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  1. #1
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    Rear wheel wobbles slightly, tire rubs "chainstay"

    I recently bought a Motobecane 300HT, brand new. My rear tire rubs on what I believe is called the chainstay (the lower bar that attaches the rear wheel). The rubbing is much more noticeable when climbing hills. When I flipped the bike upside down to investigate the problem, I noticed that my rear wheel wobbles slightly when pressure is applied from the side. The rubbing problem seems to be getting worse.

    1) Can anyone help me fix this problem?

    2) Did I buy a crappy bike?

  2. #2
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    You really don't give enough info, the problem could be a badly out of true wheel, a wheel that's not built properly, a tire that's simply too fat for the frame, etc. And since you say it's worse when climbing, it may be a combination of too fat a tire and a flexy frame and/or wheel, or maybe a wheel that has the bearings badly out of adjustment. But the bottom line is that you need to get it fixed (a trip to a bike shop is in order), because a tire rubbing a chainstay can ruin the frame (not to mention the tire). I've seen deep grooves worn in chainstays from tires rubbing, compromising the strength of the frame-

  3. #3
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like the wheel bearings are shot. This is what started happening to my wal-mart bike after a few weeks of hard riding.

    If you can grab the wheel while it's inverted, and wobble it, but the bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are still tight, you have trashed bearings. If it's a freewheel and cluster setup, you might look at replacing the rear wheel with a freehub-style wheel and cassette.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by well biked
    You really don't give enough info, the problem could be a badly out of true wheel, a wheel that's not built properly, a tire that's simply too fat for the frame, etc. And since you say it's worse when climbing, it may be a combination of too fat a tire and a flexy frame and/or wheel, or maybe a wheel that has the bearings badly out of adjustment. But the bottom line is that you need to get it fixed (a trip to a bike shop is in order), because a tire rubbing a chainstay can ruin the frame (not to mention the tire). I've seen deep grooves worn in chainstays from tires rubbing, compromising the strength of the frame-
    Thank you for your remarks. More info follows:

    The wheel is slightly out of true, but I wouldn't say it is badly out of true. When I invert the bike, and take a bird's eye view, the wheel is visibly left of center. For what it's worth, the tires came "standard" with the bike (you'd think they wouldn't fit the bike with too-fat tires). I've literally only been on about ten rides on this bike, and the problem just seemed to come out of nowhere--i.e., the tire wasn't rubbing at all, then it started rubbing a little, then the rubbing got worse. Could the bearings go out of adjustment so soon?

    Also, what is a flexy frame?

    If I must, I will take the bike to a shop, but I'd like to know what's wrong with it before I go.

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    It sounds like the wheel is either not tight(Quick release or axle nuts loose), the hub is out of adjustment(loose) or the spoke tension is very low. All of these things can be fixed by someone that knows what to look for and what to do.

    You did not get a "crappy" bike per say. the problem is that most Motobecanes are sold online and the end user(you) puts them together. This can cause problems with any bike, depending on the skill of the person that puts the bike together, this can be a problem at a bike shop as well, but there is more recourse when you can take it back to the shop if you have an issue and there is more than one person checking the bike out to begin with.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ax0n
    Sounds to me like the wheel bearings are shot. This is what started happening to my wal-mart bike after a few weeks of hard riding.

    If you can grab the wheel while it's inverted, and wobble it, but the bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are still tight, you have trashed bearings. If it's a freewheel and cluster setup, you might look at replacing the rear wheel with a freehub-style wheel and cassette.
    Ax -

    Thanks for the info. As stated in another reply, I've probably only been on 10 rides with this bike, but they have been hard rides - a lot of steep climbing and fairly rugged (though not difficult to navigate) terrain. The bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are tight - I made sure of that.

    I know little about bicycle mechanics. How much am I looking to spend if the bearings are indeed trashed? I paid less than $400.00 for this bike. Is it already a "total loss?"

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmilkwick
    Thank you for your remarks. More info follows:

    The wheel is slightly out of true, but I wouldn't say it is badly out of true. When I invert the bike, and take a bird's eye view, the wheel is visibly left of center. For what it's worth, the tires came "standard" with the bike (you'd think they wouldn't fit the bike with too-fat tires). I've literally only been on about ten rides on this bike, and the problem just seemed to come out of nowhere--i.e., the tire wasn't rubbing at all, then it started rubbing a little, then the rubbing got worse. Could the bearings go out of adjustment so soon?

    Also, what is a flexy frame?

    If I must, I will take the bike to a shop, but I'd like to know what's wrong with it before I go.

