Rear wheel problem

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Redeye
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 Aug 2019, 10:44pm

Rear wheel problem

Postby Redeye » 30 Aug 2019, 12:02am

Hi all,

First time post on here and I would be grateful for some advice.

My low spec trek bike has developed a problem. The rear wheel has lateral movement which increases when more force is a applied when pedalling. A local bike shop has a full service option so I took the bike to them and explained the issue. I wanted a fix for the issue and a full service. In my head I was thinking the issue was a bearing or axle problem or perhaps both. They told to leave the bike with them and they would do a full investigation and then get back to me.

The next day I got call, and was told that the rear wheel is knackered and a replacement is needed. I also need a new chain, brake cables and break pads. Total cost for parts and labour was £230.

I explained that the bike was purchased for around £350 three years ago and I couldn't justify the cost and to not proceed with the work. I picked up the bike later that day and had another discussion with the mechanic. He told me it was a shame its a seven speed and not an 8 speed because the 8 speed has a better quality support within the wheel mechanism (my words here, cant remember his exact words).
My wheel has no support within the cassette apparently and a replacement axle an bearings will not fix the issue.

Should I bin the bike?

Thanks for reading .

hamster
Posts: 3194
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby hamster » 30 Aug 2019, 9:01am

Hard to tell without looking at it, but it sounds like the freehub body in the hub has failed. It's a £20 part plus an hour's assembly work.

I don't think the charges are outrageous, there is 3+ hours work there. Stuff needs to be maintained. If you don;t like the cost, do it yourself and look at the Park Tools website for instructions. Alternatively try a mobile mechanic.

Look at it another way. Spend another £350, buy an new bike and you will end up in exactly the same place in 3 years time.

pwa
Posts: 10427
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby pwa » 30 Aug 2019, 9:25am

Two observations. Firstly, a wheel hub that has the right hand side bearings roughly in line with the spokes rather than further out near the smaller gear sprockets is weaker than one with the bearings further apart, so the mechanic is right about that. But a complete new wheel can be bought online for a reasonable price.

Secondly, getting someone else to maintain your bike is always going to be an expensive way to do it.

Redeye
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 Aug 2019, 10:44pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Redeye » 30 Aug 2019, 9:37am

hamster wrote:Hard to tell without looking at it, but it sounds like the freehub body in the hub has failed. It's a £20 part plus an hour's assembly work.

I don't think the charges are outrageous, there is 3+ hours work there. Stuff needs to be maintained. If you don;t like the cost, do it yourself and look at the Park Tools website for instructions. Alternatively try a mobile mechanic.

Look at it another way. Spend another £350, buy an new bike and you will end up in exactly the same place in 3 years time.


The freehub damage would have made sense, but he wanted to replace the whole rear wheel. I just found that information about the 7 speed vs 8 speed cassette, and that by design (throw away parts in his words) there was never any support inside the cassette a little odd, But I take your point on relative costs.

iandriver
Posts: 2175
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby iandriver » 30 Aug 2019, 9:47am

8 speed trigger shifters shouldn't be that expensive. If you need a new wheel anyway, changing to an 8 speed cassette is probably perfectly possible and economic if the rest of the bike is in good condition and fits you well.

example shifters https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m2b0s108p14 ... 0-STI-8spd
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Brucey
Posts: 35891
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Brucey » 30 Aug 2019, 9:47am

a low spec trek bike will quite probably have a screw-on freewheel not a freehub/cassette system. It is very common for cheap freewheel-type hubs to have bearings that collapse and render the wheel scrap. The same thing can happen with a cassette hub too but it is far less likely; 8s bikes usually have cassette hubs, 7s ones can have either type.


£230 sounds a bit steep but your idea of 'a full service' is probably too little too late; chances are that in addition to the rear wheel, there are many other repairs required. I'm guessing;

- all cables
- some brake parts
- tyres
- chain
- freewheel/cassette
- chainset
- rear mech.

Lots of these parts are just consumables; they just wear out and need replacement at regular intervals, faster if they are neglected, obviously. If you are in for a new chainset then that could probably have been avoided, if the (relatively cheap) chain and sprockets had been replaced more often; chainrings wear very quickly once the chain is worn.

Very probably you could buy the parts required to fix your bike for about £150. Could be a good time to learn how to fix/maintain your bike...?

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

hamster
Posts: 3194
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby hamster » 30 Aug 2019, 10:02am

hamster wrote:Hard to tell without looking at it, but it sounds like the freehub body in the hub has failed. It's a £20 part plus an hour's assembly work.

I don't think the charges are outrageous, there is 3+ hours work there. Stuff needs to be maintained. If you don;t like the cost, do it yourself and look at the Park Tools website for instructions. Alternatively try a mobile mechanic.

Look at it another way. Spend another £350, buy an new bike and you will end up in exactly the same place in 3 years time.

Thinking about it again it's probably a freewheel.

At worse you can simply buy a new wheel (£50 ish).

whoof
Posts: 1922
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 2:13pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby whoof » 30 Aug 2019, 10:14am

You can get low spec new rear wheel for a little over £20.

From Tredz : Wheel-Alloy-Rim-and-Hub-Screw-On-Freewheel-Fittings-QR_62382
. . . . which may have free postage (or not).

