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LBS building up a new bike for sale - what is involved

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LBS building up a new bike for sale - what is involved

Old 04-13-22, 03:35 PM
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force10
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LBS building up a new bike for sale - what is involved

I'm curious how much they have to do and/or how much time is involved in preparing something like a mid-tier gravel or road bike from one of the larger manufacturers.

Is it running cables and assembling BB's, headsets, groupset, putting fluid in the brakes etc? Or just air (+sealant) in the tires and handlebar to the stem? Or something in between?
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Old 04-13-22, 03:41 PM
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Wildwood
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Could be a lot or minimal, depends on what you order.
Every major manufacturer offers framesets and complete bikes.
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Old 04-13-22, 04:03 PM
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indyfabz
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‘Round these parts, building up means starting with a bare frame. That takes a lot more work than preparing a complete bike shipped to a shop.

Which are you taking about?
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Old 04-13-22, 04:18 PM
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If it's a complete bike shipped in a box, assembly usually includes:

Truing wheels
Installing front brake caliper (hydros are usually pre-bled)
Installing stem and bar
Installing pedals, seatpost, and saddle
Adjusting brakes, derailleurs
Inflating tires
Checking headset, crankset, etc.
Test ride
Many shops won't set up tubeless wheels until the customer requests it upon purchase.

If it's a frameset, then everything has to be installed: BB, H/S, star nut, crown race, cranks, derailleurs, brakes, seatpost, saddle, bar, stem, wheels, pedals, cassette, cables, etc., etc.
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Old 04-13-22, 04:21 PM
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I bought an unassembled bike 2 years ago - it shipped to me exactly as it was shipped to the shop. Cables were already in place, with fluid in the hydraulic brake lines. The handlebars were neither installed nor wrapped; there was a standard box of bar tape in the package. So the major items were to install the stem and handlebars and wrap the bar tape. There were some minor items: install the wheels (through-axle), set the seat position and seatpost height, check that all the bolts were tight, inflate the tires. Of course there were also some adjustments to make, for example setting cable tension and limit stops on the derailleurs. It took me a while to figure out that the front derailleur cable hadn't been installed quite right (it was usable but didn't shift as cleanly as I'd expected) so eventually I re-did that. Overall, though, I was surprised at how little assembly was required, versus building up a bike starting from a bare frame (which I've also done).
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Old 04-13-22, 04:45 PM
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I’m asking about a complete bike, not a frame set.

I used the term “build up” because often a shop will say that is what they need to do and I am trying to determine the level of effort they are referring to. In other words, whether they are getting a complete bike in pieces or something equivalent to what a consumer buying direct from a manufacturer like Canyon would receive.
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Old 04-13-22, 04:47 PM
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Been working in bike shops since 1981 and have assembled thousands of bicycles of all types. Some are easier than others. Back in the beginning it was a solid hour + to assemble a bike correctly. Wheels always needed tensioning, bearings always needed adjustment, had to route cables for brakes and Der, tape bar, and depending upon brand the brake levers and shift levers needed to be installed.
Today all that changed, thanks to Giant. They introduced assembly in 1/2 the time, and assembly went from an hour + to 30-45 minutes. It is safe to say that an experienced mechanic can adjust the hubs, headset, drive train, and wheel true (check tensioning) in 30-45 minutes. IF the bike has disc brakes another element of adjustment can be encountered, which adds time.
Tubeless will not be done until bike it paid for and requested by the purchaser.
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Old 04-13-22, 05:13 PM
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Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-13-22, 06:24 PM
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force10 - Canyon was mentioned as a comparison. Please keep in mind that their business plan demands 'ease of assembly' to be successful. Rumor mill indicates customer support in USA is better. I would buy from them, even with only basic mechanical knowledge and a couple of tools.

edit: Be certain their wheels don't deliver as 'tubeless complete', meaning seated, inflated, with sealant. I would bet they leave that to the end user. For good reasons. But maybe I'm wrong.

Last edited by Wildwood; 04-13-22 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 04-13-22, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Been working in bike shops since 1981 and have assembled thousands of bicycles of all types. Some are easier than others. Back in the beginning it was a solid hour + to assemble a bike correctly. Wheels always needed tensioning, bearings always needed adjustment, had to route cables for brakes and Der, tape bar, and depending upon brand the brake levers and shift levers needed to be installed.
Today all that changed, thanks to Giant. They introduced assembly in 1/2 the time, and assembly went from an hour + to 30-45 minutes. It is safe to say that an experienced mechanic can adjust the hubs, headset, drive train, and wheel true (check tensioning) in 30-45 minutes. IF the bike has disc brakes another element of adjustment can be encountered, which adds time.
Tubeless will not be done until bike it paid for and requested by the purchaser.
Does that include a break for a latte?

