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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 11-17-02, 01:02 PM   #1
Sean_Wright
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1 day old... both wheels wobble.

I bought a Mongoose Ace bike from Toys R Us last night.

After assembly, I checked to make sure everything was tight, including the play in the wheels.

It's difficult to explain, but... tapping on the side of the tire with the bike standing still, there is movement. Not a lot of movement, but it's an annoying clicking and doesn't seem like it should be doing it. Both wheels have the same movement.

Is there something I need to tighten, adjust, etc.?

Also, can brakes be interchanged with better ones?


Thanks for any help,

Sean
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Old 11-17-02, 01:21 PM   #2
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The best bet would be to return the bike to the store, go to a local bike shop (LBS), and get a bike that is good quality and set up properly. They will stand behind the bike and work done on it.

If that isn't practical for some reason (cost?), still take the bike back and get them to adjust it for you, or get a different one, and keep doing it until you're satisfied.

If the LBS seems a little more expensive,
that's why, they usually get it right the first time, and if not, will make it right.

Good luck!
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Old 11-17-02, 01:39 PM   #3
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Possibly wheel bearings not tight enough.Take it back and spend a few dollars more on a decent bike from LBS.You start changing out parts and you are soon into the price of a better bike.
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Old 11-17-02, 01:57 PM   #4
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I appreciate your recommendations, however, $200 more from an LBS for tight wheel bearings is near extortion.

All I want is a bike that is mechanically sound. If I can tighten something to make the wheels not wobble, I'll do that.

My 12 year old son isn't a hard core BMX freak. He doesn't need a $400 bike.

Is there a way to adjust the bearings so the wheels don't wobble?


Thanks,

Sean

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Old 11-17-02, 02:44 PM   #5
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I understand what your saying, but it would be best to take the bike back and ask for your money back, then buy a magazine and look for a bargain in there.
Right at the moment they are off loading 2002 models because 03's are coming out.

I say this because my first bike came from Toys r us and I thought it was okay.
when I got it home the brake pads were missing,
then a chainlink jammed whilst riding,
then the bearings in the crank gave up the ghost,
the pedal apart and the tyres lasted only a couple of hundred miles before they had to be changed (i'm talking 300miles max).
I could go on but eventually I did what I recommend you do and since buying a good quality bike on sale I've had no trouble.

Believe me the bike is going to be trouble.
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Old 11-17-02, 03:32 PM   #6
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Ya get what ya pay for. Toy store bikes, and I'll include mass merchants in that bunch, are put together by people who know little, if anything, about proper bicycle set-up. I don't want to sound like a bike snob, but the price difference between an LBS and a 'Toy Store' bike is not extortion, it is the quality of the materials and the quality of what goes into getting the bike right the first time .

You have problems with your toy store bike from the get-go. Just imagine what will happen down the road as your child really starts to ride the bike hard and put it away wet.


I would sincerely suggest a visit to a bike shop or two to see what is available and if you could negotiate a price on something that will be suitable for your son. Sometimes is is better to "spend fifty dollars once, than twenty five dollars twice".
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Old 11-17-02, 03:37 PM   #7
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The local bike shop will almost always give you free tune-ups from 30 days to 6 months.I feel your child would be much safer on a well maintained bike.
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Old 11-17-02, 04:06 PM   #8
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Want to be a do it yourselfer? Buy a maintenance book and some proper tools.Not rocket science.Also try www.parktool.com for help.
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Old 11-17-02, 04:21 PM   #9
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If you do want to do-it-yourself, a good repair book with clear and concise instructions and plenty of excellent pictures is The Haynes Bicycle Book by Haynes Publishing. Haynes is very big in automotive and motorcycle repair maunals. Another is Bicycling' Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenace and Repair. They should be available at places like Barnes&Noble and Borders Books. Haynes is the best, IMO.
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Old 11-17-02, 04:28 PM   #10
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Mongoose was once a manufacturer of quality bicycles. Now the name means nothing.

Here are the options I see for you, Sean:

1. Return the bike to Toys R Us and have them make it right. Keep in mind that the next bike will likely have been assembled by the same caliber of mechanic who set up the one you have with the wobbly wheels. Eventually they may get it right for you.

2. Take the bike to a local bike shop with a qualified mechanic. He'll charge you a few dollars to fix the wobbly wheels, and will probably go over the bike to find anything else that the Toys R Us hacks messed up. He could even install better brakes. LBS mechanics make a lot of money fixing toy store bikes.

