BikeCo.com New Bike Delivery Overview
Thank you for purchasing your new bike through BikeCo.com. We pride ourselves on providing the ultimate setup in MTB. This write-up covers basic points to help you quickly dial your bike.
Below you will find tips and tricks as well as best practices to maximize performance and longevity of your new bike.
Do not hesitate to reach out to our sales staff with ANY questions about your new purchase!
Assembling your bike
Most bikes are delivered in a four major assemblies.
Fork & Front Brake
Frame, Headset, Cockpit, Seatpost, Saddle, & Drivetrain. (typically the rear derailleur will be dismounted from the hanger for shipping)
Front & Rear Wheels with Tires, Cassette, & Rotors. (typically shipped without tire sealant in the tires.)
A basic build requires the fork to be installed, headset spacers set to preference (more on that below), stem/bars installed, rear derailleur bolted to hanger, wheels hung, tubeless fluid added, possibly brake calipers aligned as well as a headset adjustment.
In case you need a quick refresher, check out MTB HEADSET ADJUSTMENT
If you have any questions on how to assembly your bike reach out to BikeCo or utilize a reputable local shop!
You’ve got the bike together! Now it’s time for the fun part – initial setup.
Importance of Torque and Bolt Checks – here’s a refresher on why MTB Torque & Bolt Checks are critical to your bikes’ performance and your safety.
Dialing in your controls for ease of operation is critical. The best bike in the world won’t ride right with a poor setup. Here are some important themes to understand.
Handlebar angle dramatically effects steering personality. Your handlebars have been setup for neutral handling with the rise approximately parallel to the fork stanchions. Very small adjustments to handlebar angle speed or slow the bike’s handling.
Rolled too far back will slow the handling, making the bike lethargic. Too far forward speeds the handling, making the bike nervous.
Don’t rotate your handlebars to increase or decrease reach – this is done with stem length!
The total width of your bars will depend on your physical build as well as preference. Proper handlebar width allows riders to drive power from their shoulders through their hands. Imagine doing a pushup – the right width gives you the best balance and power.
We try to err a bit too wide on new bikes. It is easy to trim them down, tough to weld them back!
Check out BikeCo’s MTB HANDLEBAR SETUP CONCEPTS blog for more info.
Stem / Stem Spacers
Stem length is important to your bike’s performance. Too long of a stem may not allow a rider to comfortably sit far enough back when descending steeps. Conversely too short of a stem may not provide enough front end weight leading to wandering, particularly uphill.
Stem Spacers: We provide 30mm of stem spacers to fine tune your positioning. The bike has been setup in a general position for your height. You may raise or lower the stem height to maximize performance for your riding based on preference. Some things to look out for: If your stem spacing is too tall you may lose some front end control as it is harder to drive power down through your shoulders into the bars. If your stem is too low the bike will feel like it is trying to drive back / under you in the steeps.
Install the Brake Levers so your wrist in a neutral position (straight) when you are riding utilizing the brakes. ie – my hand to arm angle is straight when I am in descending position (when I would be using my brakes more), and slightly cocked when seated climbing (when I would use brakes less often).
Adjust the brakes laterally on the bar and the lever throw as needed to allow your finger to sit into the pocket at the end of the lever for best performance and leverage.
More on Cockpit Setup
Want to dig deeper on cockpit setup? Check out SETTING UP MTB COCKPIT CONTROLS on our Tips & Tricks blog to learn more. Then read BRIAN LOPES COCKPIT SETUP – pretty awesome when pro riders read your blog and take time to send their thoughts along!
More on Brakes
CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL WITH ANY QUESTIONS ON BRAKES
Below are some tips on brake usage as well as common issues you may come across. If you have any questions on your brakes, or bike in general, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Bed In Your Brakes
New brakes and rotors need a handful of stops to achieve maximum power. Our mechanics have put a few stops onto your bike, but before you drop into your favorite trail a few additional bed in stops are a great idea.