Seriously…Didn’t realize it can take so little time. Seemed to me that getting the wheels right alone would take that long.
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Old 04-13-22, 08:15 PM
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It depends on the manufacturer and how they ship bikes but typically things are semi-assembled but not tuned and usually needing some work in some way or another. I have seen some high end stuff that sometimes needs a bit more work with Di2 or SRAM or something and some that doesn't.

If you are talking about timing overall it takes as much time as it needs if they have a schedule they are going to follow that schedule to be fair to everyone. Typically a good shop will exit tune the bike as well once a customer purchases it to run through it one last time and install any accessories you might want.
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Old 04-13-22, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Does that include a break for a latte?

Seriously…Didn’t realize it can take so little time. Seemed to me that getting the wheels right alone would take that long.
When doing it regularly, building a wheel takes that long, truing a wheel that was spot on till UPS got ahold of it is just minutes worth of work.
My last build took 4 hours, but that required lacing two wheels, and having to deal with 1.8/1.5/1.8 spokes and their desire to twist, mounting some difficult tires, installing hydraulic brakes, wrapping the bar and cutting down the fork. Though it takes longer to walk to the bandsaw and back then it actually takes to cut the fork.
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Old 04-14-22, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Tubeless will not be done until bike it paid for and requested by the purchaser.
Two posters have mentioned this. What does that mean, and what are the reasons for this? If a bike comes equipped with tubeless wheels, does that mean that you'll assemble the bike and put tubes in before you put it on the floor? So, if I buy a bike with tubeless wheels/tires, I have to know that I have to request the bike to be set up as tubeless? Or, other?

Sorry, I'm not really interested in tubeless wheels myself (not necessary for my style of riding and location), but it seems strange that a bike manufacturer would go to the trouble of spec-ing tubeless, and then the customer doesn't get the bike set up as tubeless unless they specifically ask for that to be done.

Obviously, I know very little about how a bike shop is run.
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Old 04-14-22, 07:05 AM
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I worked in a shop owned by an engineer. This was in the late '70s and early '80s and even then we did every assembly according to this sheet. Note the space for the mechanic's name and the shop sticker got initialed. I'm sure things have changed since then but I'd hope every shop does something equally thorough.
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Old 04-14-22, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
I'm curious how much they have to do and/or how much time is involved in preparing something like a mid-tier gravel or road bike from one of the larger manufacturers.

Is it running cables and assembling BB's, headsets, groupset, putting fluid in the brakes etc? Or just air (+sealant) in the tires and handlebar to the stem? Or something in between?
You are correct.
It’s something in between ‘etc’ and everything. Depending on all different makes/models ofc.
Next inane question!
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Old 04-14-22, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
Two posters have mentioned this. What does that mean, and what are the reasons for this? If a bike comes equipped with tubeless wheels, does that mean that you'll assemble the bike and put tubes in before you put it on the floor? So, if I buy a bike with tubeless wheels/tires, I have to know that I have to request the bike to be set up as tubeless? Or, other?

Sorry, I'm not really interested in tubeless wheels myself (not necessary for my style of riding and location), but it seems strange that a bike manufacturer would go to the trouble of spec-ing tubeless, and then the customer doesn't get the bike set up as tubeless unless they specifically ask for that to be done.

Obviously, I know very little about how a bike shop is run.
We don't ever put a bike on the floor w/ the tires set up tubeless, they ALWAYS have tubes in them. It's just easier and cleaner...if a bike that's tubeless loses air pressure then the bead of the tire might un-seat and the sealant will end up on the floor. Every bike gets a pre-sale check so if the customer wants tubeless it only takes a few minutes to set it up at that time. If we're building a bike that's sold we'll do it at the time of the build since the customer will be picking it up within a day or 3.
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Old 04-14-22, 10:16 AM
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In my own experience with this both from working in a shop as well as having bikes (direct) shipped to me.

The bike typically comes in the box with the back wheel on, the cranks installed, brakes installed, der. installed. The handlebar is often turned sideways packed along the top bar with the cables all run. The stem, seat, reflectors, front wheel, pedals will generally be packed in the box, not installed.
At the shop we would ALWAYS take the headset/BB/wheels and check to be sure they had grease in them. You would be surprised, even by the bigger brands how often there isn't any. We always checked the tightening of the "hub" (gears on back, name escapes me). After putting the bike together in its whole form, check and set the brakes, check and set the der., pump tires and take it on a short ride through the parking lot to be sure it is shifting and stopping correctly. In most cases this took about 20-30 mins tops.

