Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Building Motobecane MTB 550HT

All these years, I have been walking into a LBS to buy my bikes.  This summer, I thought of buying a bike online and assembling it for my daughter.  Here is an account of how easy it was to assemble a Motobecane 550HT Mountain Bike. 

The 550HT is a bike with pretty decent components for the price.  It comes with an aluminum frame, Suntour XCT shocks, SRAM X4 derailleur as well as Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes.  I was against buying hydraulic disc brakes (didn't want to get into the bleeding routine), but after trying them out, convinced myself to get one.

The bike came in a box with not a lot of cushioning.  Luckily, nothing was broken or bent out of shape. 

The frame came with the rear wheel assembled with the crank and chainset in place.  The fork was also assembled.  Everything else was loose.  Almost everything needed some tightening and greasing.  The tools needed to assemble this bike are simple: a Phillips screw driver, metric Allen key set, 14mm spanner to tighten the pedals. 

Once the bike was assembled, it was time to tune it.  The derailleur needed some fine adjustments. The brakes needed adjustment since the pads were rubbing against the disc.  Luckily, I didn't have to bleed the brakes.  I bought a bleeding kit online, just in case.  The head needed tightening. 

Then came the tough part: wheel truing. 

Both the wheels had loose spokes and needed truing since they were off by more than a mm in at least one place.  Luckily, I found this site which made truing a simple task.  I inverted the bike and got to work with the spoke spanner I bought from REI.  BTW, the local REI mechanics were great in guiding me on what to lubricate and what not to touch. 

After all the final adjustments, it was time to take the bike for a spin. 

Overall, the bike is great for the money.  I am sure it won't withstand the punishment some of the extreme trails at Duthie hill park have to offer.  But, it holds up to my daughter's style of riding.