Bicycle Warehouse New Mountain Bike Buyers Guide
Congratulations on Your New Mountain Bike
Whether you're shopping for your first hardtail or it's time for that downhill bike of your dreams, Bicycle Warehouse has the perfect mountain bike for you! Plush brakes, responsive suspension, and the gears to climb hills make mountain bikes so much fun to ride. Our mountain bikes are loaded with the best technology on the market, guaranteed to make any ride, on any trail epic.
Before you take off to the trails on your new mountain bike, you'll want to be sure it's set up properly and safe to ride. Follow our simple steps for mountain bike setup and you'll be rolling comfortably in no time.
If you purchased your bike from a Bicycle Warehouse store we've done most of the work for you already and you. If you purchased the bike online make sure to follow the manufacturer's assembly instructions per your owner’s manual.
Make sure to register your new bike with the manufacturer to ensure you receive any support should you need it down the road.
Make sure you have all the right tools to get the job done. Most of the adjustments can be done with a standard bike multi-tool however you’ll want a torque wrench to properly tighten components back up. This is especially true when working with carbon fiber components. Torque settings can be found stamped on the component, or in the manufacturer’s literature
- Level 1 - "Never-Ever" Never assembled a bike and working with tools isn't your forte'
- Assembly Time 60-80 minutes
- Level 2 - "I'm Handy" Never assembled a bike yet you are pretty mechanically handy.
- Assembly Time 40-50 minutes
- Level 3 - "DIY Bike Mechanic" Never fully assembled a bike but have done a little bike tuning
- Assembly Time 30-40 minutes
- Level 4 - "Certified" You’re a skilled bicycle mechanic
- Time yourself, I bet you can assemble this bike in less than 10 minutes
- 4, 5mm Hex Allen Keys* (comes with bicycle)
- 15mm Pedal Wrench or 6mm Allen * (comes with bicycle)
- Bike Grease*
- Bicycle Tire Pump*
- #2 Phillips Head and Flathead Screwdriver *
- Box Cutter or Strong Scissors
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Cable Cutters
- Shock Pump* (comes with some bicycles)
How to Setup Your New Mountain Bike
Adjusting the Saddle
To adjust the height of your saddle, you will need a way to hold the bike while you hop on to size up. A friend can help by facing you and straddling the front wheel while holding the handlebar. Alternatively, you can lean the bike against a solid surface.
Achieve a 25- to 30-degree bend in your knee. You can check this by putting the balls of your feet on the pedals and extending one leg to the bottom extreme of the pedal stroke.
How to Adjust
Use an Allen wrench, or a quick-release lever if that’s what is securing the seat post) to loosen the binder bolt and slide the seat post up or down accordingly. Pay attention to the “minimum insertion marking” etched into the seat post, as that is the lowest point at which the seat post can safely be ridden on. Once the saddle is at the correct height, retighten the binder bolt to the specified torque setting or re-tighten the quick-release lever.
To verify your desired saddle position you will need a simple plumb bob, which is a string with a weight tied on the end. With your saddle at the proper height and one pedal in the 3 o’clock position, center the ball of your foot over the axle of that pedal.
Dangle the plumb bob off of the front of your knee so that the weight is hanging just above your foot. If the saddle is in an optimal position you can imagine a line running along the plumb bob’s string running right through the axle of the pedal. Have someone stand next to you to verify this makes it easier.
An ideal saddle angle is going to be level with the ground. A tilted saddle can cause hop and back pain, requiring you to waste energy adjusting your body while riding. A bubble level can be used to verify your bike is level.
How to Adjust
Loosen the Allen bolts securing the clamp that is attached to the saddle rails. Designs vary however they all function similarly. Slide the saddle forward or backward while rotating it into a level position.
With the saddle now level retighten the bolts and double-check your adjustments. When you’ve verified the height, angle, and level of the saddle is where you want it you can now retighten the saddle down back to torque specifications.
Adjusting the Brake Levers
Getting brake levers adjusted correctly helps with the ergonomics of your handlebars; improving your reaction time, bike handling, and eliminating fatigue.
When the brake levers are at an optimal angle, your wrists will be straight. If your wrists have to rotate up to grab the brake lever it can cause you to lean too far forward while riding, reinforcing bad technique. If your wrists rotate down to grab the brake lever riders tend to drop their elbows sacrificing stability and control.
How to Adjust
Loosen the Allen bolt on the brake lever clamp and rotate until the levers are at a 45-degree angle. Retighten the bolt to the specified torque setting.
Brake Lever Position on the Handlebar
While riders often have their preference as to how many fingers they prefer on the brake lever and on the grip, most brakes are designed accommodate a two-finger grip, leaving two fingers and a thumb to hold onto the handlebar.
When setting up your lever position on the handlebar the goal is to have your middle finger nestled against the curved end of the brake lever.
How to adjust
Adjusting the lever position on the bar is simple. Loosen the Allen bolt on the brake lever clamp and slide the clamp inward or outward on the handlebar. Recheck the lever alignment and ensure it’s properly spaced and angled. Retighten the bolt to the specified torque setting.
