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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 09-13-10, 11:56 AM   #1
cappuccino911
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Assembling a bikes direct bike

Just took the plunge and bought the lightning dlx for my girlfriend. It will be her first road bike, we have rented a hybrid from the bike shop, she has borrowed her moms comfort bike and most recently she borrowed a friends Felt F80 that was a little bit big for her. the consensus is that she likes the speed and quickness of the road bike but really likes the flat bars for feeling at home with shifting and steering the bike so i'm going to swap her drop bars for my flat bar shifters.

My only real concern with doing the assembly on this bike are the wheels. I've heard some mixed reviews regarding how true these wheels are out of the box and I don't know a ton about wheels. She only weighs about 135 lbs so she won't be stressing them hard. Is it best for her to put some miles on them first and see if they come out of wack, or should we take them to a bike shop right off the back to have them check them out?
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Old 09-13-10, 12:09 PM   #2
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I'd redo the whole assembly of the bike, hubs are too tight , greasing miserly, all bolts put in dry. etc,etc.

You are doing the setup that the mechanics at the bike shop do.
so you have to do their job yourself.
wheel truing and spoke tensioning is part of that job..
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Old 09-13-10, 12:09 PM   #3
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I just assembled a BD bike for my girlfriend three weeks ago. The wheels needed a tiny bit of truing, so I made some small adjustments. After a week of riding, they needed to be trued again. But since then, they've been perfect. Some might argue that if I had had an LBS do a proper tensioning and truing the first time, that the second truing may not have been necessary.

EDIT: If you're interested, I started a discussion about assembling a BD bike a few weeks ago. It ended with the assembly checklist that I used. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...gs-need-grease

Last edited by daveizdum; 09-13-10 at 12:12 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 09-13-10, 12:11 PM   #4
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I would see if the hubs spin free and if the wheels look pretty true. Give the spokes a quick squeeze to make sure they all seem to have reasonable tension. If yes to those questions, have her ride a 100 miles or so and then take them to a bike shop to be checked.

I know that this summer when a friend bought a BD road bike I heard a bit of spoke 'pinging' on that first ride --
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Old 09-13-10, 12:11 PM   #5
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I've assembled two BD bikes. The wheels have always been out of true out of the box. My second build, the wheels were severely out of true and required a lot of TLC. Chances are, you'll have to true them or take them in to be trued before the bike can be used safely, since out of true wheels would prohibit adequate brake adjustment (if severe enough). The wheels themselves will also fail prematurely if ridden without enough tension.

The rest of the assembly process was not difficult however. I did not find the need to re-grease any particular component, and I did check to make sure. Headset needed to be adjusted as it came in way too loose and I was not happy with how the cable housing ends were finished (sluggish brake pull due to pig tailing). If you are good with your hands and willing to learn some new skills it really shouldn't be a large hurdle.
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Old 09-13-10, 12:20 PM   #6
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i'm aware of some of the deficiencies with grease and stuff so I kinda planned on doing that. I've never tensioned wheels myself before but am willing to learn. Since we are saving so much on the bike, Ill probably pay my guys at the lbs to do it. They are good at letting me sit in on repairs and learn from them as well. if the wheels look remotely out of wack out of the box I'll take it to them right away.
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Old 09-13-10, 12:20 PM   #7
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Assembling the bike shouldn't be too far outside of your current skill set, and as long as you're willing to take it to the LBS if you get in over your head, you should be fine.

You also mentioned swapping the handlebars from the stock drops to a set of flats. That's a whole additional set of complications right there. There are lots of potential incomparability issues that can take a bit of knowledge to resolve. I'd advocate putting it off until you have acquired some more skills; who knows, your girlfriend might even take a liking to the drop bars.
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Old 09-13-10, 01:38 PM   #8
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I took my BD Windsor Tourist to the LBS solely for wheel truing. They said it wasn't "badly" out of true, but that I hadn't wasted my money. 750 miles later, no problems. It was worth the $20 to me.
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Old 09-13-10, 04:42 PM   #9
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wheels are machine built and must be gone over thoroughly if you want them to last. tension and trueness must be checked. everything on the bike needs adjustment. everything. wheels, headset, crank install, brakes, derailleurs,
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Old 09-13-10, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
Assembling the bike shouldn't be too far outside of your current skill set, and as long as you're willing to take it to the LBS if you get in over your head, you should be fine.

You also mentioned swapping the handlebars from the stock drops to a set of flats. That's a whole additional set of complications right there. There are lots of potential incomparability issues that can take a bit of knowledge to resolve. I'd advocate putting it off until you have acquired some more skills; who knows, your girlfriend might even take a liking to the drop bars.
not sure where the notion that I have zero skills came from but totally not the case, I've just never tinkered with wheels. Regarding the shifting, it's no problem. The new bike is a 24 speed. the flat bar shifters are coming off my rapid which is also 8 speed. They are the r221 shifters that require the special front deraileur so all I really have to do is get an adaptor because the FD is a braze on. The flat bar shifters require less cable housing than the brifters so i wont even have to replace them. Should be an easy swap.

I was hoping she would take a liking to the drop bars, but its not worth it now. If she really gets into it and decides she wants to go faster, I can just put them back on, but since we live in nyc, being mentally comfortable that she is in control of the bike when riding through the streets is paramount.
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Old 09-13-10, 10:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
not sure where the notion that I have zero skills came from but totally not the case, I've just never tinkered with wheels. Regarding the shifting, it's no problem. The new bike is a 24 speed. the flat bar shifters are coming off my rapid which is also 8 speed. They are the r221 shifters that require the special front deraileur so all I really have to do is get an adaptor because the FD is a braze on. The flat bar shifters require less cable housing than the brifters so i wont even have to replace them. Should be an easy swap.

I was hoping she would take a liking to the drop bars, but its not worth it now. If she really gets into it and decides she wants to go faster, I can just put them back on, but since we live in nyc, being mentally comfortable that she is in control of the bike when riding through the streets is paramount.
Just be aware that the stem might not be the correct diameter for the flat bars - double check before installing them. If the new bars are a smaller diameter, you can use a shim to allow the bars to be used safely.
Congrats to your GF on her new ride!
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