The added value for the customer in this was that the shop typically offered some level of "aftercare" in regard to that first der. tune and brake tune it will need after some cable stretch (when applicable), as well as truing the wheels one time. VERY BASIC fit was offered, but if they actually wanted the 'custom fit' level, that was an upcharge. Most of the time we would also add accy. if purchased through us for free. So, put on a rack, computer, lights, fenders and so forth. During this same period, if the cust. wanted better bar tape or a better seat, etc. that would just be part of the buildup.
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Old 04-14-22, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
if I buy a bike with tubeless wheels/tires, I have to know that I have to request the bike to be set up as tubeless?
it seems strange that a bike manufacturer would go to the trouble of spec-ing tubeless, and then the customer doesn't get the bike set up as tubeless unless they specifically ask for that to be done.
Manufacturers rarely ship a bike set up as tubeless -- and certainly not with sealant inside.

Not every customer wants tubeless, or even knows what it is or what it entails.

Setting up wheels for tubeless isn't especially difficult, but it's not something a shop wants to un-do once it's been done to a new bike.

At my shop, if the wheels are tubeless ready, we always offer to set them up upon purchase. It adds a little expense to the final price and a little time to the make-ready process. We often encourage customers to ride a newly purchased bike with tubes for a few days, just to make sure they're happy with it before modifying anything.
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Old 04-15-22, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
I worked in a shop owned by an engineer. This was in the late '70s and early '80s and even then we did every assembly according to this sheet. Note the space for the mechanic's name and the shop sticker got initialed. I'm sure things have changed since then but I'd hope every shop does something equally thorough.
I'm quite certain that is NOT the standard in the current retail race-to-the-bottom environment.
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Old 04-15-22, 05:34 AM
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Thumpism, our shop does have checklist very similar to that. It is used as an accountability checklist, and I can almost do it from memory. Getting older now so I forget the exact order, but never forget a step!
Many of the higher level bikes have cartridge bearing hubs and headsets, and are not taken down and checked for grease. With through axle design it makes hub adjustment considerably easier or a non-entity. Headsets are much the same. Things have been simplified in many ways for the assembly crew, which allows consumer direct companies a leg up as assembly on their end is simplified and accurate.

Thanks goes out to Giant Bicycles for the "Ready to ride in 1/2 the time" initiative as it really has made a difference to retailers and the industry as aa whole.
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Old 04-15-22, 06:53 AM
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As others have said, it really depends on a lot of factors. I can name some brands of bikes that are super easy and quick to to pull out of the box and prep for the floor and others that take much more work.
The last shop I worked in sold mostly high end road bikes, so quite often a bike sold off the floor would come back into the shop after the customer had a fitting to swap out handlebars, cut the steer tube, maybe add sprinter switches on Di2.
If hydraulic brakes with internal handlebar routing was involved, it meant it was not going to be done while the customer waited.
All that to say that the build is not necessarily ready for the customer when it hits the showroom floor.
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Old 04-15-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
Manufacturers rarely ship a bike set up as tubeless -- and certainly not with sealant inside.

Not every customer wants tubeless, or even knows what it is or what it entails.

Setting up wheels for tubeless isn't especially difficult, but it's not something a shop wants to un-do once it's been done to a new bike.

At my shop, if the wheels are tubeless ready, we always offer to set them up upon purchase. It adds a little expense to the final price and a little time to the make-ready process. We often encourage customers to ride a newly purchased bike with tubes for a few days, just to make sure they're happy with it before modifying anything.
Hmm, so taking an example off of Trek's site. Domane SL6, specced with TL wheels and TLR tires. But you're all saying that the shop will put tubes in the TLR tires.. which is worse performing (heavier and perhaps hard installs/removals) IMO than tubes in non-TL tires? Seems odd.
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Old 04-15-22, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Hmm, so taking an example off of Trek's site. Domane SL6, specced with TL wheels and TLR tires. But you're all saying that the shop will put tubes in the TLR tires.. which is worse performing (heavier and perhaps hard installs/removals) IMO than tubes in non-TL tires? Seems odd.
The tires will probably already have tubes inside. Setting up tubeless will involve removing them and installing tubeless valves, perhaps taping the rims as well
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Old 04-15-22, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
But you're all saying that the shop will put tubes in the TLR tires.
I think it's more likely that the bike will be shipped to the shop with tubes installed.

Last edited by Rolla; 04-15-22 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 04-15-22, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
force10 - Canyon was mentioned as a comparison. Please keep in mind that their business plan demands 'ease of assembly' to be successful. Rumor mill indicates customer support in USA is better. I would buy from them, even with only basic mechanical knowledge and a couple of tools.

edit: Be certain their wheels don't deliver as 'tubeless complete', meaning seated, inflated, with sealant. I would bet they leave that to the end user. For good reasons. But maybe I'm wrong.
Both my Canyons were delivered with tubes fitted. So I had to convert them to tubeless myself, which was fine. The rims and tyres were both tubeless-ready and so it was just a case of fitting tubeless valves and adding sealant.

Giant on the other hand actually ship their bikes fully tubeless and the supplying shop adds sealant just before delivery.
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