Heat is the biggest challenge to mountain bike brakes. Excess heat causes loss of power and noise. Ideal brake technique allows the brakes to cool between use. A rule of thumb is 3 seconds on 3 seconds off. DO NOT FLY OFF A CLIFF PRACTICING THIS – but hitting the brakes hard when you need them and allowing them to cool is best. Realizing where brake input can be maximized is important. For instance, it is better to hit the brakes hard at the top of a chute and roll in slower, rather than trying to desperately slow in the chute.
Overheated rotors appear darker or glazed. Rotors in this condition have considerably lower friction coefficient – which means your brakes have less power. Along with less power is a likelihood of squealing. Brake systems can be resurfaced as shown in the video below with cheap, blue, ammonia based window cleaner (NO PERFUMES) and sandpaper.
Contaminated pads lack power and are noisy. Mountain bike brake pads are extremely porous and absorb about anything that gets near them.
Contaminated pads tend to sound like a goose whether the system is hot or cold. These contaminated pads typically have to be replaced. Contaminated rotors will sometimes be salvaged by resurfacing (above).
Water, Muc-Off (or equivalent bike cleaner), and ammonia based window cleaner are the only chemicals I let anywhere near my brakes.
DO NOT USE BRAKE CLEANER. MOUNTAIN BIKE BRAKES DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH HEAT TO BURN IT BACK OFF. IT WILL DESTROY YOUR PADS.
Heat saturation can cause small bubbles in the brake lines which typically will settle in the brake lever. Bubbles can be detected from inconsistent feel in the brake lever. A quick bubble bleed will improve lever feel. Check out the link below for more info on best practices for bubble bleeding your brakes.
Learn more about here: TIPS & TRICKS MTB BRAKE BUBBLE BLEED VIDEO
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ON YOUR BRAKE FUNCTION CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL.
Keep it Clean & Lubed
First area to check for shifting issues: is the system cleaned and lubed! Here is a write up about HOW IMPORTANT CHAIN LUBE IS and a video illustrating good PRE-RIDE CLEAN & LUBE.
Do not shift under excessive load i.e.up steep hills, etc. When you shift simply spin without applying torque. When you feel the chain reengage turn the power back on. This increases both service life and performance of your chain as well as cassette.
Avoid “Dump” Shifting
Your drivetrain’s service life will dramatically improve if you keep it clean, lubed and don’t abuse it. Here’s a quick tip on why, although you “can” shift a ton of gears at once you probably don’t want to.
Cable Stretch and Barrel Adjustments.
After a few rides you may note “cable stretch”, which is actually the housing shrinking slightly. This causes the bike to struggle up-shifting as well as climbing into the largest gears. This is because there isn’t quite enough pressure on the cable anymore. Turning the barrel adjuster counter clockwise a couple clicks lengthens the housing, applying more pressure on the cable. This typically cures minor shift issues on new bikes. Conversely if your shifting didn’t want to go into the lowest gears or had issues downshifting you might shorten the housing by adjusting the barrel clockwise. Confused? Check out MTB SHIFTING BARREL ADJUSTMENT VIDEO
Check your tire pressure before each ride. Tubeless tires can bleed down slightly, especially when new. At the low tire pressures in mountain bike tires 2 to 4 psi will have dramatic effects on your riding.
Ideal tire pressures provide maximum grip while keeping your rims off rocks or other terrain. When you run slightly too low of a tire pressure you will see evenly spaced “X”s across the sidewall. Typically bumping your tires up 1 to 2 psi will create evenly spaced slashes (\) which indicates about the lowest workable psi.
Ideal tire psi is variable based on rider size, rider aggression tire volume and sidewall technology. Work with tires in 1-2 PSI increments to fine tune your setup.
If you flat a tubeless tire on trail simply remove the tubeless valve stem and insert a standard tube to finish your ride. Make sure that you force the entire tire into the trough of the rim to ease removal / installation.
