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Old 09-15-08, 07:36 AM   #1
wiggles
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How to re-balance a quick-remove tire?

One of my good friends finally took the plunge and got a decent bike last night. To fit it in his car we had to remove the front tire, and after we removed it he ended up screwing the bolt and nut all the way together on the wheel itself. After the drive back we re-loosened the nut and bolt, and put it on the bike. But for the life of us we can't get it to spin freely, it keeps rubbing against the brakes. It worked fine at the store and was spinning freely.

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I have never encountered the issue before, and don't really know what to tell him. He ended up going for a ride last night and I'm a bit worried he's going to wear down his brakes unevenly since it isn't adjusted properly.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:04 AM   #2
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Is the wheel centered in the front fork? (Pushed up into the dropout slots all the way?) Make sure the bike is upright, loosen the quick release, check that the wheel is centered and then tighten the quick release.
Is it a quick release skewer? You mentioned nut and bolt.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:09 AM   #3
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I may be missing something, but I've been riding bikes for over 40 years, and I know absolutely that a wheel and a tire are not synonymous.

Just sayin.'
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Old 09-15-08, 08:49 AM   #4
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I say nut and bolt for lack of a better term. There is a bolt going through the center of the wheel with a lever on one side, and what looks kind of like a thumbscrew nut on the other end. We made sure it's centered all the way on the fork, but it still didn't spin freely. The front brake is extremely tight, as in, you can barely press it in more than 2mm or so before it goes on. We found if we adjusted one side of the bolt versus the other side, the tire got looser or tighter, but we couldn't really find a sweet spot where it spun freely.

Hope this is making sense
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Old 09-15-08, 08:49 AM   #5
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The long center-spindle with the lever on it is the "quick-release skewer". The round nut on the other side is the "nut".

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One of my good friends finally took the plunge and got a decent bike last night. To fit it in his car we had to remove the front tire, and after we removed it he ended up screwing the bolt and nut all the way together on the wheel itself. After the drive back we re-loosened the nut and bolt, and put it on the bike. But for the life of us we can't get it to spin freely, it keeps rubbing against the brakes. It worked fine at the store and was spinning freely....
You don't gotta do that part, as long as you know parts won't fall off and get lost, you can just leave it where it is. Most better quick-releases have a nylon ring inside the nut to keep it from vibrating off easily when the wheel is not in the forks.

As to why the wheel rubs--the quick-release lever should be re-tightened to the same clock position every time. Such as: if it was originally pointing straight to the left (the 9:00 o'clock position), you need to put the wheel back in the forks, and orient the lever in the "closed" position so it is pointing straight to the left, and then tighten or loosen the opposite nut to where the lever will close with the proper tension.

Also, the brakes may have just been bumped a bit. The brake tension may need to be increased to get them to center, or it could be the cable is dragging in the frame braze-ons or whatever.
~
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Old 09-15-08, 08:55 AM   #6
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The long center-spindle with the lever on it is the "quick-release skewer". The round nut on the other side is the "nut".



You don't gotta do that part, as long as you know parts won't fall off and get lost, you can just leave it where it is. Most better quick-releases have a nylon ring inside the nut to keep it from vibrating off easily when the wheel is not in the forks.

As to why the wheel rubs--the quick-release lever should be re-tightened to the same clock position every time. Such as: if it was originally pointing straight to the left (the 9:00 o'clock position), you need to put the wheel back in the forks, and orient the lever in the "closed" position so it is pointing straight to the left, and then tighten or loosen the opposite nut to where the lever will close with the proper tension.

Also, the brakes may have just been bumped a bit. The brake tension may need to be increased to get them to center, or it could be the cable is dragging in the frame braze-ons or whatever.
~

Thanks so much! I never really touched the QR on my trek 820, but this is his first bike with a QR so he was playing around with it on the ride back from the store. Hence it being screwed all the way shut

I'll try reorienting it as you suggested, thank you so much!
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Old 09-15-08, 11:36 AM   #7
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You may need to adjust your brakes! Consider temporarily loosening the brake cable so that you can make sure the rim is centered in the fork without worrying about whether or not the brake shoe is rubbing. Then, adjust the brakes. Feel free to go to Parktool.com for tips on brake adjustment.
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Old 09-15-08, 11:45 AM   #8
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...the quick-release lever should be re-tightened to the same clock position every time. ...
First time I ever heard that bit of advice. Why?

Steve
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Old 09-15-08, 11:47 AM   #9
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Here's a link to Sheldon Brown's quick-release info. It is part of the "how to fix a flat" article.

http://sheldonbrown.com/flats.html#quickrelease
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Old 09-15-08, 02:57 PM   #10
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First time I ever heard that bit of advice. Why?

