Bike Assembly Errors
A bike is an amazingly simple machine. Yet it’s also amazingly easy to put it together wrong - as the folks at ASDA can testify .
There was a lot of general sniggering in the press about this at the time, but even apparently ‘professional’ mechanics can make mistakes in putting bikes together.
I’m NOT a professional mechanic, but I have tinkered with bikes for a good few years, and have a background in engineering which means I’m moderately adept at figuring out how stuff works. Here are just a few of the mistakes I’ve made though:
- Failed to tighten the cotter-pins on the cranks of an old bike. I didn’t know that these need to the TIGHT. The resultant creaking squeak and slightly eccentric pedal motion could only be fixed by replacing the pins with new ones.
- Didn’t have the right tool to tighten the chainring bolts when I did my first fixie conversion. I realised that using a flat-bladed screwdriver to hold one side while I tightened the other with an allen key wasn’t good enough when I looked down to see that I’d lost two out of the five bolts! Fortunately I was near the bike shop.
- Cross-threaded a bottom-bracket cup. Thankfully bike shops have re-threading tools to fix this problem - maybe it’s quite common!
- Did something wierd when re-fitting a rear derraileur. On the test ride, the chain somehow became tangled in the jockey wheel assembly. I had to carry the bike home, and could only release the chain by breaking it. That was a brand new chain too.
- Skimped on taking the time to completely strip down a rear-wheel hub, thinking I could just get away with adjusting the cones to fix the slack. The hub seized and dragged the axle & cones through the bearing, writing the wheel off.
- Fixed punctures, only to realise half a mile down the road that I’d not removed the cause of the puncture.
- Not tightened the handlebar clamp at the end of the stem properly. Not such a huge problem with straight bars, but this was with a set of drops. First good bump I hit in the road, they rotated round to point straight down … and I almost went straight over the front!
- Not tightened a saddle clamp properly. Again I found out on a test ride (without any tools with me - D’Oh!), and had to ride five miles home standing up.
- Had various bolts for racks, mudguards and light fittings come loose. Actually, no matter how tight you do these up, they seem to rattle free, so I now apply a dab of threadlock to these when I do them up!
Most of these have a common theme - not doing things up tight enough. Hopefully I’ve learned from these mistakes now . . . and I now have a tool kit that means I don’t have to improvise (and not do the job properly).
Have you made any mistakes in maintaining your bike?