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  1. #1
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    Wheel does not spin freely on bike; spins fine off bike

    My front wheel does not spin as easily on the front fork as off. I looked closely and there's nothing even close to grabbing it -- not the brake pads, computer wires, or fork. Disclosure: I broke the front rim when I hit a rock at 20MPH. The rim was replaced but the same hub is being used. Perhaps I damaged the hub? Still, doesn't explain why it spins fine off the bike though.

    Should I have the bearings re-packed?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Depending on how hard you crank your quick release closed, that can put too much pressure on the bearings and slow the wheel.

    This is why some mechanics leave a small amount of play in the front hub -- the QR makes it perfect.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I just called the shop I use and they said the "pre-load" may be off. I'm going to bring it in for them to adjust.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    +1 - skewer load is overcoming the "preload" on the bearings. Have the hub adjusted.

  5. #5
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    The front dropouts also need to be parallel and concentric. If not then they will flex the axle out of line when you tighten down the QR. Something to check.

    Dave

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    My bet is on the preload of the bearings but I would try loosening up your quick release first since you said it spun feel on its own. A lot of people over tighten quick releases. You should be able to close it with one hand easily with some resistance. If that doesn't do it get some cone wrenches and adjust the hubs reload.
    UCI dont get in the way of eveloution

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. The shop did not find anything wrong with the wheel and suggested I bring the bike in. I tried loosening the QR as much as possible (even a pinkie could nudge it loose now) but there is a still a bit of drag vs. off the fork. Eyeballing it, the fork appears OK. Can a carbon fork (albeit a cheap one) bend out of alignment?

  8. #8
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    .....the load on the bearings is too high when in the fork and clamped. Loosen the cones until it isn't.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
    .....the load on the bearings is too high when in the fork and clamped. Loosen the cones until it isn't.
    The guy at the shop said it spun fine on the truing stand. Shrug.

  10. #10
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AusTai View Post
    The guy at the shop said it spun fine on the truing stand. Shrug.
    ^^^^ - THIS is your problem. As we have said - when a wheel is placed in the fork and the skewer is clamped it can and does increase the load on the bearings. Adjusting preload outside the wheel being mounted on the bike is fine for 90% of applications but in a situation where this doesn't work - clearly the situation here - then the pre-load HAS to be adjusted while compensating for the additional load your fork and skewer place on the system. In other words your cones should be loose and have some play in them BEFORE you mount the wheel in order for that play to be taken out and not over loaded when in the fork.

  11. #11
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    This why I like hub designs that permit bearing adjustment with the wheel mounted on the bike (Campy, Mavic and others).

  12. #12
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    So a truing stand doesn't apply any force on the hub like a fork does? Hope that isn't too newbie-ish a question. I told the fellow that maybe the pre-load needs to be adjusted, so when he replied that it spun fine on the truing stand, I thought he was saying that's equivalent to the wheel clamped down on a fork. Guess not.

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    As silly as this may sound maybe one of your brake pads are rubbing against the wheel

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AusTai View Post
    So a truing stand doesn't apply any force on the hub like a fork does? Hope that isn't too newbie-ish a question. I told the fellow that maybe the pre-load needs to be adjusted, so when he replied that it spun fine on the truing stand, I thought he was saying that's equivalent to the wheel clamped down on a fork. Guess not.
    The wheel just sits in the truing stand. No external force.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accordion View Post
    The wheel just sits in the truing stand. No external force.
    Arggg ...

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Post #10 is where your solution lies.
    Regards,

    Jed

  17. #17
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I have a set of front & rear dropouts in my tool box that I use when adjusting hubs. You can get a good feel that way because you can still spin the axle by hand while the qr is tight.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accordion View Post
    The wheel just sits in the truing stand. No external force.
    Depends on the stand. You could clamp a quick release in a TS-2 (which is probably what the shop has). Whether the mechanic actually did this or not is another story.

  19. #19
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    If tightening a QR on perfectly true fork ends can tighten the cones, Id like to know where this decreased gap is accounted for. Is the axle being made shorter? No. Are the cones moving along the axle threads? No. Are the steel cones somehow deforming from normal skewer clamping? Unlikely.

    Every time the OP's issue happened to me it was traced to slightly out of true fork ends or drop outs. Look at the outsides of the ends, not just the inside. It could also be out of round skewer ends, causing flex as it is tightened.

    Loosing the cones before installing the wheel is just compensating for the real issue.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  20. #20
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I like that term.

    'Sping'

  21. #21
    On the Move teterider's Avatar
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    You didn't say what the wheel is, but some cheaper stock wheels have rubber cones that cover the axle nuts. These rubber boots are pressed against the hub shell when clamped into the frame and create friction. Honestly with these there is not much to do but spray some lubricant on the boots (WD40 works fine), and it makes a big difference.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    FWIW, it's a Xero-Lite XR-1. Not stock but not the high-end by any means. There does not appear any rubber cones covering the axle nuts.

    I finally remembered I still have the original, steel, threaded fork that came with the bike. I attached the wheel with minimal clamping and ... same binding. So it must be the wheel. Makes me want to try another shop now.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    If tightening a QR on perfectly true fork ends can tighten the cones, I’d like to know where this decreased gap is accounted for. Is the axle being made shorter? No. Are the cones moving along the axle threads? No. Are the steel cones somehow deforming from normal skewer clamping? Unlikely.

    Every time the OP's issue happened to me it was traced to slightly out of true fork ends or drop outs. Look at the outsides of the ends, not just the inside. It could also be out of round skewer ends, causing flex as it is tightened.

    Loosing the cones before installing the wheel is just compensating for the real issue.
    Disagree, although I don't have any hard numbers to back my opinion up. I do believe you're compressing the axle/cone setup, very slightly, so the axle is being "made shorter". Not much, certainly too little to measure without calipers, but if there's no play when the system is unloaded, putting significant compressive load across the axle may be just enough to bind the system.

    Metals, particularly steel, are quite elastic. Saying that steel stretches and compresses isn't far-fetched.

  24. #24
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    I concur with the rest of the preload comments here. Most likely your issue is indeed too much preload on the bearings. As a mechanic myself, I almost always adjust the cones slightly loose before putting the wheel in the bike, once it's clamped down there shouldn't be any play and the wheel should spin freely.

    The fork being out of alignment is also a possibility, but cone preload is the much more likely culprit.

  25. #25
    Gluteus Enormus mmmdonuts's Avatar
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    The clue is in the OP. The rim was replaced. The builder likely took out the play in the bearings to rebuild the wheel but didn't set it back. Wheels often get built with slightly tight hubs to remove play and movement at the rim.
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