90% Assembled?

Bike shops are often asked why they charge one or two hours of labor to assemble a bike which is described by the manufacturer as “90% assembled.” Watch the video and read the post below to see what goes into a typical bike assembly at Durham Cycles.

So if it take one or two hours to assemble a typical bike, how is it that companies can say that their bikes are “90% assembled”? …


To the right are all the constituent parts of a bicycle. For a single mechanic to assemble these parts to the point where the bike is ready to ship can easily take 6 or 7 hours. If it takes an other hour or two to complete the job, then the bike was indeed – roughly – 90% assembled.

Of course, the implication of “90% assembled” is that the bike can be easily completed in a few minutes with no special skills or tools. Certainly, there are many people capable of completing a home bike assembly well, but it’s not something that as many people would undertake if they knew what professional assembly entails, or if they knew the difference in the ride quality and longevity of a professionally assembled bike.

Cynically, one might conclude that bike companies aren’t being forthright because an online bike purchase may not seem like such a good deal if the buyer factors in the cost of professional assembly.  More charitably, bike companies are new to the online world and are still working out ways to ensure their bikes are assembled well enough to provide a good customer experience. Some brands, for instance, now sell online, but require in-store, fully assembled pick-up. Others offer professional assembly as an “add-on” feature for online sales. Of course, your local bike shop is always glad to assemble your bike and will provide any post-assembly service needed.



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