3. Return the bike to Toys R Us and get your money back. Apply it toward a better quality bike for your kid. I know that bike shop prices seem high, but you really do move into a new level of quality and service when you deal with a dedicated bike shop. Your local bike shop might even have a used bike that will work for you. I would rather have a used bike of good quality that has been worked on by a good mechanic than a brand new toy store bike.

4. Get some cone wrenches and do the work yourself. It isn't that hard but takes proper tools and some mechanical ability.

I know we all seem snobbish here. We don't mean to. It simply is the case that a real bike shop will give you a better product and better service than a toy store. You do get what you pay for.

Good luck!

EDIT: Oh, yeah. Wobbly wheels are probably a sign of loose bearings which do not get better by themselves. If he rides on those hubs, it won't take long before they are toast.
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Old 11-17-02, 04:35 PM   #11
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Instead of buying them flashy-looking new bikes from *-Mart, I have always provided my two sons with decent-quality used bikes. Son #2 did briefly own a Magna Glacier Point when someone stole his Peugeot juvenile mountain bike and left the Magna in its place. Despite years of experience building and maintaining bicycles (I just finished completely rebuilding a Campag. Chorus/Omega wheelset for the Bianchi), I was unable to maintain proper bearing adjustment in the Magna's wheels. Perhaps the ball bearings, the cones, or the races were out-of-round, but I was relieved when my son gave the Magna to one of his friends (who I hope still likes him ...). He now rides a well-used yard sale 1990 Ross Rock Machine with a 1999 Supergo closeout Shimano Parallax / Mavic wheelset -- nothing great, but vastly more reliable and enjoyable than the Magna. I was gratified that he could see through the Magna's attractive blue paint job to the mechanical junk underneath -- he hated the bike more than I did. This warms my heart as much as son #1's passion for classical music. I must be doing something right as a parent ...
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Old 11-17-02, 06:33 PM   #12
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WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU A-HOLES? CAN'T YOU JUST ANSWER HIS QUESTION?
My guess is the locknuts on the hubs are just a little loose. This happens to $800 wheels too. It's not a big deal. Just tighen the nuts slightly until the play is gone.
Even if you ride without adjusting, a slight bit of play is not unsafe and could be normal tolerance for that wheelset.
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Old 11-17-02, 06:42 PM   #13
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Diamond Back has a full suspension bike for kids that is 250usd. Check it out. It would be a great bike for him because he will not out grow it's performance for some time to come.
Also, a bmx bike from a bike shop would only run about 150 to 200 usd. It will not be the best but it will be mechanicaly sound.

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Old 11-17-02, 06:58 PM   #14
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Hey RacerX, take a chill pill! He asked a question and it was answered. Several different times. It's somewhat obvious that he doesn't have a knowledge of bikes, therefor it's difficult to tell him what to do. The best advice given was to take it back to Toys R Us and have them make it right.. Hopefully he'll get a bike that is correctly set up from the start. I don't think if you bought a new car you would be satisfied with 'tighten the lugs nuts' because your wheels were loose when you drove it home.

And your admonition that "Even if you ride without adjusting, a slight bit of play is not unsafe and could be normal tolerance for that wheelset.." is really off the mark! What is your definition of a 'slight bit of play'? You must be a bearing salesman. I doubt a slight bit of play is normal for any wheelset installed on a bike! No play is normal once the wheels are installed.
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Old 11-17-02, 08:08 PM   #15
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Give Zipp a call.
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Old 11-17-02, 08:22 PM   #16
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I think you are thinking the LBS will be $200 more it won't. YOu can get a Giant 24 Inch MTB for your kid for around $200.. so it is a bit more. But most LBS will atleast give you 1 year (atleast around her) free maintenance. One of my LBS will give 5 years with a new bike. THis far outweighs the extra money you spend now.
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Old 11-18-02, 02:11 AM   #17
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Thanks again for all of your input.

To summarize what's happened in this thread...

Q: How do I fix wobbly wheels?


Although it seemed to me that I was asking a mechanical question and how to "adjust-out" a wobble. Here are most of the answers I was offered.

