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New bicycle fun (Part 2)


In a follow up to my first post; this one talks about assembling the bike. Now, I said it before, I’ve never assembled a bike before so this is going to be a laugh to read. Lots of mistakes and I’m still fine-tuning. First thing was to take the Electra Townie frame (I’d love to link directly to the ‘Original 7D’ model page but the site is flash …):


I removed the rear derailleur as you can see, so that I had clear access to the dropouts. Already, I’ve made my first mistake (well it’s the second really and I’ll explain that later) by not noting how the derailleur was situated before taking removing it. This caused me a lot of trouble when it came to replacing it later and to be honest is still a problem I think.

Anyway, the next part of the assembly was to get the FreeRadical kit mounted on the dropouts and aligned with the kickstand plate.


This is pretty straightforward getting the ‘Dropout Bosses’ aligned and with a little bit of jiggling and ‘oh yeah, that’s what I should have done’ the Tongue and Front Access Plate to line up with the kickstand plate (the plate with the centre hole in the middle of the picture above). Because the FreeRadical kit is really light you don’t have any problems here and it unfortunately makes you start to think ‘this is going to be easy’. Ah yes, ‘false dawn’ is the appropriate phrase I believe.

The wheels on the Townie are of the quick release variety so, again, you can drop this in quite quickly. The manual with the Townie notes:

WARNING: Securely clamping the wheel takes considerable force. If you can fully close the quick release without wrapping your fingers around the fork blade for leverage, and the lever does not leave a clear imprint in the palm of you hand, the tension is insufficient.

It is handy to know!


So, there we have the promising form of a bike emerging!

IMG_0049Now we have a fun bit. The next job was to install the brakes on the rear wheel. If you look at the photo above, you’ll see the ‘nubs’ where the brakes should go. I spent about ten minutes scratching my head looking at them trying to figure out how to get the brakes to fit. Yes, I was looking at these going ‘the brakes are never going to fit’. Eventually, I realised that these are plastic covers as you can see right and when you slide them off they reveal the stems you’re hunting for and off you go again!

All good, the next thing to work on is the rear derailleur, gear cabling and setting the gears. This is where things got really frustrating and painful. I spent ages on this next bit and it’s definitely the hardest part. This took me hours over several days (Thursday and Friday) trying to figure out what the right way of angling the derailleur is. Looked at lots and lots of pictures on the net trying to figure it out, using the stops on the frame as a guide.


This is when my knees and back ended up killing me. If ever I regretted my gut and consequential weak back this was it! It made me feel old and quite frankly clueless. Once I got the derailleur on and finally settled on where I was going to leave it I threaded the gear cable through (moving the shifter seems obvious in retrospect, it wasn’t at the time). I managed to thread the cable through quickly and managed to forget things like outer cables and various bits of plastic. The end result that was that the formerly tightly wound wire cable unfurled and ended up being nasty to handle (plenty of little cuts) as well as near impossible to pass through the groove in the derailleur which the nut tightens down on. In the end I wrapped the cable around the nut and tightened it down. This is something I have to go back and work on as I think it’s one of the sources of my gear setting and consequentially shifting problems.

In the end though, I just decided to go with it and start using the bike. So here it is finally completed


In the next post I’m out and about with the bike.

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