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Old 05-14-07, 06:03 PM   #1
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Rear Deraileur rubs spokes only when Clyde's riding

Hi all;

Just got a handbuilt, 36 spoke free wheel back from my lbs on Friday. Went for a short ride on Saturday and noticed that the rear deraileur was rubbing against the spokes a bit. The chain also fell off the top and bottom gear in the back so I figured cable tension, or limit screws (switched to a triple in front and had to put a different rear deraileur with a longer arm on).

Brought it back today (luckily they were able to see me, backed up and closed tomorrow), they put it up on the stand and of course it's not falling off or rubbing. They said the rear deraileur was a little loose and tightened it up, plus adjusted the limit screws a bit. He pushed against the rear deraileur and couldn't push it into the spokes. I get on for a ride around the block and it's rubbing a bit still on the largest gear in the back. I noticed that if I bounced on it the rubbing seemed to get louder.

Could this be that the wheel is not tensioned right? Or does this happen with larger riders (I'm a Clyde, 270 at the moment)? When the wheel originally came in one mechanic thought the tension was OK but the other thought it may have been loose. They did true it up before putting it on.

Going on a longish ride tomorrow, shouldn't need the largest gear since it'll be mostly flat. It should be fine to ride on for a day, right? They're closed this Tuesday otherwise I'd go tomorrow.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Air
Hi all;

Just got a handbuilt, 36 spoke free wheel back from my lbs on Friday. Went for a short ride on Saturday and noticed that the rear deraileur was rubbing against the spokes a bit. The chain also fell off the top and bottom gear in the back so I figured cable tension, or limit screws (switched to a triple in front and had to put a different rear deraileur with a longer arm on).

Brought it back today (luckily they were able to see me, backed up and closed tomorrow), they put it up on the stand and of course it's not falling off or rubbing. They said the rear deraileur was a little loose and tightened it up, plus adjusted the limit screws a bit. He pushed against the rear deraileur and couldn't push it into the spokes. I get on for a ride around the block and it's rubbing a bit still on the largest gear in the back. I noticed that if I bounced on it the rubbing seemed to get louder.

Could this be that the wheel is not tensioned right? Or does this happen with larger riders (I'm a Clyde, 270 at the moment)? When the wheel originally came in one mechanic thought the tension was OK but the other thought it may have been loose. They did true it up before putting it on.

Going on a longish ride tomorrow, shouldn't need the largest gear since it'll be mostly flat. It should be fine to ride on for a day, right? They're closed this Tuesday otherwise I'd go tomorrow.
It could be a number of things. I just want to say, whatever you do don't let the derailleur touch any spokes. It could easily grab the derailleur and rip it around so hard it will damage your dropouts, frame, or even you. Can you see that it's close when you look at it? How did you identify the sound as the spokes and not something else?
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Old 05-14-07, 06:31 PM   #3
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I can see the rub marks plus I looked down and saw the first wheel of the deraileur touching the spokes. Of course when I was doing this today I was trying to get it to rub so I could figure out what was going on - if I was riding for real I'd drop it down a gear. When it was on the stand with the mechanic pushing against it it was about 1/4" away from the spokes. He seemed to check that the hanger wasn't bent.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:52 PM   #4
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although it could be a number of things, I would bet that if the rub occurs only when you're downstroking on the driveside, and only sometimes (like when you're off the saddle mashing) it's a good bet that it is the spokes' tension. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Air
I can see the rub marks plus I looked down and saw the first wheel of the deraileur touching the spokes. Of course when I was doing this today I was trying to get it to rub so I could figure out what was going on - if I was riding for real I'd drop it down a gear. When it was on the stand with the mechanic pushing against it it was about 1/4" away from the spokes. He seemed to check that the hanger wasn't bent.
That's very scary. I would say until you figure out how to fix it do what every you need to do to keep the derailleur away from the spokes. Don't try to make it rub. If you know how to, adjust the limit screw so you can't shift into the biggest cog.

If you did not have this problem before the new wheel maybe the wheel is dished differently? Did you have to adjust your brakes to the side at all for the new wheel? Maybe the wheel is flexing from low tension. I would not ride the bike if it is that loose. Be careful. Make sure the quick release is tight enough. Sorry, I say don't ride it.
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Old 05-14-07, 07:03 PM   #6
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Good thought on the mashing - I don't think so since I wasn't really mashing when I was trying to get it to rub, just very slowly (so it wouldn't rip out!).

Even if it wasn't dished right why would it change depending if I was on it or not?

It wasn't doing it before...but this is a different deraileur. I should mention that this is a 27" wheel if that makes a difference.
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Old 05-14-07, 07:07 PM   #7
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I think I would start screwing the "L" limit screw IN a bit. maybe 1/4 turn or so will eliminate the rub and still allow you to use low gear??
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Old 05-14-07, 08:13 PM   #8
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I would reccomend against riding it more than absolutely necessary, but I am paranoid when it comes to wheels.