A: Consult a LBS.
A: Keep returning the bike until I get one I liked.
A: Consult a LBS.
A: Return the bike to Toyrs R Us.
A: Consult a LBS.
See a pattern yet?
A: Answer his question. Probably a small adjust.
A: Consult a LBS. This guy doesn't know what the heck he's doing.
A: Buy a repair book.
A: Buy a repair book.
A: Consult a LBS.

I obviously don't fit into the "community" here. I apologize for wasting everybodies time.

If I could, though, offer one suggestion when new forum users ask a simple question that only requires a small bit of step-by-step instructions/walkthrough. JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION.

If I had $300 to spend on a bike, I'd buy it. I have $150. I don't want a MTB, I want a BMX. I don't want some tree-hugging, 40 year-old, bike repair lifer telling me (or not telling me), "Don't adjust it, pay me to", or better yet... "Since I spent $300-400 on a bike, you should too."

I doubt the majority here has tested any "Toy Store" bikes since they purchased their LBS Bike (BTW, when you use a phrases initials it's used WAY TOO MUCH!!!).

The those of you reading my reply saying, "We helped this guy, what's his problem."

Are all of you LBS sales people?

Sheesh


P.S. Next time someone asks a mechanical question, answer the specific question or ignore the post. The "Senior member" title under your nick just means you babble too much.
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Old 11-18-02, 03:49 AM   #18
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Was it something we said?
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Old 11-18-02, 06:05 AM   #19
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Sean_Wright;

Please accept at least one humble apology for the inappropriate responses you received on your query concerning “play in wheels”. Your question is quite valid and of merit:

I have adjusted numerous wheel bearings on K-Mart; Target; Toys-R-Us bicycles (including those labeled Mongoose) therefore speak from personal experience.

To adjust the wheel bearings you will need one special tool called a cone wrench. It’s easiest to pick one up at a bicycle specialty store, though Toy-R-Us may carry them also. I believe the Mongoose may have Joy-Tech hubs and require a 13mm size (Park Tool DCW1) cone wrench and you’ll need at least one other wrench (an adjustable crescent will work).

Remove the wheel from the bike (15mm bolt or adjustable crescent). Loosen the outside axial locknut, screw the adjustable cone tight against the bearings (with your fingers only!) and then reverse it by ¼ turn or so. Now secure the cone with the locknut. Test by pushing/pulling on axial, too much play? Try again, patience is the key. Now check that the axial turns without too much resistance.

This is the tricky part, what is “too much resistance?” EZ answer, with wheel on bike it should spin around numerous times before stopping. On quality equipment you’ll actually be able to get it to a point that the tire valve ends up at the bottom when the wheel comes to rest.

Special Note: on the rear wheel you’ll have to do your adjusting on the left side of the wheel (as you’re standing over the bike) because the cassette unit/freewheel blocks access to the right side.

Don’t get discourage if it takes some time (i.e. numerous attempts) to get it within reason. The next time it will be easier, trust me.

An issue I have discover with many new bicycles is the bearing grease is contaminated or somewhat lacking in quantity. This makes bearing adjustment more difficult. However to overhaul the hub (clean and grease the bearings) adds more complexity to the job, which may not be warranted in your case. You’ll know if you find it extremely difficult to eliminate all axial play and still have reasonable resistance.

Sean_Wright please realize you are main stream since Bicycle Retailer & Industry News recently estimated that all U.S. retailers sold 19.6 million bikes last year. Conservative analysis places aggregate retail bike sales last year at a total of approximately $2.2 billion. Specialty retail channel outlets (Local Bike Shops), were out paced by mass-merchant retailers, who are thought to represent about 57 percent of the overall market share. Big box stores now dominate in total bicyles sold.

Those who champion the “local bike shops” do have very logical arguments for their merits. However you asked a mechanical question, I for one again apologize for the numerous inappropriate answers you received.

I strongly suggest that the effete snobs on this board read the latest issue of Bicycling magazines article on PACIFIC CYCLE’s “Schwinn” in which the authors state it’s one of the finest values ever made available in mass-merchant retail outlets. PACIFIC is the vendor of your Mongoose bicycle Sean. Congratulations on your new bicycle I'm very happy that PACIFIC has lowered the barrier to entry into the wonderful world of cycling for you and is empowering millions into the sport who otherwise could not afford it

Cheers and God Bless...
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Old 11-18-02, 06:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
I bought a Mongoose Ace bike from Toys R Us last night.
2 mistakes: cheap bike, lousy store. You got what you paid for....

