Ridgeyard 28 Assembly

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Welcome to the wonderland of assembling a Ridgeyard 28 City Bicycle fresh from the pack. The picture above shows my bike fully assembled after two days of struggle and two trips to the bike shop to find some missing bolts. Looking at the unfavourable online reviews, most of the complaints were about the total lack of any assembly instructions. After all, it’s supposed to come 80-85% assembled. I thought the complaints were a bit unfair, in that they attacked the bike itself when the real problem was the lack of information. It’s a nice bike, and good value for money. So credit where it’s due. However …

  The only piece of paper in my entire pack was a lot of rah-rah stuff in Chinese English about how the bike would make a wonderful gift for your daughter, niece, sister, girlfriend or friend. Well, you had better wish them all the luck in the world when they come to open the pack and set about assembling their shiny new bike. It ain’t easy and it ain’t simple.

  Cautionary note. If you aren’t familiar with bicycles, you are going to need help even if you pay full attention to the brilliant instructions that follow. If you don’t know beforehand what a bike should look like, you will never assemble this one successfully. Tools? All you will need to bring with you is a 10mm and a 15mm ring spanner, a 15mm normal spanner, a Phillips-head (cross-head) screwdriver, a set of Allen keys (sometimes called hex keys or L-spanners) and a pair of pliers. That's the lot.

  Sounds easy? Just wait. But it can be done. I’ve done it, and I’m no mechanic.

  As there are no instructions, there is no list of parts that you should find in the pack. My strong advice to you is to open the box and spread the contents somewhere where they won’t get lost. Here’s a photograph of my bike spread out on the flagstones in front of the family garage. The importance of the photo is that I will be using these names in the instructions that follow. So the frame is the big black thing, and from now on ‘frame’ or ‘main frame’ is its name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your pack should contain:

 

  1. Main frame with chain and rear wheel in place and with handlebars linked to the frame by three cables – two brake cables and a gear shift cable. Treat these cables with respect and don’t use them to lift the bike.

  2. Front mudguard.

  3. Separate front wheel

  4. Saddle

  5. Saddle post

  6. Pedals

  7. Front panier/basket

  8. Rear baggage rack

  9. Rear reflector (loose)

  10. Tail light (loose)

  11. Front headlight (in white box)

  12. Brake shoe

  13. Small plastic bag with assorted nuts and bolts.

 

  My first problem was that the box containing the bike had a large hole in it, and a couple of odds and ends slipped through the hole. Mercifully most of them fell on my garage floor and I was able to retrieve them. However two vital bolts had gone walkabout somewhere along the way, hence my two trips to the bike shop.

  Here are the assembly instructions step-by-step and illustrated with photographs. This is the order in which I would do things, but feel free to do it in any order that suits you.

 

  • Open box and lay out parts where you can find them and where they won’t get lost.

  • Fit the front wheel. This will involve removing the large nuts on the front wheel axle with the 15mm ring spanner. Removing each nut will release three objects: the nut itself, a washer with a hook on the end, and a second plain washer. Now slot the front wheel axle into place in the fork of the main frame. Next replace the nuts and washers in this order: first, place the hooked washer with the hook facing inwards towards the wheel – there is a small hole in the frame and the hook should slot into this hole so the washer can’t spin around. (See picture below.)

  • Now add the plain washer, then the nut. Do the same on the other side. Now make sure the wheel is centred so that it doesn’t rub on anything when it turns. Tighten the two nuts with the 15mm ring spanner. 

  • Your bike will now stand up on its own. Using the folding leg attached to the rear wheel, stand it up. Now fit the handlebars. You will see that there is a post sticking out of the handlebars and it has a black plastic thingummy on the end. Slip the post  into its sleeve in the frame, with the plastic thingummy going in first. Now use an Allen key to tighten it in place. The Allen key fits into a bolt-head in the top of the handle bars, in the centre. (See picture below.)

  • Once you’ve tightened it, you’ll notice that the handle bars can still shift sideways and roll about although the post is firmly fixed in place. There is a second bolt on the front of the handle bars tightened by the same Allen key and which stops the handle bars from rolling or sliding. If you tighten this now, it’s comparatively easy to get at. It won’t be when the front panier is in place, so it’s as well to tighten it now. On my bike it was very stiff, and it took some strength to tighten it.

  • Now for the saddle. The narrow end of the saddle post fits into a round sleeve under the saddle itself.

  • Now find a lever-like thingummy sticking out from the frame just under where the saddle will go. Loosen this off by winding it anti-clockwise, so that the saddle post slides easily into its sleeve on the bike’s main frame. Slot the saddle post into its sleeve and tighten it 'finger tight'. In other words don't use tools to tighten it

  • Like most modern bikes, the Ridgeyard 28 has a so-called geometric lock to hold the saddle firmly in place, and to make it easy for you to adjust the saddle height later. In this case the geometric lock is our old friend the lever. You have already wound the lever clockwise to tighten the main frame’s saddle sleeve onto the saddle post ‘finger tight’. Flip the lever from its present resting place (pointing down) into the ‘locked’ position (pointing up) … this will take a bit of strength. It should now hold the saddle in place. The pictures below show the lever in the unlocked position (left) and locked (right). If the saddle still isn't secure, undo the geometric lock and tighten a bit more by winding the lever clockwise. Now re-apply the geometric lock. Keep doing this until the saddle is very secure. Remember, it is going to have to support YOUR weight.

  • Now fit the pedals. In my case, one of the pedals (the right-hand one, from memory) had a ‘wrong’ thread so that it had to be fitted by screwing it in the ‘wrong’ way. Be ready. After you’ve fitted both pedals, you can usually tighten them with the 15mm ordinary spanner. See picture below.

