If you purchase a bike from your local bike shop, they will have it all put together for you when you are ready to pick it up. But what if you purchase a bike that is sold directly to the consumer, such as Canyon, State, OBED, or Diamondback? They’ll ship your new bike to you packed neatly in a box, but it will need to be put together. Are you ready for the challenge?
Is bike assembly hard, and can you do it yourself?
Bike assembly, in most cases, is not hard, and you can do it yourself. Of course, you’ll need a few tools, such as a torque wrench and a pedal wrench. But as long as you can follow directions, you’ll be able to put your new bike together safely.
In this article, we’ll talk about whether or not you can put your new bike together yourself. We’ll also take a quick look at how long it takes to assemble your bike, the tools you need, and how much it costs if you need your local bike shop to put your bike together for you. First, though, we’ll discuss if you can assemble your bike yourself.
Can You Assemble a Bike Yourself?
If you can assemble a piece of Ikea furniture, you can build a bike. Most bikes are shipped already 80 to 90 percent put together. You will only need to assemble a few key parts of your bicycle, but the hard stuff is already done.
In most cases, after you remove the bike from the box, you’ll only need to attach the handlebars, saddle and seat post, wheels, and pedals. Everything else will come pre-assembled and ready to go. You won’t need to attach gears, brakes, or even a bike chain. It can even be an enjoyable experience where you get to know your bike before you ride it.
Assembling your bike yourself should be rather easy and quick process. It doesn’t take much time at all.
How Long Does it Take to Assemble a Bike?
Most bikes can be assembled in under an hour. For example, Canyon states that their Endurace model can be unboxed and put together in a half-hour or less. But, of course, if you are new to assembling bikes, you’ll want to go slow and take your time, making sure to read the directions carefully.
Don’t try to assemble your bike yourself if you are in a rush. Give yourself extra time so that you can put everything together correctly. And always make sure you have everything you need on hand to assemble your bike.
What Do You Need to Assemble a Bike?
You only need a few tools to assemble most bikes. You’ll need:
- Torque wrench
- Pedal wrench
- Tire pump
- Scissors or knife for cutting the packaging
Canyon includes a simple torque wrench and pedal wrench with its carbon bikes since their sales method is to ship directly to the consumer. You can use their tools or your own if you have a set of quality bike tools.
In some cases, you may want to also have:
- Bike grease
- Carbon paste
- Allen or hex wrenches
- A bike stand
How to Assemble a Bike
1. Unbox the bike.
You’ll want to remove the bike from the box carefully. Watch out for any sharp staples that could cut you or scrape up the finish on the bike. Then, very carefully remove the packaging. Make sure you have all of the bike pieces before you recycle or throw away your packaging. You might want to just throw all the packaging back into the box as you work so that you can dig through it easily if you find you are missing a piece.
2. Attach the seat post.
In most cases, the saddle will already be attached to the seat post. If your bike is carbon, you may want to put a little carbon paste on the seat post before putting it together. Slide the post into the clamp to the approximate height. Tighten the clamp with the correct amount of torque, which should be listed in the owner’s manual or even on the bike itself.
3. Attach the bars.
Generally, you’ll find the handlebars partially attached to the bike by its cables. If your bike has an integrated cockpit, you’ll just need to slide the stem into the steerer tube and tighten it to the correct amount.
4. Attach the wheels.
Slide the front wheel into the front fork, making sure the wheel is facing the right direction and that you line up the brakes correctly. If your bike has disc brakes, carefully slide the disc into the brake slot. If your bike has rim brakes, you’ll need to make sure the brakes are in the correct position, as well. Next, slide the skewer or through-axle through the wheel and tighten as required.
5. Attach the pedals.
If the pedals aren’t already attached, you can attach them now with your pedal wrench. Most bikes come with flat pedals, but you may want to switch them out for clipless. It is essential that you attach the pedals to the correct side of the bike.
6. Pump up the tires.
Check the side of the tire for the correct air pressure, and then pump up the tires accordingly.
7. Do a bike check before you take off on a ride.
Make sure you check the brakes, gears, tire pressure, and headset before heading out on a ride with your new bike. You’ll also want to fine tune your seat height, install water bottle cages, and attach a saddle bag with extra tubes and tools, if you have them.
What If You Have Concerns About Your Bike Build?
If you have any concerns about your work, you can also take your new bike to the bike shop for a safety check. They can look over your bike and check your work for a small fee. They can make any extra adjustments if needed, as well.
Canyon creates videos for how to specifically assemble their bikes, such as the video on assembling the Endurace, here. However, Calvin from Park Tool has an excellent video on assembling other types of bikes here. It’s a good idea to watch the video a few times before assembling your bike, and even play it while you are working on your bike.
You may even decide, after watching the video, that assembling the bike is not something you feel comfortable doing. If that’s true for you, you can check with your local bike shop about having them assemble your bike. Keep in mind, they will have to charge a fee.
How Much Does Bike Assembly Cost?
When I purchased my Salsa Journeyman through my local bike shop, the cost of putting the bike together was included in the bike’s price. When I picked up my bike, they adjusted the seat and made sure everything was just right. However, some bike shops will charge a fee for putting together a bike, especially if it is a bike that you did not order from their shop.
My local bike shop charges a standard $85 fee for a basic bike build from a box. If you aren’t confident with your skills, this might be a better choice for you. They’ll do a safety check, too, to make sure the bike is in good working order. Most bike shops will guarantee their work, so if something is not right with the bike’s assembly, you just take it back to the shop for an adjustment.
On the other hand, if you have the bike shop build a bike from the frame up, the cost will be more. They’ll need to charge $75 per hour plus materials. Bike builds like this could work out to be a significant investment, but it might be necessary if you are looking for a custom bike.
Professional bike assembly is worthwhile if you aren’t mechanically inclined. However, if you are short on time, nervous about being skilled enough to assemble your bike, or you just don’t like it, then have your bike shipped to your local bike shop, and they can quickly – and relatively inexpensively – build it for you.