For reference, did they offer to lace it 4 cross?
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Old 05-14-07, 08:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Air

Even if it wasn't dished right why would it change depending if I was on it or not?
If the wheel was dished away from the derailleur more, even if something was still flexing it might not hit the derailleur against the spokes if they were further away. Not the most likely thing. I would still think low spoke tension is more likely. What kind of frame?
A brand new derailleur, or used? Maybe the der. hanger is flexing under load? Try putting the bike on the ground and without moving see if you can bend the derailleur close to the spokes by putting force on the pedals the derailleur, side force on the wheel etc. If it's on the ground (not moving, but look at the contact point and flex something) you may be able to flex something that would never show up in a work stand. Like the wheel. The spokes might move if you are sitting on the bike on the ground,try to flex it.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:29 PM   #10
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On my old set of Spinergy wheelset I had to add a 1mm spacer before installing the cassette to prevent this from happening. The derailleur cage would ever so slightly rub the carbon spokes. Also, the accuracy of the limit screw setting is very critical here.
Perhaps you could use a spacer.
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Old 05-14-07, 09:56 PM   #11
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If the wheel was dished away from the derailleur more, even if something was still flexing it might not hit the derailleur against the spokes if they were further away. Not the most likely thing. I would still think low spoke tension is more likely. What kind of frame?
Here's the bike without the new wheel / deraileur. I'll try to take some pics tonight and upload them.

I also just figured out what you mean about the dishing the freewheel now after looking closely. I tried to take some pics of the spacing - hopefully you'll be able to see it from the pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manybikes
A brand new derailleur, or used?
Used (Suntour Le Tech), I'll upload some pics in a little bit.

Quote:
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Maybe the der. hanger is flexing under load? Try putting the bike on the ground and without moving see if you can bend the derailleur close to the spokes by putting force on the pedals the derailleur, side force on the wheel etc. If it's on the ground (not moving, but look at the contact point and flex something) you may be able to flex something that would never show up in a work stand. Like the wheel. The spokes might move if you are sitting on the bike on the ground,try to flex it.
If I put about a good amount of lateral pressure against the deraileur I can get it to rub on the ground. I think tomorrow on a ride I'm going on I'll have one of the guys take a look and see if they can see the spokes flex when I sit on it - that should give me an indication as well.

Think I will adjust the limit too after we check to see if the spokes flex as a precaution.

Thanks all!!
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Old 05-14-07, 10:35 PM   #12
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New pics, let me know if I should take some different angles:





[ed - two more]
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Old 05-15-07, 05:24 AM   #13
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Good plan to set the limit screw for now !

I have a frame that looks exactly like that and it too is a six speed. The derailleur is also very very close to the spokes. I can flex that frame by pedaling hard. It's not unusual that something works in the bike stand but flexes when you ride hard and put a lot of force on everything. My bike like that, I stood up at walking speed and gave it all the power in my body. The derailleur got caught by a spoke. It looked like my bike was in a car accident. The rear derailleur hanger was bent around upside down. Only about 5 mph.

Do check the spoke tension, do make sure the quick release is nice and tight. Make sure the dropouts are perfectly flat and parallel. If they are not the derailleur may not be the same distance from the spokes every time you put the wheel in.

Even if all these things are fine, or if they are not fine, what you need to do is get the derailleur away from the spokes if possible. Look at bike shops for a thin washer that will hold the freewheel just a little bit out when you tighten the freewheel on the hub. Then when the derailleur is lined up with the big cog it will be away from the spokes more. Old derailleurs can have some slop in them even when very tight, this does not help either. If you can wobble yours around on the mounting bolt, try and find a derailleur that is new or newer and has less slop in it.

If it seems OK at a bike shop and they say it's fine, show them you can flex it with the bike on the ground. On my bike like that, after damaging the wheel, the derailleur and the frame, I put a plastic spoke protector back on. It can save you from what happened to me. The derailleur won't get caught in the spokes. The plastic disk saves the day. They get removed, because in some situations you don't need them. In this case you do.

It's a good thing you noticed this and realized what was happening. You could have ruined your bike and crashed.
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Old 05-15-07, 08:27 AM   #14
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Thanks for the reply!

I asked about the 'dork ring' since it was on the old one - and the guy who worked on it said if the chain gets caught in between then it's a bad mechanic. Hopefully they have it laying around still from the old wheel or can give me another one - he probably cursed himself with that remark! [I remember when my mechanic on my truck that went through a bunch of stuff asked how she was running. I said great! Turned onto my street and the ball bearing snapped - had to get it towed back to the shop. Called him up and told him he jinxed me! So I never say that again]

How would I know if it's not dished right? I added two more shots above, one a better shot of the deraileur and another of the tire. It *does* appear at least to this untrained eye that the center line is closer to the drive side then the other side. Maybe combination of that and tension?