  • You now have a bike! (Though please don’t try to ride it yet.) All we have to do is fit the ‘extras’, then tighten everything up and adjust it for your height and build. Start with the rear (larger) mudguard. It may already be partially fitted, in which case lucky you! (Mine was.) I would strongly urge you to fit the rear reflector to the rear mudguard before you do the last bits of fixing the rear mudguard to the bike. Fitting the reflector is near impossible if the rear mudguard is fully attached to the bike. The reflector has its own nut and bolt. Undo the nut and slip the reflector onto the rear mudguard. The reflector also has a little pointy thing sticking out of its underside. This fits into a hole in the mudguard just above where the bolt went through and stops the reflector from twisting about. Tighten the nut as tight as it will go.

  • There will now be two struts with a loop on each of their ends and attached to the mudguard, just below the reflector. There are two small bolts screwed into the frame just a bit above and behind the axle. Undo them, and bolt the struts to the frame by passing the bolt through the loop, and screwing in the bolt. Tighten the bolts with the 10mm ring spanner.

  • Now fit the luggage carrier. It attaches to the frame with four bolts. On the rear ‘fork’ (the part of the frame that goes down to the rear axle) you’ll find a pair of nuts and bolts, on a plate not far from the saddle. Undo them. On the luggage rack you’ll find two holes at the front. Bolt the luggage rack to the frame through the two holes in the rack.

  • Now notice two metal struts at the rear of the luggage rack. You will find a bolt on each side of the bike screwed into the frame above the line of the rear axle and in front of the bolt securing the mudguard strut. Undo the new bolts and use them to secure the two luggage rack struts to the frame.

  • Now fit the front headlight. This is a bit trickier. In the little plastic bag there should be at least three long bolts with nuts attached. Take one of them and undo the nut. Now slide the bolt through the hole in the frame just above the front mudguard. Place the headlight on the bolt and hold it in place by screwing on the nut.

  • Next comes the rear light. It has two built-in bolts with nuts. It fits to the rear of the luggage rack. You’ll find a plate there with two holes. Slide the built-in bolts through the holes and lock it in place with the two nuts.

  • Bell next. Simply undo the bell’s fixing screw and slip the bell onto the handlebars, then tighten the fixing screw. Job done!

  • Brake pad. Tricky one again. My kit had one brake pad, which was clearly  missing from the bike’s front wheel. So this advice is how to fit a front wheel brake pad. My first and strongest piece of advice would be to take a good long look at the rear brake, which came fully assembled in my pack. Your job will be to make the front brake look like that, with brake pads assembled the same way, and all the washers and so on in the same order, front and rear. The brake pad will have a built in bolt. Slide this bolt through the elongated hole in the brake mechanism, and line it up with the metal rim of the front wheel (not with the rubber tyre). Now use the washers and slightly conical smooth nut from the little plastic bag to fix the brake pad in place. Tighten the nut with an Allen key..

  • Last one! Now hook the front panier over the handle bars with the two built-in hooks. You will notice that the hooks each have two holes. Take the remaining two long nuts and bolts from the small plastic bag and undo the nut. Now slide the bolt through the two holes and re-attach the nut. Your panier now cannot fly off, however big a bump you hit.

 

Congratulations! You now have a bike. All that remains is to adjust it and tighten it all over. Start with adjusting the handle bars. Loosen off the top bolt with an Allen key and raise or lower the handle bars to a height that suits you. Now make sure that the front wheel is at a right angle to the handle bars, so that the bike goes where you are aiming it! Tighten the bolt.

  You may also have to adjust the rolling movement of the handle bars so that everything is facing the right way. Slacken off the 'front' handle bar nut and wriggle the handle bars until you get them how you want them, then tighten the bolt again. You should be able to see which gear you are in on a little screen near the right-hand brake handle. Make sure you can see the screen while you are riding the bike.

  Next, adjust the saddle height. Slacken off the geometric lock and stand beside the bike. The saddle should be about at the height of your hip. Make sure the saddle is straight (i.e. pointing forward) and tighten the geometric lock. The saddle should also be reasonably level. If it's at a weird angle, loosen one of the nuts underneath the saddle and tip it until it looks right. Then tighten up the nut again.

  This isn’t the last word on saddle height. Just about the ugliest and most common sight among unskilled cyclists is poor saddle height. When you are pedalling along and one leg is at the top of the pedalling stroke while the other is at the bottom, the knee of the leg at the bottom of the stroke should be just slightly bent. If the seat is too low and your leg is sharply bent, you may lose your balance and you will certainly get very tired very quickly. So for your own sake get it right!

 

Now go right around the bike, tightening every nut and bolt, so that the bike is totally ship shape. You might also like to sprinkle a bit of chain oil, available from any bike shop, on the chain and perhaps on the front and rear axles. 

 

The last adjustment you will need to make is to the brakes. The best way to find out how to do this is on YouTube. Just search ‘adjust cycle brakes’ and you’ll get a blizzard of helpful videos which will tell you what to do. This is truly important. You wouldn’t want to drive a car where the brakes didn’t work, would you? You are much more vulnerable on a bicycle so GET IT RIGHT! I don't want to play favourites here, so I'd suggest that you look at a few videos then go back to the one you most easily understood and could follow. That will be your best choice. I found https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMa9UqY9obk helpful, but that's just me.

Thanks for sticking with my web site this far. I wish you and your new bike a long and happy life together. Please feel free to have a prod around the rest of the web site. I'd recommend AUSTRALIA IN PICTURES which you can find through a link at the top of this page, and my blog, which you can find by clicking on the ABOUT ME link (I'd skip the 'about me' stuff . . . very boring.) Last but not least, please feel free to write to me at peter@petegrose.com and tell me how you're getting on.

Best wishes,

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