Quote:
Not a lot of movement, but it's an annoying clicking and doesn't seem like it should be doing it. Both wheels have the same movement.
You got what you paid for.

Quote:
Also, can brakes be interchanged with better ones?
Not likely. Cheap bikes come with cheap calipers. these brakes suck. Nobody wants them, anyway. You bought a throw-away bike-people throw them in the trash when anything breaks. You got what you paid for.

Quote:
All I want is a bike that is mechanically sound.
You won't get that from a toy store bike. You got what you paid for.

Quote:
Is there a way to adjust the bearings so the wheels don't wobble?
Probably not without a press. You got what you paid for.

Quote:
If I had $300 to spend on a bike, I'd buy it. I have $150.
$150 would buy a good used bike, even a BMX. Instead, you went for shiny paint on a piece of junk that likely won't last 6 months. You got what you paid for.

Why do even bother posting here? If you've ever read any of the posts here, you would know better than to buy a bike from a toy store. You would also know that we tend to be merciless to those who do....
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Old 11-18-02, 10:29 AM   #21
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Okay, Sean, you're right. We didn't give you exactly the answer you wanted. We suck.

Here's the advice we should have given you:

Go buy one or two specialized tools from your local bike shop (hereafter referred to as the LBS by common consent and forum convention). Follow Faith's meticulous step-by-step instructions with no illustrations. You don't need a book. It isn't rocket science, after all. It will just take a couple of hours of tinkering and frustration, that's all.


Look, the fact is, you bought a defective bicycle. It should have worked right when you took it home. It didn't. When you buy something defective, the best course of action is to return it for one that works. But you didn't want to hear that.

Contrary to what you may think, many of us have plenty of experience with toy store bicycles. We cobble them back together for our neighbors, friends and families. We know what they are made of. That's why we don't ride them--or reccomend them. There are a lot of people here who know and love bicycles. But you don't care about our opinions.

The bike you bought was assembled by toy store stock boys. I don't know about you, but I think I would rather have a tree-hugging, 40 year old bike store lifer...someone with knowledge, skill, training and experience...build my bike than a pimply faced minimum wage back room hack.

So, if you want to keep the bike, the advice to take it to your LBS to have the work done is actually pretty sound. Your LBS mechanic already has the tools and the know-how to fix your wobbly wheels. He might also put some adequate brakes on your cheap bike. He could check out a few other things as well that the stock boys might have overlooked. Yeah, you'll pay him a few dollars but most of us think it would be worth it. But that's not the advice you wanted.

Alternatively, you could pay those costs up front. Buy a bike at your LBS that has better quality components and has already been assembled by a competent mechanic. You'll get some service down the road as well, like a free 30 day tune up. Yes, it will cost more than a toy store bike. But you'll be light years ahead when it comes to quality and service.

But never mind any of that, Sean. You wanted us to tell you how to fix the cheap, badly assembled toy store bike that you bought for your son. We should have done exactly that and nothing more. We should have kept any other advice to ourselves. You're right. We suck.

So, good luck repairing those hubs, pal. And when you go down to the LBS to buy a cone wrench, be sure to introduce yourself to the tree hugger with the greasy fingernails. I have a feeling you'll be seeing him again.
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Old 11-18-02, 10:40 AM   #22
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Thanks RegularGuy. Well said.
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Old 11-18-02, 10:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by D*Alex




Probably not without a press. You got what you paid for.




Why do even bother posting here? If you've ever read any of the posts here, you would know better than to buy a bike from a toy store. You would also know that we tend to be merciless to those who do....
Where do you come up with this endless stream of cra...uh,er applesauce?

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Old 11-18-02, 10:49 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by RegularGuy
[B

So, if you want to keep the bike, the advice to take it to your LBS to have the work done is actually pretty sound. [/B]
Interestingly,many LBS here have signs posted at the service area saying 'NO REPAIRS DONE ON DEPT STORE TYPE BIKES'. They apparently don't like em either,don't need the hassle,and have plenty of other work to pay the rent.
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Old 11-18-02, 11:00 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sean_Wright
Thanks again for all of your input.


P.S. Next time someone asks a mechanical question, answer the specific question or ignore the post. The "Senior member" title under your nick just means you babble too much.
Try www.parktool.com or buy a maintenance book. Both are good places to start.With all due respect to Faith and her PC response,you did get some solid advice.
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