Adjusting the Shifters
Once your brake levers are dialed into the proper position, you can move your shifters to achieve the most ergonomic setup possible. You’ll want to avoid having to rotate your wrists when you shift gears. Start by placing your hands in a natural position on the handlebar grips, and resting your finger(s) on the brake lever. Now see if you can comfortable operate the shift levers with your thumbs.
How to Adjust
Shift levers adjust the same way as brake levers, with the Allen bolt holding the clamp shut. Loosen the bolts and move the shifters, twisting and sliding them into the desired position. Then retighten the Allen bolts to the specified torque settings.
How to Setup Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure should be checked before every ride as many factors affect tire pressure, and tires lose pressure over time. Generally, it’s best to run your tire pressure as low as possible, while staying within the recommended PSI range stated on the sidewall of your tire. Running a lower PSI offers noticeable performance improvements including a softer, more forgiving ride and better traction. If you run the PSI too low you can risk pinch flats or burping the tire.
How to Adjust
The tools needed to inflate your tires include a pressure gauge and a pump. Many floor pumps feature a built-in pressure gauge for easy airing up. In addition, most modern pumps can fit both Presta and Schrader type air valves. A rough guideline for tire inflating is as follows, although as you get more experience most riders develop their own preferences on air pressure and PSI levels.
Follow the PSI range stamped on the sidewall of your tire. Adjust this accordingly in relation to the terrain you are riding on as well as rider & cargo weight.
Rider + Cargo Weight
|Use the minimum PSI.|
|Add 0 to 5 PSI to the minimum.|
200 lbs. or more
|Add 5 to 10 PSI to the minimum.|
How to Setup Your Suspension -- Setting the Sag
Suspension sag is the amount of suspension travel used when you are sitting on your bike in a natural riding position. It's important to set up your suspension with the correct amount of sag, that way the bike is balanced and performs at its best. Every bike uses a different suspension design and leverage ratio and will perform best with a different amount of sag. Sad affects how harshly or smoothly your bike reacts to bumps.
If you have a coil-spring suspension you may have a preload adjustment dial on the top of your fork. Setting this is a matter of rider preference. Increasing the preload will stiffen your ride, increasing pedal efficiency and minimizing bounce. If it’s too harsh of a ride lower the preload to soften the ride up.
To set your suspension sag here are the tools you’ll need:
- A ruler
- A shock pump
- A pen and paper
You also need to wear your pack with hydration, flat kit, and any gear you normally carry while riding to simulate a realistic weight.
Some bikes will have a sag calibration chart printed present on the bike, if not on their manufacturers' literature.
First step is to measure the static travel. We start by measuring and noting the length of both the front and rear shocks in millimeters. Next make sure the shocks are unlocked and in the open position, ready to descend. For the next step, find a solid surface to lean against or have a friend help hold your bike steady. Check both stanchions on your fork for an O-ring. If you do not have one you can attach a zip tie to show how far the stanchion travels.
Now sit on the bike and engage the suspension upward and downward several times to get the shocks warmed up. Get into your riding position and realistically place your weight over the bike, now use the O-rings on the stanchions to mark how far the travel was. This is the static measurement of your suspensions travel.
Shifting the gears on a bicycle can be a daunting task at first, with a lot of numbers and often two derailleurs to keep track of. Learning how to effectively shift gears is a basic skill that continues to grow and improve even for veteran riders. Proper shifting will increase speed, reduce rider fatigue, and improve endurance.
Ride with confidence and never question your ability to stop. Keep your bike brakes well maintained with replacement pads, levers, rotors, calipers, and more. From disc to rim brakes ride faster knowing your brakes are ready to perform.
Cleaning Your Bike
Cleaning your bike is essential to keeping your bike running smoothly and performing at its highest. Proper bike cleaning should be a big part of your bicycle maintenance routine. Washing your bike regularly will ensure all your expensive bike parts have a long and happy life. Whether you ride a road bike or a mountain bike, taking the time to wash your bike (especially your drivetrain) is a necessity. For road bikes, we suggest degreasing and "re-greasing" your drivetrain every 100 miles. For mountain bikes, you should clean your bike after every muddy ride or every couple of weeks with regular use in dry climates.
Service Intervals -- A well-maintained bike is a Happy Bike☺
If you ride a couple of times per month or more we recommend the following service intervals
- If anything is not tight or working properly bring it in right away for service.
- Every 3 months
- Bring in your bike for a Deluxe Tune-Up (complete adjustments, wash, and re-lube).
- Every 6 months
- Bring in your bike for a Minor Overhaul (tune-up plus removal of the drive train and soak in solvent tank for longer life).
- Every 12 months
- Bring in your bike for a Major Overhaul (strip down to frame, solvent tank soak, bearings greased and deluxe tune).
- Bring in your bike for suspension servicing (at minimum new seals).
Get Fully Equipped!
Being fully equipped with the right gear helps you have more freedom, fitness and fun.
We've divided our list of gear into Must Haves, Should Haves and Nice to Haves for you and your bike. Whether you're just getting started or looking to step your riding game up we've got the best gear to take your riding to the next level.
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We thank you for your business and stand ready to be of service on your next visit. Got feedback? Send us an email and let us know how we are doing. It's the only way we can keep improving.