Adjusting front wheel
complete idot here. My nephews birthday today...got him a bike and being an idiot I volunteered assembling it. I know nothing about bikes.
Its just a small bike with v-type brakes.
I put the front wheel into the fork and tightened it up. The wheel was considerably closer to one side of the fork than the other, i.e. i could easily put my finger between the tyre and the fork on one side but not on the other. Not being close enough to touch the fork itself I thought the wheel would be ok here, it spins around true enough.
But the discrepency is big enough for one of the brake blocks not to touch the rim even when adjusted. I wanted to know if all the adjustment for this is done just on the brakes or is there a way of adjusting the wheel/fork to make the wheel central relative to the fork?
We have about 4 hours before the little sh....treasure returns home from school!
First, determine if it is a wheel problem.
Take the wheel off and turn it around and re-mount it. Is it still closer to the same side of the fork? If so, it's your fork/frame that's buggered. If it is not, then it is the wheel and you are probably better of having a local bike shop re-dish (center the wheel to the hub).
Once you've ruled out the wheel as a problem, yes - v-brakes can be adjusted. There should be a small screw sticking out at right angles to the pad. That screw adjusts the spring return pressure. Turn it 1/2 turn at a time clockwise, to increase spring pressure and move the pad further away from the rim. (Or do the opposite and turn the screw counter-clockwise on the pad that is farther away already. Or a combination of both. Small turns at a time however, while you determine if it is helping or hurting.)
"Do, or do not - there is no 'try'."
Just to elaborate - the wheel should be centered when you put it into the fork. If you tighten it up while the bike is leaning or is off center for some reason, that can can cause it to be awry. I did something similar once to my wife's bike when I had a non-essential spring that caused the wheel not to sit properly in the dropouts. Try removing the wheel and replacing it again to see if this may be the problem.
Good advice from the others. I would add that some wheel alignment problems can be avoided by installing the wheels with the weight of the bike on the wheels, in other words, with the wheels on the ground, not wheels up.