Bicycle Mechanics - Front wheel issues
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04-09-11, 01:37 PM
I just bought a old Peugeot from the 70s. I took it into a local bike shop and had it tuned up and also brought up that the front wheel seems to wander to the left and then back to the right at higher speeds. Almost like there was a slight bend in the rim, or maybe it the spokes needed to be tightened. They tuned it up and it was fine until the first little bump i hit and now it wanders back and forth again. I have even replaced the wheel this week and it still does the same thing!
He mentioned that my fork was bent a little when i brought it in. could that be the issue?
Also, could it be my tire? it has road tread and my other bike is basically a bald tire and that bike rides just fine.
I've spent enough money and have no answers or fixes so far, so that's why i've finally come here.
Do you have enough air pressure in the tires? Road bike tires usually need to be aired up before each ride.
A bent fork is not good, but whatever problem in may cause should be consistent.
04-09-11, 01:55 PM
Yep, pressure is fine. Fork doesn't "appear" to be bent at all. i don't see any dents or bends.
It's odd. I wouldn't call it a "wobble" or "Shimmy" either because it's not a fast back-and-forth movement. It's more of a slow wanter to the left, then wander to the right.
It feels like someone is grabbing the center of my handlebars and slowly turning my front tire left and right and i'm sitting there trying to hold it straight.
Is there any slop (looseness) in the headset? Stand next to the bike and hold the front brake tightly. Rock the bike forward and backwards while checking for movement between the fork crown and the head tube. Should not be any looseness.
If either side of the rear axle is moving in the dropout it can cause the bike to wander. This is a common problem with horizontal dropouts. I'm thinking you should check what's going on at the back wheel.
04-09-11, 02:14 PM
Nothing loose in the front. I'm not sure exactly what you're describing with "horizontal dropouts" etc, or what I'm looking at in the rear of the bike. I'm not too fluent in bike vocab, sorry...
04-09-11, 02:22 PM
it was fine until the first little bump i hit and now it wanders back and forth again.
If it was all fine till then, this suggests that the impact did something, as you have swapped the wheel, start looking at other parts of the bike, is the frame cracked? is something else loose? has that little bend in the fork got bigger?
What does the LBS you took it to say?
04-09-11, 02:33 PM
"Dropouts" are just the U shaped slots that the front and rear axles fit into. And by connection the bit of metal that forms the U slots.
Another issue that could cause what you're feeling would be that the headset (the bearngs that hold the fork in the frame's head tube and that allow you to turn the bars, fork and front wheel smoothly) may be cracked or may be worn to where there's divots worn in the cup or cones of the bearings. Rusting or riding for a long time with a loose head set preload can wear notches into the bearing races that makes it hard for the bike's steering to smoothly find its center. As a result it can end up wandering like you're describing. Those of us that know what to feel for could swing the steering side to side and know right away if the bearings are notched or not. In your case since you're not that up on your bike stuff you may want to take it back to the shop and have them check it out. Or another bike buddy that knows their stuff.
It takes very little bending to alter how the fork steers. So to the untrained naked eye of yours it may not look bent. But it may well be bent back far enough that the bike will not ride in a stable manner and that could be the reason for the wandering. The damage doesn't need to be obvious at first glance to make the fork unuseable. If the one or both legs are bent back or to the side as little as 1/4 inch this will make a very noticable difference in how the bike rides. A half inch would render the forks all but unridable.
04-11-11, 09:24 AM
Thanks for all your help. I ran over to REI last night to grab a couple things and took it in for a second opinion. They ran the frame alignment bar down the left side of the bike and the back dropouts were about an inch off to the right.
Problem solved and I'll probably never go back to the other LBS again.
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