Here we go… Into the real nitty-gritty of your new bike’s personality
Our sales team sent a copy of your base suspension settings. These settings represent a NEUTRAL setup. That is to say, a balanced front and rear suspension.
Neutral suspension setup is based on approximately 30% rear shock sag. With the shock sag established the fork air pressure is set to provide a balanced feel fore and aft. A good starting point while balancing your fork’s air spring is 25% sag. You will fine tune from this point.
To check the balance ride the bike and while in the standard standing, central weighted position. While riding in a central position bounce the bike a couple times to feel the suspension balance. For a neutral setup the front and rear of the bike should respond similarly. As we said it is a good idea to start with a fixed sag point, then adjust the rebound as well as compression to taste on the rear shock. At that point you can work with the fork more effectively based on riding style and preference. More on rebound and compression later.
More aggressive riders run the fork stiffer than the rear shock. This helps eliminate the front end hanging up or burying at speed. A mountain bike setup never has a fork softer than the rear shock.
Shock Pumps, Etc
Shock pump gauges may vary. Don’t obsess on stated PSI, instead check the sag with your pump. When you are fine tuning suspension try to use the same, hopefully accurate pump.
Learn HOW TO PRECHARGE A SHOCK PUMP for the most precise suspension setups. Fine tune your rear shock in 3-5psi and fork in 1-3psi increments.
Learn more about rear shock setup BikeCo Tips & Tricks: Negative Air Spring
Altitude and temperature extremes affect air spring performance. Review as appropriate. As a reference, BikeCo is approx 440’ from sea level. If you live at altitude you will likely need to modify the PSI settings in your suspension.
Mountain bike suspension offers rebound and often compression circuits to control performance.
Your bike is set with a base rebound and compression tune. When a bike is in the correct range on rebound or compression tuning it will be hard to detect 1 or 2 click changes in a parking lot test. 1 to 2 clicks on trail will be notable.
Rebound & Compression Controls
Rebound and compression is controlled by adjusting hydraulic dampening. A (oversimplified) sketch below shows the basic concept. Oil is driven from one side to the other through ports sized to control the speed.
The video below illustrates hydraulic dampening basics. On the left is a “fast” setup with multiple ports allowing fluid flow. On the right is a single opening which only allows “slow” fluid transfer. The middle splits the difference…
Suspension rebound resists the force of the spring trying to reset to a neutral position. Rebound is tuned based on rider speed. The rebound setting should be fast enough to reset the suspension for the next obstacle without bucking the rider.
Faster riders = faster rebound.
When rebound is set too fast riders sacrifice traction as the suspension skips across the trail. Set too slow the suspension “packs up” sitting deeper and deeper into the stroke.
Compression is used to fine tune ride height and bottoming characteristics. Stock suspension is run with the compression circuits relatively open. This is because the standard tune range is setup to ensure heavier, aggressive, or strong riders won’t have issues.
One of the favorite aspects to the BikeCo Pro Tune Suspension is how we reset the circuit for maximum usability for a specific rider. Lighter? Less aggressive? Different ground speeds? The Pro Tune will dial in your suspension’s performance range for your particulars. More on BikeCo’s Proprietary PRO TUNE ADVANTAGES.
Fork low speed compression is typically on an easily accessible knob so that you can easily adjust it! If you are headed into steeper trails you might add 2 to 3 low speed compression clicks to make up for bar height. Riding a jump line? An extra 3 to 5 clicks will give your bike a bit more pop. If you find yourself running a ton of compression you likely should look at increasing your air pressure and dropping the compression settings back down a bit. Suspension is a bit of a balancing act that way.
2/24/21 UPDATE: Check out the new volume spacing interactive graph to help better visualize how ramp rate works on air suspension. Interactive Ramp Rate Graph
Don’t be afraid to reach out to our staff for help with your purchase – we want to make sure you’re enjoying your new rig!
Store your bike with the wheels down, as if being ridden. This will be the easiest on suspension seals and brake systems.