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bike assembly - help - what's wrong with this photo?(6 posts)

bike assembly - help - what's wrong with this photo?BostonDave
Nov 13, 2003 9:32 PM
OK, at the risk of exposing my utter ignorance and inexperience...

I got my new Motobecane Le Champion from Bikes Direct tonight and put it together. When I lift the front wheel off the ground and set it down, the fork rocks back and forth. The attached photo shows the fork. Am I missing a gasket, lock washer, or something?

I took the handlebars off and found that what holds the fork in place is just a friction ring and O ring, below the stem. It seems to me there ought to be some kind of locking mechanism. There should not be any play in the fork/front wheel when I lift it, should there?

I know, if I'm incompetent, I should take to the LBS and have them bail me out...but this seems so basic. Am I just missing a part? Do I just need to loosen the handlebars and crank on that allen screw in the middle to pull the fork up and make it more snug?

Loose headsetspookyload
Nov 13, 2003 9:45 PM
It looks like your bike has in internal bearing headset, that is why you couldn't see the bearings. They are there. I would take it to your LBS anyways to let them do it if you aren't sure how. Another thing wrong in the picture is the brake pads are too low and it will eat the pads up if you don't get them adjusted right.
get thee to the LBSgtx
Nov 13, 2003 10:11 PM
unless you understand how a threadless headset works you could possibly overtighten something and screw up your stem or steerer and create a potentially dangerous situation. I can't believe these shops sell bikes without any documentation--seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Oh well... While you're at the LBS buy a copy of the Zinn book on bike repair. There is some info here, too:
get thee to the LBSBostonDave
Nov 14, 2003 5:17 AM
Thanks, yes, I think I'll take it down to Community Bike this morning...actually, I fixed the rocking problem this morning by taking off the handlebars and removing a couple of extra spacers that I had added between the stem and fork. After carefully tightening the allen bolt in the cap on top, the fork assembly snugged up nicely. Then I tighted the handlebar assembly. Only problem now, it may be a little too snug; steering does not turn as easily as it should. So, yes, I will get down to the bike shop and hope they can do a check up this morning, address the brake pad positioning, lube and tighten things appropriately.
Good Question...TJeanloz
Nov 14, 2003 7:32 AM
BostonDave, this is in no way a smear directed at you or your mechanical skills, but:

A couple of weeks ago, we had a similar discussion about the merits of having an LBS build mail order bikes, what it should cost, etc. A couple of people (NatC and TomC specifically) pointed out that Bikesdirect bikes come "90% assembled" and that "A mail order bike is pre-built and pre-tuned."

Hmm. This doesn't sound pre-built and pre-tuned to me. Any explanation or defense on this one, or is a potentially ovalized head tube not that big a deal?
Good Question...BostonDave
Nov 14, 2003 8:01 AM
No offense taken...I'm learning. I'm pretty sure there is nothing wrong with the bike; I just dropped it off at the bike shop and we looked it over together. I followed the discussion from a few weeks ago also.

I think what was going on here was just my lack of "tactile" experience. As I took the stem off and put it back on this morning, I was a little more careful about how I tightened things and I noticed that things went together more cleanly. When the bike arrived, there were a couple extra spacer rings that I had added to the top of the fork before putting the stem on, which raised the cap up so high that it did not really seat properly. Also, I probably tightened the stem first, making any effort to tighten that nut on the cap ineffective. I didn't force the issue and so it was loose. This morning, I took out those extra spacer rings and it went together nicely, maybe a little too tight, so I loosened it and it was smooth and solid after that.

I think the average person here, who has taken a bike apart before, would have no problems with this bike. Like many mechanical things, you might "know" what to do, but until you get the "feel" for what is right, it's not that easy. It's a lot easier if you have somebody working with you. I'm always mechanically conservative--for example installing memory chips in a PC or popping the interchangeable lenses out of sunglasses--at first, you think you are going to break the thing and you are tentative and it does seem like it's going to break. But once you do it right, you go back and it is easy.

My big concern with this bike was that the wheels would be all out of true or the deraileurs would be all messed up. That was not the case. Again, little tweaks here and there, cables a little long and dangling in the way of things, etc. but apart from my fumbling with the fork, I think the bike was ready to ride. We'll see if the bike shop finds anything, but I would say I'm very satisfied with how the bike arrived so far and $35 to check it over is well worth it.