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Old Bike Experience Comes In Handy

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Old Bike Experience Comes In Handy

Old 10-21-19, 05:53 PM
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1saxman
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Old Bike Experience Comes In Handy

Got a new bike, a "Motobecane" Jubilee 8, a hybrid with Shimano juice brakes, front shock fork, alum frame, 27.5's with all-purpose 2" tires and Shimano Nexus 8-spd hub. Got it put together and rode around the yard a little and noticed a few things; rear brake lever had way too much travel, the adjustable-angle stem needed tweaking and there was a drive train noise on every revolution. Well, it has a single chainring and single rear sprocket like the old bikes, so the first thing I did was check the chain tension which was way too tight. Gave it a little slack and all's quiet.
Never had juice brakes or even discs before but didn't take long to spot a set screw under the lever which was obviously the piston adjuster. Now both sides are even and the levers have some clearance at full pull.
I still have to do the stem - its sitting 'flat', all the way down (it has index marks). Trying it earlier, I loosened the screws but it didn't move. Later, I realized that it must have toothed washers on both sides for safety. Tomorrow I'll get it very loose and it'll adjust - might have to 'persuade' it with the rubber hammer. Do you think I can get 27 nm on the hex key with my bare hands? I'll get it as tight as it was since I don't have a small torque wrench.
The bike is heavier than I expected (16" frame) but I like the idea of the hub. The main idea was to get a pavement bike with more upright position for roads and paved trails. My riding buddy also has a hybrid and we're hitting a nice flat paved trail on Wednesday - so tomorrow I have to really do a shakedown cruise on the thing and make sure of my fitting adjustments. About an hour around the neighborhood should do it and I'll have a few tools with me.
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Old 10-21-19, 06:00 PM
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As for the stem, there may be some kind of notched piece that has to slide out before you can move it. This is what I've observed of a couple adjustable stems that I've dealt with. The design is such that the screw can come loose a bit without the stem suddenly flopping around. I'd avoid the hammer until I was utterly certain of how it works.

Looks like a fun bike. I suspect that all bikes need some TLC when they arrive from the factory.
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Old 10-21-19, 07:49 PM
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I assume this was a "Bikes Direct" purchase. A lot of their customers think they arrive completely set up, fully adjusted and ready to ride. Your experience is much more typical, they need a lot of adjusting and tweaking before use.
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Old 10-21-19, 09:36 PM
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The stem has an internally threaded bolt on one side with an externally threaded one on the other side, which is unscrewed, then the other side is pushed completely out. This releases the two parts of the stem. The two pieces have locking grooves where they meet. At this point you set it where you want it, put it back together and torque it. Because of the limitations of the LH brake line, I had to set the stem lower in the head - I went ahead and set it all the way down - its a long stem and it was almost bottomed anyway. Then the handle bar had to be rotated, but it all came out well. I got about 20 degrees out of it which made it come out like I thought it should. Now it looks similar to the stock picture I posted.
I don't know why anyone would think a bike could be shipped assembled, and this kind of work is always required when you put one together out of the box. And, BD makes it clear that some work is required and some buyers will want/need to have it professionally done.
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Old 10-21-19, 09:56 PM
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Indeed, it would be interesting to know if a similar level of work is required in regular bike shops, to get bikes ready for sale. I know that when I bought a new bike at a shop, a few years ago, the mechanic spent about half an hour fussing with it before letting me ride it home.
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Old 10-22-19, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
...I had to set the stem lower in the head - I went ahead and set it all the way down - its a long stem and it was almost bottomed anyway...
Be cautious that you do not try to lock the stem wedge in the butted section of the steerer; it is not secure and can come loose: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html#danger
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Old 10-22-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Indeed, it would be interesting to know if a similar level of work is required in regular bike shops, to get bikes ready for sale. I know that when I bought a new bike at a shop, a few years ago, the mechanic spent about half an hour fussing with it before letting me ride it home.
It is (or at least was). Certainly, at the very least, the height of bars and seat need to be set properly for a rider.

Bike out of box, dispose of box, bike in stand (clamping over protective paper) insert stem, adjust stem and handlebars to right height/angle. Screw in pedals. Adjust seat. Check shifting, brakes, wheel true. Remove all remaining warpping. Clean/polish bike. A few minutes work if you have a bike stand and a pegboard with all your tools out and handy. And if you have dedicated tools. That is, a set of hex keys (or a Park three prong key) rather than a Multi-tool. It was kind of a Zen thing when you got into the flow.

When a customer bought a bike, we took about ten minutes to check everything and polish/clean the thing and to adjust the seat and bars and to re-check everything.
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