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How to Assemble a Mountain Bike - Brakes, Front and Rear Gears (derailleurs)

Updated on June 22, 2011

Chapter 4 - Assembling the Brakes, Front and Rear Gears

This hub belongs to a series of hubs about How to Assemble a Mountain Bike.

After assembling the handlebar and all the commands it is now time to connect the brakes and the dérailleurs.

Both equipments are very important as they allow you to ride faster and stop faster as well.

A good pair of brakes will give you much confidence while riding specially when you need to descend any down hill trail.

When you need to ride up hill I am sure you will be thankful for having a good range of gears to help you climb even the most difficult hills.

The number of gears you will need depends on the kind of trails you want to ride. If there is lots of hills around your place you will need more gears in order to simplify the uphill task.

Front disk brake
Front disk brake

Assembling front and rear disk brakes calipers

A disc brake (or rotor) consists of a metal disc attached to the wheel hub that rotates with the wheel. Calipers are attached to the frame or fork along with pads that squeeze together on the disc. As the pads drag against the disc, the wheel - and thus the bicycle - is slowed.

The disks are usually connected to the wheel hub by several bolts. The most common system is the International Standard (IS) consisting on a six-bolt mount which assures a proper brake function and safety.

Make sure you tighten all the bolts with the recommended torque to avoid any malfunction or even an accident.

The calipers are also bolted but this time to the frame (rear brake) or fork (front brake).

Avid BB5 Road Ball Bearing Bicycle Disc Brake (160mm, Front or Rear)
Avid BB5 Road Ball Bearing Bicycle Disc Brake (160mm, Front or Rear)

Avid Road BB5 Mechanical Disc Brake includes caliper and rotor, lever sold separately.

Rear drailleur
Rear drailleur

Assembling both front and rear dérailleurs

You should only assemble the front dérailleur after adjusting the rear one.

The rear dérailleur it is normally fastened directly to the frame or to a dropout (dérailleur hanger).

It is important to have the wheel and sprocket in place to adjust the rear dérailleur.

The following videos will help you throughout the rest of the process.

Rear dérailleur - How to Install and Adjust

Front dérailleur intallation

SRAM X7 Mountain Bike Front Derailleur (Low Clamp 31.8/34.9, Black)
SRAM X7 Mountain Bike Front Derailleur (Low Clamp 31.8/34.9, Black)

Great value without compromise. Wide Pivot Design. 34.9 or 31.8 Mount. Dual Pull - Top or Bottom. Max Tooth: 44/48t. Speeds: 9. Weight: Low Mount 178g / High Mount 180g.

SRAM X7 Mountain Bike Rear Derailleur (Mid Cage, Silver)
SRAM X7 Mountain Bike Rear Derailleur (Mid Cage, Silver)

6061 Aluminum and Steel Cage. Outside Facing Limit Screws Intuitive Adjustment. Serviceable Sealed Pulleys. Di.R.T: Direct Route Technology. 1:1 Actuation Ratio Superior Shift Quality. Weight: Medium 263g / Long 270g.




How to assemble your mountain bike

Chapter 1 - Assembling the Headset and Suspension Fork;

Chapter 2 - Assembling the Bottom Bracket and Crankset;

Chapter 3 - Assembling the Handlebar and all the Commands;

Chapter 4 - Assembling the Brakes, Front and Rear Gears;

Chapter 5 - Assembling the Seat post and Saddle (soon);

Chapter 6 - Assembling the Wheels and Tires (soon).


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    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      8 years ago from Portugal

      Hey Lee, thanks for your kind comment. Hope you´ll find the information useful :)

    • Lee B profile image

      Lee Barton 

      8 years ago from New Mexico

      Your timing couldn't have been better. Just getting my mountain bike out of storage, and it needs work. Great, informative hub! I've bookmarked it for future reference.

    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      8 years ago from Portugal

      Thanks Zsuzsy, I`ve been struggling to publish this one for a long time... it hasn`t been easy for me to find time to work here at HP :(

      The amount of time my off-line job consumes (which is good) doesn`t leave me much chances of spending time here as much as I would like (which is bad). Perhaps after publishing this one I`ll try and find a way to grow my hubs :)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Hiya Funride, there sure is loads of important information in this hub. Thank you for sharing.

      great hub

      hope you and the family are well

      kindest regards Zsuzsy


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