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Old 07-31-09, 06:44 PM   #1
perryw
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Front tire rubbing

My Trek 7.3 FX is four weeks old today. I had it in to the shop at the beginning of the week for its 30 day tune up because I had about 140 miles on it and figured it was a good time. I'd also been experiencing some real slight rubbing on the front tire that I couldn't get to go away. From what I'd learned so far, I thought maybe one of the spokes was loose or something. I'd had the bike upside down and could identify the area of the wheel that seemed to be rubbing. I mentioned the front tire rubbing when I dropped the bike off, but I really didn't get to demonstrate what I'd seen.

I picked the bike up and the guys didn't say anything about the rubbing, but it was notated on my workorder, so I figured all was well.

Rode it on Wednesday and it was doing the exact same thing. It's ever so slight and just in the area of two or three spokes. I looked at the park tool website and tried to figure out how to adjust the brakes, thinking maybe a pad was a little tight or something. I thought I made it better.

Tonight it was squealing! When I got home, I turned the bike upside down and it's squealing in the same area as it was rubbing. I've fiddled around with the left pad that seems to be rubbing and just couldn't get it to brake smoothly. I can every so slightly hold the brake in and the only place that will rub is that one area. I took the pad off and was kinda surprised. It seems like the trailing edge is starting to flatten itself out. Here is a picture, hopefully you can see the bottom edge is pretty flat instead of having a sharp corner. I just used my phone, I can get the big camera out if necessary.

Is that normal? Is anything that I've noticed normal? Should I just adjust it until I can get it as smooth as possible and live with it? Should I take it back to the shop and expect it to be fixed under Trek's or their warranty?
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Old 07-31-09, 07:15 PM   #2
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Ok, I think I've learned a bit more and figured out the caliper centering and brake cable tightening at the lever. Big learning curve for me.

So it still sees like the wheel is hitting the pads at one point before others. I don't know what's going on.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:19 PM   #3
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I'm afraid I can't really make anything out in the picture, but it seems your front wheel is slightly out of true at one part of its circumference. This may have happpened since you started using it, maybe as the spokes settle down and release some of their friction against each other. Read Sheldon's article on wheel-building for an overview. It's easily fixed, but only easy if the person doing it has the necessary experience and a wheel truing jig. As the bike is new with a warranty, most certainly ask for it to be done by the shop. To verify that this is what's wrong, turn the bike upside down and spin the wheel, while holding something like a pencil firmly against the front fork with the point about an eighth of an inch away from the rim. As the wheel rotates, you will see the variation in the gap between the pencil and the rim.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:30 PM   #4
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Neat test, thank you. I hold the pen right at the bead, and I can see the tip getting a touch closer to the tire in certain areas, kinda like the wheel is moving up and down a bit, if that makes sense?

Looking at the pictures of the calipers on the park tool wheel truing page, I think that's what I'm seeing. That sure seems like something the shop should have checked when I mentioned the rubbing, huh?

I have the bike back together now (quite a feat for me!) so I won't take a new picture right now. Imagine that edges of the brake pads are perfectly square, like an L. The one edge is angled off, like a \.

Last edited by perryw; 07-31-09 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:40 PM   #5
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Loosen the quick-release (QR) on the bicycle fork and dropouts. Now re-seat the wheel fully into the dropouts. It sounds like they weren't all the way down - or up - into the fork. Then turn the QR around to make it tight in the drops. Then back it off so you can engage the QR - do this while holding the wheel all the way down deep in the dropouts. This is a common complaint and we had another person with the same problem with his 7.3 FX! And this solved it. Do you know how to adjust your v-brakes? If not say so and I'll shoot you a few links to help you.

Regards you having the bike upside-down, this can mash the shifters or such. If you must do so, be very careful not to mush anything.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:47 PM   #6
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Well, I have to take the front wheel off to get the bike in the car, so I would think that I would have had it in there one of the times, huh? Not sure I follow your procedure though. Use the QR as a nut to tighten the wheel in, then loosen it up and tighten back up w/ the QR handle? I did loosen and retighten the QR tonight before posting my first message.

I'm learning how to adjust the v-brakes! I've tried to carefully read the park tool site, and through trial and error, I've figured some of it out. Other links would help clarify things more I'm sure.
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Old 07-31-09, 07:53 PM   #7
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I am suggest nothing about holding the wheel in the dropouts. I am suggesting the wheel may not be fully pushed down into the dropouts. Loosen QR. Fully insert wheel in the dropouts. Hold it in position firmly while you tighten the QR.
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Old 08-01-09, 02:07 AM   #8
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i think what you're describing is your rim's braking surface area is contacting the brakes at one point in the wheel's rotation without you activating the brake. is that correct? if so, it sounds like your wheel is out of true, which means you should bring it back to Trek and ask them if they can true up your front wheel since it should be under warranty. your brakes are probably fine, but it is your wheel that needs work (not the tire).
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Old 08-01-09, 02:56 AM   #9
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No! I am saying the wheel if not inserted all the way into the fork's dropouts. PUSH it all the way down into the dropouts.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by perryw View Post
Rode it on Wednesday and it was doing the exact same thing. It's ever so slight and just in the area of two or three spokes. I looked at the park tool website and tried to figure out how to adjust the brakes,
I think that you're barking up the wrong tree fiddling with the brakes. That sounds more like an out-of-true wheel to me. Frankly, I'd be for getting the LBS guys to fix it rather than futzing with it yourself.
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Old 08-01-09, 08:11 AM   #11
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Understood, thank you everyone. I'll have to load it up and take it back to em later today or tomorrow. I think they're just trying to sell me a bike rack as I get tired of scratching up my rear bumper taking the bike in and out
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Old 08-01-09, 12:54 PM   #12
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Understood, thank you everyone. I'll have to load it up and take it back to em later today or tomorrow. I think they're just trying to sell me a bike rack as I get tired of scratching up my rear bumper taking the bike in and out
Correct terminology can go a long way. If you told them the tire is rubbing and they spin the wheel and it's not...problem solved. If you tell them the rim is rubbing on the brake pads, that's different (and sounds like you're just a bit out of true). Looking at the tire when judging whether the rim is true or not can be deceiving as tires aren't perfectly molded.

Bike racks are much better than stuffing your bike into a trunk in any case, and then you wouldn't have to take off your wheel (well, with the right bike rack that is). Like panthers007 says, making sure your wheel is correctly seated in the dropouts is a good thing, too.
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Old 08-01-09, 03:47 PM   #13
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Took it in, explained what I was seeing, including the pencil thing and mentioned that maybe the wheel wasn't true.. The guy adjusted the brakes and sent me on my way. Maybe he could tell I'd been messing w/ the brakes and thought that was the problem? Maybe the wheel looked true to his eye as he spun it? Shrug.

I rode it around the parking lot and it sounded better when I hit the brakes and seemed not be rubbing any more. I'll take it for a longer spin tomorrow and see how it does.
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Old 08-01-09, 04:17 PM   #14
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As the 7.3 FX has v-brakes, check this out:

http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21

and

http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-v-brakes/
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