Steve
I have observed over time (with more than one of my own bikes) that if you try tighening the QR lever in different clock positions (turning the nut as necessary to ensure the same QR tension), the wheel will not stay centered in the same position. It's been my experience that the front (forks) are worse about it than the rear end, and it's especially a problem if you have disk brakes.

My guess is that some part of at least one of the mechanisms present are not perfectly even--either the fork dropouts are not attached straight, the dropout surfaces are not made evenly, or possibly the QR head does not tighten evenly on both sides of the lever. The direction of the pressure that you push the lever closed with might have something to do with it as well.

Try it with your own bikes and see, is all I can say.
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Old 09-15-08, 02:59 PM   #11
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I'll try reorienting it as you suggested, thank you so much!
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Old 09-15-08, 03:01 PM   #12
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Thanks so much! I never really touched the QR on my trek 820, but this is his first bike with a QR so he was playing around with it on the ride back from the store. Hence it being screwed all the way shut

I'll try reorienting it as you suggested, thank you so much!
There's nothing special about the 9:00 o'clock position, it was just a random number I decided to use for the explanation.

Most people I know of (me included) point the front QR upwards, parallel with the fork blade. My point was to just make sure it's getting tightened so that when it's closed, the lever ends up pointed in the same direction every time.
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Old 09-15-08, 03:17 PM   #13
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All good advise here. Also, check to make sure one of the springs didn't get wedged into the dropout.
These little springs are supposed to help keep the hub centered on the skewer, thus making it easier to put back on. However, if the nut was tightened all the way down, it might have thrown one of the springs all caddy-wampus.

If the spring is damaged, just toss them both. They aren't necessary.
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Old 09-15-08, 04:50 PM   #14
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The Sheldon Brown link is OK for basics but it really isn't the whole story.

First, most modern brakes have a release lever which "de-tensions" the brake cable so that the brake pads will move away from the rim. This is to help the tire clear the pads when removing the wheel. If you didn't do this, then that is why it was so hard to get the wheel back into place. AND it may be why the brakes rub now.

Road bike brakes are attached to the frame by a single pivot bolt at the center. The pivot has to be adjusted to allow the brake to hang with the tire centered between the pads. IF the brake has been banged around, (such as when trying to force a tire between the pads to reinstall the wheel because you forgot to open the brake release) then it is possible that the brake doesn't hang correctly any more and is now "crooked."

You need to release the brake cable tension. (Sometimes it's a lever on the brake caliper, and sometimes it is a small button the inside of the brake lever depending on who made the components. On mountain bikes there is a curved tube called a "noodle" which has to be disconnected.) Once the brakes are released check to see that the wheel is all the way into the dropouts on both sides and that NOTHING is preventing the wheel from fully seating. Do this by opening the quick release and wiggling the wheel a bit. If the wheel is fully seated, then close the quick release. LOOK at the dropouts to see if the axle is seated at the same depth position on both sides. Now close the brake release. If the pads rub then the caliper needs adjusted.

To adjust a road bike caliper, you'll need a wrench to fit the nut behind the brake arms and an allen to fit the center bolt. Loosen the center bolt just a but and use the wrench to turn the brake so that the pads are now away from the wheel rim and the wheel is centered between them. Tighten the center bolt. Check to see that the adjustment is correct by squeezing the brake lever a couple of times and looking to see that the pads are not rubbing the rim. If not, you're good to go. If they are, readjust the center pivot.

Mountain bike calipers have a different adjusting method which should be covered by your owners manual better than I can explain here.

One last thing. SOMETIMES brake cables can "push" on brake calipers and cause them to hang wrong. This usually happens on rear brakes but sometimes can happen on front ones. BEFORE adjusting the calipers, check to see if the cables aren't wedged somewhere and pushing the brake off to one side.

If all else fails, take the bike back to the LBS and have them solve the problem and show your friend how to properly remove the wheels.
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Old 09-15-08, 08:21 PM   #15
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The Sheldon Brown link is OK for basics but it really isn't the whole story.


If all else fails, take the bike back to the LBS and have them solve the problem and show your friend how to properly remove the wheels.
Sheldon's article is by no means the whole story, but is a pretty good start.

As far the the LBS letting the bike out w/o basic QR training . . . in my day (which ended in 1995) we made a sincere effort to explain and demonstrate proper use of quick releases. QR's seem to cause a lot of confusion for many new cyclists. Most recently I tried it with my 77 year old father. He was able to do it right then, but not the next day.
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