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Safety Checks On New Bikes

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Safety Checks On New Bikes

Old 10-25-19, 03:34 PM
  #1  
1saxman
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Safety Checks On New Bikes

For inexperienced bike assemblers: those who know what they're doing, don't get yourself into a conniption.

Things tend to loosen up on the first few rides so take some tools with you and stop after a half-hour or so and check high-risk fasteners;
Brakes - make sure of all fasteners before riding and check after the first ride - most cable brakes are going to need adjustment at least after the first ride - on hydraulic brakes you might have to adjust the free play in the lever for maximum effectiveness.
QR skewers - grab the wheel and see if it has side play - you might be surprised how loose a QR will get - check before, during and after the first ride - not a bad idea to check before every ride.
Stem - use the wrench or hex key for it and try to tighten it.
Tilting Stem - especially after you adjusted it, check several times over the first ride and over the next hundred miles or so before riding by using the hex key and trying to tighten it.
Handle bar - check with tools before riding and after the first ride.
Head Set - from the front, grab center of handle bar and front wheel and try to push/pull with force. If you can feel any motion in it, it must be adjusted.
QR seatpost - check for sinking - very subtle but irritating to have it slowly sink on you during a ride and causing your legs to be more fatigued - tighten up.
Pedals - designed to tend to tighten during use, still check after the first ride.
Seat fasteners - here is another adjustment you will make during the ride so make sure to tighten everything up after adjustments.

Obviously there are plenty more things to check, like derailleurs, tire pressure, crank set bearings, etc., but they probably won't get you killed like some of the above could.

I experienced a loose QR on the front wheel on my first ride on a new bike. I have had QR-equipped bikes since 1974 and never had one loosen before. I'm fully aware of how they are set and tightened, but I had to have made a mistake on this one. I guess anyone can goof once, so please double-check everything on that new mail-order bike before hitting the road. BTW, the wheel didn't come out of the fork - it was an easy paved-trail ride with no jumping. Right toward the end, I noticed the front wheel acting a little strange. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded by how it worked loose but after re-tightening its been fine.

Last edited by 1saxman; 12-25-19 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 10-25-19, 05:01 PM
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Bill Kapaun
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So, how long you been wrenching?
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Old 10-25-19, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
Obviously there are plenty more things to check, like derailleurs, tire pressure, crank set bearings, etc., but they probably won't get you killed like some of the above could.
But, they could well kill your bike.

Many things you've mentioned will fall more in the annoyance category than any real danger.
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Old 10-25-19, 06:44 PM
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Pedal threading into the crank arms will self tighten but the pedal bearings will tend to "bed in" and get smoother with initial use. Not sure what/which you are talking about. Andy
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Old 10-25-19, 08:33 PM
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I wouldn’t advise the novice to go indiscriminately tightening stem bolts or really anything the clamps to something else without a torque wrench handy.
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Old 10-25-19, 10:44 PM
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I wouldn't dismiss any of the OPs advice. The cheaper the bike, the more you should take it apart and rebuild it.

I've bought good bikes from good LBSs and got poor advice and not perfect adjustment of things. Like my 2002 Spez hybrid. I asked if the wheel bearings were sealed or not. They weren't and were tight, but it was over 3,000 miles until I took it apart. Same with the Vsixty pedals I got to replace the crap ones that broke after 800 miles or so. Again I asked if they had sealed bearings and they didn't know. WTF. I rode them 4,000 miles until they squeaked, on some century rides yet. Turned out that they had only one side sealed bearing and the other just a greased bushing. I'm still using them after 20,000 miles. They actually have no adjustment, a genius design.

Then again I assumed too much 2 years ago when I fixed up an old CCM with new 1/2" pedals bought at a BMX place. I again asked the owner if these pedals had sealed bearings and were free spinning. He said yes. Right from the start I thought they were stiff and would only turn once when flicked. I also kept wondering why the bike felt slow. So I rode that over 2,000 miles. Then they started loosening, it was bearings grinding away actually. I took them apart to reveal they were loose bearings with a tabbed washer, just like 40 years ago. The grease was still not bad. One side had balls wearing down, almost buggering the race. So I got all new balls and used my fave do all grease. They now spin 5 times when flicked.

