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Trike front wheel loosening during ride

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Trike front wheel loosening during ride

Old 10-10-23, 02:54 AM
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Trike front wheel loosening during ride

I've got an older Catrike Expedition. Ridden it for many miles without any issues but... During the last 3 rides the spindle that holds on the front left wheel has loosened while riding. I'd been lucky to notice it right when it happened and was able to recover the parts after they fell off. This morning I lost the whole spindle assembly somewhere after about 5 miles into the ride. Fortunately, the design of the spindle includes an axle tube that supports the wheel and the brake disc keeps the wheel from sliding off the tube and I was able to gently ride back home without a major incident. I suspect that the nut that the spindle screws into (looks like a little hubcap) is being loosened by the rotation of the wheel. I've ordered a new spindle assembly but now I'm concerned that there is something wrong with my wheel and this will happen again. After the first time this happened, I added a little loc-tite to the nut to help keep it from backing out. Evidently this wasn't enough to solve the problem. Any suggestions on what might be happening? It seems like the quick release spindle is only there to hold the axle tube in place and shouldn't be under any pressure to hold the wheel in place. I've ridden this trike for many years and never had an issue like this so I'm thinking that maybe this is a symptom of some part starting to show signs of wear. During the previous rides where the spindle backed out, I checked clearances during reassembly to make sure that the bearings or wheel hub were not pinching up against the hubcap nut. Maybe there is a lateral force that pushes the wheel up against the nut when turning to the left? I'm not really sure how to keep that from happening for future rides. Has anyone here experienced something similar?
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Old 10-10-23, 01:51 PM
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I think your terminology is a bit off. This is the actual spindle on a 20" wheel Catrike. There is no way to lose the spindle as it is attached at the upper end to the handlebars. I think what you are referring to is the axle assembly, the equivalent of a quick release on a regular bike. It does have a cap at one end and a part used to cinch it up at the other end.
Spindle


Axle assembly (aka Quick release)

The answer to you question is no, I have never had it come loose during a ride and my trike is a 2013 Catrike 700 with about 14,000 miles on it. It's not something that wears out as the sole purpose is to keep the wheels in place. If you actually lost a spindle, the replacement cost is $$$.
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Old 10-10-23, 10:35 PM
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You are correct. The bottom picture is the part I'm talking about. I ordered a new pair of them, 1 as a spare just in case it happens again. I'm just worried about finding myself a long way from home with missing parts again.
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Old 10-11-23, 07:14 AM
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In the many years I have been reading about trikes here and on Bentrideronline, your post is the very first time I have read about this being a problem with Catrikes. They are very popular and all of the Catrikes I have seen use the same axle assembly. I don't think you can tighten the quick release too tight and damage any part of the steering. It doesn't tighten against the wheel itself but the spindle assembly. My only concern about over tightening it is not being able to release it again when I need to take the wheel off. You don't need to remove the wheel to change the tire or tube so opening the quick release is not something I need to do often.
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Old 10-11-23, 11:36 AM
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Question: are you using the lever as a wrench to tighten it up, or are you (as you should) taking out all the slack then performing the final locking by closing the lever? I've seen enough experienced cyclists improperly using a Q/R lever that I have to ask.
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Old 10-15-23, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
Question: are you using the lever as a wrench to tighten it up, or are you (as you should) taking out all the slack then performing the final locking by closing the lever? I've seen enough experienced cyclists improperly using a Q/R lever that I have to ask.
I'm pretty sure I'm tightening the skewer correctly. With the lever inline with the skewer, I tighten the nut until it is snug and then fold the lever over to be perpendicular. The lever takes a bit of force to get the cam past the over center part so that it won't flip back on its own.

I've ordered the new parts and I'll see if there is a difference between the new ones and the one remaining axle assembly that I have. I suspect that I'll find some small difference in either the length of the axle tube, or more likely, some washer or shim is missing that allowed the hub to loosen the hubcap shaped nut.
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Old 12-24-23, 02:01 PM
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I have a Catrike Expedition that I bought in August 2023, and today, when I was putting it in the back of my van, I discovered that the right front quick release assembly was missing. The wheel fell off! I had been riding it on my patio on rollers. The quick release is nowhere to be found, and I am at a loss to explain what might have happened.
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Old 02-16-24, 09:03 AM
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I know it has been a while, but I just wanted to follow up on this issue. I had ordered a couple new spindle/axle assemblies from Utah Trikes. I had them sent to a family member's house and it took me a while to go pick the parts up in the US. I live in Spain.

Comparing the old parts to the new I discovered 2 things. The old axle tube was about 1mm shorter than the new one. Also, I was missing one of the springs as well. I may have lost the spring on the road when it all came apart on me so I'm not 100% convinced that was the root cause of the problem, but it is good to get everything back where it belongs now. Just for reference, the kit for each wheel was about $40 US.

I put everything together with the new parts and went for a long ride today (40km) and I'm happy to report that everything stayed together.
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