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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 07-27-07, 12:33 AM   #1
mjterave
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New bike, wheels already out of true?

I just picked up a Bianchi San Jose (first road bike!) today, and brought it home. I didn't notice anything wrong when I took it for a test ride at the shop, but after a while when I was riding, I heard the brake on the back wheel rubbing and it looks like it might be out of true.

The car rack I put the bike on to bring it home attaches at the front fork and uses a strap around the back wheel-- is it possible that I bent the wheel bringing it home? I'm definitely calling up my LBS tomorrow, but I'm just curious if this is damage that I might've caused.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:45 AM   #2
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It takes considerable force to bend a wheel. I'm not saying you didn't do it (your description doesn't really give enough info for me to judge) but I'd say it's unlikely. Also, just by the rubbing of the brakepads one can't automatically conclude the wheel is out of true. No wheel is perfectly trued, and if the pads are close enough to the rim, it will rub in a periodic way. Why don't you actually inspect the wheel for trueness visually and carefully? It could be that it's the brake that needs adjusting.

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Old 07-27-07, 01:06 AM   #3
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Stock machine built wheels can often get out of true very quickly. Although, I'm surpised that would happen with San Jose, being a singlespeed cross bike.

And no, it's very, very unlikely that your car rack had anything to do with getting your wheel out of true.
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Old 07-27-07, 01:13 AM   #4
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New wheels (and the bike in general) will need to be checked out after a few rides. You need to re-torque stuff and re-tension the wheels, this is normal. what you describe sounds a bit funky. Have a good look at the bike.
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Old 07-27-07, 01:25 AM   #5
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What the others said. I had to have my Mavics trued up 2 or 3 times after I picked up my bike. At one point the shop was considering a warranty replacement of the wheel but after their last attempt at truing the wheel it held and I haven't had a single problem since.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:35 AM   #6
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It takes considerable force to bend a wheel. I'm not saying you didn't do it (your description doesn't really give enough info for me to judge) but I'd say it's unlikely. Also, just by the rubbing of the brakepads one can't automatically conclude the wheel is out of true. No wheel is perfectly trued, and if the pads are close enough to the rim, it will rub in a periodic way. Why don't you actually inspect the wheel for trueness visually and carefully? It could be that it's the brake that needs adjusting.
After glancing for a bit, it looked line one of the pads was really close to the rim (and much closer than the other pad), so i straightened them out a bit-- but the wheel still looks like it has a little wobble to it, and still taps the pads when it wobbles.

My concern is that maybe both of the pads are too close to the wheel, but I'm a little nervous about loosening the brakes too much to adjust for a wobbly wheel. What's an acceptable clearance for the pads?
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Old 07-27-07, 09:44 AM   #7
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The moral of the story is: You bought a new bike so it should be ready to go.

Perhaps go back to the shop, tell them the problem and ask them to properly tension and true the wheel and adjust the brakes for you.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:47 AM   #8
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The moral of the story is: You bought a new bike so it should be ready to go.

Perhaps go back to the shop, tell them the problem and ask them to properly tension and true the wheel and adjust the brakes for you.
Also ask them to make sure teh quick release levers are tightened adequately. a loose QR can let a wheel cock while still holding it.

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Old 07-27-07, 09:50 AM   #9
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Also ask them to make sure teh quick release levers are tightened adequately. a loose QR can let a wheel cock while still holding it.

Road Fan
Thanks, but the wheels are bolt-on, not quick release.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:53 AM   #10
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I just picked up a Bianchi San Jose (first road bike!) today, and brought it home. I didn't notice anything wrong when I took it for a test ride at the shop, but after a while when I was riding, I heard the brake on the back wheel rubbing and it looks like it might be out of true.

The car rack I put the bike on to bring it home attaches at the front fork and uses a strap around the back wheel-- is it possible that I bent the wheel bringing it home? I'm definitely calling up my LBS tomorrow, but I'm just curious if this is damage that I might've caused.
I'd say the car rack is not the culprit. I have attached my bikes to every manner of car rack, with all kinds of straps and such, and not messed up the wheels at all.