Try a few local bike shops as they may also do them for similar price. I used to know one that charged £1 to remove the freewheel from your old wheel if you bought a new wheel from them.
Last edited by Graham on 30 Aug 2019, 10:17am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: broken link removed

Mike Sales
Posts: 3405
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Mike Sales » 30 Aug 2019, 10:17am

whoof wrote:You can get low spec new rear wheel for a little over £20.


A cheap wheel can be much improved with the application of a skilled spoke key. Tensioning, truing and stressing don't get much attention at these prices.

Jamesh
Posts: 676
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Jamesh » 30 Aug 2019, 10:20am

Find a local bike libary where they will fix it for very little.

Some have open evening where you can learn about bike maintainance.

You can get a new wheel cheap enough off eBay.

Cheers James

drossall
Posts: 4594
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby drossall » 30 Aug 2019, 10:41am

(Cross-posted with some of the above. Because Trek make decent bikes, I'd hope that your current wheel is/was better than the very cheapest replacements. Fair point though that even a wheel replacement is relatively inexpensive, and you could avoid buying tools by the means suggested above.)

I think it depends whether you're up for doing some work yourself. It's possible you could get the bike going again quite cheaply. It's very hard to tell though, without seeing it.

Your initial diagnosis sounds reasonable. It's quite likely that the axle has snapped. They are pretty cheap, although that might not be the correct one and it's unclear whether your bike has solid axles (like that), or hollow ones (for quick release wheels).

The mechanic's comment is a really strong clue that you have a freewheel and not a cassette. One of the advantages of the cassette design is that the wheel bearings can be further apart, and this reduces the likelihood of failures of the type that you describe. However, many keen cyclists have ridden tens of thousands of miles on freewheel-type hubs. Indeed, there's currently a sizeable nostalgia movement (try Googling Eroica) involving events that only accept bikes from the era (1980s and earlier) when freewheels were the only game in town.

Your bike is not of "enthusiast quality", but Trek are a decent brand. The shop, for speed, may well be choosing to replace the wheel rather than strip out the bearings (and indeed might charge you more to do the latter, because it would take longer - even bike mechanics deserve to be paid, so labour costs add up). So it's possible you could fix the wheel for the cost of an axle from Halfords and a few tools (which you may even be able to borrow if you can find a local enthusiast). Or the bearings may be wrecked and the wheel may be a write-off. Taking the hub apart is the only way to know. These videos look good for freewheel removal and hub servicing - but I've never in my life seen a freewheel come off that easily, and you should expect to lean on a big spanner with everything you have!

The main specialist tools (i.e. apart from ordinary spanners etc.) are a freewheel remover which must be the right one for your freewheel, and probably some cone spanners - again, they must be the correct size for your hub cones, but those ones cover several sizes. You generally need cone spanners because cones are too narrow for ordinary spanners to fit onto them.

You should expect to replace chains, brake blocks and all cables as a general expense of cycling. There will be videos on the sites above, or as mentioned by others try the Park Tools site. Replacing the latter two should be quick and easy. I'm a bit surprised that you've worn out a seven-speed chain in three years, as this should take some thousands of miles, but you may have ridden more than I've guessed. The thing to watch out for is that freewheel teeth wear with the chain so, if you leave chain replacement too long, the new chain won't mesh with the old freewheel, and your gears will slip (i.e. you'll need a new freewheel as well). Nonetheless, if you can fix the hub then, as above, you're just talking about normal wear and tear, and a worn chain is not a reason to scrap a bike.

pwa
Posts: 10427
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby pwa » 30 Aug 2019, 11:02am

If you did end up buying a new bike and don't fancy learning much maintenance, you could consider spending a little more and getting a lower maintenance design and then learning how to do the odd job yourself to keep it ticking over reliably for a long time. If you do go down that route you could ask about it here, where people will be glad to offer suggestions.
Last edited by pwa on 31 Aug 2019, 8:08am, edited 1 time in total.

gregoryoftours
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby gregoryoftours » 30 Aug 2019, 1:47pm

A relatively small or independent bike shop will very often be buying in replacement parts from their suppliers at a trade price that is higher than they can be purchased for on the internet, and that's before the shop's own markup. A full service labour charge alone will be in the region of £100.

£230 all in sounds sounds a little steep but not way far out. Generally bikes are high maintenance machines, a cheap-ish bike will still cost the same to fix in terms of labor and the lower spec parts may fail more quickly, so the cost of upkeep is often higher proportionally to that of a more expensive bike. It's really best to learn the basics yourself; you'll save a load of money and also become more aware of necessary preventative maintenance.

Redeye
Posts: 3
Joined: 29 Aug 2019, 10:44pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Redeye » 30 Aug 2019, 9:51pm

Thanks everyone for your comments, there is some really detailed advice here.

I have made some modifications over the years on this bike, handlebars, saddle, seat post tyres and brakes and I really enjoy riding it.

I'm going to start shopping for some new parts I think.

Jamesh
Posts: 676
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: Rear wheel problem

Postby Jamesh » 31 Aug 2019, 8:02am

Wilko do the essential stuff like cables and lubricants at really good prices.

Cheers James