4
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    you will need special tools to do a lot of the things I mentioned. unless you have been working on bikes for a while, you probably don't have those tools.

  5. #5
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    I just realized I forgot to paste a link to the bike I purchased....
    Caloi - Movimentando a vida
    Yeah mack_turtle, I was going over your list and noticed that too, thanks once more.

  6. #6
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    I've bought some bikes online, and from what I remember, here's a list of what I had to do. Make sure you have a full metric set of allen keys, small phillips screwdriver, and a pedal wrench (cresent/open end wrench may work). Be aware of what the torque settings should be for the different bolts (the parktools website has a list that you can reference for comparison), even if you can't properly torque stuff.

    1. have plenty of room, at least a 10'x15' area. you don't want to accidentally step on anything
    2. Unpack everything. There's a ton of tape/packing/zipstrips everywhere. I'd recommend hanging the bike frame from either a workstand or a bungeecord attached to whatever you can find. don't try to assemble it on the ground. You'll get stuff backwards and possibly bend/break something.
    3. put the fork/handlebar on the bike, but don't tighten the stem onto the fork. just enough to hold it. The fork will probably come attached to the frame, but backwards and it won't be tightened down (may be held on with cardboard disks). Make sure you put the handlebar on correctly (not flipped upside down, easy to do when you're really excited about your new toy).
    4. Attach the rear derailure. Sometimes the rear derailure is attached, sometimes it's not. I prefer the manufacturer to ship it loose. Greatly decreases the risk of a bent derailure hanger from unpacking.
    5. Make sure all the cables are routed properly. don't worry about adjusting cable pull or brake pull yet. Just make sure that they are routed on the frame.
    6. attach wheels and pedals, make sure you put the right pedal on the right side, they are labeled. to get the wheel on easier, make sure the rear derailure is in the lowest gear (closest to the frame/smallest cog) At this time, put some air in the wheels.
    7. put the bike on the ground and put the seat on. At this time, you shouldn't have any parts left laying around
    8. Loosen the brake calipers mounting bolts and re-align the brakes. Multiple instructions on how to do this on MTBR.
    9. Straighten and properly attach the stem/headset preload. Look up info in headset preload, you don't want to put too much pressure on the bearings. Put the spacers above or below the stem, however you like. I prefer to have one spacer between the steam and the headset cap so I know I have full available contact between the stem and forktube.
    10. Adjust your derailures. get the bike back off the ground on a workstand or bungee cords. follow instructions on how to setup your derailures. plenty are on MTBR.com , youtube, and the parktools website.
    11. position seat height and rotate handlebar to your desired position. This will take some trial and error. took me a couple rides to get my seat position setup right.

    Ride. bike shops may do a bit more if they receive a bike in, but not much unless they notice something isn't right. If you're good with fixing stuff, I'd recommend one of the beginners bike tool kits, or at least getting some of the specialty tools (chain whip, bottom bracket tool, cassette removal tool, pedal wrench, cone wrenches, chain breaker, spoke wrench)

    Other things to consider or check if you have the tools.
    grease; all bearings need grease. If there's not enough on the bearing, clean it off and put on new stuff (try not to mix greases). lots of grease out there, but bike specific grease works best. I've used marine grade axle grease (waterproof axle grease for boat trailers), and it's worked pretty good so far.
    wheel bearings, shouldn't hear/feel any grinding sound from the wheel bearings (or any bearing for that matter) Should be able to pull the rim of the wheel at a 90degree angle (sideways) and it doesn't move or have any play.
    tires: sometimes the manufacturer leaves a few metal shavings inside the rims. If you get a flat quickly, take the tires/tubes off the rim and check for metal shavings.
    Wheel true: since they are disc brake, not a huge concern, as long as the wheel spokes are tight. Having straight wheels doesn't make the bike handle a bit better. If they are loose, get a spoke wrench and tighten them up a bit. Don't overtighten though, unless you have a quality spoke wrench and are using a tension meter. Better to have slightly loose spoke than an overtightened spoke.

  7. #7
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    Great stuff, I'm glad I'm getting this education BEFORE I attempt to put the bike together.

    Thanks a million! The bike's supposed to be delivered tomorrow, I'll post updates.

  8. #8
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    I highly doubt you'll need many, if any, tools beyond what you probably already have kicking around. Decent set of metric allen and open end wrenches , a presta adapter (for inflating the tubes, if they aren't schraeder valved, which is likley), spoke wrench, never hurts to have a decent cable/housing cutter either. Beyond that, a little creativity and mechanical aptitude will get you through almost anything. Biggest challenge will be learning how to get your shifting adjusted properly, but there's endless on-line resources to walk you through that. As long as you take your time and don't ham-fist things too much, you'll be fine. Bikes really aren't all that complicated.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks slapheadmofo, a little optimism is always welcome.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Check out the new bike build checklist on parktool.com. You probably won't have to do everything on the list. But you should at least check it. And the entries are all links to really good articles on how to do each thing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Thanks AndrwSwitch ! The parktool website is a goldmine!

  12. #12
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    for future readers/searchers. Parktools really is awesome. The links on the right of their page cover pretty much everything you'd need. Performancebike also hosts some youtube videos that show derailure setup.

