Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

How long does it take a bike shop mechanic to assemble a bike?

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

How long does it take a bike shop mechanic to assemble a bike?

Old 06-26-18, 03:31 PM
  #51  
musicmaster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 267
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Too large a generalization. I've purchased many bikes online, from BD, Nashbar, Performance, and Ibex. Road bikes, mountain bikes, single speeds. They all come in about the same approximate state of assembly, and I've never had one that took longer than 2 hours to have reasonably rideable. I've ridden bikes that were setup and serviced by a LBS, and then turned around and ridden similar BD bikes in the same day. My experience has been different from yours, and I view BD as a very viable alternative.
Your list of things YOU do on a bike is great, but not every bike needs all that. The last few I've assembled didn't even need derailler adjustments.
I agree. I've ordered a number of bikes online and I can get most together and fully tuned up within an hour. That includes some dis-assembly to grease things. It's really not rocket science. My most complex one was my tri bike, mostly because I had never installed bar end shifters before, so it took awhile to get it set up right.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Good point, @billymc. I saw an interesting video by a guy who rides 40,000 miles a year, every year. He said that he rides a bikesdirect aluminum bike. He says it's an excellent and durable bike, but he said it's necessary to replace a few things on it immediately. The most expensive thing was the crankset. Jeez, that's an expensive component. I realize he is optimizing cost, and his labor isn't worth much to me, but it's pretty unusual to spend a substantial amount of money on a new bike and replace the crankset. It works for him, but he is in a very special situation. As I alluded to, the value of labor varies from person to person. My rule of thumb is to value my labor at one third what I get paid at my job, since I spend a third of my time there. I don't get paid overtime, so doing things I don't get paid for don't cause me to lose income.
You don't have to replace the crankset though. I'm 100% sure what came with the bike was appropriate for the price level and would have worked just fine. I bought a $300 Tourney road bike (well, I got it on clearance for $150) and it came with a crap steel 50/40 crank. Is it heavy and flex a bit compared to my 105 one? You bet. But the whole bike was built for a $300 price level. And for that $300, I can't complain. The only thing I've seen that's pretty common among online bikes is brakepads that are trash. But that's a $10-15 fix, at most.

You need to look at the price level of the bike and who is buying it. Someone who is going to notice crank or wheel flex isn't probably buying a sub $500 road bike to race on. And even name brands use lower quality things, especially cranks. I replaced my Tri bike's crank a week after getting it -- only because I wanted a 105 crank to share my power meter with my road bike. Otherwise the basic FSA one did fine during my first few rides.

As for the "value of labor" - each to their own. If it takes me 3 hours on a Tuesday night... then so be it. My opportunity cost is watching TV, so my value either $0.00 or say -$80.00 (to have the LBS do it)
musicmaster is offline  
Old 06-26-18, 03:56 PM
  #52  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,154

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 419 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5366 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 65 Posts
@musicmaster, I think we agree. That guy who replaces the crankset puts in a lot of miles, and I think he said he found that crankset to be crappy, but that's for him. I think the stock crank fails on him. As you said, most people are fine with low end stuff. And crank flex? I'm not big or heavy enough to notice it even with cheap cranks. They all feel the same to me.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-26-18, 04:02 PM
  #53  
LanghamP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The nice thing about any bicycle is one can work on them while on the couch in front of the TV.

I've rebuilt my bike (after a crash) and put together several BikesDirect bikes, and I estimate it takes between 4-10 hours of slow work. When done, everything works so nicely.

In contrast, if I work fast then it always seems I mess up some minor yet significant part, and then have to take apart then put that thing together again.

I think the biggest cost is the time required to make sure the parts you order are the correct parts, and then waiting as the item comes.

The labor of doing it yourself is pretty minor; bikes just aren't that complex.
LanghamP is offline  
Old 06-26-18, 04:08 PM
  #54  
Trakhak
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 1,708
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 366 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 11 Posts
Some of us remember picking up Trek in the late '70s, when the frame came in one box in the wheels and other components in another box. Just about the time they started doing prebuilds, our shop picked up Cannondale: frame in one box, wheels and parts (including fork) in another box. Kept us busy during the winter, anyway.
Trakhak is offline  
Old 06-26-18, 05:12 PM
  #55  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,274
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 644 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 19 Posts
No way on this green earth in the shop where I now work part-time would this ever pass muster. Wheel bearings checked for grease and adjusted, spokes tensioned with tensiometer and trued. Headset the same as hubs. BB is sealed, no adjustments available. All fasteners torqued to spec. All rack and bottle mount screws greased and installed. This applies across the board to all models. In the shop I ran a 20 minute assembly would never have happened other than a single speed foot brake kids bike, and even then they required 30 minutes. Gotta have some pride and care for the product you sell. Sakes alive!

I also ran a company that assembled bikes for Sam's Club. We were able to assemble bikes anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Adjustments? Had to heavily rely upon what it came with as the stores only allotted us a certain amount of time to get it done, packed up and out of their way.

