How to Assemble an Adult Hybrid Bicycle

This checklist contains important information regarding bicycle assembly and safety. It is intended to be a convenient general reference only. It is not intended to be a complete or comprehensive manual covering all aspects of bicycle assembly or safety.

 

Tools you will need:

  • 6 mm hex wrench
  • Regular wrench
  • Grease
  • 5 mm hex wrench
  • 5 and 5 mm Allen wrenches
  • Phillips head screwdriver

Step 1: Attach Quill Stem

You'll need a six-millimeter hex wrench to complete this step. Make sure the fork is facing forward.

Loosen the stem binder bolt of your hybrid bike and insert the wedge-shaped part at the bottom of the stem, far enough into the steer tube that the minimum insertion mark can't be seen. Tighten the stem binder bolt, keeping the handlebars aligned with the front fork. Adjust the height as needed for alignment, rider fit, and comfort.

Step 2: Attach the Nutted Front Wheel

You'll need a wrench to complete this step. Loosen the wheel axle nuts enough for the fork ends to fit. 

Seat the axle completely in the dropout slots with the washers on the outside.

If the washers have hooks or steps, place them inside the small holes on the fork dropouts.

Center the wheel and tighten each axle nut gradually and evenly by switching sides until both are secure.

If the wheel is not centered, loosen the axle nut on the side with the smaller gap. Shift and hold the wheel on center and retighten the nut.

Step 2A: Attach Front Wheel with a Quick Release Clamp

Some thread patterns are directional and need to face a certain way. Make certain the front wheel is oriented correctly.

Locate the quick release skewer and remove the adjustment nut and outer spring and washer. With the quick-release lever on the opposite side of the chain, slide the skewer through the front wheel axle.

Replace the outer spring with its smaller end toward the wheel and loosely thread the adjusting nut onto the skewer. Seat the axle completely in the forked dropout slots, keeping the wheel as centered as possible.

Hold the quick release lever in an open position and hand-tighten the adjusting nut until some resistance is felt. The correct tension is achieved when the lever requires a firm hand to close but is not forced. With the handle closed, spin the wheel to be certain that it's centered and properly seated.

Step 3: Attach Bolted Seat

You'll need a 14-millimeter wrench to complete this step. Apply grease to the outside of the seat post. 

Loosen the seat clamp bolt and insert the seat post far enough into the seat tube that the minimum insertion mark can't be seen.

Align the seat with the top tube of the frame and tighten the bolt until the clamp holds the seat post firmly in position. Adjust the seat height as needed for alignment, rider fit, and comfort.

Step 3A: Attach Seat with Quick Release Clamp

Apply grease to the outside of the seat post. 

Unlock the quick-release lever and insert the seat post far enough into the seat tube that the minimum insertion mark can't be seen.

Align the seat with the top tube of the frame and tighten the adjusting nut until the lever, when closed, holds the seat post firmly in position. Adjust the seat height as needed for alignment, rider fit, and comfort.

Step 4: Attach the Pedals

Pedals are directional and conveniently marked with an R for right and L for left. 

The R pedal should be matched to the right-hand crank arm on the chain side of the bike and is threaded in a clockwise direction.

The L pedal should be matched to the left side crank arm and is threaded in a counterclockwise direction. Start threading each pedal by hand in the correct direction on the appropriate crank arm. Then, wrench tighten.

Step 5: Adjust Linear Pull Brake Cable Tension

You'll need a five-millimeter hex wrench to complete this step. Check the brake cable is seated in the brake lever. Squeeze the brake arms together with one hand until the pads touch the rim.

With the other hand, hold the cable and insert the end of the noodle into the carrier. Loosen the cable anchor bolt so the cable moves freely.

Pull the cable through the anchor until the left brake arm sits about 1/8th of an inch from the rim. While still holding the cable, move the right brake arm until it reaches the same distance from the rim and tighten the cable anchor bolt completely.

Check that brakes are centered to the wheel. If the gaps between the pads and the rim are not the same on both sides, loosen the anchor belt and adjust until even.

Step 6: Adjust Linear Pull Brake Arm Tension

You'll need a Phillips head screwdriver to complete this step.

Look at the brakes over the tire to see if they are centered. If the gaps between the brake pads and the wheel are not even on both sides, this will need to be adjusted. Make sure the wheel is centered.

Squeeze the brake levers to test operation, then start with the arm closest to the rim or the arm that is moving improperly.

In small increments of one quarter to one-half turns, rotate the brake arm screws in the appropriate direction to move them in or out. Clockwise rotation moves the pad away from the rim, while counterclockwise moves the pad closer.

When the pads are at a 1/8th inch gap on both sides, check the centering by squeezing the brakes. If the brake arms don't move evenly, they may need to be fine-tuned through a series of adjustments.

Step 7: Adjust Brake Pads

You will need a 5-millimeter hex wrench to complete this step.

