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Wheel warped during repair?

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Wheel warped during repair?

Old 08-16-09, 01:16 PM
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JonathanFC
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Wheel warped during repair?

Please forgive my uncertainty with terms and the names of parts. I'm basically trying to figure out whether or not it's likely that my rear wheel was damaged during a repair.

I'm dealing with a two month old '09 Bianchi Brava. On Friday I took it to the shop I'd bought it from because of a marble-rolling-around-in-a-cup noise that was coming from the rear wheel. A mechanic I'd spoken with in a Trek store the day before, while I was looking at another bike and complaining about my own, had told me it was likely a warranty-covered issue to do with the hub. There were no other problems with the bike at that time aside from it being too small for me (a long story in itself), a surprisingly rough ride, and having been noisy even before this new, latest noise. The mechanic at this Trek store actually improved the ride of the bike and some of its noise problems a great, great deal by correctly aligning the front derailleur, something he said seemed to have never been done. I had twice told the store I'd bought it from that it made a lot of noise because of what I thought must be excessive contact between the chain and the front derailleur, but they'd both times told me the amount of contact, and the noise, was normal. (I was lectured that I should stay in the most central gears on this triple crank. I ride with a slow cadence, however, so that just doesn't feel right to me.) This is my first road bike, so I'd taken their word for it. Regardless, the bike sounded and more importantly felt much, much better after this Trek store's mechanic adjusted it. I enjoyed riding the bike, despite its still being too small for me, more than I ever had before.

And the next day I dropped it off at my own shop for the hub to be looked at. They called me Saturday morning and said the hub was basically ruined. "Busted" I think was the word used, though it hadn't looked as if anything were wrong with it. I was told that Bianchi would probably cover it, that the shop was about to call them back. Bianchi never called back that day, so I took the bike home in the afternoon, and the shop is supposed to talk to Bianchi tomorrow (Monday). I was told it would be safe to ride it, that there were no problems except I'd hear the noise. At worst, I was told, the wheel would stop turning.

Riding away from the shop, I first noticed that the wheel wasn't back on correctly. It was turning against part of the frame. I fixed that, also noticing that the mechanic hadn't replaced one of the two springs that quick release wheels use near the release levers--and then I felt like the bike was bouncing. I had never felt this before, at all. I rode the bike home and then turned it upside down and spun the rear wheel. It appeared to be swivelling from side to side--it is apparently badly warped. It now can't be ridden at full speed without feeling like you're on a pogo stick, and it can't really be ridden at all without the rear brakes left 'open' as if you're preparing to remove the wheel. That's how out of shape the wheel is.

I feel like there is no way the wheel could have been like this before, without my noticing it. No way.

The mechanic had held the wheel's hub in his hand and shown it to me when I'd gone to pick the bike up, then hurriedly reassembled it. Did he screw it up somehow, or did this happen when the hub became faulty (nearly a week earlier), and yet I never noticed it? The latter seems really, really far-fetched to me--I had thought the bike had felt good for the first time ever on Thursday/Friday--but I don't know enough about bike repair to theorize that it could have been botched to the point of being barely rideable during disassembly/reassembly on Friday/Saturday.

Any advice is appreciated.

Last edited by JonathanFC; 08-17-09 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 08-16-09, 01:32 PM
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Regardless of how the damage occurred, given that you just bought the bike, the shop should retrue the wheel for you at no charge. It's common for machine built wheels to have a spoke or two loosen up during break-in and this could be the cause of the wobble. It also could be caused by ham-fisted handling of the bike by the shop but it really doesn't matter as long as it can be repaired. Hopefully you got the new mechanic on your last trip and you'll get the experienced guy the next time.
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Old 08-16-09, 02:07 PM
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Thank you for your reply.

I was told that Bianchi is likely to send an entire new wheel. That is in itself a hassle, though, because the bike is definitely too small (everyone comments on its smallness relative to my height, including the staffer at this shop who doesn't seem to remember having sold it to me) and I've wanted to sell it and get a new bike (I badly need a bike, for practical reasons) while I can still advertise it as virtually new (the store told me there was no question of giving me a trade-in credit for this bike--which I would have combined with another payment of $700 to buy a different, larger bike from them that actually sells for only $300 more than this Bianchi--unless I were prepared to accept an "insulting" offer). I've been unable to get first $700, then $600 for it through Craigslist. I was also told it could take "weeks" until Bianchi send whatever they're sending. Add in that the front wheel was stolen (and I live in a city in which I have never in my life heard of a front wheel being stolen) and this thing has become a thousand dollar albatross.

The shop in question has been incompetent in every way. The mechanic who handled the bike most recently is indeed new. He's also the manager. The previous manager, and all other staff there but the one I mentioned as having sold me the bike (excluding the bike couriers who're stationed at this branch of what's somewhat of a local chain), resigned a couple of weeks ago.

I wouldn't be so sure that they'd fix a wheel on a newly sold bike for free, though. They have an unusually short free-service period of 30 days for new purchases.

Oh, and the place is called Bike Couriers Bike Shop. Louisville, KY. They really, really suck.

Last edited by JonathanFC; 08-16-09 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 08-16-09, 02:23 PM
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Well, live and learn. Next time, get a second opinion on size, lock your front wheel, and learn how to do your own maintenance.

If you really hate the shop, cut your losses and sell the bike on Ebay (a much larger market than Craigslist and likely to get you more money) and buy a new bike somewhere else.
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