A $500 bike gets the same level of quality attention for assembly and tune up as a $5000 bike. If not, why bother showing up for work?
TiHabanero is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 06:12 AM
  #56  
billyymc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,148
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@musicmaster, I think we agree. That guy who replaces the crankset puts in a lot of miles, and I think he said he found that crankset to be crappy, but that's for him. I think the stock crank fails on him. As you said, most people are fine with low end stuff. And crank flex? I'm not big or heavy enough to notice it even with cheap cranks. They all feel the same to me.
Tom - I think a lot of people, even experienced people, fall into the trap of believing something just because they hear it so much. So you hear over and over that FSA cranks are crap, and you begin to believe it. Many BD bikes come with FSA cranksets. So did my Specialized Tricross Comp. I put about 18k miles on that crankset, replacing the middle ring once (triple) because I used it the most. Then I replaced it with a 105 Triple, mostly just because (although I think the big chainring was getting a bit worn at that point). I doubt the stock crank failed on your friend. He probably just didn't like it. No big deal...a decent mid-range crank isn't that expensive.

Crank flex? Again probably primarily mythical. Think about the length of the crank arm and what's happening when you press down on it. What's happening is you're transferring energy through the path of least resistance - i.e.- you're turning the crank. The amount of force it would take to actually flex a 175mm long crank arm for even a millisecond would have to be immense. Are there any scientific objective studies on this? Just curious.

Anyway - direct to consumer sales serve a purpose and work well for some people. They can be a very good deal, or a not so great deal, or no deal at all. Personally I think the Nashbar bikes are starting to be better value in that space than "equivalent" BD bikes. And to finally circle back to the original question - the ones I've seen all come in about the same state of assembly and take a couple hours to unpack, finish assembly, make adjustments, check a few points for proper lubrication, and cleanup all the packing material.
billyymc is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 07:20 AM
  #57  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,154

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 419 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5366 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 65 Posts
@billyymc, I disagree partially. First of all, it's not my friend. It's some guy whose video I saw and which I can't find again. He didn't say the crank flexes too much. He said it's prone to failure. That's much more serious than flexion. I don't doubt some can feel cranks flex. Maybe I can, if I just knew what I was looking for. I've known strong or heavy riders who can verifiably feel all sorts of things. I trust them. I say all that while agreeing that word of mouth influences our expectations and convinces us that we feel things we can't find in a blind test.

I also agree that direct sales serve a good purpose. Heck, I've nearly forgotten how to shop for some things because I now get tons of stuff online. Judging by all the cardboard boxes coming into my apartment building, lots of people buy the way I do, too. The problem that is particular to bikes is that while assembly is not rocket science, the skill to do it well isn't in most people's hands. I worked as a bike shop mechanic, and there is a tendency for people not to value that kind of labor and expertise. It doesn't require a college degree to acquire, but the level of skill isn't apparent, which also means the lack of the skill isn't apparent. The result is that the consumer doesn't understand the value of the product accurately. A Nashbar bike is a great thing for me more than for other people, so how could I dismiss it entirely? But I generally don't recommend them, especially if I expect the buyer won't put it together properly OR pay to have a mechanic do the job right.

Long ago, I started a checklist for bike assembly. Other people have revised it and improved it beyond recognition from the first revision. It's a pretty extensive list, and you may argue that some steps are unnecessary, but even if you count up the things you agree with, it's a considerably long list. Joe Average won't do all these things on his own, or if he does, he may do a few things wrong. Here is the checklist, and feel free to revise it. It seems clear that it is used by professional mechanics now.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 08:05 AM
  #58  
billyymc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,148
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@billyymc, I disagree partially. First of all, it's not my friend. It's some guy whose video I saw and which I can't find again. He didn't say the crank flexes too much. He said it's prone to failure. That's much more serious than flexion. I don't doubt some can feel cranks flex. Maybe I can, if I just knew what I was looking for. I've known strong or heavy riders who can verifiably feel all sorts of things. I trust them. I say all that while agreeing that word of mouth influences our expectations and convinces us that we feel things we can't find in a blind test.
If the guy didn't test multiple versions of the crank in an objective and scientific manner, where's the proof they're prone to failure? It's anecdotal, and probably not accurate. Same thing with flex...show me the science or I'm simply not going to believe it until I feel it myself. I bet nobody is actually flexing a crank arm. There may be other things happening in a drivetrain that FEEL like flexing, but when you look at the specs of a crank arm flexing it is highly unlikely.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The problem that is particular to bikes is that while assembly is not rocket science, the skill to do it well isn't in most people's hands.
Agree Tom. I also do not recommend online bikes unless I know a person's mechanical aptitude or I plan to assemble it for them.

Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Long ago, I started a checklist for bike assembly. Other people have revised it and improved it beyond recognition from the first revision. It's a pretty extensive list, and you may argue that some steps are unnecessary, but even if you count up the things you agree with, it's a considerably long list. Joe Average won't do all these things on his own, or if he does, he may do a few things wrong. Here is the checklist, and feel free to revise it. It seems clear that it is used by professional mechanics now.
Tom - I'm sure your list is thorough and well thought out. Will look at it later and keep it for reference. My guess is there is a huge range of what shops do to assemble bikes - probably even within the same shop. I doubt my local shop puts the same assembly time into a $600 bike as they do into a $6,000 bike. They know the $600 bike will probably not be ridden more than a few hundred miles before it's hung in the garage to be sold on Craigslist in a few years, so why would they?
billyymc is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 08:14 AM
  #59  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,154

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 419 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5366 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 65 Posts
The guy who rides 40,000 miles a year doesn't know everything, but he has more data than most people, and if a few of the same cranks failed on him, I listen to him. Now, I don't know which crank he was speaking of, and there isn't a crank I'm particularly suspicious of. Experience does count for something. You ask for proof, and I think 40,000 miles a year, year after year, is it. I'm sure he wears things out which most couldn't dream of wearing out. If you don't trust him, whom do you trust, and why? Bike shops have a broader range of samples than any single person, but that's imperfect, too.

Having worked in several shops, I can verify that procedures vary as you describe. I worked in one where you could argue they went overboard. On every bike, even the low end ones, we were required to remove the tires, true the wheel and stress relieve the spokes, readjust the preload on every bearing (except pedals), remove the grease from crank spindles, and I don't remember what else. When I moved to other shops and I brought those practices with me, they owners told me not to waste so much time. But even most of the shops who do what I would consider to be insufficient preparation do more than Joe Average does, which is why I usually tell people not to mail order bikes and assemble them themselves.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 08:37 AM
  #60  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,271

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3590 Post(s)
Liked 14 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
The guy who rides 40,000 miles a year doesn't know everything, but he has more data than most people
40k a year

That is over a century a day, every single day. That is on the order of double most figures I see have pro cyclists riding a year. Is this guy just rich with no work and no other hobbies???
jefnvk is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 09:48 AM
  #61  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,154

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 419 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5366 Post(s)
Liked 83 Times in 65 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
40k a year

That is over a century a day, every single day. That is on the order of double most figures I see have pro cyclists riding a year. Is this guy just rich with no work and no other hobbies???
I think he makes a living giving talks about how he rides all the time, giving talks about he rides all the time. Nice work, if you can get it.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 10:14 AM
  #62  
ggdavisrides
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Mountain View, CA
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The cost of the bike is in direct proportion to

The cost of the bike is in direct proportion to cost of the bike. A $400 bike takes about and hour to build, but a $6,000 road bike 3 to 4 hours. Next level is longer as hydraulic brakes electronic shifting internal wires and more can make a bike build last as long as 8 hours.
Greg Davis
ggdavisrides is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 10:24 AM
  #63  
billyymc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1,148
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
But even most of the shops who do what I would consider to be insufficient preparation do more than Joe Average does, which is why I usually tell people not to mail order bikes and assemble them themselves.
Agree with you on that, and I tell people the same. Otherwise I feel responsible to help them assemble and go over the bike.
billyymc is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 10:44 AM
  #64  
Dan Burkhart 
Senior member
 
Dan Burkhart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oakville Ontario
Posts: 7,285
Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 537 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by ggdavisrides View Post
The cost of the bike is in direct proportion to cost of the bike. A $400 bike takes about and hour to build, but a $6,000 road bike 3 to 4 hours. Next level is longer as hydraulic brakes electronic shifting internal wires and more can make a bike build last as long as 8 hours.
Greg Davis
All true. The last shop I worked in was a high end road shop, and new bike assemblies often included custom upgrades like swapping out the handlebar, installing sprinter switches on Di2 equipped bikes and other modifications. If the bike had hydraulic brakes, and the new bar required routing the hoses internally, that build was not going to be completed in an hour.
Dan Burkhart is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 10:51 AM
  #65  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 215 Times in 179 Posts
what you prefer fast or carefully done, for your safety?
fietsbob is online now  
Old 06-27-18, 05:13 PM
  #66  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,274
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 644 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 19 Posts
Di2 wire routing and cable routing through the frame can take copious amounts of time on certain bikes. TT bikes come right to mind for me. Remember Shimano Flight Deck? We all thought that was a PIA, but it ain't nothing compared to some of the newer stuff on the newer frames. Hydraulic brakes always need to be bled. Have not seen one out of a box that didn't need it.
Back in the day when we assembled top tier bikes the pedal bearings were always adjusted by the wrench. Just the way it was. Today, top level pedals rarely need adjustment out of the box. Look still uses ball and cone, but do such a good job in assembly and design they seem to last forever without any service.
TiHabanero is offline  
Old 06-27-18, 06:34 PM
  #67  
MukaBuka
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For me it lasted from three to seven days (including the weekend in the second case)
MukaBuka is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
rick kimura
Electric Bikes
0
06-25-15 04:06 AM
MK313
Commuting
0
05-22-12 05:39 PM
paperbackbiker
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
0
12-30-11 11:01 AM
El Duderino X
Commuting
1
05-16-11 01:22 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.