I'd suggest taking the bike back to the shop to have it adjusted. Most reputable shops will do this kind of thing for free for several months after you get a new bike
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Old 07-27-07, 09:59 AM   #11
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Sounds like its just new wheels that weren't pre-stressed when they were built, which is typical for machine made wheels. I would just ride the wheels really hard to relieve stress and set the spokes, then take it back to the bike shop and have then re-true it. It should be free as part of the 100 mile free checkup that any reputable dealer provides.
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Old 07-27-07, 10:30 AM   #12
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After glancing for a bit, it looked line one of the pads was really close to the rim (and much closer than the other pad), so i straightened them out a bit-- but the wheel still looks like it has a little wobble to it, and still taps the pads when it wobbles.

My concern is that maybe both of the pads are too close to the wheel, but I'm a little nervous about loosening the brakes too much to adjust for a wobbly wheel. What's an acceptable clearance for the pads?
Typical problem, wheels were not properly tensioned or trued when built. My wife's Trek 5200 with Bontrager RaceLite wheels were out of true with very uneven low tension when brand new out of the box.

If your rims wobble enough to see you can bet they are way out of true.

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Old 07-27-07, 11:22 AM   #13
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So, is this something I should take in immediately or should I ride it around to stress the wheels more for a while first? I'd rather not make multiple trips to get the wheels trued if possible (the shop is about 15 miles away), but I don't want to damage anything on the bike either.
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Old 07-27-07, 11:29 AM   #14
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So, is this something I should take in immediately or should I ride it around to stress the wheels more for a while first? I'd rather not make multiple trips to get the wheels trued if possible (the shop is about 15 miles away), but I don't want to damage anything on the bike either.
ASAP

With some horse sense and a good spoke wrench you could probably fix the wheel geed enough for a ride, but you should get it in the hands of a competent wheel mechanic as soon as possible. It's the loose spokes that break.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:02 PM   #15
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it sounds like the wheels werent stressrelieved in the bike assembly.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:09 PM   #16
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I bought a Bianchi Eros a long while ago. The wheels went out of true within a week. I'm talking radically out of true. I had them professionally rebuilt.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:14 PM   #17
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I'd take it in ASAP. This establishes you are already having problems with the bike from day 1, just in case you have a lemon.
You shouldn't have to adjust other components (brakes) because something isn't right!
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Old 07-27-07, 12:35 PM   #18
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Ok, I called my LBS and they sounded surprised and said they'd be happy to look at it. I'll make sure to let you guys know how it goes.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 07-27-07, 12:38 PM   #19
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I'd take it in ASAP. This establishes you are already having problems with the bike from day 1, just in case you have a lemon.
You shouldn't have to adjust other components (brakes) because something isn't right!
I wouldn't worry about it being a lemon. I'm down with everyone else who has said it's a machine-built wheel issue.
I bought a Mavic XC717 on an XT hub from a local branch of a big online retailer last year. It had 5 loose spokes and was getting weird on me after only 30 miles. I took it to my LBS and had my wheel guy retension it properly and it's only gone out of true from an accident since then.

Bring it back to the shop and have them properly tension the whole thing. It's brand new, so it should be no cost to you.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:58 PM   #20
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Should be corrected with a trip to the LBS. However a "bent" wheel and an "out of true" wheel are quite different!
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Old 07-28-07, 03:19 PM   #21
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Turns out that it wasn't the wheel at all!
I took my bike to the LBS and the guy who looked at my bike said that the rear hub looked loose-- and after taking a look, that one of the washers on the rear hub was cracked in half, causing the wheel to wobble. He said the chain was a bit loose too, which made the situation worse (though I don't understand why).

Thanks for the advice, everyone!
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Old 07-28-07, 05:16 PM   #22
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Strange, but glad to hear the problem is solved!

(I don't understand why the chain tension would make the wheel worse either though)
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Old 07-28-07, 05:50 PM   #23
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Yeah well, the LBS you bought it from is supposed to do a "Prep for sale" anyways. If they don't even check the wheels before a bike is sent out, that ain't lookin too hot. That's not to say that a wheel won't go out of true when it hits the road, but it shouldn't be leaving the shop without being checked, at the very least.
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Old 07-28-07, 06:01 PM   #24
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So you check the spacers on the hub for cracks before you send it out?
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Old 07-28-07, 08:35 PM   #25
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Sounds like the wheels were machine built and probably didn't have enough spoke tension. If the shop doesn't have a wheel building expert then take it to a shop that does and pay to have them done right.
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