Wobbly Bike

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
BillDelve
Posts: 1
Joined: 28 Oct 2019, 11:54am

Wobbly Bike

Postby BillDelve » 28 Oct 2019, 11:58am

Hi Everyone,
New to biking and a new member here.

I have a MTB where I have changed the inner tube and tyre, I took it out for a little ride yesterday and it seems to wobble from side to side. I have been told it’s the “cones” but also told to tighten up the wheel…

Being a total newbie I don’t want to mess around with the bike too much, but I can really feel the wobble…any ideas?

Darkman
Posts: 144
Joined: 30 Aug 2019, 8:46pm

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby Darkman » 28 Oct 2019, 1:24pm

It will likely be spoke tension, if the wobble is in the wheel itself. Personally I'd have someone who knows what they're doing look at that.

If you spin the wheel without the tyre and it looks nice and straight, then it's likely you had a twist in the tube. When you put it back in, pump it up so that it *just* holds its shape before putting it into the tyre.

peetee
Posts: 2877
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby peetee » 28 Oct 2019, 2:59pm

It's not uncommon for front wheels to develop play in the axles due to loose cones on bikes at the cheaper end of the market eg Apollo from Halfords or Argos/other bulk general goods retailers. Turn the bike upside down and place the base of your thumb on the bolt holding the front wheel and the tip of your thumb on the spokes at the centre of the wheel. With the other hand hold the tyre rock the wheel from side to side. If you feel the spokes move relative to the wheel bolt then the cones are loose or the bolts are not tight enough. Neither of these events should have happened to a bike only a few weeks old so return it to the supplier to be rectified. If this is not possible take it to a trusted mechanic as it is a serious matter that could cause you significant injury.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

User avatar
Chris Jeggo
Posts: 203
Joined: 3 Jul 2010, 9:44am
Location: Woking

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby Chris Jeggo » 28 Oct 2019, 3:55pm

A wheel can be thought of as having five components:
1) an axle, which should be securely held in the cycle frame;
2) the rest of the hub;
3) a rim;
4) spokes connecting rim to hub; and
5) tyre and tube.
Any of these can be responsible for wobbliness.

If there was no wobble before you changed the tyre and tube then it is probably something you have done, but let's work through the list anyway.
1) The axle is fixed in the frame either by a wheel nut at each end or by a lever-operated quick-release 'skewer'. If you hold the cycle frame in one hand and try to move the rim from side to side you will be able to see the axle move if it is loose.
2) A hub consists of a shell, to which the spokes are attached, and a bearing, by which it rotates freely on the axle. Most cycles have cup-and-cone bearings which need to be correctly adjusted. If the bearing is loose the rim can move from side to side freely within hard limits.
3) If the rim is not 'true', i.e. not accurately circular and not accurately in a single plane, you can experience a sort of wobble. Wheels are trued by adjusting spoke tensions.
4) The spokes are pieces of wire under tension. If they are generally slack the rim can move, maybe freely if they're really slack but more likely a generally spongy feeling, and individual spokes will bend easily if you press them, and not 'ping' if you flick them with a finger nail.
5) An under-inflated or badly seated tyre can cause wobbliness. Tyres often have a ridge on the side, just above the rim edge, which can be used to check tyre seating.

Some of the fixes are easy (e.g. tightening wheel nuts, refitting a tyre) while others are not for a beginner unless you are prepared to spend some time learning by carefully following published procedures in order to avoid potentially expensive pitfalls (adjusting bearings or spokes).

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531colin
Posts: 13413
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby 531colin » 28 Oct 2019, 4:16pm

BillDelve wrote:Hi Everyone,
New to biking and a new member here.

I have a MTB where I have changed the inner tube and tyre, I took it out for a little ride yesterday and it seems to wobble from side to side. I have been told it’s the “cones” but also told to tighten up the wheel…

Being a total newbie I don’t want to mess around with the bike too much, but I can really feel the wobble…any ideas?


If you can wobble the wheel in the frame (or forks) then either;
The wheel is loose; tighten the wheel nuts or the quick release....but learn how to do the quick release, it isn't a wing nut.
There is excessive play in the bearings, so adjust the bearings
Or the spokes are very loose (pretty unlikely, that one)

If the tyre wobbles as you spin the wheel, then you haven't got it on straight; let the pressure down and do it again.
Or the wheel is buckled, but that's pretty unlikely too.

Polisman
Posts: 644
Joined: 9 May 2019, 2:23pm

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby Polisman » 28 Oct 2019, 7:29pm

If the wobble is not directly emanating from the wheel, it's probably further up the steering column. Loose headset could be your answer

simonhill
Posts: 3341
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Wobbly Bike

Postby simonhill » 28 Oct 2019, 11:16pm

Could it be something as simple as a severely underinflated tyre.

New tyre fitted, maybe used basic handpump which even after what seemed like a lot of effort only reached lowish pressure.

It's the frst thing I'd check as it's what you have changed.