How to Assemble a Fatbike

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

After spending a bunch of time researching, you finally pulled the trigger and now anxiously await the delivery of your new fatbike. You get the delivery notice late in the afternoon, while at work, and there is no way to sneak out early. So you spend the longest afternoon in recorded history slaving away while your new toy sits in the driveway.

When you arrive home, the first thing you will want to do is inspect the box to ensure there is no damage. This is best done as the bike is being delivered, but that's not always possible. 


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

Scanning the outside of the box you will generally see appropriate safety cautions recommending that bike be assembled by a bike mechanic. If you are concerned about your mechanical ability it may be worthwhile to have it assembled by your LBS (for a fee) or at least have them check it over after assembly.  


I do not consider myself an expert bike mechanic, but I have collected a selection of tools over the years and I have learned to use most of them . . . so I thought I would give this assembly thing a whirl.

On the outside of the box you will see a recommended list of tools needed to assemble the fatbike. This can include, but not limited to:
  • Set of 8mm to 15mm wrenches 
  • Set of 4mm – 8mm allen keys 
  • Flat head screwdriver 
  • Phillips (star) screwdriver 
  • Cone Wrenches 
  • Pliers 
  • Torque wrench 
While a bike stand is not mentioned as a recommended tool, it would be rather cumbersome to assemble a fatbike without one.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly


Now that you have thoroughly drooled over the box and found the tools required, its time to open the box and see what is inside.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

Bikes are generally well packed with plenty of foam and cardboard protecting all the bits and pieces during shipping. After removing all the easily accessible cardboard and packing material, its time to start removing the bike.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

The first pieces out of the box should be the front wheel/tire, seatpost and box/bag of bits-n-pieces. The first thing I did was open the box and inventory its contents. With the Ithaqua 2s the box contained pedals, chainstay protector, axle, bell, DVD, several manuals and pieces belonging to the dropper post. Also take a look to see if there are any specific assembly instructions that may be specific to your bike.


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

Unwrapping the front wheel/tire and seatpost, I lay the wheel/tire to one side. I popped in the seatpost - feeling some resistance and hearing a sliding sound - and tightened up the post. Setting up the bike stand, I hung the Ithaqua 2s from its seatpost to continue assembly.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

I noticed the fork, bars, top tube, down tube, chain stays, seat stays and cranks were all covered in foam/cardboard. The bars were actually zip tied to the fork. I removed all the foam and had something that sorta resembles a fatbike.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

I then loosened the stem cap and retaining bolts so I could orient the stem correctly in relation to the fork.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

I then installed the bars and tightened up the bolts just enough so that everything would stay in place. Final tightening of these pieces would be done a little later.

Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

I then removed the front axle and installed the front wheel.


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

Now is a good time to go over the entire bike and ensure that all the screws/nuts/bolts are torqued to specifications and run the shifter a few times through the entire gear range to ensure that everything is in ship shape. Give the front and rear wheels a spin and test the brakes. In most cases the gears and brakes should be working fine, if not you may have to do some tweaking. 

After removing the Ithaqua 2s from the stand I removed the seatpost and took a peek down the seat tube. Sure enough, the dropper release cable was pushed waaaay down the tube and there was no way to grab it with fingers or pliers. Rummaging around in the shop I found a piece of wire, bent a hook in the end and fished it out. Whew . . . that could have really been embarrassing.  I should have been paying more attention.



Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly
  
Installing the dropper post was not as complicated as I initially thought, but it did need a little planning - you can find the install here

With all the main components assembled and all the fasteners checked for tightness . . . its time to ensure the stem cap and retaining bolts are secure and that the stem is aligned with the wheel. While up front, I slightly rotated the bars so that the sweep was up and back and then cinched down the bolts.  

Rotating the brake levers and shifter a tiny bit forward felt more natural for my hand positioning. Height adjustment of the seatpost and seat positioning is pretty much the last box to tick before the test ride.


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

With the finish line in sight . . . I adjusted the shock as per specifications, installed the chaninstay protector, popped on a set of pedals, and adjusted the tire pressure.


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

It was test ride time. I took the Ithaqua 2s for a spin around the block to ensure that everything was working correctly and that there were no unexpected creaks or groans. Everything worked fine and I was pretty much ready to roll.  If there had been issues that I could not resolve, I would have probably headed down to my LBS for them to take a peek.


Fatbike Assembly Assemble a Fatbike Fat Bike Assembly

Not being a professional mechanic, it took me a couple of hours to assemble the bike and install the dropper post. I could have done it more quickly, but I did not want to miss anything or mess anything up . . . and I wanted to get to know the bike as well.

So if you have a decent selection of bike tools and are relatively confident in your abilities, you may want to give this a whirl next time a big brown box shows up in your driveway.

RIDE FAT!






Comments

  1. As always, brilliantly written with full, true and plain disclosure for dummies like me to follow along. Really enjoyed it.

    BTW, if I knew the Norco Ithaqua 2S included a bell, I'd still be saving and wouldn't have pulled the trigger on my Fatboy :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks ! I believe its good to get to know your bike . . . and your mechanic for any of the weird stuff. You missed out on the bell my friend. :-)

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