So with my new found experience, I would actually advise to take the pedals apart and rebuild them properly.
I think the adjustable stuff is expected to be fit adjusted before riding. A loose stem can smack you into the road instantly. A loose seat is no big deal.
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Old 10-26-19, 04:09 AM
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I must be doing something wrong. I've never had a fastener come loose.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
So, how long you been wrenching?
65 years but hobbyist only. I'm speaking only as a bike owner, not a mechanic. Perhaps I misconstrued the title of the forum - I looked at 'Bike Mechanics' as meaning 'how bikes work and are repaired', but I'm starting to think by the snarky comments that it means 'for bike mechanics only'.
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Old 10-26-19, 05:51 AM
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@1saxman
My group, among other things, prepares new bikes at Christmas for one of our local charity groups. My instructions to the volunteer mechanics is to disassemble any already built bike and reassemble it properly.

Most of the built donated bikes do come from big box type stores and their assemblers do not take any pride or use any grease during assembly or even put the proper pressure in the tires.

We actually ask that donated bikes are bought and delivered in boxes, it takes less time for assembly and they stack up nicer in the shop and take less room.

Each bike gets a check-list card to make sure all points are hit and it is left attached to the bike when delivered

BTW we assembled about 190 bikes last year in 2-1/2 weeks, everything from trikes to 28" and everything in between.
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Old 10-26-19, 09:59 AM
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Grab each brake lever with both hands, dominant hand at the end of the lever, and squeeze as hard (like, until it hurts) as you can a few times to ensure that the anchor bolts are sufficiently tight. A couple of quick squeezes with one hand is insufficient. You might be surprised how hard you can squeeze in a panic stop situation and the last thing you want is a total braking loss due to your brake cable slipping.
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Old 10-26-19, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
... Perhaps I misconstrued the title of the forum - I looked at 'Bike Mechanics' as meaning 'how bikes work and are repaired', but I'm starting to think by the snarky comments that it means 'for bike mechanics only'.
Keep reading and you will find that this forum is mostly for fake questions, non-conversations, ego posts, pontification, chat, pop psych self help, religious rituals, trolls and clickbait spammers. But I hope you find something useful.
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Old 10-26-19, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
65 years but hobbyist only. I'm speaking only as a bike owner, not a mechanic. Perhaps I misconstrued the title of the forum - I looked at 'Bike Mechanics' as meaning 'how bikes work and are repaired', but I'm starting to think by the snarky comments that it means 'for bike mechanics only'.
I haven't seen you contributing to this forum before and then you basically try to tell "everybody how to do it".

There's too many people on this forum that are obviously far more knowledgeable than you.
Maybe if you'd started "simple" and worked your way up, you'd have a better understanding of where your competency lies within the group.

Maybe if you worded something like "preparing a new BSO so it's likely to not kill you AND function at its miserable best", you could have found your "niche group" and the rest of us wouldn't have wasted our time reading your first few lines.
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Old 10-26-19, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
...
Things tend to loosen up on the first few rides ... you might be surprised how loose a QR will get ...
Somebody is doing something wrong. Properly tightened fasteners do not tend to loosen, especially QRs. Some of the other stuff you mentioned are adjustments and should never be randomly tightened.
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Old 10-26-19, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Somebody is doing something wrong. Properly tightened fasteners do not tend to loosen, especially QRs.
The people with problems with quick releases inevitably are improperly using them as wingnuts rather than quick releases.

I tend to check mine every time I get a flat tire (which I try to avoid), so it could be months.

One other note. Be conscientious of where the lever is flipped to avoid accidental snagging. Either straight back, or tucked behind or between a tube.

A side to side wobble of a wheel that indicated a loose QR... means it is really loose Or, perhaps using a wheel that is too narrow for the dropouts. Side to side play is more commonly a cone issue that takes entirely different adjustment skills.
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Old 10-27-19, 09:42 AM
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I know QRs are supposed to be idiot proof, but they just prove there are idiots out there. Even my son (no idiot there) came home with the bike one time saying he couldn't get the seat to stay up, he was using the QR as a wing nut and not using the lever. At least it was the seat post and not the wheel.

