1. Start with your
bike, tools and flight case in a large enough area
to work. Make sure you have tape, scissors, zip ties,
bike packing material and the necessary tools. You
can obtain bike packing material from us for free-
new bikes come packed in it. It is a good idea to
use only the tools you will take with you for the
disassembly and packing, since they are the tools
you are also using at your destination to pack your
bike for your return trip. This is a good chance to
fine tune your packing list of tools. Shift you bike
into its largest gear with the chain on the small
cog I the back and the big chainring in the front.
This positions the derailleur correctly for removal
and covers the sharp teeth of the large chainring
with the chain so the teeth can’t damage any
items inside the case. If your hand slips while removing
the pedals, you are less likely to stab your hand
on the chainring teeth.
|2. Remove your pedals
first. This step is difficult to do if your wheels are
off the bike since the bike must be stable while you
apply pressure to the pedal wrench. If the bike is fully
assembled when you do this, it is easier to apply necessary
force to loosen the pedals. Most pedals have a hex wrench
(Allen wrench) orifice in their axle to facilitate removal
and installation without a bulky, heavy pedal wrench.
I learned from discovery Channel team mechanic Vince
Gee that most people tighten their pedals far too tight
with large torque wrenches, especially on carbon cranks.
My Time RXS pedals do not have conventional wrench flats
on them for a full sized pedal wrench. Leaving the pedal
wrench at home saves weight and means you will not over-torque
your pedals or potentially damage your cranks. Remember
that your left crank arm is reverse thread- righty loosy,
lefty tighty. You can apply extra leverage to your Allen
key pedal wrench with your foot if you position the
crank arm correctly. A little practice makes this technique
easy. If you have Speedplay pedals (they do not attach
with an Allen/hex type wrench through the crank arm)
then you can carry a smaller version of the conventional
pedal wrench. Leave your full size pedal wrench at home!
||3. Mark your seat post
position with tape. It is an even better idea to lightly
scribe a mark into the post using the seat clamp as
an index mark. Tape can fall off or move. A small scribe
etched into the side of your post will not damage even
the lightest carbon fiber seatposts but gives you a
reliable reference point for your saddle height. Before
your trip enter your saddle height into your cell phone,
planner or commit it to memory. Carry a small fabric
tape measure to measure it beforehand and to verify
it at your destination.
||4. Pad your frame with
bike material from the bike shop or foam pipe insulation
from a home improvement store. Use electrical zip ties
to secure the foam padding.
||5. Once you removed
the pedals your bike is still easy to lean against a
wall, furniture or a balcony to work on. Before you
remove your wheels remove the front plate of your handlebar
stem and detach your handlebar assembly. All your brake
adjustments and gear adjustments are held in place precisely
by the cables- they will not be affected. If your bike
builder knew what he was doing he likely left you enough
cable to be able to remove your bars and turn them to
the side of the frame for flight casing. Place more
foam padding between the bars and your frame and fix
your bars to your frame over the foam padding using
zip ties hooked together to make them longer. Snug this
up so your handlebars are secure and don’t move
against your frame. Components getting loose inside
the case are the major source of flight case damage.
Be sure to re-install the front plate of your handlebar
stem onto the stem.
||6. Now remove your seat
from the frame by loosening your binder bolt. Pad your
seatpost and saddle for packing inside the flight case.
|7. Remove your rear
derailleur from the derailleur hanger and let it hang
with cable attached- this will not alter your derailleur
adjustment. This is the most vulnerable area to damage
from impact or someone stepping on the side of your
flight case. If you shift your bike into the smallest
cog before you begin disassembly (step 1) you can simply
detach the derailleur by unthreading the fixing bolt
and let the derailleur dangle. This prevents the derailleur
from becoming a lever under a baggage handler’s
boot to bend your frame derailleur hanger.
|8. Now remove your front
wheel and skewer. You can carefully rest your bike on
the fork dropouts- but be gentle in setting it down.
Some bikes have delicate fork drop-outs. Never drop
the bike onto the empty wheel dropouts. Set your front
|9. With your rear derailleur
removed (step 7) it will be easy to remove your rear
wheel. Open the quick release skewer and unthread it.
