How to set up your delivered to home bike

Once your new bike has been delivered, we know you’ll be eager to head out on a two-wheeled adventure. But before you do, there’s a few simple steps you’ll need to complete to set up your bike, including aligning the handlebars and attaching the pedals.

Completing these steps is really easy and it’s the same for both adult and kids bikes without stabilisers. Here’s how.

All tools provided

There are a few tools you’ll need to complete the job, but don’t worry as they’ll all be supplied in the box with your bike. This includes:

  • 4mm, 5mm and 6mm hex keys
  • A multi spanner
  • A pedal spanner

Getting started

Carefully remove your new bike from the box and place the pedal box to one side. This contains the tools, pedals, user manual and pre-delivery inspection form. Make sure you keep this form and the manual in a safe place.

Aligning the handlebars

With your new bike out of its box, it’s time to align the handlebars. You’ll notice the handlebars have been rotated as this makes it easier to fit the bike into the box. So, you’ll need to rotate them so they’re aligned with the front wheel.

How you do this will depend on the type of stem your bike has. The stem is the component that connects your handlebars to the frame of your bike. Your bike will have either a quill or a threadless stem.

Quill stems

A quill stem is easy to identify as it only has single bolt at the top and a single-piece construction. To align the handlebar with the fork:

  1. Start by removing any plug covering the top bolt and loosen the bolt using the 6mm hex key – this is the largest one in the toolkit that came with your bike.
  2. This will loosen the handlebars so you can rotate them and adjust how far the stem is inserted into the bike. There is a minimum insertion mark on the quill stem, so make sure you insert the stem far enough so that you can’t see this mark.
  3. Once loose, rotate the handlebars 90 degrees counterclockwise until the front wheel and stem are facing forwards and are aligned.
    Top tip: Before moving onto the next step, also make sure the fork is the correct way around. For disc brake bikes, this will mean the brake is on the left-hand side of the bike and for rim brakes the brake should be on the front of the fork. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to carefully rotate the wheel 180 degrees.
  4. Your handlebars should now be aligned! Before moving on to the pedals, quickly check that the handlebar is correctly tightened by holding the front wheel between your legs and twisting the handlebars. If there is any movement, you’ll need to loosen the top bolt, realign the wheel and handlebars, and then retighten the bolt – and don’t forget to complete the check again and reattach the top cap!

Threadless stems

A threadless stem has multiple parts and bolts – so it’s easy to distinguish from a quill stem.

  1. To align the handlebar for a threadless stem, start off by loosening the clamp bolts using the correct hex key. The clamp bolts are located on the side of the stem.
  2. Once loose, rotate the handlebar 90 degrees counterclockwise so that the stem and front wheel are facing forwards and are aligned.
    Top tip: Make sure the rim brake is on the front of the fork or a disc brake is on the left-hand side. If not, it’s likely that your fork is the wrong way round. This can be easily resolved by rotating the fork by hand, making sure the cables remain free.
  3. Once you’re happy with the alignment, tighten the top bolt until the hex key leaves a slight indentation in your hand.
  4. It’s important to check that there’s no play in the headset by turning the front wheel sideways with the brake on and rocking the bike. If there is play, tighten the top bolt a little more and check again.
  5. Once you’re happy there’s no play, retighten the clamp bolts until firm.
  6. Check the handlebar is safely tightened by placing the front wheel between your legs and trying to twist the handlebars. If there is any movement, loosen the stem’s side clamp bolts slightly and repeat the installation process again. Once you’re happy that the handlebars are safely tightened, remember to place the plug back over the top bolt.
  7. If your bike has flat handlebars, you’re finished. If it has dropped handlebars (the type commonly found on road bikes), there’s one more step to go.
  8. The handlebar needs to be set in the correct position. To do this, loosen the front plate bolts – there are four of these located at the centre of your handlebars.
  9. You can then vertically rotate the handlebars until they’re in the correct position. They’ll also need to be comfortable, so sit on your bike and try them out before continuing.
  10. Once you’re happy, tighten the front plate bolts. Make sure all the bolts are tightened equally so there is equal distance between the bolts and the stem. It’s easiest to do this by tightening each of them a bit at a time.
  11. To test the handlebar, put some weight on top of the bar and check to make sure that there is no rotational movement.

Attaching the pedals

With the handlebars aligned, you’re almost ready to head out for a ride. But before you do, you’ll need to attach the pedals.

  1. Make sure you have the correct pedal for each side of the bike by matching the coloured sticker on the pedal to the coloured sticker on the crank arm.
  2. Both pedals use different threads meaning they tighten in different directions. For the right-hand pedal you’ll need to turn the spanner clockwise to tighten, and for the left side it’ll be anti-clockwise (this helps prevent the pedal from unscrewing itself as you ride!).
  3. We’ve already applied grease to the pedals to help make the process easier, so start by screwing them in by hand.
  4. Once you’ve tightened them as much as possible by hand, continue tightening them using the multi spanner or pedal spanner provided until they’re tight against the crank arm.
  5. While attaching the pedal, try not to force them as this can damage the thread – so take as much time as you need to!

And that’s it! Your handlebars are now aligned and the pedals are attached. Before going for a ride, quickly check the tyre pressures too – you can find the recommended limits on the tyre walls.

And if you need that extra reassurance that you’ve correctly set-up your bike, why not head to your local Halfords for a Free Bike Health Check.

For any other cycling products or services, head over to Halfords.com where we have everything you need.