    Thank you.
    It sounds like the most likely thing is that the wheel isn't built properly (i.e., it isn't properly dished). A rear wheel must be dished so that, despite the cassette or freewheel on one side, the rim is centered between the stays...........One other possibility is a very simple one, and that would be that the rear axle isn't firmly in the dropout on one side. Try loosening the quick release, then firmly seat the axle in the dropouts, then re-secure the quick release. Usually when that's the problem the brakes are more or less inoperable, though, that's why I didn't mention it as a possibility earlier.........If the wheel is visibly off center in the frame, as you say it wouldn't seem to be a problem with the tire size. But the reason I mentioned this as a possibility was that I have seen a brand new bike (a GT mtb from around 1999) that when the stock tires were inflated, the rear wheel would not turn because the outer knobs on the rear tire were wedged against the chainstays........Whatever the cause, get it fixed because you're likely to have a blowout or even damage the frame if it goes on long enough-

    P.S. Flexy frame: all frames flex, some more than others. If you had a tire that had very little clearance to begin with (which it sounds like you do), a little flex in the bottom bracket/chainstay area and/or rear wheel (usually most evident when really torquing on the pedals, like when climbing) could cause the tire to rub the chainstay(s)-
    Last edited by well biked; 04-25-07 at 09:22 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmilkwick
    Ax -

    Thanks for the info. As stated in another reply, I've probably only been on 10 rides with this bike, but they have been hard rides - a lot of steep climbing and fairly rugged (though not difficult to navigate) terrain. The bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are tight - I made sure of that.

    I know little about bicycle mechanics. How much am I looking to spend if the bearings are indeed trashed? I paid less than $400.00 for this bike. Is it already a "total loss?"

    Thanks.
    I wouldn't say it's a total loss by any means. Most likely, you'll either need the wheel trued or redished or the bearing adjustment checked/tightened (or some combination of those). Shouldn't cost much to fix it, unless there are other major issues that we don't know about.

  9. #9
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmilkwick
    Ax -

    Thanks for the info. As stated in another reply, I've probably only been on 10 rides with this bike, but they have been hard rides - a lot of steep climbing and fairly rugged (though not difficult to navigate) terrain. The bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are tight - I made sure of that.

    I know little about bicycle mechanics. How much am I looking to spend if the bearings are indeed trashed? I paid less than $400.00 for this bike. Is it already a "total loss?"

    Thanks.
    Nope but you either broke or bent your axle on one of those 10 rides.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmilkwick
    Ax -

    Thanks for the info. As stated in another reply, I've probably only been on 10 rides with this bike, but they have been hard rides - a lot of steep climbing and fairly rugged (though not difficult to navigate) terrain. The bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are tight - I made sure of that.

    I know little about bicycle mechanics. How much am I looking to spend if the bearings are indeed trashed? I paid less than $400.00 for this bike. Is it already a "total loss?"

    Thanks.
    It might be the bearings. I had this happen last week. I thought my cones were just loose, so I tightened them with a pedal wrench (a pedal wrench can double as a cone wrench) but the wheel still wobbled and rubbed, especially uphill.
    I had the LBS take the freewheel off, and I unscrewed the cone and nut, and counted the bearings. I only had eight in the right side, compared to nine in the left side bearing race. The master mechanic at the LBS gave me nine new bearings (and he didn't even charge me, he said they're on the house), I put plenty of Phil Woods waterproof grease in the races, stuck the bearings in, tightened the cones, put the spacer and locknut on, and put the freehub back on.

    It's not a "total loss" at all, the LBS gave me the bearings for free.

  11. #11
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    It may be as simple as the wheel not fully seated in the dropouts. The sull weight of the bike should be on the wheels when the quick release or axle bolts are tightened. Release the axle, set the axle all of the way into the dropouts and re-tighten.
    If the wheel wabbles enough to see with the naked eye it is badly out of true. It may also be out of dish (offcentered rim).

    Al

  12. #12
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    It sounds like the problem could be any number of things. I guess the verdict is that I will have to take the bike to the LBS. Thank you, everyone, for your help. I really appreciate it.

  13. #13
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    If the wobble can be caused by you pushing the rim side to side, the cones are probably improperly tightened. Take it in to the LBS soon--I had a wobbly wheel but rode on it anyway. I ended up breaking the axle and trashing the hub.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mlh122's Avatar
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    I had a tire rubbing the chainstay once. Turned out that when I put the wheel in the dropouts one of them wasn't in all the way when I clamped it down, once i took it out and put it back in correctly, it was fine. your problem sounds more like dishing or cones, but it might be worth a check.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BikeManDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ax0n
    Sounds to me like the wheel bearings are shot. This is what started happening to my wal-mart bike after a few weeks of hard riding.

    If you can grab the wheel while it's inverted, and wobble it, but the bolts holding the hub into the dropouts are still tight, you have trashed bearings. If it's a freewheel and cluster setup, you might look at replacing the rear wheel with a freehub-style wheel and cassette.
    Not necessarily trashed

    Most department store bikes I've worked on just don't have their locknut on tight enough so the cones come out of adjustment. Its as simple as tightening the cones and securing the locknut down

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