Remove the wheel from the rear dropout. To avoid touching
a messy chain use packing material to lift the chain
off the cogs to free the rear wheel. The first time
you do this it will take a little wiggling, but you’ll
get the hang of it after a couple tries. It is simpler
than it looks.
|10. With your saddle,
handlebars, derailleur and wheels removed open your
flight case and place your frame inside with one layer
of foam beneath it, two outside the case for the wheels.
Be sure the bike is centered in the flight case. Some
flight cases use a series of straps to hold the bike
in the center of the case.
||11. Install the fork
protector and rear dropout protector you got for free
from your bike shop. Add extra frame padding and secure
with zip ties. Inspect the frame to be certain exposed
areas are well padded and protected from scratches.
||12. Remove your wheel
quick release skewers to make your wheels narrower so
they can fit in the case. Simply unthread the cap opposite
the lever. Be sure you don’t loose your little
“tornado” springs. Remember: The bottom
of the little tornado points to the center of the wheel.
||13. Place a remaining
layer of foam over the frame and set the wheels, overlapping
each other, on the foam. Be certain the cogset (gears)
are facing away from your bike. If your tires are at
full pressure, let about 1/3rd of the air out.
||14. Be certain to place
your small items such as helmet and pedals (although
it is better to put your pedals in your other checked
baggage) inside the case and then double check the case’s
contents. Be sure you remembered to put your saddle,
both wheels and quick release skewers inside the case.
Wrap your skewers in foam padding or bubble wrap so
they can’t damage your frame. Pull all the closures
for your flight case into position and begin to secure
the case. Never lock your case as it must be available
for security inspections. Never leave an unlocked case
out of sight for even a moment in an airport. Contraband
could be placed inside of it by smugglers or saboteurs.
Close your case and affix a baggage tag with your
name, address and cell phone number.
Reassembly at your destination.
Open your flight case and check the contents. Inspect
your frame tubes, wheels and rear derailleur hanger.
Get your tools out and give yourself room to work
and a place to lean your bike as you reassemble it.
||2. Use your side cutters
to remove the zip ties and foam padding from the rear
triangle. Leave the padding on the main frame during
assembly to protect the bike in case it is knocked over
or your drop a tool on it. Save the padding and as many
zip ties as you can. If you clip the zip ties close
to their closure on the entry side you can reuse them.
||3. Remove the bike from
the case and set it upright being certain it will not
be blown or knocked over. You may find it easier to
lean it against something.
||4. Carefully reinstall
your rear derailleur. Be sure to rotate and lift the
rear derailleur upward to the proper mounting position
after the threads have engaged. Take care to thread
the derailleur fixing bolt into the delicate rear derailleur
hanger. Beware of cross threading. The bolt is steel
and the derailleur hanger is aluminum.
||5. Re-install the quick
release skewers. Remember that the tornado springs’
small end face toward the center of the wheel.
|6. Place the chain on
the smallest cog. Guide the rear wheel into the rear
dropout and slide it into position. If the derailleur
or chain becomes jammed gently remove the wheel and
begin again. Observe what you are doing and work slowly
7. Install your front
wheel and tighten your quick release skewers.
8. Rotate your handlebars
back into position on your handlebar stem. Attach
your fixing bolts and torque to manufacturer’s
specifications. It is good idea to include a small
torque wrench such as the one sold by Syntace in your
race tool kit.
9. After your wheels
and your handlebars are in place it is safe to remove
the rest of your frame padding. Be sure to store this
in your flight case for your return trip.
10. Slide your seatpost
to the index mark that indicates your proper saddle
height and tighten the seatpost binder bolt to the
11. Use your allen
wrench to install your pedals and tighten. Remember:
Your left pedal is reverse thread.
||12. Double check all
your bolts and be sure your brakes and wheels are centered.
After checking your bolts and quick release skewers
put your helmet on and take your bike for a short test
ride in a parking lot. It is also a good idea to take
the bike to the event technical support area where mechanics
can inspect your work and double check your bike. Some
races require an inspection sticker. Be sure to store
your flight case out of the way in your room and don’t
let greasy or dirty bicycle components come in contact
with hotel carpets or linens.