EcoBike Elegance: Do It Yourself

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EcoBike Elegance: Do It Yourself

Assembling and tuning up a bike is something which is normally left to professionals. A bike shop can quickly and safely assemble your bike right out of the box. If there is no bike shop in your area and you're comfortable with basic bike tune up and repairs the EcoBike Elegance is an easy electric bike to set up. With some basic mechanical skills and the right tools, any home mechanic can do the job. Here are the tools you'll need:

  • Wrenches: 15mm, 10mm
  • Hex/Allen keys: 5mm, 4mm
  • Screwdrivers: phillips and flat head
  • Special tools: pedal wrench - If you don't have one a 15mm wrench with a long arm will work.

The hardest part of the whole job is actually getting the EcoBike Elegance out its bubble wrap cocoon. The guys who pack these electric bikes must be bubble wrap obsessed. Before you start, remove the seat post so you can take out the battery and start it charging. Batteries come out of the box about 60% charged, so by the time you're done setting up your bike you should have plenty of juice for a test ride. Use the kickstand to prop up your new toy, if you are one of those people who loves ripping apart wrapping paper at Christmas time, the EcoBike Elegance electric bike is right up your alley.

With all that bubble wrap you'll be sitting around popping it for months, but take your time! You want the fun to last right? Use scissors to get the job done quicker, just make sure you don't scratch the frame. You don't want to ruin the paint job before you even go for your first ride.

2 Tips for unwrapping an EcoBike Elegance:

  1. The whole job is easier if you do everything the guys packing it did in reverse. That means starting from the back of the bike. There is one long ribbon of bubble wrap that circles the rear wheel and seat tube. Start there and work your way forward. Use the box cutter only when you can't unwrap anymore.
  2. Cut the bubble wrap off of the middle of the EcoBike Elegance handlebars and mount them (5mm hex key) on the bike before fully unwrapping them. That way you can use two hands to deal with unwrapping the rest. Be careful, don't cut any of the cables or rubber grips.

Attach the EcoBike Elegance Front Wheel

Once you have the handlebars mounted and unwrapped, the next step is attaching the front wheel. Make sure the front brakes are totally loose, with the curved metal tube with a cable running through it detached from the left side brake arm. Rotate the axle washers with a bend in them so the tabs sit within the fork drop-outs (those are the slots in the tips of the fork). The EcoBike Elegance has special drop-outs which hold the wheel in place even without tightening the bolts, so remember to tighten them before proceeding.

Installing EcoBike Elegance Pedals

Next, we put on the pedals. Start by screwing them in by hand. The left pedal has reverse threads, you have turn it left to tighten it. Only use the wrench when you can't turn anymore. Use your pedal wrench or 15mm wrench to make it good and tight, but don't crank down with all your force.

Tip: Be careful when screwing in the pedals, if you don't go in straight you could damage the threads. Hold the pedal with one hand 90 degrees to the crank arm and with your other hand use your thumb and index finger to screw in the pedal bolt. If you feel any resistance: back it out and try again. Once you get 5 threads screwed in smoothly you can start using your wrench. But always take your time and don't force things.

The EcoBike Elegance Fender

You can install the front fender before or after adjusting the brakes. I like to do it before though, so I have all the assembly steps done before tuning up the EcoBike Elegance. You'll need a 10 mm wrench (socket works better if you have one) and a 5mm hex key for the fender bracket, and a 4 mm hex wrench and a phillips or flat head screwdriver for the fender stays. Attach the bracket first, that's the piece above the wheel, and then the stays. The force of tightening the bracket in place often skews the fender to the left. If the fender looks skewed from the front, use your 10mm wrench to turn the bracket nut until the fender is straight.

So, now you're done assembling the bike. The rest is all tune up. Always be patient, if you've never adjusted brakes or shifters it can be a bit confusing. Let's start from the front and move backwards. That means we deal with the front brake, the rear brake, and finally the gear shifter/derailleur.

Tuning Up You're EcoBike Elegance

Before starting brake adjustment, make sure the cable is seated within the brake lever. In order to protect them during shipping the EcoBike Elegance comes from the factory with the front brake fully compressed. That means we have to release it before we can put the wheel on. First, loosen the bolt on the right brake arm holding the brake cable in place and hook the curved metal piece into its spot on the left brake arm. Then, use your 5mm hex key to loosen the bolts holding the brake pads. Move them so they contact the rim squarely and tighten. Tip: once you find the right alignment, pressing the brake pads against the rim will hold them as you tighten. Now we will adjust the brake cable tension.

Use your left hand to pinch the brakes together against the rim. With your right hand, pull the cable taut. Then release your left hand slightly so that 2-3mm of cable slide through the cable bolt. Tighten this bolt firmly, so the brake cable wont slip and ruin your adjustment. Now check your work by spinning the wheel and listening for contact between the rim and the break pads.

If everything is good you should hear no contact and the brakes should engage when you squeeze the brake lever between one quarter and half of the way. If your brake pads are touching the rim, give some more slack in the cable. If the brakes aren't firmly engaged when the brake lever is depressed, take up some slack. Take the time to do it right. Not only can poorly adjusted brakes increase wear on the rim and brake pads, it can be unsafe. The rear brake on an EcoBike Elegance comes adjusted from the factory, so you shouldn't have to spend much time on it. If it is really bad, repeat the same process as with the front brake.

One last step!

The last thing we need to look at is the gears. Don't be surprised when you see the upside down numbers on the handlebar twist-shifter. It's difficult to get 6 speed left handed shifters, so EcoBike just uses a right hand one. It doesn't effect performance, just looks kind of funky. The shifters that I've worked with so far have been very close to perfectly adjusted. To check the derailleur/shifter adjustment, turn the pedals while shifting between adjacent gears. The shifting should be smooth and immediate. If the chain jumps or makes noise when moving between gears you'll have to make a slight adjustment to the shifter cable tension. Try tightening first. The adjuster is located where the shifter cable enters the derailleur. Pull it towards the front of the bike and turn clockwise to tighten. A few turns is usually all you need, so turn only 3 full revolutions at a time. Shift back and forth between gears from low to high adjusting cable tension to minimize noise. This is not something most people get perfect the first time. Keep experimenting until you find the right tension.

Well, now you're almost done. All that's left is to insert the battery and take your EcoBike Elegance, electric hybrid bicycle for a test ride. When you're out on the test ride make sure you check all the adjustments you made. What seemed like a good adjustment on the work stand can sometimes turn out to need a little tweaking. Put your bike through the paces and make sure it works right from the beginning. Shift through all the gears and test the brakes. Try pedalling with the throttle and with the pedalec too. Take it easy while you're getting used to the motor power, and remember to be safe. The electronics should be working fine. If you have problems, contact the shop where you bought it for troubleshooting.

That's about it! Now you're EcoBike Elegance is ready to go. Not so bad right?