Thanks again for your help!
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Old 05-15-07, 09:10 AM   #15
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Maybe someone who knows more about wheelbuilding than I do can suggest something. It does look a little close to the drive side. Not much.

Try adjusting the derailleur limit screw until the chain just barely shifts up onto the big cog and make sure the derailleur is as far out as possible, but the chain gets on the cog. Maybe you have some room to move over the derailleur and still have the chain on the big cog. Do you have a work stand so you can do this by pedaling by hand while adjusting it?
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Old 05-15-07, 09:21 AM   #16
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No, but I've flipped it and that works pretty well.
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Old 05-15-07, 10:57 AM   #17
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I agree with you that the wheel could use a little more dishing.
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Old 05-15-07, 02:44 PM   #18
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No, but I've flipped it and that works pretty well.
It's certainly worth a try. See if you can get the derailleur away from the spokes a little and still get into gear OK.

Bailey says go for it.
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Old 05-16-07, 05:34 PM   #19
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So, I had jyossarian take a look when I sat on it. Spokes bowed out just enough to touch. I set the limit screw so it would back far away from the spokes. Determined we push off towards Coney Island meeting up with a few other BFers. All seems fine until a little after 10 miles. Wheel feels a bit out of true. I did a quick truing and we shove off. When we got to Coney Island (~17 miles) the wheel was really bad, about half the spokes were rattling.

Determined and refreshed after some hot dogs and cheese fries I decide to attempt to tension the wheel and true it back up. Worse case the subway ride of shame was just around the corner.



We start heading back. By the time we finished the boardwalk the bike is really shaking badly and with a tailwind I'm pushing way too hard. Take a look, wheel is back to where it was, loose rattly spokes and lots of rubbing against the brakes and frame. Tried the tension and truing again, took a quick spin to check again and they're all loose.

At this point there was no choice but to was deal with it and pedal through the last 8 miles or so. Loosened the brakes and went for broke. Renewed by a tailwind and downhill we head off. I give it my all and the three fixed and single speeds leave me far behind. By the time we met up it took two people to turn the wheel - don't know how I kept up as well as I did! Widened the brakes as far as possible, reset the wheel (it kept twisting to one side, probably because of the torque and rub) and kept it under 14 all the way back.

Dropped it off at my lbs today - they tensioned it up (feels great) but they think the builder didn't use spoke prep (good call jyossarian). I just got it back a little while ago and it's raining pretty badly, but will put it on tonight, hopefully go for a quick spin and see if it loosens up again. If so they should be able to hooke me up with something before the ride on Sunday (145 miles).

I'll let you know the final outcome - but it's interesting how a rubbing deraileur was an indication of spoke tension.

Thanks all!
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Old 05-16-07, 05:50 PM   #20
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So, I had jyossarian take a look when I sat on it. Spokes bowed out just enough to touch. I set the limit screw so it would back far away from the spokes. Determined we push off towards Coney Island meeting up with a few other BFers. All seems fine until a little after 10 miles. Wheel feels a bit out of true. I did a quick truing and we shove off. When we got to Coney Island (~17 miles) the wheel was really bad, about half the spokes were rattling.

Determined and refreshed after some hot dogs and cheese fries I decide to attempt to tension the wheel and true it back up. Worse case the subway ride of shame was just around the corner.



We start heading back. By the time we finished the boardwalk the bike is really shaking badly and with a tailwind I'm pushing way too hard. Take a look, wheel is back to where it was, loose rattly spokes and lots of rubbing against the brakes and frame. Tried the tension and truing again, took a quick spin to check again and they're all loose.

At this point there was no choice but to was deal with it and pedal through the last 8 miles or so. Loosened the brakes and went for broke. Renewed by a tailwind and downhill we head off. I give it my all and the three fixed and single speeds leave me far behind. By the time we met up it took two people to turn the wheel - don't know how I kept up as well as I did! Widened the brakes as far as possible, reset the wheel (it kept twisting to one side, probably because of the torque and rub) and kept it under 14 all the way back.

Dropped it off at my lbs today - they tensioned it up (feels great) but they think the builder didn't use spoke prep (good call jyossarian). I just got it back a little while ago and it's raining pretty badly, but will put it on tonight, hopefully go for a quick spin and see if it loosens up again. If so they should be able to hooke me up with something before the ride on Sunday (145 miles).

I'll let you know the final outcome - but it's interesting how a rubbing deraileur was an indication of spoke tension.

Thanks all!
It's a proven scientific fact that repairs go better if you have two other people point to what you are working on !
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Old 05-16-07, 06:34 PM   #21
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Man I was sooo happy at the end of that picture - that wheel was almost perfectly trued. I was so heartbroken when it didn't last a mile
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