Bicycle Mechanics - Singlespeed - Rear wheel off-center
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08-25-08, 02:49 PM
The rear wheel of my recently purchased singlespeed (IRO Rob Roy) is way off-center between the chainstays, which I hadn't noticed until I tried to adjust the rear V-brakes. Is this a normal set up? And how do you center and adjust the brakes when the wheel is so far to one side? Turning the little screw that adjusts spring tension is not doing it. I know it's possible because the bike arrived with the brakes well adjusted, but I don't know how to do it. Thanks.
Everything should be centered correctly if it was built properly. Since you said it arrived adjusted, I would first try to re-center the wheel. Loosen the quick-release skewer (or axle nuts) and see if you can manually center the wheel.
If your bike has track ends, the wheel may have slipped forward from pedaling, causing it to be off center. Be sure to tighten the skewer or bolts adequately to prevent slippage.
On certain brakes, the distance to the rim can be adjusted using skinny or fat washers. I probably wouldn't pursue this option with your bike since you said it came adjusted properly.
As a last resort, did you break any spokes? That would cause the wheel to become off-center.
08-25-08, 05:56 PM
You're experiencing what is known to wheelbuilders as "Dishing Error". "Dish corrections are made to center the rim in the bike". This is done by tightening/loosening spokes on the appropriate side of the hub and is a fundamental part of truing a bicycle wheel. Rear wheel rims are normally off center with respect to the hub but must be centered between the axle mounting bolts so it will be properly aligned for the brakes. A good wheel builder/mechanic can fix that for you and it is important as you have found out especially if you have rim brakes. Park Tool has one of many 'how too's' on the subject at http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=82.
Depending on how the wheel mounts in the dropouts it could also more simply be a matter of tightening the axle nuts with the wheel positioned properly as mentioned by jeff^d above.
08-25-08, 06:01 PM
I hate to disagree, wmodavis, but it is far more likely that the axle slipped forward a bit on the driveside and caused the wheel to appear off-center. I often have the same problem on my singlespeed, even when I think that I've tightened the bejezus out of my track nuts.
08-25-08, 06:04 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm surprised to hear that this is an error in the set-up of the bike. Perhaps the wheel shifted during shipping. I have to tell you that it rode well for the first 200 miles. But after a loaded ride this weekend, I had one brake pad stick to the rim and a some chain slip. The bike is in the shop. I'll report on the official diagnosis tomorrow.
08-26-08, 08:43 PM
The bike shop redished the rear wheel and shifted the wheel to adjust chain tension. Thanks again all who responded to my inquiry.
08-26-08, 08:51 PM
You should have flipped the wheel over to determine if it was indeed a dishing error.
08-26-08, 08:56 PM
Umm... there is no dish in a ss wheel. The rim is perfectly centered over the hub flanges unless there was an error building the wheel. Re-dishing the wheel will have absolutely no effect on the chain tension (thats really confusing how much did the LBS charge you for that?). Sturmcrow is probably spot on...
edit: missed the part where you said they shifted the wheel in the dropouts, less confused sorry.
08-27-08, 11:21 AM
Umm... there is no dish in a ss wheel.
True for the most part if you're talking flip-flop hubs. I understand we're talking SS here but some track hubs with only single sided threading do require some dishing, although very little. My Campy track hub, for instance, the drive side spokes are 1mm shorter than the other side.
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