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Old 08-14-02, 10:24 PM   #1
cyclezealot
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Wobble in steering/ Why?

Today I rode my older road bike. It has a threaded headset. I strongly sense, that the wheel unintentionally pulls to one direction- that I did not cause in my steering. I feel I have to pull the wheel back towards my chosen direction of travel..
Can't figure out what is going on.. Recently I let a neighbor kid ride it with my group. Watching him, I did not see him do any fancy stunts. Since this problem has materialized.
I look at the wheel's true, it's o.k. , the headset seems tight, tire shows no abnormal wear, rim seems straight, spokes seem tight, braking even. The problem seems to occur as I change cadence- particularily as I speed up... It isn't too excessive a pull, but I feel I have to pull it back.
I can see no problems, but the problem seems real. Anyone, do you have any ideas? Of course, the wobble I sense is in the front wheel...Thanks..
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Old 08-14-02, 11:15 PM   #2
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I'm sure you've already checked, but is the wheel on-center in the fork?

Also, could the quick-release skewer spring be on the skewer backwards (big end inwards) as was happening with Velocipedio's rear wheel recently? That made his wheel sit at an angle. On a front wheel, that would probably cause the type of effect you're experiencing.
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Old 08-14-02, 11:51 PM   #3
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Did you forget how to ride a bike???

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Old 08-15-02, 01:59 AM   #4
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Mechbgon.. Checked that skewer spring, seems ok.. I have just bought a new pair of Vittoria kevlar lined- 20 or 21 MM road tires. Tread looks ok, but is Very thin and tread is very pointed. Maybe that is it? thanks...
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Old 08-15-02, 06:29 AM   #5
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Does the steering feel notchy when you lift the front and rotate the forks by hand ? Is there a sticking point? Maybe the headset is worn inside and needs replacing.
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Old 08-15-02, 07:16 AM   #6
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maybe I'm way off here (hey its possible!)
but with the description that it occurs under
power could the rear wheel be off?
It seems to me that if the rear were off/misaligned
(loose?) power to the pedals would pull off center and
cause this type of symptom.

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Old 08-15-02, 07:23 AM   #7
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or even dumber, the maybe the bars and stem have been twisted slightly and are not aligned with the direction of the wheel. Just loosen the stem binder and twist the stem back inline with the wheel.
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Old 08-15-02, 08:07 AM   #8
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If you take your hands off the bar does the bike want to dive one direction or the other? My bike was doing this a few months ago when I bent the fork in an accident.

Has it been a long tiime since you have ridden this bike? It may have been doing it before, but you were so used to it you didn't notice it.
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Old 08-15-02, 10:25 AM   #9
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Lotek..Have not taken the rear wheel out of the drop yet. Did the front.. Just looking at both wheels, they look trued.. Will take rear out of the drops. Beginning to think maybe not used to fairly new tires; they are super thin race tires.
I usually ride Specialized Armadillos. Post this tread, I do not like this sensation.....thanks all..
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Old 08-15-02, 11:37 PM   #10
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Today, I again took my older road bike for a 58 mile spin. When I got back, I again looked my bike over.. Still felt the wobble, requring my corrective pull back during the ride.
Anyway, when I got home- tonight I turned the handlebars with the bike off the ground... TOnight, I thought I could feel a pause in the handlebar's turning.. Like its motion was temporarily halted by what felt like a groove down in the headset... might this say anything about the condition of my headset? Thanks. CZ.
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Old 08-16-02, 01:47 AM   #11
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Yes, it sounds like your headset is starting to get "detents" where the ball bearings rest in the straight-ahead position.
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Old 08-16-02, 02:20 AM   #12
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MechBGon.. It was in the straight ahead position, where I felt the pause. So I need replace the headset. Thanks. CZ
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Old 08-20-02, 11:45 PM   #13
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Have you checked the "dish" of the wheel. If it doesn't "center" the same way when you put it in the dropouts "backwards", ( with the skewer on the wrong side), then the rim isn't centered properly on the hub and needs to be re-dished/re-centered.

If the wheel isn't dished right it will make the bike lean. Building or re-truing the wheel without checking the dish can cause the problem. Lots of mechanics don't bother check the "dish" on front wheels or just forget to do it sometimes.
Ride a good dish
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Last edited by pat5319; 08-20-02 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 08-21-02, 01:59 AM   #14
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A while ago I got some new tires with a very pointy v-section profile. They seemed to make the steering super-sensitive. (They also tracked right into the rain-drainage gooves on some of our mountain roads making descents really scary.)

They caused no problems on the back wheel. I suggest you swap the front tire for one with a round profile and see if that helps.
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