Brake pads should be evenly centered on the rim. To adjust, loosen the bolt and reposition the pad. Retighten the bolt.

Step 7A: Adjust Disc Brake

You'll need 2.5 and 5 millimeter Allen wrenches to complete this step. 

Rotate the wheel and look at the gap between the rim and fork.

If the gap is uneven, loosen the axle nuts and adjust until the wheel and disc rotor are centered.

Loosen the two centering adjustment screws and adjust the caliper body until the gap between the disc rotor and the brake pads is approximately 1/32nd of an inch on each side.

Using a 1/32nd inch spacer gauge between the outside brake pad and the disc rotor and while slightly pushing the brake caliper towards the wheel, tighten the centering screws.

With a 1/32nd inch spacer gauge between the disc rotor and the brake pad, loosen the set screw.

Turn the brake pad adjustment screw clockwise to move the pad toward the disc rotor and counterclockwise to move the pad away from the disc rotor.

Adjust the pad until the gap between the disc rotor and the brake pads is 1/32nd inch on each side.

Retighten the set screw.

If the brake cable wire is not attached to the brake arm, then loosen the cable anchor bolt until you can see a gap large enough for the brake cable wire.

Pull on the brake cable wire and place it under the cable anchor bolt.

Tighten the cable anchor bolt.

Check that the brake cable tension allows the lever to travel about one-third of the distance to the handlebar before the brake pads contact the disc rotor.

If the cable has stretched or slipped, you'll need to make some adjustments. Slightly loosen the jam nut.

Turn the adjustment barrel clockwise to loosen the brake cable tension or counterclockwise to tighten.

Recheck the brake cable tension and tighten the jam nut. Refer to the installation guide for ways to double-check that the brake is correctly adjusted.

Step 8: Adjust the Rear Derailleur

You'll need a hex wrench and a Phillips head screwdriver to complete this step.

With the rear gear shifter set to the largest number, disconnect the rear derailleur cable from the anchor bolt and place the chain on the smallest sprocket.

Adjust the high limit screw so the guide pulley and the chain are vertically lined up with the smallest sprocket.

Pull the cable taut, reconnect it, and tighten the cable anchor bolt.

Now, with the rear shifter set to gear one, place the chain on the largest sprocket and adjust the low limit screw in quarter-turn increments until the guide, pulley, and chain are vertically lined up with the largest sprocket.

If it's difficult getting the chain on the largest sprocket, turn the low limit screw counterclockwise to move the chain closer to the wheel.

To test, shift through the gears, making sure each gear is achieved quietly and without hesitation.

If there are issues, fine-tune the cable tension by rotating the barrel adjuster in the appropriate direction to move the derailleur cage closer to or away from the bicycle.

Fine-tuning may take a series of adjustments. On some models, adjustments can also be made at the right side or rear shifter.

Step 9: Adjust the Front Derailleur

You'll need a wrench and Phillips head screwdriver to complete this step.

With both shifters set to the smallest number, disconnect the cable from the anchor bolt.

And place the chain on the corresponding sprocket and chain wheel.

The position of the front derailleur should be parallel with the largest chain reel and the chain guide should clear the chain reel by 1 to 3 millimeters.

Adjust the low limit screw so the chain is approximately centered in the front derailleur cage.

Pull the cable taut, reconnect it, and tighten the cable anchor bolt.

Now, set the front shifter to the highest number and move the chain to the largest chain wheel.

If the chain doesn't go onto the largest chain wheel, turn the high limit screw counterclockwise in one quarter turn increments until the chain engages.

If the chain falls off, turn the high limit screw clockwise in one quarter turn increments until the chain no longer falls off.

To test, shift through the gears, making sure each gear is achieved quietly and without hesitation. Fine-tuning may take a series of adjustments.

Step 10: Adjust 2 Bolt Handlebar

You'll need a hex wrench to complete this step.

Loosen the handlebar binder bolts and center the handlebar to the bike.

Make sure the brake and shift cable are routed properly around the handlebar so they're taking the smoothest path across the bike with no snags or twists.

Alternate tightening the bolts a little at a time, keeping the gap between the stem cap and the stem even until the handlebar is firmly secured.

Step 11: Inflate Tires

Identify the correct tire pressure as indicated on the tire sidewall.

Remove the valve cap and secure the pump to the stem. Inflate to the correct tire pressure. Securely replace the valve cap.

Step 12: Adjust Reflectors

You'll need a Phillips head screwdriver to complete this step.

Check and confirm the front and rear reflectors are installed correctly, facing either directly forward or backward and perpendicular to the road's surface.

The front, white reflector should be mounted on the handlebar and the rear, red reflector mounted to the seat post.

Congrats on assembling your hybrid bike! Before you hit the road or trail, learn a little more about hybrid bikes and where to ride them. Have fun getting out there, and check back for more tips in the Schwinn blog.