What is Bicycle Assembly

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Bicycle assembly is a time-consuming and skill-intensive activity.

Many bike manufacturers, especially those who sell their bikes directly to consumers via the Internet, maintain that their bicycles come pre-assembled, and can be ready to ride with a few turns of a metric allen wrench. Unfortunately, in most cases these bikes come from an assembly line in a country on the other side of the world, whose quality control standards and emphasis may be quite different from our own, and who face no culpability if those claims turn out to be untrue. The US “manufacturers” are nothing more than distribution houses who sell the bikes to retail shops, and don’t even open the boxed up “pre-assembled” bikes in their warehouses.

This is why you must insist that your local bike shop treats bike assembly very seriously. At Cosmic Bikes, we don’t consider it a waste of time to take a bike out of the box, and begin by taking it apart to ensure that when it is put back together, it has been done so correctly. We make sure that all of the following points have been addressed. This process makes your bike run better, feel better, and last longer. And it goes a long way toward ensuring your safety.

  1. Out of the box bike is put in a stand, and visually inspected for any flaws, defects or shipping damage. This ensures you won’t end up with a defective bike right out of the box.

  2. Wheels are pre-stressed using our proprietary process, dished (centered on the hub), trued, spokes properly tensioned, and hub bearings adjusted to correct tension and secured.. On the rear wheel, we remove the cassette (cogs), grease the freehub, and reinstall the cassette. Hub bearings adjusted to correct tension and secured. Wheels aligned within the frame, and retention bolts or levers securely tightened. This process ensures that the wheels will stand up to rigorous use, and that rim brakes can be properly adjusted.

  3. Handlebars and stem attached with brake & shifter cables correctly routed, and excess cable and housing trimmed as needed. Brake and shift levers aligned and secured on the handlebar, handlebars and stem squared and securely tightened. This ensures that the handlebar will support you, and control levers won’t give out or cables become tangled under normal operation.

  4. The headset (internal bearing assembly that allows for steering) adjusted to correct tension, and secured to ensure it won't loosen. This ensures dependable and controlled steering.

  5. Crank assembly removed and reinstalled, ensuring they are torqued to the correct tightness. Pedal threads greased, and steel pedal washers added before threading in the pedals to prevent excessive wear on the crank arm. The cranks and pedals support most of your weight, and transfer your power to the wheels while you pedal, and this step ensures they won’t inadvertently come loose.

  6. Brakes adjusted for dependable, noise-free stopping, and secure attachment of brake shoes and cables checked. Cables pre-stressed to prevent excessive cable stretch. This steps ensures you’ll be able to stop confidently.

  7. Shifting mechanisms precisely adjusted. Front and rear derailleurs set up and adjusted so that the gears shift correctly, and the chain does not come off the cogs in the event of overshifting. Derailleur cables pre-stressed. This ensures you can shift intuitively without taking your eyes off the road.

  8. Seat clamp adjusted to correct angle and secured. Seatpost retention bolt or lever securely tightened. This ensures that your point of support is secure.

  9. All component and accessory fasteners and bolts tightened and secured with Loctite as appropriate. Nothing should unexpectedly come loose while you’re riding, causing you to become distracted or lose control while you’re riding.

  10. Tires inflated to correct recommended pressure. This is the best way to prevent the most common cause of flat tires.

After a final check over, the mechanic test-rides the bike, running through all the gears, testing the brakes, etc. Then he or she makes appropriate adjustments. The assmembled bike is then passed to a senior mechanic for a final check.

It's a long list of steps (we actually sneak in a few more, less important ones), but you should care about this for the following reason: after all, a bicycle is not just a random collection of parts. It is a vehicle, whose performance depenends on a series of complex systems working together in harmony. And your safety depends on that.