And I ride Citibikes on occasion and these have QR seat posts so you can quickly adjust the height but I frequently have to correct the tension on them to make it work. Every now and then I'd get one that just wouldn't work anymore.
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Old 10-27-19, 02:50 PM
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I started this years ago, and many have enhanced it greatly.

Bike Assembly Checklist
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Old 10-27-19, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I haven't seen you contributing to this forum before and then you basically try to tell "everybody how to do it".

There's too many people on this forum that are obviously far more knowledgeable than you.
Maybe if you'd started "simple" and worked your way up, you'd have a better understanding of where your competency lies within the group.

Maybe if you worded something like "preparing a new BSO so it's likely to not kill you AND function at its miserable best", you could have found your "niche group" and the rest of us wouldn't have wasted our time reading your first few lines.
Like I wasted my time reading this? LOL
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Old 10-27-19, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
Like I wasted my time reading this? LOL
To prevent me from doing so in the future from whiners like you- IGNORE LIST!
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Old 10-28-19, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Somebody is doing something wrong. Properly tightened fasteners do not tend to loosen, especially QRs. Some of the other stuff you mentioned are adjustments and should never be randomly tightened.
On bikes with disc brakes, the forces at the dropouts can actually gradually loosen off a QR, esp. on the front. And ESP. esp. if the QRs are a little less tight than they should be... I have never personally had a QR loosen off, but I regularly remove and reinstall my wheels for various reasons, so there are regular de-facto tightness checks.. If the bike is ridden for a longer period of time without attention to the QRs, they might loosen. QR tightness that worked for a road bike in the '70s and '80s may not be sufficient for a disc-equipped MTB in the '10s and '20s.

This is part of why the industry has gone to thru-axles.
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Old 10-28-19, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
On bikes with disc brakes, the forces at the dropouts can actually gradually loosen off a QR, esp. on the front. And ESP. esp. if the QRs are a little less tight than they should be... I have never personally had a QR loosen off, but I regularly remove and reinstall my wheels for various reasons, so there are regular de-facto tightness checks.. If the bike is ridden for a longer period of time without attention to the QRs, they might loosen. QR tightness that worked for a road bike in the '70s and '80s may not be sufficient for a disc-equipped MTB in the '10s and '20s.

This is part of why the industry has gone to thru-axles.
"Properly tightened..."
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Old 12-23-19, 10:51 PM
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I bought a nephew a used Gary Fisher with a quick release seat post. I thought I had the quick release pretty tight, yet the seat still sinks during rides. Is there a correct way to fix this issue? Please.
Thank you,
Don.
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Old 12-24-19, 07:24 AM
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Is the seat post the right diameter? If it is too small even by a fraction of a millimeter it won't stay. Likely though it is the original. I find the seatpost binding bolt to be one of the places on the bike that was under-engineered and slightly problematic. I rented a Specialized Roubaix a month or so ago and it had a different binding system that looked more robust. Not sure how it worked though since I was only interested in getting out on the ride after the guy in the shop adjusted it for me.
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Old 12-24-19, 07:29 AM
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new wheels check the spokes before riding then again after the first 100 miles
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Old 12-28-19, 12:03 PM
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Definitely check your new bike. Had the right pedal come off my new Roll on my third ride. Tore out the first 3 threads on the crank arm. Very disappointing. Pedal threads are ok. My fault or the bike shop? Left side was halfway out. I cleaned the damaged threads and reinstalled. Tightened everything up and it seems to be ok. I do wonder if it egged the end of the crank since it was pried out on the down stroke under pressure.
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Old 12-29-19, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Is the seat post the right diameter? If it is too small even by a fraction of a millimeter it won't stay. Likely though it is the original. I find the seatpost binding bolt to be one of the places on the bike that was under-engineered and slightly problematic. I rented a Specialized Roubaix a month or so ago and it had a different binding system that looked more robust. Not sure how it worked though since I was only interested in getting out on the ride after the guy in the shop adjusted it for me.
thanks. I will check that
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