    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog New Bike Assembly

    Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Torque Specifications and Concepts

    How To Guides - YouTube

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcosp View Post
    Thanks slapheadmofo, a little optimism is always welcome.
    No sweat Marco. I mean, there's always a chance that something or other will need some further adjustment later, but assuming your bike wasn't attacked by wild hogs in transit, it should hopefully arrive in pretty decent shape and only needing final assembly and adjustment. As said above, give everything a decent 1-over to the best of your ability, if you run into anything that isn't making sense or you aren't sure about, just post up here; somebody will steer you right. Should be up and running in no time.
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  14. #14
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    one thing you should check that required special tools: bottom bracket. I find that nearly every bike I assemble (that's dozens of them now), the bottom bracket is often threaded in DRY and frequently not torqued down. a loose bottom bracket becomes a noisy bottom bracket, then it becomes a rusty bottom bracket.

  15. #15
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    Don't worry mack_turtle, I'll check everything that's been mentioned here, if I'm not able to fix something I'll definitely take it to the LBS.
    Thanks once more to all of you.

    Bike hasn't been delivered yet, courier is running late (it's Brazil... what did I expect?).

    ps.: I'm kinda more looking forward to setting it up perfectly than to actually riding it.. is it normal?? lol..

  16. #16
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    Sorry, unrelated to the thread but I was thinking..

    One guy asks "how do I replace a light bulb" on the interwebs and it's always:
    Answer 1: Buy safety goggles, safety gloves, a sturdy ladder, a multimeter, a new bulb (check voltage and wattage), call the fire dept. to ask for advice and follow this diagram (pdf attached).
    Answer 2: Just get a freakin' bulb, hop on a stool and change it.
    Answer 3: Call an electrician, you won't be able to do it.
    Answer 4: First you need to provide more info. Why did the original bulb die? Where is it? Can you provide a picture? There maybe a wiring issue.

    Just joking... all info is good.

  17. #17
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    Heheheh....that's it in a nutshell. Get up on that stool man!

    Wrenching on bikes can be an enjoyable and rewarding (and $$-saving) experience. It's NOT mountain biking though. I'm always at a loss when I see posts here from people that don't ride long stretches of time because they've gotten all wrapped up in making their bike 'perfect' . I even saw one the other day where a guyFrom what I can gather, this usually involves hundreds of hours sitting on their asses in front of a computer, shopping and reading reviews, and maybe a dozen hours of actual shop time. Never wrench when you can ride instead. That's like being more excited to screw your light bulb in and out of the socket than to actually turn it on and being able to see where the hell you're going.
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  18. #18
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    She's here! (bikes are female in Brazil, we don't have "it" as a personal pronoun). And she's already driving me crazy with that Altus FD, I just can't get it right. A trip to the LBS is in order...

    About to get a bike delivered, what to check-bike.jpg

  19. #19
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    I had some frustrations setting up a FD when I first got one of my bikes in. It took a couple times to get it working right. Every time I did it, learned something new. Keep at it, you'll get it pretty soon.


    This I learned about FD, other than they're annoying.
    1. make sure the height of the FD is right. Disconnect the cable, position the FD on the seattube, tighten it down and swing the arm out. You should have about 2-3mm clearance between the arm and the outermost chainring. FYI, when you tighten the bolt back down, the FD will most likely move some. You'll need to move the FD, tighten it back down and then check for clearance. This is an annoying iterative process, but must be done.
    2. alignment. after you get the height right, make sure it's aligned straight with the chainrings. I found this was easiest when I eye-balled it centered over the center chainring.
    3. set lower stop, the derailure (both front and back) has screws with an L and H on it. The L boils down to the "lowest" speed gear setting and H is for the "highest" gear setting. Reason that L matches the small ring on the FD and the large ring on the RD. This is best done with the chain on the large rear cog. Just adjust the FD L stop screw so it is right at the edge of not coming off the smallest chainring and give it an extra half turn.
    4. reattach the cable. make sure your adjustment ferule on the FD shifter is screwed all the way in, and backed out half turn. Attach the cable to the FD so it's tight.
    5. Shift, shift the shfiter to second gear and have the chain on the midle cog on the rear wheel. If the chain doesn't move on the front chainrings, screw out the shifter's ferule to tighten the cable. Once it shifts, give it an extra quarter turn.
    6. set the high stop. Shift it to the largest ring on front and the smallest cog in back. Adjust the H screw in so the chain doesn't go over the largest chainring. This can be tricky because there seems to be a fine line between being able to shift into the 3rd ring and it wanting to go over the edge. Practice makes perfect.
    7. Ride and shift. All the front gears should work fine. If they don't, repeat from step 3. You'll get it pretty quick.

  20. #20
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    this is another reason why I'd suggest newbie riders like myself get bikes shipped and assembled by professional shops.

  21. #21
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    Comes down to budget and the desire to fix your own bike. Do you pay someone else to do stuff or do you learn to do it yourself. Everybody's different, but I'd rather learn to do it than pay someone else.

    Learning curve. Every professional shop employee started out knowing nothing. Only through experience did they learn to do it.

  22. #22
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    That's true as well. the shop I'm going through includes it all in the purchase price. personally I'd want the peace of mind but definitely understand the satisfaction of learning to do it.

  23. #23
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    Is this a part of an LBS "tune-up" service? If so, ask if you can watch and ask questions. Some LBS will do it, some won't. Doesn't hurt to ask though.

  24. #24
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    sorry not familiar with LBS...I'm still a newb lol BUT while researching my first mb both specialized and performance bike here in Columbus offered to have any bike ordered for me. Free shipping to the store, free assembly (didn't inquire as to watching them assemble, definitely will now though), and free tune ups for life. Performance bike also offers a 90 $ back guarantee where if you find the same bike for a lesser price from a retailer they will give you the difference. Seems like a win win

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    ^^^
    I think you're confusing ordering and ordering.

    When you buy a bike retail, yeah, it's all included. But what's being discussed here is people buying bikes from online catalogs. The catalogs generally offer a very attractive package for any given price.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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