Buying a pre-assembled bike helps you fast-track your kid towards riding fun. But before you strap on your kiddo’s helmet and send them off, make sure everything is primed for a safe and smooth ride.
Go through each of the checkpoints in this Quick-Start Guide to make sure that the bike has been properly and thoroughly set up – and that it’s sized “just right” for your rider. It may be helpful to pull up the user manual for the bike model that you’ve bought prior to starting – just in case you need to reference it.
Part one: safety checks
Visual inspection – Make sure that everything looks as it should and that there is not any visible damage. Check everything from top to bottom and front to back: the tire rims, chain guard, kickstand – the works.
Tire inflation – Use a tire pressure gauge to check the pressure on both tires. The recommended pressure for tires on the Jetson Light Riders is 36 PSI (pounds per square inch). If necessary, use a manual air pump to add more air until that pressure is reached.
Wheels – Lift the front of the bike off the ground, then give the front wheel a spin and a tug. It should feel secure in the front fork and spin freely. Repeat with the rear wheel. If either wheel is loose or off kilter, use a wrench to loosen the axle nuts; then adjust the positioning of the axle in the fork; then retighten the nuts with the wrench.
Handlebar alignment – Position the bike so that the front wheel is pointed directly forward -- in line with the bike frame. The handlebar should sit perfectly perpendicular over the top tube of the main frame, with the left and right handlebars even on both sides. Handlebar straight + wheel straight = perfect. If alignment is off, use a wrench to loosen the cap nut, reposition the handlebar in the stem, and retighten the cap nut.
Then, rotate the handlebar to one side and then the other, and check that the front wheel rotates accordingly. If the handlebar is rotating but the wheel is not, the cap nut needs to be tightened further.
Brakes – If the bike has a coaster brake, by which pedaling backwards stops the bike, lift the back of the bike and give the rear wheel a spin. Rotate the pedals backwards to ensure that the wheel comes to a stop.
If the bike has handbrakes connected to rim brakes, lift and spin each wheel separately. First, listen to the wheel spinning. Then, squeeze the corresponding handbrake to check brake functionality. (Right handbrake for the rear wheel brake; left handbrake for the front wheel brake.) If everything works well and you don’t hear any squeaking or rubbing sounds, move to the next checkpoint!
However, if the handbrake does not fully close the caliper onto the rim, the brake cable might need tightening. If there is a noise being made by a spinning wheel, the wheel could be hitting the brake caliper because the caliper is misaligned. In both cases, check out this article for more intel on rim brakes and guidance on how to make adjustments.
Pedals and chain – Check that both pedals are secured to the crank arms. If they’re not fully secure, use a wrench to tighten the spindles of each pedal into the crank arm.
Quick tip: The right pedal tightens into the crank arm with clockwise turns, but the left pedal tights in with counterclockwise turns.
Troubleshooting: If you meet any resistance, twist the pedal out of the crank arm and start over – it could be that the pedal’s spindle was inserted slightly askew.
Then, mimic the motion of pedaling to make sure that the chain is secure over the teeth of the crankset and that everything moves smoothly. Make chain adjustments or lift a dropped chain back onto the teeth, if necessary.
Training wheels – If your rider will be using training wheels, make sure they are even and each is fully secured onto the rear axle. If necessary, use a wrench to tighten the nuts that are holding the training wheel brackets on.
Part two: sizing adjustments
Seat height – Ask your little rider to sit on the saddle and place both feet on the ground. Then, evaluate if the seat needs to be raised or lowered.
The right height depends on the comfort and skill level of your rider. Beginners and riders using training wheels should be able to put their feet flat on the ground when seated. Kids more experienced with a bike – those who can get started without assistance and ride confidently -- should just be able to touch their tippy toes to the ground while seated. (This allows them to extend their legs more when pedaling, maximizing efficiency.)
If any seat height adjustment is necessary, open the clamp, raise or lower the seat, and close the clamp. Push down on the seat to see that it doesn’t slip down; if so, the clamp might need tightening. More details on seat clamp functionality can be found in your user manual or this article about bike seat installation.
Important: Never raise the seat so high that the “minimum insertion mark” on the seat post is visible above the clamp; this line should always be below the clamp in the seat tube.
Handlebar height - This is all about comfort and control, so ask your rider to sit down and feel it out. To adjust height, loosen the cap nut with a wrench, raise or lower the handlebar, and tighten the nut.
Important: Never raise the handlebar so high that the wedge nut at the bottom of the handlebar stem is visible; this part should always be fully inside the head tube.
Reminder: After adjusting the handlebar height, double check the handlebar alignment as you did in checkpoint 4 above.
Handbrake positioning – Your rider should be able to get a firm grasp on the handbrakes lever(s) when holding onto the handlebar. If the handbrakes need to be angled higher or lower on the handlebar, use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the screw on the handbrake clamp. Rotate the clamp to a new position; then, secure it in place by tightening the screw with the screwdriver.
Bell positioning - The bell is not just for fun – it’s also how riders can alert pedestrians and other bikers to their presence. Make sure the bell is secure and the bell tab is reachable by the thumb. If necessary, use a Phillips-head screwdriver to loosen the screw on the bell clamp so that you can move it around on the handlebar. Retighten the screw to secure it in its new spot.
Reflectors – Reflectors help keep your kids visible! Make sure any handlebar reflectors are facing forward and seat post reflectors are facing backwards. Rotate and secure the reflector clamp, if necessary; you may need a Phillips-head screwdriver, depending on the clamp.
Lights! – Our patented, in-frame LED lighting is majorly cool – and it also helps keep kids in sight. Insert 3AA batteries in the battery compartment on the underside of the frame according to the +/- directions indicated in the compartment.
Push the power button to get the bike going – and then let your rider play around with the available colors and modes until they find the right vibe for their ride.
All good? It’s time for the fun to start. Find a safe spot for riding – and then get the Light Rider journey going. Should you have more questions or need set-up help, reach out to us. We're here for every step of your little rider’s adventure.